In my heart, eternally.

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It’s been a month,  sweetie.
You’ve been gone a month. 
I still look for you every morning.
Then I realise.
You’re gone.

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I still call out for you when I want to annoy you or just lay down with you.
I still think you’ll be there barking when I get home,  because you can’t wait for me to open the door and give you a hug.

You’re the closest thing I had to a sister. You and Pepsi,  both. But she’s been gone a while and you were all I had.

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Whenever the boys starts barking, I expect you to follow, but then I remember.

I’ve been told repeatedly that I should stop reminding myself you’re gone because you’re not. You’ll always be here,  he says,  but I didn’t realise that till now.

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Yes,  I don’t get to hug you or use you as a pillow anymore, but you were and always will be the loudest,  smartest and prettiest member of this family. And no matter what,  you’re always in our hearts. I understand that only now.

Yes,  every time I run downstairs looking for you,  I will tell myself you’re gone. But I mean that only physically. You’re still here,  forever. In my heart. And I will always love you.

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Sometimes I wish we hadn’t made the decision we did. Yes,  you were in pain. A lot of it. But,  you were still a happy dog. I get selfish,  because I would do anything to hold you tight right now, but that’s for me,  not for you. You’d still be in pain. So, I guess it was the best thing for you. You lived a full,  happy,  hyper life. You made an impact on so many lives,  and you will forever be missed. I don’t know what comes after death and I don’t know what to believe,  but I hope with all my heart that you’re in a happier and painless place. I love you,  sweetheart.

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Daddy likes that movie? So do I!

Growing up, I only watched Hindi and English movies, and if I look at the Hindi movies that I loved and find myself watching over and over again, they’re all movies that I watched with my Dad. Till I was around 11, almost all my decisions depended on my father. I used to follow him around everywhere. I would base my likes and dislikes on his likes and dislikes. Until someone pointed this out to me one day, I didn’t even notice it and I definitely wouldn’t have changed it for a long time. This ‘lost puppy’ thing I had going on even extended to my so-called ‘taste’ in movies. Even if I found a movie really boring, I would say I loved it if my Dad did. But I don’t remember the ones I hated, I remember the ones I enjoyed and have found myself watching repeatedly over the years.

My favourite among these would be Sholay. Honestly, the first time I watched this one, I must have been 8 or 9 years old, and I found it really boring. The only part I enjoyed was the song ‘Ye dosti hum nahi todenge’, where Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra are on a bike together. I did like the song, but what made it more memorable was how happy it made my dad to sing along. The next time I watched it, I liked it more and that happened every time I watched it. Now, I find myself really enjoying the movie, firstly because I’m sentimental about everything, and secondly because I actually understand everything and enjoy it (This time, my own decision).

The only other movie that’s really worth talking about would be Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, because these are the only two that I can watch any time, in any mood, without wanting to shoot myself. I think my Dad is sick and tired of this one now, but I still really enjoy it. I love the scene where Rahul is running on the bridge (Yes, it was dramatic. But I still loved it) to get his daughter Anjali. The characters I loved the most in this movie would definitely be Col. Almeida (Johnny Lever), because he’s just so cute and so easily bullied and the little boy (The sardarji) who doesn’t talk. They may not be the main characters, but they’re the ones that make me want to jump into the TV, and go hug them (Yes, I just said that). I find everything that happens outside of the college and the summer camp, completely irrelevant. I hardly even remember those scenes despite watching the movies so many times.
I guess my puppy dog phase was not all bad, but I’m so glad I got over it, because my Dad would hate the movies I love today.

Cockroaches. Ugh.

I hate cockroaches. They make me feel dirty, and I want to go have a bath just after looking at them. When I open my bathroom door and see a cockroach there, I don’t enter even if I really need to go. I wait till the next morning to open the door. And if it still hasn’t gone, I try to scare it off by stomping on the floor really hard. Only after it’s out of sight, do I go in. If I’m already in the bathroom, and it suddenly lands up from somewhere, I’ll get into the tub and stand in the corner. I start talking to it, asking it to leave me alone. I actually say please. When that doesn’t work, because of course, it never does, I just jump out of the tub and run out of the bathroom as fast as I can.

