“The Moral of the Story is”: Morality, Mankind and Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are rather hypocritical, don’t you think?

Yes, the world seems to think that they are the best ways to burnish the young, impressionable minds in the contemporary times, but morality in fairy tales is a factor that comes with a rather large list of cons that might persuade anyone to turn over to the dark side. Be it Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel or even Tyrion Lannister from ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series—though he cannot be considered moral in every sense of the word—the protagonists, or the ‘moralists’ are always shown to have been the dealt the short hand in the story.

Take Cinderella for example: ‘would you give the girl a break?!’ is what leaves my mouth every time I watch the movie. Cinderella is blessed with unparalleled beauty and the kindest, noblest of temperaments, but is betrayed by fate when it comes to luck. Not only does she loses her mother at an early age, but also has to deal with an evil stepmother and her two daughters after her father remarries, and later dies. Beautiful Cinderella is now stuck in a hostile household which offers nothing but round the clock abuse and mice and insects for friends (though they were nice mice and insects . . . who talked.)

Snow White’s story is no different. She too loses her mother as an infant and has to suffer at the hands of her stepmother after her father dies, so much so that she escapes the castle she grew up in and takes up house with the seven dwarves. As if that wasn’t enough, her stepmother poisons her with an apple, sending her into a deep slumber which she only comes out of with a kiss.

Let’s talk about someone else here—Tyrion Lannister. Granted, he doesn’t quite fit the conventional moral spectrums of the society with his boorish and promiscuous ways of life, but he does garner more sympathy and admiration the more you look into it. In fact, if there is someone who can rule the magical land of Westeros without pushing it into the crevices of doom and oblivion, it’s him, despite what they say about his ways.

Tyrion Lannister is who you call the laughing stock of the royal family in Westeros. Born as a dwarf, he had to bear the shame of his physical deformity as well the accusation of killing his mother in childbirth his entire life. He was never respected by his father, much less by his peers and siblings—though that, of course, changed as time passed—and was mocked and scorned at for his debauchery around the land. But Tyrion isn’t a character you sympathize with easily—unlike in Cinderella’s and Snow’s cases. He is shrewd, foul mouthed, mischievous, promiscuous, and selfish and blunt in the exact meaning of the words. So why is Tyrion such a favorite when it comes to morality in a series that is riddled with conspiracy and betrayal?

He gives the answer in his own words when he says to Jon Snow:

Never forget what you are, bastard. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”

Tyrion’s character is shaped largely by how his family treated him from the start. Fed up of being teased, mocked and treated as the runt of the litter, he sharpens his mind and his tongue and becomes a brilliant and clever diplomat who never runs out of ways to have fun. Tyrion doesn’t give a damn about the world, much so because the world doesn’t give a damn about him, and he knows that.

But his story could have been quite different had he not been what he is: a dwarf. Tyrion’s physical appearance is the prime factor of his hideous treatment by the family. Had he been like his elder brother, Jamie, tall, fair, blond and “pretty”, he could have grown up to become much less than the man he is now. He would have the same luxuries and upbringing as his siblings—without any shadows of discrimination and mockery—and might have turned into a conceited bastard who lived in whorehouses and inns.

People’s way of masking up this major flaw in fairy tales is to classify this deformity in structure as an obstacle. They sing praises of how Cinderella found friends in the mice and the fairy godmother, and how Snow was taken care of by the dwarves. But a juxtaposition of the same stories in real life would render consequences quite different. Cinderella would be probably be kicked out or end up in an orphanage after her father’s death, and Snow White would either seduce the huntsman to survive or die, because survival trumps morals in the real world. Let’s not even talk about the dwarves and the mice and the fairy godmother. Compared to them, Tyrion would probably survive, since you can’t really blame him for being who he is. He was made what he is by his family—one thing I actually am grateful for, because let’s face it, nobody like the Lannisters—and beneath the whoring, drinking and gambling, Tyrion is actually a kind, compassionate, respectful person who has been starved of love, affection and the respect that he so rightfully deserves all his life.

Fairy tales, thus, shape our ‘young, impressionable minds’ in the wrong way. What I gather of fairy tales is that you have to be weak, annoyingly humble, afflicted with some kind of physical hindrance and have to suffer at the hands of your family and the world to emerge as the hero at the end.

Wake up call: the real world rotates the opposite way, dear.

The moral characters of the fairy tales would either be killed, raped or end up as a mafia lord or drug addict in the real world. Call me harsh and pessimistic, but it’s only the truth. Fairy tales are tales in every sense of the word: unless you are Sherlock Holmes or extremely lucky, surviving as part of this increasing horde of humans is hard. It is nothing that a glass slipper or a kiss by Prince Charming—who will most likely be another druggie like you—can fix. The structure of the moral spectrum today has changed by degrees and angles since the eighteen hundreds. Contemporary morality does not constitute being weak and destitute: that’s a notion long forgotten.

