Sunday, 30 September 2018
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances.
I wrote this story attempting to place myself in the mind of a depressed girl, with suicidal tendencies. The writing style I have adopted is slightly different from my usual one, in that it uses a crisp and repetitive form of language.
The room is full. Too full. So many people. Too many people. There must be at least 75 people here in this wedding hall. I’m surrounded by people, making too much noise. I’m alone. All alone.
Every one is chattering, smiling, laughing. Everyone seems to be having a good time. Everyone is dressed for the occasion. It is Rajini’s wedding. Rajini, my cousin. Seven years younger than I am. She is already 29, well past the right age for marriage. They finally found a guy who was willing to marry her. Unlike me.
Everyone is friendly to me. All of them talk to me. They enquire after my health, the job I lost months ago, and everything else that they are supposed to ask. As if they are bothered about my job or health. Why would they be? Who am I to any of them anyways? Just another loser.
Dadaji is sitting next to me on the right. He is snoring softly, his head lolling to one side. Sharanya auntie, my dad’s younger sister, looks at Dadaji and catches my eye. She smiles knowingly, although I stare back at her, sans the return smile. Her smile becomes more knowing. God knows what she knows. Does she know that I have not slept for the last 48 hours? I guess not. No one knows. I mean, they know that I’m unhappy or depressed or something. But they don’t know. They have no clue .
They day before yesterday I heard mom on the phone with someone. I don’t know who it was and I don’t care. She was confirming the news to whoever it was. That, yes, her only daughter is still recovering from the shock. What shock? I don’t know, nor does she.
I heard her say, 'Ever since the last proposal failed, she has gone more into her shell'. I wanted to ask mom, what shell? Only snails have shells. Maybe that’s what she meant anyways. I'm a snail and I have withdrawn into my shell.
Yes, that’s what I am. A snail. A really slow one at that. I took three hours to wear this cotton kurta and pull my hair into a simple ponytail for the occasion. No, I wore no makeup and no jewellery either. Why would I? What purpose would all that fuss serve anyways?
“What will people say, Sanju?’ Mom was close to tears. ‘As it is, no one wants to marry you, now if you come like this to every wedding, even the older bachelor fellows will run away from you…’
Run Away. Yeah. I wanna run away too. Not just from the older bachelor fellows though. I wanna run away from home. I wanna runaway from this city. From this country. I wanna run and run and run until I can run no more. I wanna run away from this world.
What a soothing thought that is. To run away, to escape…to escape this world. To escape this existence, once and for all. To escape forever.
I almost smile.
Well everyone wants to run away from me. Because they can. Lucky for them, because they can run away from what they do not like. I’m not that lucky. I can’t run. Because there is nowhere for me to go. Until I die that is.
But then, mom took me to a Swamiji last month. He conducted a tantric phenomenon on me. He called me a coward because I tried to escape from life. Life is a gift of God, he said. He didn’t know either. He didn’t know that I didn’t run anywhere at all. I didn’t even leave home, not even my room. I just took those pills that promised escape.
It would have worked if dad hadn’t come into my room to ask for the morning paper. He keeps coming into my room asking for something or the other. He knows that I do not read the news. Why did he come? Yeah, he must have come to check on me. The newspaper was only a pretext. They have been doing that a lot of late, mom and dad. They keep checking on me at regular intervals. They take turns to find silly excuses to bug me. This started since the day they forced me to visit that psychiatrist. That was the day they decided that I am not normal. Yeah, I’m an official psycho now. A psycho who needs treatment for …what do I need treatment for? I have no idea.
They have fancy names for mentals now. They aren’t called mentals, crackpots, idiots or imbeciles anymore. Oh no. They are called patients. Patients with mental health disorders.
Isn’t that an oxymoron, by the way? Mental health? How can you be mental and healthy at the same time?
And so, last Sunday, dad found the half empty bottle of sleeping pills on the floor beside my cot. I was asleep. Blissful sleep. An all-pervading sleep.
And now, after the return from the hospital, I am not left alone by myself. Not even for a single day.
Mom lugged me along to this wedding. She thinks it is the solution to my problems. She says meeting people would keep my mind off other issues.
How would that be a solution when people are a main part of the problem?
Besides, mental or otherwise, I know the real reason. The real reason she wants to drag me along to every wedding in the family. She hopes that someone would like her ugly daughter. She hopes to hook me up with that someone and send me off. Ah, the eternal hopes of a mother for the mental spinster daughter.
Why did they put me in the hospital? They could have been rid of me forever. They would have, if only they hadn’t treated me for the pills overdose.