If I’m eating somewhere and I see a cockroach, I completely lose my appetite. And as everyone who really knows me knows, I never say no to food. When I see a cockroach up close, I feel so nauseous, because they look so disgusting. They look sticky and wet. They look evil. Even if they’re so small and probably can’t do anything to me, I’m scared of them. The flying cockroaches scare me even more. They are flying slimy-looking, tiny, evil creatures. I always imagine the flying straight into my face, and I can imagine them stabbing my eye with their tiny bodies, and their disgusting sliminess all over my face. The thought of that makes me want to puke.

I have nightmares about cockroaches all the time. If I wake up after one of those nightmares, I just can’t go back to sleep. I have dreams where they are crawling all over my body, and I’m drowning in a pool of them and I can feel them moving, hundreds and thousands of them, and I just don’t know how to come back from that. I have nightmares about cockroaches that are twice my size, and that can talk, and tell me that they want to kill me.

After I bought one of those cockroach repellent sprays, if I see a cockroach in my bathroom, I go absolutely crazy spraying it all over the place, I spray enough to kill a hundred of them, and then, I can’t enter my bathroom because the smell is too strong. I feel bad that I’m killing them, but I get over that really fast. I just want them to disappear from this planet, but then I think of another planet out there only occupied by cockroaches, and them hunting human beings and eating them. They could come to earth, and rule it. They’d make us their slaves, and kill us for food. So, maybe it’s better they stay here.

It was a friends’ birthday. We surprised her at another friends place. We watched movies and took tons of pictures, watched funny videos, and when it was time to get food, we realised that the place we wanted to order from was already closed. So, we went and picked up biryani from a small place close by. We were hogging, and suddenly, I turn around, because my friend made a weird noise. No one else seemed to hear it. He was holding a tiny cockroach in his hand. I freaked out. I couldn’t eat anymore. I couldn’t help but freak out. So, I told everyone. And I found another one on the plate. I couldn’t eat properly for the next three days. Before this incident, I didn’t care about what kinds of places I would eat at, I didn’t care about hygiene, I always thought food at the smaller places tasted better, but now I get freaked out everywhere I eat. I’ve become so conscious about where I eat, and what I could find in the food. Cockroaches have ruined food for me too, now.
I hate cockroaches.

A little box of happiness

I have this box filled with what may seem like junk, but It has stuff that if I lost, I wouldn’t know what I would do. Sometimes, I think of what would happen if there’s a fire. Then I think that maybe I should keep that box somewhere safer, but can’t think of any place that it’s completely safe. Then I just go into a sort of trance because I know that something could happen to it, but there’s probably nothing I could do about it.

I started filling this box up around seven years ago. The first thing that went in there was a couple of necklaces that my grandmother gave me a few months before she died. She told me that they weren’t worth anything, but she just wanted me to have them. She said that I could pull apart one of them and use the beads for one of my craft projects. I was about 8 years old then. A few years after she passed away, I found the chains lying around one day, and suddenly became sentimental. So, I put it in a little box.

Then, when I started swimming for the school team and won my first medals ever, I wanted to put them with the chains too, because they meant a lot to me. So, I got a bigger box, and put the medals and chains in there. When I went for my first concert with my cousin, the Aerosmith concert in Bangalore, 2007, I had to put the tickets in the box too! I wanted to keep these things forever, show them to my kids one day. None of the things had any real value, but I wanted to keep them forever.

My first boyfriend gave me a pair of earrings which after we broke up, I knew I wouldn’t really wear, or even if I did I didn’t want to keep with all my other earrings because I was an expert at losing them. So, they went in the box along with a note he wrote me. Then, I did that with certain things other boyfriends gave me too, if they were things I thought were really sweet. If they were key chains or clothes, I would just use them. But if it was something little that showed that some thought went in to buying it. One boy had given me a key chain which had this little pink paper doll on it, and he told me he wanted to get me something but didn’t have money to buy anything better, so he bought it for 20 rupees and he hoped I liked it. That went straight into the box, because I could see the thought that went into it.