Morality in the contemporary world runs more along the lines of being good as long as it is convenient. There are other factors in the equation today—success, survival and most importantly, maintaining your dignity no matter what tactics you employ. You can call it Intelligent Morality, or even Circumstantial Morality. We do not live in the eighteenth century anymore. It is a different world, with different definitions of every word around us, and different ways to go about them.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/daily-prompt-connection-2/

 

Posted in amazing, Books, Creative, Literature, Original, Post, rational, Self, Stories, thinking, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Icarus

Icarus‘ story was quite sad, really.

His father, Daedalus was a gifted craftsmen who built for the King Minos the famous labyrinth at Crete to imprison the half bull half human Minotaur. But King Minos imprisoned Daedalus in the prison on account of proof that the latter had had given his daughter Ariadne a clew to help Theseus, the king’s enemy.

Daedalus, in order to escape, crafted two pairs of wings from feathers and wax: one for himself and the other for his son, Icarus. Before taking off, he instructed his son to fly neither too close to the sea nor to the sun, but to follow his path. Overcome by the joy of flight, and blinded by his own giddiness, Icarus flies closer and closer to the sun. At last, his wings melt and before he knows it, he falls into the sea and drowns.

For Bastille, ‘Icarus’ is not just one person: it is an entire community, or to say, a group of people, more specifically our outgoing, young enthusiasts who insist on living life king size. This song is in many ways suicidal and against the theory of ‘You only live once’.

The song is riddled with examples of how people take chances in vain, how they risk everything they have just for the hell of it, for fun or simply out of foolishness. Thought and analysis seems to have taken a backseat in the contemporary world. People insist on seizing the moment, but think not of the consequences of their actions in the long term. The singer bemoans this utter ignorance, the blatant lack of respect for opportunities and life by people.

He compares them to Icarus, the foolish boy who killed himself on a whimsical impulse. He says that they—the people—are heading towards an ‘early grave’, by passing over opportunities, by not realizing their importance. They are hell bent on wasting their lives away when they have only just begun, and this is what the singer mourns. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FehA9OwZflw

Posted in amazing, Art, Books, Inspiring, Motivational, Music, rational, Self, Songs, thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mom

This is the last thing I looked up on Google on a friend’s recommendation:

http://www.upworthy.com/these-kids-finally-say-what-they-really-think-about-mom-and-her-reaction-priceless-9

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/daily-prompt-searching/

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Universe in Detail

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lady GAGA: Applause

I missed Lady Gaga, I wouldn’t deny that. And this new single has got me tapping my feet for sur

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Placebo

It’s Diwali.

According to the Hindu epic Ramayana, it was on this day that Lord Ram returned home to Ayodhya with his wife and brother after 14 years of exile, and after defeating and killing the demon Ravana who had kidnapped Ram’s wife.

The people of Ayodhya were overjoyed at having their king return to his rightful throne, so they lit the city up with hundreds and thousands of lamps. And every year since then, this day came to be known as Deepavali or Diwali, translating literally to ‘a queue of diyas (lamps)’.

Diwali means a lot of different things to everyone: family, friends, spirituality, worship, wealth, sweets and so on. But the essence of Diwali lies in its very means: a row of diyas.

It is the festival of lights that shine bright and continuous across the sky and in one’s heart. Diwali lights are the symbols of victory, perseverance, endurance and grace. They teach us to be happy, and hope for the light that we find across the darkness.

Today, if I had to cure one ailment for anyone. I would give a blind man a lamp. They would not be able to see it, of course, so I would describe it to then: how the lamp flickers in the soft breeze, how the shadows play on the wall, how the little flame dances like a ballerina. I would make them touch it, so they could feel the warmth, feel it run through them, energizing and enlightening their very core. I would will for this light to dispel all their insecurities, darkness and despair, and fill them with incandescent and scintillating love and warmth.

I would give them Light.  

Captured by Me on a Diwali evening

Captured by Me on a Diwali evening

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/daily-prompt-health/

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Maeri

 

Straightforwardly, Maeri is a painful song. For those of us whose mothers have played an important part in our lives, it hits a chord.

Maeri literally translates to ‘Mother.’ The song speaks of all that the singer’s mother did for him as a child, and how he remembers it after she’s gone. He speaks of how her eyelids trembled slowly as she lay beside him to put him to sleep, and how she prayed for his future. Everything that his mother said to him was sweeter than any music he’d heard. Her voice was like necter to his ears. He speaks of how she waited for him everyday, and would cry if he were late.

Now that she’s gone, he feels lonely and more isolated than ever. He relives those memories and hopes futilely for them to come back. He cares no more about life, death, success and failure, for he has nothing to do with them but share them with his mother, who is not here.