They do realize that it has only made it worse. Everyone knows that their daughter isn’t right in the head. Everyone, even my parents, believe that it is because of failed marriage proposals that I am this way.
By this way, I mean in the mental way. Not in the family way, as I should have been at my age. By the way, they have a nice fancy name for that now. That doc told them it is called 'Depression'. Or a disorder. A mental disorder of course. But they do not say such bad words in our house. Yeah, mental is a bad word, worse than the word 'Sex' or even 'Fuck'. I mean, you could say Fuck in my house. You may manage to get away with only a slap and a severe reprimand for using it. But you could killed for calling me a mental case. They have to get me married, you see. So they pretend that I am normal.
Are they normal? I seriously wonder.
I mean, they think I am depressed because a series of losers rejected me. I mean, would I have married any of those bald dumbasses anyways? No. But they no one asked me if I would.
How would they know? They wouldn’t know why I try to kill myself. I do that every time I get the chance or inclination. They wouldn’t know.
What would people say? All these people? All these smiling chattering people? What would they say if they knew? If they knew that the high flying career woman Sanjana tried to run away from life? Because she had no one to run away from except for life itself?
Unlike her lover. Her lover had someone to run away from. He had me to run away from. Yes, he ran away from me, because he found another. Another, who is richer and more attractive than plain old me. They have a nice fancy term for that too. It’s called 'Ghosting', I believe.
I would have been married too, three years ago. If the love of my life hadn’t become a ghost all of a sudden, that is.
Now the ghost is expecting his first child with his new wife. His new wife, who was richer and more attractive than plain old Sanjana. But mom and dad didn’t know about the ghost and his ghosting. They thought I became depressed because of losing some losers I don’t even know.
And they think of themselves as normal. All these people. They look at me strangely and whisper among themselves. I reward them with blank stares. I give them uncomprehending silence when they try to talk to me. They try to put a word, to what they do not understand. They never would understand. They try to box me and my personality. They want to squeeze my whole existence into a box, called ‘mental disorder’. They then think that they have understood perfectly. They console my parents. They believe that they have done all they could do. Consolation in exchange for madness. And they think of themselves as normal.
Is that her? I see these people ask one another as they spy me now. Strangers point at me and nudge one another. They are oblivious to the pained expressions on my parents’ faces. And still mom drags me along to these weddings. She still hopes that some loser would miraculously fall in love with her loser daughter. She believes that someone would propose marriage to her. And they think of themselves as normal.
It is called hope, this thing. This madness of wishing fervently for something. Something that is never going to happen, ever, is called hope. And they hope. My parents love to hope. And they think of themselves as normal.
Well, I am not going to deprive them of their madness. Their madness called hope. I shall let them have it and enjoy it. I shall allow them to relish it and relive it. Let them squeeze the hope dry until they can hope no more. Until the day, when they in their madness finally realize the truth. The truth that I have succeeded in the inevitable.
And they would cry. They would grieve my loss. They would curse me. They would curse me for leaving them the way I did. Then they would grieve some more. They would miss me long after I have gone. And then, someday, they would grieve no more. Someday, they would heave secret sighs of relief. Relief, because their daughter is in a better place. A place, where there are no mental illnesses to deal with.
Because one day, all the normal people of the world would finally shut up. Because, all the normal people would have nothing left to say.
: Juan Miguel.
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
A scintillant slice of heaven
permeates my core;
My hues turn golden
in starry glows galore.
My insides melt in abandon,
your essence pervades every pore;
Our spirits in saccharin suffusion,
crave more and more.
An elixir, warm and molten,
seeks your sensuous shore;
Amidst fervent kisses stolen
our hearts begin to soar.
Destiny bows to passion
when sonorous souls implore;
Our beings rejoice in fusion
in the makings of a folklore...
Photo : Mark Bouldoukian
Monday, 24 September 2018
Metafiction is a form of literature that emphasizes its own constructedness in a way that continually reminds the reader to be aware that they are reading or viewing a fictional work. Metafiction is self-conscious about language, literary form, storytelling, and directly or indirectly draw attention to their status as artifacts.
Metafiction is frequently used as a form of parody or a tool to undermine literary conventions and explore the relationship between literature and reality, life, and art.
Metafiction is frequently used as a form of parody or a tool to undermine literary conventions and explore the relationship between literature and reality, life, and art.
My Last Goodbye.
She is going to kill me! The bitch!
I cannot believe it! I mean, she created me after all. She is my mother…mom, or so I thought.