I was house captain in school for two years, two years that I’ll never forget. In the first year, there were only 300 students in the school, and each house used to sit at the same table and the captain and vice-captain would be at either end of the table. I used to bake chocolate cakes and take them to school every Monday, and the whole table would share, and all the teachers would have some, and those are just the little things I loved about that year. The next year there were about 800 students in the school, so it was impossible to know everyone. But it meant the world to me that I was chosen to be house captain for two years. At the end of the first year, they took our badges back, and told us they’d use it again the next year, but they gave us new badges, and we could see the old ones just lying in a box, but they refused to let us keep it. So, we refused to give our badges back in the second year and that went straight in the box.

When my dad decided that he wants to start showing one of our dogs at dog shows, he said I’m going to be the one who works with the trainers and I have to be his handler. I was around 14 years old. I was the youngest handler at both shows that we showed him at, and it just felt nice. Since I thought that there were going to be a lot more shows and the badges we got from the first two shows were just the beginning, I thought I’d collect them, but those turned out to be the last, and for some reason I wanted the badges to be in the box.

My step mom, who was then just a family friend, came to visit us in Pune and she left some earrings back. I found them on the floor, one of them broken. She was so upset they were broken because they were her favourite pair. For some reason, I felt the need to put these in the box. I didn’t have the heart to throw them away. I felt like, no matter what, I’ll have something that meant a lot to her, and that made me happy. And yet, every time I see them, I get sad that they’re broken and I wish I could fix them for her. I think maybe I’m hoping that one day I will be able to fix them and then I can give them to her and she’ll be really happy.

I went for the Pitbull concert in 2010 with two of my friends from Junior College. I got in a lot of trouble because I got home really late, and fell asleep in the bathroom because I was drunk, but it’s one of those nights I’ll never forget. I begged my dad to let me go, and I gave him all the pocket money I saved up and bought it. So much went wrong that night, and yet it has been one of the best nights in my life so far. So, even though somehow by the time I reached home the tickets were a little torn and in really bad shape, I had to put them in the box.

I haven’t put much else in the box after that. Every time I open the box to look at everything, I empty it out and put everything back in one by one, remembering the story behind each of those things as I go. If I’m really upset that can put me in a good mood no matter what. It’s like my little box of happiness.

My dreams

I want to help animals, because I think animals are so much nicer than people.
I want to work with children.
I want to learn how to dance and I want to go out dancing every weekend with my husband/boyfriend or whoever.
I want to own a 100 dogs.
I want to travel the world.
I want to act at least once in my life.
I want to live alone at least once in my life.
I want to go scuba diving, sky diving and bungee jumping.
I want to adopt.
I want to move to the forests/close to the forests when I stop working and get old, where I will have like a guest house, which will have lots of animals and people can come and stay and get a home-away-from-home experience, and there will be yummy home made food.
I want to make a difference to people’s lives.
I want to learn at least one martial art.
I want to ride a geared bike.
I want to go to all these places: http://www.buzzfeed.com/adamdavis/the-most-remote-and-extreme-cities-around-the-world#.gjzQ6xGl6
I can’t think of anything else right now, I’ll keep posting as I remember.

Conversations like these are fun, and they really make you think.

Here’s a conversation I had with my friend:

Nayana: Have you had someone tell you that they can’t figure you out, or that they don’t get you. And then you simply say that you don’t get yourself either. But then you start to wonder, if you don’t get you, and others don’t get you, then who are you? Like, am I this bundle of uncertainty waiting to spontaneously burst into strings of confetti and glitter? Or am I just a little weird the way I am? But then, isn’t everyone a little weird, don’t we all have our flaws. And as much as what we do know of ourselves makes us who we are, at the same time, so does what we do not know of ourselves. Because what we don’t know keeps us interested in ourselves and what we don’t know makes us the people we are. We are different, we are special, we are individual, we are unique.