This hauntingly beautiful track resonates a voice of every heart who’s had a mother or lacked one. It is the voice of desperation, pleas, hopes, fears and sadness at the inevitability of loss. It’s the perfect exemplification of how things lost are the ones most precious to us.  

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Dinner

Even after all that they have taught us, time is never of essence to people until they have almost run out of it. It is only when you have six months to live that you realize you had to buy a house, have a business, get married, have kids and whatnot. Then, time becomes a commodity that you need to capitalize on. Spend it somewhere where you’ll get the most return, like it’s a business transaction.

I knew it was a little hypocritical of me—sitting here criticizing mankind—when I was no better than anyone else. After all, the thought of going trekking, having kids, owning a business had never occurred to me until I was here in my home, living my last night out.

There was no speculation left: I would die tomorrow. I might not even live to see the sun. That was how our world worked. When people ran out of their time, their use, they died. I had run out of use a year ago, when cancer had struck my body. Two operations and a chemotherapy later, there was nothing that they could do for me. Cold had started staying harder and longer, and fevers had taken over like bacteria spreading on rotten meat.

I could say that I took it in a stride. Even when they told me there was nothing left to work on, I was glad they were stopping the chemo: no more pain, vomiting, losing my hair. I resolved to live like before, try to be as healthy and happy as possible, and love my husband and perhaps castrate him before I died so he could never forget me.

What are you thinking about?” said husband, whose lap was right now my pillow, brushed his hand through my hair.

I am thinking about my resolution of castrating you before I left and whether to follow through on it.” I stared up at him innocently, but he looked terrified.

I’d prefer it if you didn’t.” He choked after sometime, even gulped to exaggerate the effect.

Why? Do you plan on using them after I’m gone?” I widened my eyes.

I’m thirty-three: I have no idea.” He shook his head, smiling.

I’m thirty, and dying.” I shrugged.

He fell silent after that, and I watched his face cloud with fear and uncertainty. We had decided very early on in our case that I would be the strong one: he could do the worrying until I told him otherwise. I had to say he was good at keeping up his end of the bargain.

I had to distract him somehow—I didn’t want my last night on this Earth to be silent and anxious. They were not invited to the party, so they could just go and fuck themselves.

You know what else I am?” I asked my husband, getting up from his lap.

What?”

Hungry. Somebody told me he’d bringing dinner tonight and then forgot.” I narrowed my eyes at him and he laughed, unrepentant.

I thought you’d like to eat something homemade tonight. We could make dinner if you’re up to it.” He smiled, brushing my hair once again, making me realize I wasn’t the only one who felt incomplete without my hair.

We decided on making Chicken and an Indian dish (Paneer, which had been my favorite since I was six), and having chocolate ice cream for dinner. He knew I would pour chocolate sauce on it, so he’s stacked the fridge with a bottle. I did the cooking, despite his efforts to let me only cut the vegetables and dice the chicken. I was a bit tired, yes, but it was nothing I could not handle. I knew it would come: the exhaustion, the pain, the blackness, the blindness. I would deal with it when it did. Right now, I would work fast, and have what I could.

Dinner was readied with smiles on our faces and peaceful silences between the continuous mindless banter. We talked about everything and nothing in particular. At one point, he made me act out our first meeting in the kitchen. (We had met on a train—he made me pretend that the kitchen counter was a table in the train.) I had been obscenely lucky when it came to a love life—everything else, not so much. My husband had more than made up for all the pain that had plagued the early and better part of my life. When I met him, I could not believe that a person like him could ever be capable of loving a person like me. You see, I had never been a believer in the concept of love, having never had a first or even a second-hand experience. He had filled up every gap and hole until I was so love full of love if was oozing out of every part of my body.

Our dinner table was the couch, with reruns of Sherlock on the television. He fed me bits of chicken while I tried to keep up with Sherlock and his annoyingly sharp mind and oodles of God Complex. There were a few kisses and pecks, and for once, life seemed good, too good, in fact, to be real. There was, for once, no shadow lurking in the corner of Death. He was being patient with me for now. He knew I was not ready—not yet—so he’d decided he’d come after, maybe when I was asleep.

The fleeting thought of never sleeping crossed my mind.

 I was lounging with my head in his lap once again when he spoke.

Don’t die.” he said.

I should have known his words were coming. All this time—since the moment we’d found out to this one—he’d fawned over me, and worried and fret. He’d never let me stand on my feet without him next to me, never even let me turn off my phone. Tonight, he’d let me live as we did before. He’d let me cook, and walk around the house on my own. He’d even made me dance with him, and then there was the stint of acting out our meet.

Maybe he’d been thinking the same thing I was.

Maybe he’d hung onto the thought that letting me be normal would make everything so. Maybe he’d been thinking that all the talking and dancing would somehow turn the wheels of time. He’d been hoping to be back where we were almost a year ago: happy, safe, disease free.