Didn’t she give me a lovely heart-shaped face, a beautiful figure, wonderful clothes to wear, a great job, and a high level of intelligence too? I thought she loved me. How can she kill me?
Me? Nisha, the wonderful girl with a heart of gold. Nisha, the girl who won awards at school and accolades at work. She made me so wonderful when she created me, I’ve been over the moon with joy and pride.
It was short-lived though, because she made some rather horrid things to happen to me, just a few days after my twenty-fifth birthday too! I mean I met with an accident, lost my new bike and had a scuffle with my boss, all in a single day. All thanks to her whims. And while I was still reeling from all that, she made me lose Rahul, my boyfriend of three years!
Can you imagine all that happening to one person in such a short time? Yes, you got that right. Anything can happen in life, the more the strife, the merrier it is for you, the reader.
And so, she made me go through a terrible betrayal and broke my heart in the worst possible way. Not only did Rahul have a fling with that weak little bitch called Anita, he also blamed me for not being ‘enough’ for him! Just imagine, reader. An average looking guy with average brains actually lands a girl like me, and has to the gall to say I’m not enough!
Well, seriously reader, I have had enough.
This woman is the most heartless bitch I’ve ever come across, even worse than that Anita, the bane of my life until now. And mind you, Anita’s sole purpose of existence is that of breaking my heart! This, after Rahul, my boyfriend, proposed to me just the week before! I know, I know, reader. The best reason for a man to cheat on his woman is insecurity. And so, of course, it had to be me that bore the brunt of his betrayal. I was so enraged, not just with Rahul and Anita, but with my mother too for doing this to me, for making me go through the worst pain ever…
I wanted to kill myself the day mom described in minute detail, how Rahul lies through his teeth to me and spends his weekends with that bitch… even the gross love scenes between them…I died a slow death that day.
And do you know the worst part? I wasn’t allowed to make out with Rahul, not even once. All I got to do was kiss him a few times and I had to stay chaste, prim and proper even then. I couldn’t be a slut like Anita, could I?
Oh No! I’m a good girl, mind you.
Gorgeous-looking, intelligent, good girls do not indulge in desperate sex with average-looking losers, except in Chetan Bhagat books, of course. And all good girls in the world only fall in love with bad guys, as a rule.
And I’m a classy, elegant, super-smart, stunning, high-flying achiever. A girl who knows her worth and means NO when she says ‘No’. And so, all she allowed me to do was kiss Rahul a few times, let him to grope around a bit, and then refuse to sleep with him, because, well girls don’t do that ‘too soon’, even after three years of being with him. I mean, seriously?
As if that wasn’t enough, she ensured that I lost my job last night because she claimed that I was unable to concentrate on my work after my heartbreak.
This is what she makes me endure, when I know for a fact that she’s been having flings with three different guys in the last month alone.
And just when I thought that I’d be a phoenix of sorts, to show the world how strong I am, how I gather my will power and resilience to emerge stronger from the experience, she ruined my life yet again by giving me an incurable disease to die of!
Well, how ironic that I must lose everything I value in life and then life itself, while mom enjoys her life with all the men she chooses to...In fact how do you think I know she plans to do away with me?
I heard her talking last night, in bed with her best friend’s husband. She blew smoke all over my pages and told him that she was gonna give me a cancer and kill me off after three months. I went numb with shock, reader. This was way worse than Rahul’s betrayal!
They actually discussed the best way to murder me, the heartless inhuman demons. He suggested that I should meet with a gory accident and have both my limbs chopped off under a tempo traveller! Can you imagine such monstrousness? But then, she turned out even worse.
‘No, Nisha can’t go as easily as that!’ I heard her quip, as she coolly sipped iced champagne. ‘Nisha needs to suffer more, a lot more…that’s what would make the readers of her story cry their hearts out and recommend it to their friends…’
I mean, dear readers, what a crappy story, if there ever was one!
Tell me, dear readers, why do you pick up a book to read?
To forget your own woes for some time, to be happy, to read some good prose and leave with a smile, a feeling, a connection…right?
Obviously not. You, the readers, have changed over the years. There was a time when you read good literature…Dickens, Bronte, Austen, Twain, Wilde , Hemingway or Kalam. Today, dear readers all you want is sex, sleaze, cheap thrills and instant gratification. You readers neither have the class or intelligence to enjoy good literature nor the patience or inclination to read classic work.
And so, my mom, the celebrated author, feels that she has to cater to you, the new breed of readers and write absolute crap under the guise of contemporary literature.