Me: What if we don’t know anything about ourselves? And everything is uncertain? And the only things we’re certain about are about other people? Does that make who we are depend on who they are? Or are they two completely different things?

Nayana: We become most like the six closest people we spend most of our time with. So basically who we are is influenced by who our friends are. But our friends are influenced by their friends are role models too. And society. And school. And the environment. We are not ourselves. We are all an idea. A story we have made up in our heads. We have subconsciously made ourselves become the people we are. Which is, we are everybody else.

Me: Why six?

Nayana: I dunno. I read that bit somewhere. But it makes a lot of sense.Not the number. But the thought.

Me: But why does your personality have to depend on the personality of others? Yes, I know. It doesn’t HAVE to but it still does, no? Why? And how is it that when you compare things about yourself to people around you, you find some similarities and it makes sense. But when we think about who we are (me, at least) irrespective of the people around us, we can’t really come up with anything, nothing makes sense and we just don’t know what is real and what is not. How does one know that one really likes something out likes the thought of it?

Nayana: #mindblown
I wish I knew.

Me: Do you ever get the feeling when someone says “I know you. This is how you think” and you go, oh my god I really don’t know. Do I? I don’t think so but I’m not completely sure. I should be, shouldn’t I? When this happens to me, I start to wonder if other people know who they are or if its just people like me. Do people know if they like something or not? Do they know for sure? Do they know who they are? I for one change so often I have no idea who I am. Or maybe I don’t change and I just think I am because I keep switching between people I think I am. I keep switching between opinions and thoughts I think I have coz I have no damn clue what is real.And the best part is, I don’t ever realise when I switch. It’s not like I can feel the change or anything. It all just comes naturally.

Nayana: I was thinking the same thing, the part where I don’t know myself all that well. Because all I’m completely certain of, is change. And that is going to happen. It keeps happening.

Me: Exactly.

I sent the above conversation to my bestfriend, Nikhil. Here’s what he said:

Nikhil: I honestly believe we are who we are irrespective of other people. Sure we may be different than the person we think we are, but we are a certain person nonetheless. Our views change with any influence, not just friends. It’s just that that’s something that influences us largely because they’re complex things with points and views and we’re emotionally attached to them.But I don’t believe we are simply our views and points. We aren’t merely the sum of our parts.

Me: But don’t we need to know who we are? Don’t we need to know if something I’d real or not?

Nikhil: Well that’s what people spend most of their lives figuring out, who they are

Me: So, no one knows?

Nikhil: Not that no one knows. It’s just not that easy. You have to make a conscious effort to figure out who you are

Me:But the people around you know? What do you base the conclusions of this effort on?

Nikhil: Well one of the things you do is try different stuff. Try and determine what really makes you happy, and disregard what anyone thinks. At all. Meditation helps a lot.

And then I sent his reaction back to Nayana.

Nayana: Hahahaah! He is so right. Brilliant words though. That’s why we are so indecisive.Because we are constantly trying to find ourselves.

Me: Exactly.

Nayana: I love conversations like these

Me: I know, right?

The Husband Stitch: So many theories, so many thoughts.

Read the story here:
http://www.granta.com/New-Writing/The-Husband-Stitch

I like how the writer has written little stories within the story. She seems to be alternating between these little stories and the main story itself. The little stories take you away from the main story for just enought time, and these stories make you think about what just happened and what is about to happen. I like the narrator’s tone, like she’s taking everything in life–the joy, hate, love, fights– everything, and making it seem like it’s no big deal. I like how, even though the story is what is considered long, it only mentions the really important details and works in a sort of step-by-step way, first she meets the boy, falls in love, gets married, has a kid. The story starts with her as a teenager and ends about the time her son goes off to college and decides to get married, and yet, because of the way she’s written the story, even though she obviously couldn’t mention every detail, we feel like we know everything, or rather, we don’t feel like we’re missing out on any information.