Now, having me in his arms had made everything very excruciatingly real for him. He’d realized that no amount of illusion would steer us away from reality. I was going to die tomorrow, and he knew it very well. No amount of fawning or worrying or fretting could change that.

I don’t want to.” I replied quietly.

Maybe this isn’t real. May—” he started to say.

It is.” I replied, a little too curtly, I think, “It is real. There’s no denying that.”

I hope we could—deny it, I mean.” he said, a little too gravely for his own good.

Both of us stared at the TV for sometime after that. Maybe we were trying to make sense of our own lives in the mayhem that was ensuing on the television.

I don’t know what I am going to do without you.” He said.

Funnily enough, that was my exact train of thoughts.

I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.” I looked deep into his eyes, “It’s all so . . . indefinite.”

He frowned at my choice of words, “Indefinite?”

You know what you’ll do after this, after tomorrow. You’ll go to sleep, wake up, plan a funeral, take tuna from people, the go back to life. You’ve done this before—living, I mean. I . . . don’t know what the afterlife is like, you know.”

He pondered over my words disdainfully for some time. I took in his hauntingly beautiful face while he did. I always thought about how it would be like if I could never see him again. Now, it was not a possibility. Now, it was a certainty.

Don’t think so little of me,” he whispered to me hurtful, “Don’t think I can just go on like this. I am terrified right now. You’re not going to be here tomorrow, and I have no idea what I’ll do . . . how I’ll go on.”

My heart rolled over in its soon to be grave and cried tears of blood. My husband was a rational, strong, brave man. He always had a purpose, a reason for doing things. Now, he looked as out of character as could be possible for him. His gray eyes seemed lost, his face blank like a ship that had veered out of course during a tempest.

I don’t think little of you. I love you.” I took hold of his hand. For a moment, I thought I could not bring it to be strong enough. “But I’m going to die, love. That’s the truth. We can’t stop that. I just . . . I don’t mean that I want you to forget me by saying that. I just . . . I am just giving you an incentive. I won’t be here. You have to care for yourself.”

He pulled me into his arms, “My incentive is leaving with you.”

Sometimes, you never feel the hollow inside you—that empty space where your heart once was. You walk with it day and night like a zombie. You eat and drink and never feel it go in. All the things in life are just duties, mere roles to play so that you can survive, keep your body enough to work. But there is no emotion, no reason, no drive inside you. You are dead inside, like a plant that had been infested with a parasite, or a house plagued with termites.

Other times, you can just feel the hollow being punched out. You can feel every centimeter, every inch of your heart being separated from your chest. You can feel your body getting holed and bruised and being torn apart from end to end. And the pain is nothing like you would ever see or feel. It is worse than the pain you feel if your finger were cut lengthwise inch by excruciating inch. At one point, you just beg for mercy. You just beg for the finger to be cut off altogether.

The pain I felt then was a thousand times worse than if I were and torn apart slowly and deliberately. It had all just become so real. I was dying, and I was leaving him. There were going to be no more late night escapades, late sunday morning, hot tub baths, romantic dinners, beautiful countryside tours or even worrying myself out over his job as a Federal Agent. I was going to be nowhere, and he was going to be alone, all alone.

For the first—and probably the last time—I was scared.

I . . . I don’t want to go.” I stammered the words with my weak heart pounding in my chest with all the strength it had, “I don’t want to die.”

No more was said after that. All that we had to say had already been said, and whatever was left seemed unimportant next to the huge pile of talks that we had to talk. I wanted to ask him every question in the world, give him every answer to anything he might ask of me. Six years of marriage and I wanted to know him truly once again, inside and out.

We sat in each other arms after that, counting down the seconds and the questions.

Tell me one song you would want me to hear tonight.” I asked him.

He thought for a while, and then answered, “It’s sappy, but ‘I will always love you’ by Whitney Houston.”

One color you would want me to wear?”

White.” he smiled at me. White was his favorite color on me. He said he liked the way my skin glowed in the hue. I appeased him tonight by putting on my favorite white cardigan.

One thing you could ask for?”

A cure.” he said immediately, “Or maybe time, more of it.”

A few seconds later, the irony of his answer hit me as the dizziness took over. My eyes started drooping, and something told me this would be the last time they would close.

I’m sleepy, love.” I sighed tiredly, exhausted by the constant battle between the pain and life, hopelessness and hopefulness.

He moved from the couch to the bed, because that was where I wanted it to end—in a safe, warm place with his arms around me. He also let our dog, Oreo, in.

He settled me in like he did always after a bad day, or even on a good one. He covered me up warm and cozily, and then got in next to me, engulfing me in his arms almost immediately. Oreo climbed up on the bed and settled in next to my knee.

I hugged him tighter than I ever had, and prayed to the Gods to give him strength.

Go to sleep, love. I’ll be right here with you.” He whispered, and I believed him.