Couldn’t she have spared all the details of that cheap fling between Rahul and Anita, for instance? No, the great woman needed to add in five pages of the sleazy shit she calls 'erotica' for her slimy readers and she couldn’t have done that with me. As I already mentioned before, I am a good girl, you know.
And so, dear reader, I’m gonna die tonight. Yes, tonight. You see, although I am supposed to live in painful agony for 3 more months, thankfully it will soon be over, because it would take only a few minutes, a few hours or at most two days for her finish describing my anguish on her pages and finally kill me.
After all this time too. Unbelievable how heartless she can be. And for what? Just to make her stupid story better.
After all, like some smart guy said, ‘The beginning of your story sells your first book. The ending sells your next one.’
And all these authors want is to sell their pathetic books. The dimwits. And look at all the lengths they go to, just to do that!
I am after all the main protagonist of her book. Killing me would make her book fly off the shelves.
So you see, the three months that I experience in my world, are only a matter of two minutes for you, in your world.
You are lucky to be where you are, dear reader. You are lucky to be free, unlike me.
If only I could be free too…free from the pages of a book, free from the complete clutches of a mad woman who has the absolute power to control my life, feelings, and my destiny in accordance with her whims and moods, with a mere scribble of her pen.
My destiny is fused in my author’s ink, dear reader. It is penned to suit your sensibilities and is fastened forever, within the leaves of the manuscript. I remain entangled for eternity, sealed within the spine that holds the pages in its clutches, the pages of a book you read and probably discard, without second thought.
Do remember me sometime, dear reader. After all, I was created for you, to die for you, wasn’t I?
And you are free to go on and live your life as you wish to live it. You have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and shape your own destiny as you’d envision it to be.
Go dear reader, go and write your own destiny.
And this, my reader is the last goodbye from me.
Images : Surreal/Deviant art, Google.
Saturday, 22 September 2018
A limerick is a form of verse, in five-line, predominantly anapestic meter with a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA, in which the first, second and fifth line rhyme, while the third and fourth lines are shorter and share a different rhyme.
This limerick is about impending betrayal.
Dire warning of a jackdaw,
betrayal looms like a claw;
Don't fall in too deep,
& be lost in the void, so steep,
fragile heart needs to withdraw.
Image : Izard Kane
Thursday, 20 September 2018
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was one of the greatest writers of English language, actor & the most famous playwright in the world. Known colloquially as 'The Bard' or 'The Bard of Avon,' he wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets, 375 poems & 5 long narrative poems.
This poem is part of my tribute to the Bard of English Literature, William Shakespeare. I have drawn inspiration from one of his epic poems, 'Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?', which happens to be an all-time favourite of mine.
The four prompts I used are :
Eye of Heaven.
I also used a bonus prompt from 'The Midsummer Night's Dream' :
Here's to the Bard, beyond compare;
the one and only Shakespeare.
from an eye of heaven
on a summer's day;
of passionate possession
penned in paradise's way;
in winged cupid's haven,
as frowzled feathers sway.
blinded in Eden,
in eyes of mind's display.
: Mishelangelo on Deviant Art.
Make your choice, adventurous stranger;
Strike the bell and bide the danger,
Or wonder till it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.
The Key Characters:
Digory, a boy.
Polly Plummer, a little girl.
Jadis, an evil Witch.
Aslan, a Lion, the creator of the mystical world called Narnia.
Andrew, Digory’s ruthless uncle.
Aunt Letty, Digory’s aunt.
Frank, a cabbie.
Strawberry, a horse that is transformed into Fledge, a Pegasus by Aslan.
Two children who live in London, are thrown together in an adventure into a magical world that involves evil witches, talking animals and mystical beings. It all begins when they poke around their attics, armed with a candle, and stumble into the forbidden loft of Digory’s uncle. The wily man tricks them into handling magical rings that transport them into a strange and eerie unknown land called Charn. Digory being the curious boy he is, rings a bell that brings to life a sorceress queen called Jadis. She uses threats and coercion to accompany the children into London and wreaks havoc around the city with the uncle’s unwilling aid.
In their attempts to return the witch to her own world, they stumble upon another new world which is in the process of being brought into existence by a singing lion, Aslan. This new land is called Narnia. Aslan chooses pairs of beasts of different species and professes them with the power of communication. The empowered animals are forewarned to the dangers of Jadis, who has entered Narnia. Digory is imparted with the onus of procuring an apple that would save Narnia from obliteration by Jadis.
