i was like this seed with white feathers flung from it,
looking here and there.
i was like this seed with white feathers flung from it,
looking here and there.
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays its icy hands on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or Late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more of your mighty deeds!
Upon Death’s purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds.
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb:
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.
– James Shirley
in steps. in steps it keeps coming.
Learning the insecurities as well. Learning to look at myself from another’s eyes. Learning the terms and pomp of this world.
LA. Wanting badly to improve. Guilt. No comfort. Sexual fear. Unable to comprehend a person.
I am tired of the eyes looking at me.
when I give it the space
And i need to carve it out
Innocence. The clear path seen only in innocence. Muddled by various streams of reasonings afterwards. The part when the granny talks about Insiya’s mother running away before abortion, two huge teardrops fell from my eyes, how casually, how casually, like taking tea from a tea stall and sipping as we chat with friends, that casually, it was said. My hand reached out to my friend, wanting a touch of reality to accept this. The dialogue that she says on the stage, something like, even to dream is a privilege, is true. I speak here, I am what I am, what you know I am, because a freedom was intentionally, deliberately served to me by my mother every day of my life, I had to fight for it sometimes. It isn’t by fluke or a sudden one time event, it was a deliberate attempt, to see a life free and with the power to decide its own course in this world.
Cages of childhood.
Insiya’s desperation, her closed off feeling was real, I was reminded of my childhood, that sense of pathetic out of control feeling, to not be able to do what you want, or to not even be presented by a right reason for the denial. When she asks her mom, that she promised to give her anything, her mom says, “ask anything from me, but not from life”. The closed nature of a problem, and when questions are asked we do not get answers, instead we get irrational constraints and more constraints. We never have answers, not even when we grow up, we just become dead. We don’t ask questions anymore, and when a child does, we dampen it with the irrationality that was passed onto us. And so it goes.
Irrational? Rational? What is it? What is the base from which we compare and say something is rational? Utility? But what is utility then? The character of her father, so real. The fact that this happens around us, the people passing you today, some will go home and abuse, and you must have faced them and you know this happens, how does it not wrench your gut. I see people with kids blanketing them out completely, not even listening to what they say, I see people belittling their own kid, talking to them as they are some invalid piece of shit. And I wonder, where exactly do you place value then? What do you live for? What extreme kind of mental torture is this. Mental violence, towards yourself, towards the kid, whom you are robbing of the curiosity that comes by default by loading up such dangerous behaviours and the cloak of certainty. The character Guddu, so innocent, so bubbly, so caring, can we not see her father would have been a similar child at some point of time. Can we not see that Guddu can become that father in future, what loss. What loss. Social structures around us, be it religion, family, social media, are they acting as a wall we fall back on with the irrationality? How can something illogical exist? Only when it is done in high numbers. When the need to question is suffocated somewhere and the behaviour forever floats on the airs of unfounded, unquestionable concepts.
What is logical and rational? What is the absolute we base it on? We only know one absolute. Life. That which makes us live better is logical and rational. Live better? Live content, happy, when our self knows that this is true, this is right. Like when Aamir Khan knows when Insiya sings. Instead of questioning what is right, we can know it by feeling it. A kid singing on a bright morning is right, a kid looking on as his father beats up his mother is not. A kid with a puzzle stuck in her head, a grown up accepting their mistake, a grown up curious to know something, open to say something. We never got sudden ‘grown up’ doses in our mental structure as we got the hormones one, what we have in here is ad hoc, mashed up stuff, a kid can give us the open ends so easily to ponder upon, to close them, to at least try. Expand this knowledge by reading, by listening, by being curious. Utility should be the driven towards this. Every reasoning should aid this. What else is of value if not life itself?
My friend says how in Harayana, they have wells at the back of their house and they just drown babies there, just like that, if they are female. Oh what a luck to be alive today here, you ask me how does it feel to know you are not wanted? That you might as well have died? How does it feel? I was seeing a documentary on caste discrimination on Youtube. A boy was talking about how he is not allowed to sit with other kids, he cannot drink water and he says this with such acceptance, his eyes close as he drops his head and the reporter and him both are silent. That helplessness, that you accept your own damnation, how does it feel? That your life itself is granted on to you as a punishment, and you silently accept it, droop your eyes. It enrages me, what have we done. To take away, to suck away life like this from kids who are the very forces of life. We make them choke on our poison, killing them. Zombies. It is a graveyard. A walking, breathing graveyard. A delicate bud lost and dying in the slime.
How we give our own reasons for something to exist, same would have been the case when untouchability existed, today when sexism exists. It is the same thing. Mummy shared a poem on Whatsapp. This is a new form of ‘sati’ it says. So true. So true. Insiya’s mother, her acceptance of her circumstances, her acceptance of her inferiority stamped on her, of her being a slave, is a form of mental torture that we take pride that we have abolished. But guess not.