Are you afraid?” I asked him, looking into his glassy gray irises.

Terrified.” He said, and I was glad he wasn’t lying to me on my deathbed.

But we’ll get through this, right?”

We always do.” he smiled at me, and it was brighter and more beautiful a smile than any angels’ I had ever seen.

What do you want me to say to God?” I asked him when I finally felt the sleep overpower me.

Tell him to send you back.” He pulled me closer, and suddenly, the cold started to set in, even after his warmth.

Do you love me?”

Always, love, always. I’ll love you till the sky splits into two and the seas all dry up.”

I smiled at his choice of words, “You always did have a way with words.”

I know, love.” he laughed softly, and I was pretty sure that even the God and all his angels could never have such a melody cascading from their lips.

Do you love me?” he asked me before my eyes were about to close.

Till the sky splits into two and the seas dry up.” I resonated his words, “I love you till then and even beyond that.”

The vision blurred, the blood boiled and cooled. My lips felt blue and my limbs felt cold. I forced them open for a last time, for I was desperate to hear him. I might have clutched onto him even tighter, but I could not tell. I think he felt it.

Till then and even beyond that.” He replied, crushing me to him and never leaving my eyes, “I love you. I love you.”

as I closed my eyes for a last time to walk into the deepest slumber, I thought of his words to me.

They weren’t mere characters and letters: they were a promise. 

Even after all that they have taught us, time is never of essence to people until they have almost run out of it. It is only when you have six months to live that you realize you had to buy a house, have a business, get married, have kids and whatnot. Then, time becomes a commodity that you need to capitalize on. Spend it somewhere where you’ll get the most return, like it’s a business transaction.

I knew it was a little hypocritical of me—sitting here criticizing mankind—when I was no better than anyone else. After all, the thought of going trekking, having kids, owning a business had never occured to me until I was here in my home, living my last night out.

There was no speculation left: I would die tomorrow. I might not even live to see the sun. That was how our world worked. When people ran out of their time, their use, they died. I had run out of use a year ago, when cancer had struck my body. Two operations and a chemotherapy later, there was nothing that they could do for me. Cold had started staying harder and longer, and fevers had taken over like bacteria spreading on rotten meat.

I could say that I took it in a stride. Even when they told me there was nothing left to work on, I was glad they were stopping the chemo: no more pain, vomiting, losing my hair. I resolved to live like before, try to be as healthy and happy as possible, and love my husband and prehaps castrate him before I died so he could never forget me.

What are you thinking about?” said husband, whose lap was right now my pillow, brushed his hand through my hair.

I am thinking about my resolution of castrating you before I left and whether to follow through on it.” I stared up at him innocently, but he looked terrified.

I’d prefer it if you didn’t.” He choked after sometime, even gulped to exaggerate the effect.

Why? Do you plan on using them after I’m gone?” I widened my eyes.

I’m thirty three: I have no idea.” He shook his head, smiling.

I’m thirty, and dying.” I shrugged.

He fell silent after that, and I watched his face cloud with fear and uncertainty. We had decided very early on in our case that I would be the strong one: he could do the worrying until I told him otherwise. I had to say he was good at keeping up his end of the bargain.

I had to distract him somehow—I didn’t want my last night on this Earth to be silent and anxious. They were not invited to the party, so they could just go and fuck themselves.

You know what else I am?” I asked my husband, getting up from his lap.

What?”

Hungry. Somebody told me he’d bringing dinner tonight and then forgot.” I narrowed my eyes at him and he laughed unrepententedly.

I thought you’d like to eat something homemade tonight. We could make dinner if you’re up to it.” He smiled, brushing my hair once again, making me realize I wasn’t the only one who felt incomplete without my hair.

We decided on making Chicken and an Indian dish (Paneer, which had been my favorite since I was six), and having chocolate ice cream for dinner. He knew I would pour chocolate sauce on it, so he’s stacked the fridge with a bottle. I did the cooking, despite his efforts to let me only cut the vegetables and dice the chicken. I was a bit tired, yes, but it was nothing I could not handle. I knew it would come: the exhaustion, the pain, the blackness, the blindness. I would deal with it when it did. Right now, I would work fast, and have what I could.

Dinner was readied with smiles on our faces and peaceful silences between the continuous mindless banter. We talked about everything and nothing in particular. At one point, he made me act out our first meeting in the kitchen. (We had met on a train—he made me pretend that the kitchen counter was a table in the train.) I had been obscenely lucky when it came to a love life—everything else, not so much. My husband had more than made up for all the pain that had plagued the early and better part of my life. When I met him, I could not believe that a person like him could ever be capable of loving a person like me. You see, I had never been a believer in the concept of love, having never had a first or even a second hand experience. He had filled up every gap and hole until I was so love full of love if was oozing out of every part of my body.