Digory and Polly travel on a Pegasus called Fledge, to another faraway world to fetch the magical apple to save the kingdom of Narnia from the evil sorceress. The story culminates with Digory being successful in his endeavor and subsequently saving his mother from her terminal illness.
This is the first book of the famous ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ series, which has seven books in all. It would be prudent to read this book first to understand the nuances of how Narnia came into existence, where the mystical happenings begin.
I have not watched the Narnia movies, simply because I prefer to read the book before I watch the story on the screen. Perhaps, that is the reason that I am able to allow my imagination to take over when I envision the characters described in the book.
Lewis creates vivid imagery that brings the whole atmosphere of each scene to life. Subtle details of the vibrant beauty of nature, especially in the enchanting world of Narnia, are exquisitely captured for the reader to visualize.
The character of Jadis is sufficiently menacing, cruel and magnificent. Perhaps, it would have been more enriching for the reader to experience the details of her ruthless destruction of Charn and its people, rather than just the blasé account she gives the children.
The uncle is perfect for the kind of character that unleashes chaos in a quiet world chiefly owing to cowardice cloaked in false bravado. He is annoying and disgusting enough for the reader to loathe him all through the book.
The surprise factor is to have a lion characterized in a completely different perspective, the one of a creator, rather than the destroyer. Further, having a lion that not only communicates in a language that is understood by the children, but also sings a whole lovely world into existence is charming in its conception.
The story draws several comparisons to the biblical concept of how the world came into existence. Aslan refers to the children as descendants of Adam and Eve. Further, Aslan’s prophecy about the complete destruction of earth, as a dire consequence of the actions of mankind is iterated with clarity. This is consistent with the present day situation of the world we live in. Due attention is drawn to Charn, the world of Jadis, that faced obliteration owing to the devastating influence of evil.
The jarring similarity to Adam-Eve story is when Aslan asks Digory to fetch an apple from an apple tree in another world, which is suspiciously like heaven, complete with a golden door and a poetic message to go with it. The character of Jadis also draws parallels with that of the serpent that entices Eve to taste the apple of knowledge. Jadis’s enticing verbal ministrations to Digory are consistent with the poisoning of an innocent mind with honeyed venom of a master manipulator.
The part where Aslan chooses a pair of each animal to be empowered with the gift of communication is reminiscent with the fable of Noah’s arc, where a pair of each species is chosen to be saved from devastation on earth.
It is a surprising twist when Frank is christened as the king of Narnia, by Aslan. Frank’s supposed transformation from a cabbie to an aristocrat is a wee bit hard to digest, despite the mystical nature of the story.
The scene where the animals mistake Andrew for a tree and plant him in the ground is hilarious. Their sustained efforts to make Andrew comfortable by bombarding him with thistles, nuts, worms and a beehive, are an exercise in extreme merriment for the reader.
Overall, a good read for those who enjoy reading stories of magic and surreal mysticism in children’s literature.
‘Pooh! Grown-ups are always thinking of uninteresting explanations.’
Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy is a high and lonely destiny.’
..you have behaved like a coward, sending a girl to a place you’re afraid to go yourself.
No great wisdom can be reached without sacrifice.
There’s not much point of in finding a magic ring that lets you into other worlds, if you’re afraid to look a them when you’ve got there.’
It’s because you’re a girl. Girls never want to know anything but gossip and rot about people getting engaged.
Look well on that which no eyes will see again.
I was the queen. They were my people. What else were they there for but to do my will?
I had forgotten that you are only a common boy. How should you understand reasons of the state?
They are not interested in things or people unless they can be of use to them; they are terribly practical.
‘Laugh and fear not, creatures. Now that you are no longer dumb and witless, you need not always be grave. For jokes as well as justice, come in with speech.
Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are, is that you very often succeed.
‘Why’, said the Bulldog, ‘If a fellow cant trust his nose, what is he to trust?’
‘Well, his brain perhaps’, she replied mildly.
As Adam’s race has done the harm, Adam’s race shall help to heal it. Draw near, you other two.
I know. Grief is great.
It was nice to hear the homely and earthly noises again – the chatter of the river on a stony bed and the creaking of trees in the light wind.
Have you ever bathed in a mountain river that is running in shallow cataracts over red and blue and yellow stones with the sun on it? It is as good as the sea, in some ways, almost better.
‘No thanks, I don’t know that I care much about living on and on after everyone I know is dead. I’d rather live an ordinary time and die and go to heaven.’
Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!
But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want ; they do not always like it.
..that there might be things more terrible even than losing someone you love by death.
Book Photography: ©Chethana Ramesh
Illustrations: From the novel.
Illustrations: From the novel.