I really enjoyed the little notes she put in about the noises the readers should make or the things we should do to match the noise or emotion. She’s not only making us understand the feeling and hear the noise, but she’s making us feel it too. Also, the fact that she can describe the voices, noises, feelings in such a detailed manner, makes the reader(at least, me) feel like the events in the story are more realistic. And even though there were no names mentioned in the story, it didn’t take away the realistic factor.

For some reason, throughout the story, I keep asking myself as to when and where the story is set. Not that it really makes a difference.

The way the writer has put in the dialogue is interesting. It’s similar to the way we think– without quotation marks, without any particular order–, it shows some sort of flow of thought, and that was something I enjoyed. The way the dialogue went on exactly like how I think, gave me comfort.

Now, to talk about the two major points in this story that I keep thinking about, the title and the ribbon.

Initially the ribbon confused me a lot, I had no idea what it meant because I somehow missed the line in the story which signals that the narrator’s head falls off. I have a few theories about this:

1. Maybe the ribbon represents the last straw in a relationship. Sometimes, when you’re with someone, and you share everything with them, there is some thing(s) that you want to keep to yourself and for yourself. And when that one thing is taken from you, you feel like everything has been taken away, and this adds up with the narrator saying ‘The ribbon is not a secret, it’s just mine.’. I think everyone needs something that’s just theirs, it gives you a sense of security. In this case, the head falling off could be symbolic, and maybe that’s why even after it apparently happens, she says she feels as lonely as she has ever felt.

2. Or the ribbon could represent a punishment for someone taking something that is not yours to take. It’s like taking something you’re not supposed to take, the ribbon could be like a forbidden fruit. And when you do something that you have been repeatedly told not to do, there are some consequences.

3. Only women have the ribbon, and yet, it has not been confirmed that all woman have the ribbon. So, maybe you can see the ribbon only when they are completely exposed, and maybe that’s why the husband only notices it after sex, and the lady from her art class is naked and that’s why she can see it. We know that it is something women are born with, because when the narrator’s son is born they know he doesn’t have a ribbon because he is a boy. So, it’s something that women are born with. It can’t be a physical characteristic because not all women could have the same characteristics. So, it’s something that all women do? It could also be women taking pain? Emotional and physical. And bearing it? That’s just an idea I had. This theory I have has all these elements that add up to something in my head but I can’t make complete sense of it.

4. It’s one of those stories that you think a lot about, come up with many theories about, but it turns about to be quite simple. Maybe her head just falls off and there’s a reason it came out around Halloween.

Now about the title. First, I had no idea whatsoever what the title meant or had to do with the story. Then my teacher told us what ‘the husband stitch’ is supposed to be. It’s an extra stitch that a woman gets after giving birth and either cuts or tears. The extra stitch makes the vagina tighter and pleases the partner and that’s why it is called ‘The Husband Stitch’. Now, there is no mention of the narrator getting the extra stitch, and so, this may not be relevant. But, it could symbolize the wife going the extra mile to please the husband, and in a way, it may represent the ribbon. Did all the women who had the ribbon have the extra stitch? Or was it like an extra stitch to life? Was the ribbon representative of the husband stitch? If not, why is the story called The Husband Stitch? Is it just a Halloween story?

So many questions, no answers. Just a growing number of theories.

Idiots on the road.

When my father first got me a scooter, I was so excited! I thought I’d be riding around everywhere. For the first two or three months, I absolutely enjoyed riding. I rode around at every opportunity I got. I got my scooter about a year bike, and now I completely hate to ride. Even if I leave home in a perfectly good mood, ten minutes later, I just want to hit someone, I want to hit them because I am so angry that there are so many people on the road who shouldn’t even have a license. I grew up hearing my Dad cursing people on the road, the motorcyclists, the female drivers, and I used to think he’s overreacting. I don’t really agree with the female driver thing, but I do realise that he definitely wasn’t overreacting. There are so many idiots on the road, both male and female, who do not give a damn about traffic rules, lives of others or their own lives, and they’re just as stupid as a person can be. They go on the wrong side of the road, get hit or even almost get hit, but they actually have the audacity to blame it on the other person and pick a fight. They don’t bother to look at the vehicles already on the road before approaching it, they think they can do whatever the hell they want to.