Our dinner table was the couch, with reruns of Sherlock on the television. He fed me bits of chicken while I tried to keep up with Sherlock and his annoyingly sharp mind and oodles of God Complex. There were a few kisses and pecks, and for once, life seemed good, too good, in fact, to be real. There was, for once, no shadow lurking in the corner of Death. He was being patient with me for now. He knew I was not ready—not yet—so he’d decided he’d come after, maybe when I was asleep.

The fleeting thought of never sleeping crossed my mind.

I was lounging with my head in his lap once again when he spoke.

Don’t die.” he said.

I should have known his words were coming. All this time—since the moment we’d found out to this one—he’d fawned over me, and worried and fret. He’d never let me stand on my feet without him next to me, never even let me turn off my phone. Tonight, he’d let me live as we did before. He’d let me cook, and walk around the house on my own. He’d even made me dance with him, and then there was the stint of acting out our meet.

Maybe he’d been thinking the same thing I was.

Maybe he’d hung onto the thought that letting me be normal would make everything so. Maybe he’d been thinking that all the talking and dancing would somehow turn the wheels of time. He’d been hoping to be back where we were almost a year ago: happy, safe, disease free.

Now, having me in his arms had made everything very excruciatingly real for him. He’d realized that no amount of illusion would steer us away from reality. I was going to die tomorrow, and he knew it very well. No amount of fawning or worrying or fretting could change that.

I don’t want to.” I replied quietly.

Maybe this isn’t real. May—” he started to say.

It is.” I replied, a little too curtly, I think, “It is real. There’s no denying that.”

I hope we could—deny it, I mean.” he said, a little too gravely for his own good.

Both of us stared at the TV for sometime after that. Maybe we were trying to make sense of our own lives in the mayhem that was ensuing on the television.

I don’t know what I am going to do without you.” He said.

Funnily enough, that was my exact train of thoughts.

I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.” I looked deep into his eyes, “It’s all so . . . indefinite.”

He frowned at my choice of words, “Indefinite?”

You know what you’ll do after this, after tomorrow. You’ll go to sleep, wake up, plan a funeral, take tuna from people, the go back to life. You’ve done this before—living, I mean. I . . . don’t know what the afterlife is like, you know.”

He pondered over my words disdainfully for some time. I took in his hauntingly beautiful face while he did. I always thought about how it would be like if I could never see him again. Now, it was not a possibilty. Now, it was a certainty.

Don’t think so little of me,” he whispered to me hurtfully, “Don’t think I can just go on like this. I am terrified right now. You’re not going to be here tomorrow, and I have no idea what I’ll do . . . how I’ll go on.”

My heart rolled over in its imminent grave and cried tears of blood. My husband was a rational, strong, brave man. He always had a purpose, a reason for doing things. Now, he looked as out of character as could be possible for him. His gray eyes seemed lost, his face blank like a ship that had veered out of course during a tempest.

I don’t think little of you. I love you.” I took hold of his hand. For a moment, I thought I could not bring it to be strong enough. “But I’m going to die, love. That’s the truth. We can’t stop that. I just . . . I don’t mean that I want you to forget me by saying that. I just . . . I am just giving you an incentive. I won’t be here. You have to care for yourself.”

He pulled me into his arms, “My incentive is leaving with you.”

Sometimes, you never feel the hollow inside you—that empty space where your heart once was. You walk with it day and night like a zombie. You eat and drink and never feel it go in. All the things in life are just duties, mere roles to play so that you can survive, keep your body enough to function. But there is no emotion, no reason, no drive inside you. You are dead inside, like a plant that had been infested with a parasite, or a house plagued with termites.

Other times, you can just feel the hollow being punched out. You can feel every centimeter, every inch of your heart being seperated from your chest. You can feel your body getting holed and bruised and being torn apart from end to end. And the pain is nothing like you would ever see or feel. It is worse than the pain you feel if your finger were cut lengthwise inch by excruciating inch. At one point, you just beg for mercy. You just beg for the finger to be cut off altogether.

The pain I felt then was a thousand times worse than if I were and torn apart slowly and deliberately. It had all just become so real. I was dying, and I was leaving him. There were going to be no more late night escapades, late sunday morning, hot tub baths, romantic dinners, beautiful countryside tours or even worrying myself out over his job as a Federal Agent. I was going to be nowhere, and he was going to be alone, all alone.

For the first—and probably the last time—I was scared.

I . . . I don’t want to go.” I stammered the words with my weak heart pounding in my chest with all the strength it had, “I don’t want to die.”

No more was said after that. All that we had to say had already been said, and whatever was left seemed unimportant next to the huge pile of talks that we had to talk. I wanted to ask him every question in the world, give him every answer to anything he might ask of me. Six years of marriage and I wanted to know him truly once again, inside and out.

We sat in each other arms after that, counting down the seconds and the questions.