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या….
संगी, मंगी, कपी, मंदी
हसायच्या फिंदी फिंदी
आणखीही बऱ्याच होत्या वर्गात
आम्ही वर्गात आहे कि स्वर्गात….
म्हणलं तर खूप अल्लड होत्या
त्या फ्रॉक, पोलके,
चापून चोपून घातलेल्या वेण्यासकट
त्या डोळ्यासमोरून तरळून गेल्या ….
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या.
आम्ही शेण पाणी आणायचो
त्या वर्ग सारवायच्या
वर्गही त्याच अवरायाच्या
आम्ही वर्ग झाडायचो,
त्या बस्करं घालायच्या
आम्ही पटांगण झाडायचो,
त्या सडा मारायच्या…
त्या लंगडी लंगडी,
झिम्माड फुगडी घालायच्या,
सर्वांशीच मनमोकळं बोलायच्या..
अभ्यास मात्र मन लाऊन करायच्या
कवितेत तर खूप खूप रमायच्या
सातवी पर्यंत गावातल्या गावात
त्या आमच्या बरोबर शिकल्या ……
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या
सातवी नंतर घरात
असा काही नियम नव्हता
बाहेर गावी मुलींना
कोणीच पाठवत नव्हता
शाळा सुटली पाटी फुटली
मुली बसल्या घरात
आम्ही दिवटे चिरंजीव
शिकत राहिलो शहरात
अल्पवयातच त्या बोहल्यावर चढल्या ….
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या …
मिसुरड फुटायचा आतच
आम्ही मामा झालो, काका झालो
त्या आई झाल्या,मावशी झाल्या
काकू झाल्या, सून झाल्या ,
नणंद झाल्या, भावजयी झाल्या
विहिरीवर पाण्याला गेल्या
रानात गेल्या, वनात गेल्या
काही स्टोव्हवर गेल्या,
काही शेगडीवर गेल्या,
काही परत आल्याच नाही
पण पार करपल्या
व्यवस्थेच्या चारकात पिळल्या गेल्या ……
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या..
त्या सावित्री होत्या
त्यांना एकही फुले भेटला नाही
त्या जिजाऊ होत्या
पण एकही शहाजी भेटला नाही
त्या कस्तुरबा होत्या
एकही गांधी भेटला नाही
त्या परक्याचं धन झाल्या
निर्माल्य होऊन जीवन गंगेत
वाहून गेल्या ….
त्या नवीन प्रकारे सती गेल्या..
त्या आता दिसेनाशा झाल्या …..
वर्गातल्या मुली कुठं गेल्या…..
-विश्वास नांगरे पाटील
Sitting in my studio, a sweet screech very close to me made me look around, something fluttering in the dark, a bird, robin, the black and white one. It hopped around, singing, then went quiet. I am happy to have it, as a proud host I want to do everything to make it stay as long as possible, to also maybe preserve a proof of a visit of such an unusual guest. He seemed oblivious and into himself. He hopped on the table, then on the chair and onto the projector, while I strategised the best way to switch on the lights across the room, turn on my camera and get a pic of it. I switched on the lights successfully. As I pointed the camera at it, it flew away. I kept the camera back.
From my desk I could hear faint chirps from the bluish trees outside. I walked up to the window and looked out, bent a little further, felt as if I entered this completely new world, like I was entering the robin’s territory, I said softly, “Come back.” It was chirping in the dark somewhere, I could hear it.
I went to my desk and it came flying back, just outside the window sill, still in the wilderness, it looked at me keenly, then hopped inside and flew towards the projector and perched on it.
Projector seemed to be its favourite spot. It sat there for a long time, pruning itself, fluffing up. I was observing it and said, “Hi”, it noticed for a while and then went back to its ritual. There was a heavy wind hustling outside, I thought maybe it likes this space, it must be very cold outside. Then a window rang shut. Few minutes before this, a thought had passed my mind, I wanted to take a photo or a video of the robin and for that I could shut the window so that it cannot escape. But maybe the bird would fret out, look how comfortable and at home it is now. And if it frets out, the whole point is lost, the thing dancing between us, right here, is gone. The window whamming shut because of the wind reminded me of this. I got up and opened the window, latched it so that it does not shut against the wind. Robin after sometime, flew towards the window, standing at the sill, looked outside, then looked at me, maybe ascertaining that it can fly out whenever it wants to. It flew back towards the projector.
Maybe it likes sitting on the projector because of the vantage point. I sat doing my work, and he sat doing his. He flew over my head once, glimpsing at what I was doing, resting on a chair in front of me. As close as it gets. It looked at me, taking full note of me for the first time. It was mapping the room and mapping me as well, it felt. It went back to its comfort spot and had a nap I think.
After sometime, it just hopped out of the window, flinching its tail and flew into the night.