When I have to go close to home, say just a few kilometers away, I think it’s so close, I won’t find many idiots, but NO. Even if you ride for one kilometer, you will find AT LEAST one person who pisses you off so much, you want to follow them and punch their face. What pisses me off even more than idiot, is an idiot who turns around and blames you for that mistake. I am not saying I hate every single person who breaks a traffic rule, I’m not really talking about rules here, I’m talking about the thick-skinned idiots who think they own the roads and do whatever they feel like doing, irrespective of others or their won safety, and still feel like they have done nothing wrong.

My favourite family memory

The year was 2003, I was 8 years old. I was looking out the window, getting fascinated with every glimpse of wildlife I got. We had seen at least 50 deer already, and yet I was so fascinated by seeing yet another. My cousins were fast asleep in the back seat. My dad, as usual, was telling us a story we were hearing for the millionth time, but he was so excited to say it no one stopped him, but my Aunt was his only real audience. My grandmother was looking out the window, deep in thought.

We were going to Chikkamagalur, to a homestay called Riverwoods. I don’t really remember how long it took us to get there, but it felt like a very long time, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. We got to Riverwoods and we were deciding who got which room. I wanted to crash with my cousins, but my dad was worried that I would have an asthma attack or something in the middle of the night, so he said I had to crash with him. I whined till he changed his mind. We reached late in the evening so we didn’t do anything that day. There were 2 or 3 dogs in the house, so my cousins and I kept ourselves busy with them. It was time for dinner, and it felt like dinner in a home away from home. We all sat at a dining table and had the best tasting homemade food ever.

So, the next day is pretty hazy in my memory. But the owner took us on a drive, showed us a cave or something which I remember as a cave, took us to his farm or house or another piece of land which he owned, where all his dogs were (the dogs from the previous day jumped on to the jeep with us and came along). There were around 7 dogs, one of which was a Great Dane. We were thrilled to see all the dogs. We spent a large part of the day there, and then we went to a water body close by, splashed around and headed back. For the rest of the day, my cousins and I just hung out behind the house. We rolled in the grass, ran around, played with the dogs and wrestled with each other. Then my dad and aunt came out and started taking pictures of us. I have an all-time favourite among these pictures, a one in which all three of us, my cousins and I are sitting in the grass, with one of the dogs. When I think about that trip, it’s this picture that pops into my head. When I think about my favourite or most memorable moment with my family, it’s this picture.

A dream I will never forget

I think I was about 10 years old when I had this dream. I wish I could remember all my dreams like I remember this one. I think I’ve told almost all of my friends about this one.

It happened in my grandmother’s house. I was fast asleep, when I heard some noise coming from the dining room. I was hesitant to open the door and go and check what was happening. I finally opened the door and was shocked when I saw my grandmother fighting ‘villains’ who I swore I recognised from some superhero movie. THEN I notice that BATMAN, SUPERMAN and ROBIN were hiding under the table. They were scared of the villains. (Yes, you read that right.) So I ran and went and hid with them. Batman told me not to worry because no one could beat my grandma. Suddenly, out of nowhere my cousin, Suchin was hiding under there with us. Soon, my grandmother had beaten everyone up and tied them into a knot (I have quite an animated imagination). So we all came out from under the dining table, and she made us some hot chocolate and sponge cake. Robin started crying, tears of joy because he was so happy she saved us all. Then my father flies in through the window and is shocked to see that Suchin and I are awake. So my grand mom and dad sit us down after all the superheroes leave, and they tell us that our family has a superhero gene and that we will get it too. They told us that they didn’t want us finding out till we were 18. but now they had no choice.

And then I woke up.