Tell me one song you would want me to hear tonight.” I asked him.

He thought for a while, and then answered, “It’s sappy, but ‘I will always love you’ by Whitney Houston.”

One color you would want me to wear?”

White.” he smiled at me. White was his favorite color on me. He said he liked the way my skin glowed in the hue. I appeased him tonight by putting on my favorite white cardigan.

One thing you could ask for?”

A cure.” he said immediately, “Or maybe time, more of it.”

A few seconds later, the irony of his answer hit me as the dizziness took over. My eyes started drooping, and something told me this would be the last time they would close.

I’m sleepy, love.” I sighed tiredly, exhausted by the constant battle between the pain and life, hoplessness and hopefulness.

He moved from the couch to the bed, because that was where I wanted it to end—in a safe, warm place with his arms around me. He also let our dog, Oreo, in.

He settled me in like he did always after a bad day, or even on a good one. He covered me up warm and cozily, and then got in next to me, engulfing me in his arms almost immediately. Oreo climbed up on the bed and settled in next to my knee.

I hugged him tighter than I ever had, and prayed to the Gods to give him strength.

Go to sleep, love. I’ll be right here with you.” He whispered, and I believed him.

Are you afraid?” I asked him, looking into his glassy gray irises.

Terrified.” He said, and I was glad he wasn’t lying to me on my deathbed.

But we’ll get through this, right?”

We always do.” he smiled at me, and it was brighter and more beautiful a smile than any angels’ I had ever seen.

What do you want me to say to God?” I asked him when I finally felt the sleep overpower me.

Tell him to send you back.” He pulled me closer, and suddenly, the cold started to set in, even after his warmth.

Do you love me?”

Always, love, always. I’ll love you till the sky splits into two and the seas all dry up.”

I smiled at his choice of words, “You always did have a way with words.”

I know, love.” he laughed softly, and I was pretty sure that even the God and all his angels could never have such a melody cascading from their lips.

Do you love me?” he asked me before my eyes were about to close.

Till the sky splits into two and the seas dry up.” I resonated his words, “I love you till then and even beyond that.”

The vision blurried, the blood boiled and cooled. My lips felt blue and my limbs felt cold. I forced them open for a last time, for I was desperate to hear him. I might have clutched onto him even tighter, but I could not tell. I think he felt it.

Till then and even beyond that.” He replied, crushing me to him and never leaving my eyes, “I love you. I love you.”

as I closed my eyes for a last time to walk into the deepest slumber, I thought of his words to me.

They weren’t mere characters and letters: they were a promise. 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/daily-prompt-dinner-2/

Posted in Books, Creative, Essay, Literature, Original, Post, Self, Stories, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“You’re just an average girl.”

I’ve always hated people who can carry on with what they do even when the world is crashing, like there’s nothing wrong at all. Well, hated would be a very strong term, I agree, but really? Is it just so hard to stop for a minute and act like humans: To panic, to think that you’ll not be able to make it to the end?

No matter how much I prepare myself, no matter how inspiring or how determined a pep talk I give myself—or others give me—I always crack under pressure. I understand how that might be hypocritical, since I always tell people to calm down and think but never do so myself. But one does not think of their words when one is faced with a crossroads in life, when one is standing in a place one hates to be in.

I, for one, like to be consistent. I am content with whatever is going on in my life as long as it is going on smoothly. I suppose the fault lies within me. Now, I don’t mean to be boastful—in fact, this is one thing that I really grateful about in my life—but, by God’s grace, I have been blessed with a sound mind. I was always—still am—a meritorious student, and have also excelled—people say so—in extra curricular activities as well. What’s wrong with that, you ask? I should just lie down and bask in the glory of the blessings God has bestowed upon me, right?

Wrong.

It is a human tendency to start expecting certain things of certain people, which is exactly what happened to me. A major drawback of being a good student (again, not boasting, honestly) is that people notice you. Notice leads to attention, which eventually leads to contact and then participation. I would have been satisfied with it if that’s where the cycle ended. But as the attention puts me in an even more glaring spotlight, I somehow seem to have become the only ideal student, the beacon of light and glory in my class to my teachers. Everybody expects me to get the highest grades, to have the best piece, to be the best monitor, recording artist, and reporter, designer. They expect me to be a leader, a gold medalist and whatnot. I would have been proud of it, happy even . . . if only they kept that to themselves. One whisper leads to another and soon I have hordes of students and teachers alike who are supposedly grooming me for the coronation ceremony at the end.

In such a case, I did the only thing I could: I cracked.

Let me tell you something about what happens when I come unhinged from the door of life. Imagine a little baby bird: happy, safe, soft and warm in his nest, just being the little baby bird that he is. He grows up fast and strong, and if there is an IQ test for birds, he falls somewhere higher on the ladder than do his siblings and classmates.

Therefore, one day, his parents decide that since he is so much of an aerial Einstein, they would push him off of the nest and see if he can fly earlier than he was meant to. Cruel as it may be, they do it: they push the little fledgling off, and wait for him to find his feet, or in this case, wings.

Except the little fledgling cannot fly. He knows he should use his wings, flap them up and down and up and down and keep his body really light. But the expectations of his parents, teachers, his little bird-y peers weigh down on his shoulders, and he falls to the depths of the tree.

I have no patience for people who expect much more than what I think I can do. Instead of heeding their advice—against better judgment, I admit—of expanding my potential, I crash and burn. I completely neglect my studies, spend my time on the internet and sign up on zillions of websites only to forget my passwords and usernames later. Everything about expectations scares me. It makes me leave my body; live in a pseudo astral zone where I can only hope to escape the rising pressure of hopes. My mind is constantly buzzing and wheezing as if it were sick and it becomes hard for me to concentrate on anything in general.

Yesterday, I was in one such dilemma. I came to know that one of my teachers had “praised me to the skies” to another students’ parents (the words in quotes are said parents’ way of describing it). And I realized just how many expectations my teachers have from me, just how perfect everybody thinks I am. I was plagued by doubt, something I am a foreigner to as long as I am happy.

What if I failed? Imagine what a disappointment that would be to my teachers. Would they still praise me as they do now? Would their notions about me shatter like glass? Who would they blame: me, my friends, and the company I lived in? You can only begin to comprehend what a disturbing chain of thoughts it must have been that was rooting itself in my mind then.

I did the only thing I could think of. I called up my senior, and I say that mildly.

The senior I am talking about is the last year of his studies in our department, and he and I, in a very, very short amount of time, have established a rapport and relationship that is often hard to comprehend for most. He and I are mirrors of each other, and I always turn to him when in doubt.

I am going to crash and burn. I just know it. I am so tensed.” I told him once I finished speaking and detailing the reason why I had called him at midnight.

I was half hoping for him to convince me that I was the best, that I had nothing to be worried about, that I would surely exceed all the expectations that people had ever had of me. I was half hoping it would be these hackneyed sentences that he would use to calm me down.

But, oh! our twisted minds.

I know you are. I’m just waiting for the day.” He said, and I felt like I had been plunged into ice water on a cold December morning.

Who in the hell told you that you’re perfect?” he continued, “If you think so, then snap out of it, my dear. You’re not perfect. You just have a few things you can do better than everyone. That doesn’t make you perfect: that makes you better. There’s a difference.”

And then he said the words that had always been a taboo for my ears.

You’re just an average girl.”

Having tasted success all my life and praised for my efforts, it was a shock for the psyche to be classified as “just an average girl.” I had always strived to be the best, to stand out from the crowd. I had always thought that I was meant to be out of the line, different. Everybody else who was not me was boring, talent less (makes you think why I doubted myself in the first place, right?) and here he was: making me out to be that one kind of person I had always hated to be. I could have chewed his head off on the phone for saying so.

Instead, I said to him that I was grateful he said so.

Because as I pondered upon his words later, I realized what he was trying to do. He had taken one of my biggest fears and turned it into a catalyst for me. Archaic notion, I know, but we never pay attention to anything important until somebody points it out, don’t we? He knows calling me ‘average’ would elicit a reaction from me; one that he knew would only make me work towards the beneficial edge. I might have thanked him then, but after I hung up and thought about what he had said, I was boiling. I was enraged at being put into a class that I had detested, no offence to anyone, as I was eager to prove him wrong. I wanted to show him that I am what everyone said I was: perfect. I wanted to prove that I could follow through with whatever promises I made, could excel whatever I took up.

What I learnt yesterday was that advises need not always be positive. They certainly wouldn’t be negative, but that’s how we learn to twist words. Something that he said became the catalyst for me to work harder, to prove myself, thus resulting in a positive effect. People’s flaws and fears are their greatest strengths, as was the case with me. You might only set out to overcome your fear of heights, or try to play guitar, or just prove yourself different from the crowd, but it does have a consequence in your life in the long run.

An advice highlighting your flaws hits a mark somewhere deep inside you. It’s like scratching the surface of the vault that you always want to hide from people. When disturbed, you, like an angry animal, scramble to protect yourself, and make it impenetrable, or remove it from the place altogether.

 http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/weekly-writing-challenge-dear-abby/

Posted in Books, Creative, Literature, Original, Post, Self, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trick or Treat!

This is the first ever photograph that I am posting on my blog. Some of my photography for the daily prompt: Trick or Treat! Happy Halloween!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/daily-prompt-treat/

March copy2

Once a nerd, always a nerd.

My blog would offer the world a glimpse into myself, because I always find a piece of me in every book I read. These are just a little part of me, nutshells that gradually build me up.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments