Drinking Orange (Short Story)

I want to see what is happening over there. There seems to be a group of people tasting drinks on the other side of the convention hall and right in front of them is a big wheel with different colours on it. I want to check it out too. I put my head down and start walking towards the other side. The hall is full, surprisingly. I make my way through the crowd and stand next to a woman giggling and trying the drinks in small tasting glasses. The drinks are black in colour. They look horrible and unappetizing yet the people seem to enjoy them and I know exactly why.
I stand in a considerably small queue and wait for my turn. I keep my head down at all times. I can be very patient, one of the main aspects of my personality that I got to realise in the past two years. Normally I try not to think about it. Soon its my turn and the man behind the counter smiles and explains to me what has to be done.
“You taste the five drinks labelled 1,2,3,4 and 5. You then put the corresponding number onto the colour chart”
I nod my head and start tasting drink one. While I do this, everyone around just stares at me. I smile awkwardly and suddenly feel performance pressure building up inside. As soon as the black gooey liquid hits my lips, I make a cringe-face expecting something that smells like petrol. But to my surprise the liquid is actually sweet and I am certain its banana juice or puree and immediately close my eyes. I see a faint orange. I take a sticker saying “1” and paste it on the orange part of the wheel. To my surprise some people around my applaud.
You see, I am what my psychiatrist referred to as a Synesthete. It says on wikipedia that in people like me stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to the stimulation of another sensory pathway. Has a song ever reminded you of somebody or some place or viva versa, or a smell, if yes, then you can understand what I am. No, that does not make you a synesthete. But you can understand how some object or smell can make you brain process some memories associated with them. What I am experiencing right now is referred to as Chromesthesia, I think. It means that stimulating my sense of taste can also stimulate the part of my brain that sees and interprets colours. There is so much more on the internet but I generally run out of interest in technical details and wall of scientific information.
I soon taste the rest of the drinks, the second one is definitely strawberry milkshake and I quickly put the sticker “2” onto the green area. The third drink is red wine and I place the “3” on pink, “4” on red since its a Mojito and “5” on blue, its mango juice.
I don’t remember the exact day when all this started, I wasn’t born with it, at least from what I know, maybe I was, I am not sure. I started noting it since the time of my parent’s separation. The fighting, shouting, contempt in my parents voice for each other and lack of love, for each other and for me, could not have lead to anything else other than depression. I was just a teenager, life was not easy in the first place but my school had always helped. I was good at studies and no, I was not one of those awkward teenagers who you see and wildly judge as rebellious Goths. I had loving friends and my teachers noticed me. My depression took a lot with it. I thought divorce would make things better. But it disturbed me much more than I had expected. My mom soon noticed that my grades were falling and decided I had to undergo therapy. I agreed, of course, I wanted to feel better. I was tired of feeling empty, feeling that I was not capable of anything, that my life was ruined and that I should just give up and die. I wanted that voice inside my head silenced.
My dad was on a roll, it seemed, and it didn’t seem to affect him that his only daughter was undergoing therapy for depression because of the tensions he participated in causing. In no time, he had bought a new house and found a brand new wife. I was in front of him and yet invisible. Soon I had started feeling sick and nauseous when I had to visit him. I started sleeping in a lot more. I would feel sick with him and his new family. At home my mother’s complains of how he would resist paying for child support didn’t help either but instead of just making me mad, this all would give me high fevers and I remember fainting during the basketball game for the first time. I couldn’t concentrate on the blackboard or the text in the books anymore. The doctors said that nothing was wrong with me and had recommended vitamins, vitamins! I had graduated high school with the grades that no one expected from me including me. Teachers had talked to my mother and had hinted towards dyslexia. I could read, just had no will to do it.
I would go out only for buying groceries with my mother and to the psychiatrist. Food had started tasting horrible and I was hungry all the time but would starve myself as nothing would taste like anything and I swear there were days when I couldn’t smell anything but it would always come back. There were days when food would taste great. My eyesight had started weakening or so I thought. I still remember when I started feeling something was definitely wrong and not just psychologically.
I remember walking home one autumn evening when I saw my neighbour smoking his cigarette and I remember being able to feel the warm smoke in my lungs. He was on the other side of the road. I panicked and ran home all the time tasting the bitter taste of nicotine in my mouth. I had never smoked in my life.
The next days were nothing different, I would feel what others should be feeling. All around me. Jason smacking on the back of Dave’s head as if he had hit me on my head, Natalie’s arm getting bruised on the doorknob, I swear I cried out in pain. Thankfully people just thought that I had cried out for Natalie albeit a little surprised. Basketball games were the worst, I was out of the team anyway due to my constant school absence but even watching them was painful. I would feel the exhaustion of every player, their jumps, hits and injuries. I would invariably end up rolling on the floor in pain. People couldn’t understand because they did not see the bruises.
However it was not the pain that was the worst. I had been sick that morning. My mom had recommended that I stay home but I had decided to “fight it” and went anyway. I was on self-administered denial thinking that “it” would go away if I ignored it. After feeling no better in the first class, I felt sick again so I decided to just stay in the washroom for a while. I was successful in warding off all friends by that time as not one of them inquired if I was Ok. So I found myself alone in the washroom, closed the door and waited to get sick again. Then I heard them. It was definitely Jason. He was in the girl’s washroom with someone. I slowly opened the door and peeked as he planted a big kiss onto Mia’s lips. My eyes were full of tears. Jason and me had started going out just before trouble at home had begun. My sickness had not only impacted my grades, friends and sports but my relationship with Jason too. That day in the girl’s washroom, I finally got to experience my first kiss, its just that no one had kissed me.
School had truly become a nightmare after that day. That one incident had scared me for what will happen if “it” stayed forever? I could never be able to truly have my own relationship, my own boyfriend, my own experiences. To be able to feel what others were feeling and doing, felt like I was somehow stealing from them, invading their private space. At the same time, I would never have any private space of my own. It felt wrong, it felt unfair. It wasn’t enough that I had lost almost everything in my life but that losing everything had cursed me to live everyone else’s life forever.
Ofcourse I told my mother. She thought I needed medication. Fortunately my psychiatrist was able to understand “it”. He told me that there was a name for “it”, Mirror-touch synesthesia. He told me that my family situation had caused me so much trauma that I was developing a very rare condition that made me feel what others were feeling.
Since then life has been very different. I had to alter the course of my life. I no longer had the same ambitions that I had before my special abilities. Everyday, I find something more about what else had happened to my brain. My empathy had increased so much that I could no longer stand in crowded places. I could no longer enjoy a beach, a movie or any place with lots of people in it. I decided to study online, since attending a university would overwhelm my senses. I find it hard to walk with head held high in public places so I just look down. That not easy either, I feel every discomfort caused by every stiletto on the street. But I love winter. I love that there is no one on the street. Winter is my friend.
Last month my doctor gave me a card of a university professor who specialised in Synethesia. My therapy is over, for now. Now is the time I start discovering myself. Today, I am here to start a new page in life. I look up at the man behind the counter, he’s the professor.

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Power

When you hear the word “Power”, what is the first thing that comes into your mind: Money, Politicians, Industrialists, Electricity (with blue bolts and what not), beauty, strength?

What is power?
We are the Internet generation, the generation motivated by media and instant gratification either for information or for material needs. Media or lets say its biggest representative like Internet, TV, movies; has been extremely successful in painting the picture of what power is. We are told that money is power, controlling people is power, beauty is power, strength is power. So we all are part of the belief system that what we possess that can influence others and increase our chance of not only survival but indulging in as much luxury as possible is power.

We have lapped this up with all our hearts: treating the rich as deities, ignoring injustice or unfair treatment because its being endorsed by someone with money or beauty, and above all judging: Judging the rest of the world with that barometer of power which has been force fed onto our soul by the so called “powerful”.

Now I don’t mean that the above-mentioned possessions do not indicate possession of power. They do. The question is: when?

When is the possession of money, status, beauty and strength an indication of how powerful a person is?

The answer is quite simple. It’s when these contribute to fulfilling the intentions of the possessors of the aforementioned attributes. For example, a person with copious amount of cash wants to buy a palace. There is a very high likelihood that he/she will be able to buy one despite the fact that he may have, lets say, 3 people in his family. This does not make any sense. 3 human beings do not need a palace to live. But he intends to live in a palace. He wields the power of money. Now lets say, a politician supervising 200 people’s work is involved in a criminal activity with multiple witnesses who happen to be working under his command. He may very well continue living without consequence since he wields the power of taking away the livelihood of the witnesses or worse depending on the level of corruption in his field. In the same way, stronger people may bully others, may rape or murder without consequence, celebrities may be worshipped for basically looking a certain way and coaxing everyone else to doing what they suggest fulfilling their intent to influence and coax others respectively.

The discussion leads to one inference that power is very subjective. Some consider buying as power, some, undisturbed breaking of law and some consider superiority of physical attributes as power. Understood. But when do these attribute actually become POWER?

It’s when possession translates to acquisition.

When a rich person is allowed to buy a palace, the authorities give him/her that power. When we are scared of someone hurting us, we give them the power. When we let ourselves be coaxed by celebrities to buy something or to become like the, we give them the power to make us feel in adequate.

In the grand scheme of things, when one finds someone wielding extreme “power” chances are that one will find someone extremely “weak”. Because one is considered by the rest of the world, himself and the “weak”, powerful, only then he feels “powerful”. There is no badge of power, no tattoo that says “Look at me, I have so much power” The true badge is what the rest of the people allow that person to do. The permission without consequence.

Power is not always malevolent. But in that case it is not really referred to as power, is it?

No one calls Mahatma Gandhi powerful. He had his own set of problems but he had achieved unity amongst the people of India that was needed at the testing times of a group of people learning to stand on their own feet. Malala Yousufzai is not referred to as powerful. Instead, she is referred to as hope, light, future, empowerment, etc.

Lets take me for example, at times I feel that I am so fat, that being the one constant nag of almost all women. Despite the fact that I KNOW that I am not, just because I don’t look like some people, I deem myself fat. FAT being the term spoilt by media. FAT people, FAT cow, FAT in the food. Despite the fact that Fats are just some molecules that happen to be in our food, excess of which makes our body unhealthy, applicable to just about anything in life.

At these moments I give power to those nasty people who create an atmosphere and rigorously endorse the fact that people who are bigger (or skinnier) than some people are not good enough, pretty enough, worthy enough.
When we are growing up we try to figure the purpose of our lives, most of the time without even thinking about it. We spend all our lives wanting to get that job, get that spouse, get those children, get that house, get that gold club membership, jewelry, grades, degrees and what not, there is no end. Why?

For some of us, it could be simply be…because….

The above sentence makes no sense. But for some of us, we think we need the above because we grew up with people who wanted these things and thus these must be great to get. It’s like living on autopilot when we don’t have to worry about why, we just do what others did and they seemed to have done alright. And why not? All power to those since there are no right reasons.

However to judge others by your standard of power is not only inappropriate but wildly incorrect since others may not associate power with possessing those things. For example, a tribeswoman in remote Africa does not associate your possession of your 100-dollar note as power. If Bill Gates travels to those remote regions, he will have no special privileges because those people don’t give him the power to feel special and vice versa.

How would it be if we freed ourselves from people asking us to judge them for the colour of their skin, depth of their pocket, shape of their body, position of their job, or size of their muscles?

It’s not necessary that we do. But we may find a whole new respect for us and others if we simply try not narrowing down our definition of power so much.

The faint whistle of the robin

Last week our balcony was playing host to a very special kind of opera. A small female robin bird had somehow landed in our balcony and for some reason couldn’t fly away. Since it had rained the previous day, we presumed that the bird could have come from a nest on the roof and is either a grown up chick still in the process of learning how to fly or an injured victim from the neighbourhood cat. Anyway, every three hour or so, the bird would produce a very peculiar call, like a faint whistle. Soon one could see a male robin appearing and on inspection of the balcony, would land and feed the female robin. This happened for nearly a week. We tried providing bird food and water but it didn’t touch anything. It drank from the collected rainwater and ate only what the male bird was bringing. We were away for the weekend and had decided that if the bird is still there the following week, its better that we call some organisation to guide us with the situation. Luckily, at least for the bird, it had flown away on the weekend. On Tuesday morning I heard that Robin Williams had died.

I did not know Robin Williams. I didn’t even think anything special of his movies. Sure he was a good actor and a comedian. But I had once watched his stand-up and had laughed. I had laughed a lot. When I heard that he died, I felt that someone special that I knew had died and I felt sad. These days it’s rare that one feels personally sad for some rich and famous guy’s death. But actually what made it so affective is the fact that he had most likely committed suicide.

Robin Williams was not just some rich dude Hollywood had spawned. He was a very talented actor, comedian, a philanthropist and a friend. He had everything: Friends, family, fame, respect, money, accomplishments and you name it. It was difficult but not impossible to believe that he was battling with depression. I don’t know the reasons of his sadness, it was his sadness and they were his reasons and at one point they grew very strong.

He is gone. We are still here. There is an old Indian saying that death is the ultimate truth. I think this saying is bullshit. I think both life and death are the ultimate truth. If there was no life, there cannot be any death. Its our life that gives meaning to death and that’s why Robin’s death has a big meaning. He had a big life.

There are still many people who are a bit to quick to judge as to why someone would take their own life. “Why? That’s just dumb. We should have strength and we should not give up so easily, blah blah blah.” Every time someone tries to share their opinion regarding how dumb it is to take that decision, I find myself wondering which rock have they been living under until now. Sure there is hardly any glory in ending ones life. Some people may even find it dumb. But can we learn from such event first rather than pass our unnecessary judgements over it?

There is something that I learnt from Robin’s life. There is no such thing as a measure or balance of how successful one is. While some may think Robin had everything, he might have disagreed. That’s because he might have been looking for something else.

To The World’s Biggest (fill in the blank) cracy

First of all I would like to congratulate the people of India for their band new leader, Mr Narendra Modi. It’s after a long time since a big country (big enough to be frequently in the news internationally) has unanimously, with a clear majority won the national elections. Such a display of unity sends a strong message worldwide which currently is healthy for India.

Another night of not being able to sleep, I thought of writing this blog article but then had to think a lot over how to make it unbiased since Modi Campaign had been very successful in polarizing the voters. So I will just talk about what I am looking forward to seeing in the next 4 years (with a probability of 90% of promises being blatantly forgotten).

 

  1. We have to, unfortunately, sideline Modi’s involvement in the communal riots in Gujarat. Now that he is supposed to be our “class representative”. Modi himself has to sideline it from his own psyche. The day BJP won the majority was the day the older Modi had to cease to exist.
  2. Modi has one of the most difficult tasks in the world and he is capable of it. He is walking on the tightest rope in the history of the country. No, India is not bankrupt like it was in the 80s but the people who voted for him, literally voted for him, not his party. Even the staunchest of Modi supporters know that BJP is as corrupt as Congress or any other Indian party and I wont even say that with any reservation. With 38% members with criminal backgrounds, BJP is not going to bring Utopia to India. People voted for a leader who appeared to have “performed” his duties well. People have chosen a leader and a government servant, which is how it should be. Now any promises broken would be the promises he broke, not BJP. One could hear it even on Facebook, “Ab ki baar, Modi sarkaar” which means: this time, Modi Government (please pay attention, it does not say BJP government)
  3. It now falls on Congress to at least make a strong opposition. I have my doubts over what made Rahul Gandhi smile so much at the press conference with Sonia Gandhi, after Congress suffered one of the biggest losses in its history. It could be shock, weed or good old acting. But one thing is for certain, in the elections when Sonia Gandhi could have become the Prime Minister of the country, she should have. If its “performance” that people care about, then she could have simply worked great and proven herself. Instead, she chose to make a puppet show out of Congress collecting a bad rep from pretty much everyone when she spoke and the Prime Minister himself kept quiet. Now, she should have quit with dignity, letting Rahul Gandhi and others with a fresh perspective guide Congress but no, she is still there. This will do Congress no good. With so many massive scandals to her credit, she is no good luck charm for her party.
  4. Now we come to Aam Aadmi Party consisting of “clean chit” technocrats, journalists and social workers. With an honest and extremely amateurish Arvind Kejriwal at its forefront. This party disappointed people so much that it will take a whole new generation to trust it again. So that means that AAP has a long time to learn Politics (at least 8 years), although they can make a much healthier opposition as compared to Congress.
  5. BJP’s silent treatment to basic human rights (yes, this includes women and homosexual people) has to stop. The next generation will undoubtedly be more educated and connected; it does neither need nor want an irrelevant organization like RSS. With RSS trying to carry out surveys on Facebook to decide which women should be respected more: police or actresses, the whole thing is so wrong on so many levels that I wont even grace it with any explanation.
  6. Modi the “Performinator” has to better economic relations with Pakistan. He has to defend India’s industrial carbon emissions and try to convince the so-called first world to bring their carbon emissions down first. He has to revamp the Police force in India (make good use of Kiran Bedi who trusts him enough to be associated with him).

 

I wish him all the best!

 

 

 

 

Failure

Today I remembered when I was chosen from to represent my school for an inter school quiz competition. The winner would have gone for the Bournvita Quiz contest on TV. For a long time, I was a bit of a Type A personality and thus the quiz meant something to me. As it turned out, my partner and I tied last with some other school. It was sad but mostly embarrassing, very embarrassing. I remember coming home, telling my father, ashamed, and then going straight to bed. I had covered myself with the blanket and cried myself to sleep.

I remember being in the school car and told by our teacher, “Great! Now you can go tell everyone that you stood last.” I could understand her frustration. I was frustrated too. I was chosen amongst around 200 people along with my partner for that quiz. We had to take a “General Knowledge (GK)” exam consisting of questions from our GK book. We were at the beginning of term at school so we were naturally not through with the entire book. As luck may have it, I had borrowed my books that year from a senior so I had all the answers. For a long time I blamed myself for not deserving to go to the quiz since I qualified only because I had the book with all the answers in it.

Now I see the whole scenario in a slightly different way. We were told months earlier that we will be taking a test for the quiz and it will comprise of the questions in our book. I had spent my whole summer holidays studying for the test. I did not open the book during the test or ask anyone for the answers. I had simply worked hard for the test. And not all the questions were from the book and I was able to answer them too. I had felt ashamed of working hard enough to score the best out of 200 students!

Of course the winners of our quiz, in turn, lost at the big quiz on TV. Big deal.

If I could just go back in time, I would tell me that I was proud to have given my holidays for this quiz and working honestly to achieve a goal. If anyone else wanted to qualify, they could have simply asked a senior or better still, the teacher for the answers and they could have studied for the test too but they didn’t or if they did, I beat them to it. I would go back and have a little chat with that “teacher” too.

Sometimes, I wish I had “failed” a bit more in my life. So that when life’s real failures and problems arose, I already had the strength to deal with them much more elegantly than I did. But I am not doing that bad. Turns out that I am a bit of a superhero, rescuing myself from big problems and rebuilding and re-learning while on my way to that Pulitzer! So bring on all the so-called failures of life, lets see who wins the battle (channeling my inner Superhero 😉

Shakira Turns Three Leg Warmers Into a Dress!

So reads the Imdb front page from today. OMG! She is multitalented!

I cannot be happier for Shakira and more power to her in the future. However, I cannot feel more insulted as a human that in the times of wars, rapes, murders, cover-ups, international privacy breaches, economic crisis and some major propaganda campaigns, rivaling the second world war times, we have the need to feel distracted with such bull shit.

Was 2001 not meant to be a space odyssey? Our predecessor generations had a vision of a future with flying cars and grand space travels. Where is my car then?

What’s going to follow is an overeducated and sleep-deprived brain’s rant. Run for your life if you were hoping for Shakira’s talent analysis.

 

And now, for the remaining brave soldiers who stayed behind, shall we?

Where to begin?

Yeah, Flying cars.

Cars generally don’t fly. Why? Well.

For all those people who dreamt that our generation will be flying to school, they simply couldn’t fathom that the year 2013 was as gracious economically as the times of Charles Dickens. Remember the orphan Oliver Twist. There was utter poverty with the few privileged living so that they could eat and vomit and eat again or was that the French Revolution. Pardon my facts here. It’s the sleep cycle. Anyways. Currently economic disparity is similar to the one at the time of Charles Dickens time of extreme poverty. People generally say that the top 15% of the richest people if only share their money, life would be so much better. Actually in Britain, if they do so, each person will have an extra 500 pounds. I read that on BBC but due to BBC’s recent disappointing coverage of “interpreting the Indian Nods” and similar shenanigans make me doubt that too. There is no God!

In such desperate times (maybe not for China and India, they have other shit going on), developing technology for flying cars is not that important. Or that it seems. Actually there is quite solid lobby groups here in Germany trying the best they can to hold onto their legacy of oil guzzlers. Germany hence doesn’t mess with Russia and US doesn’t mess with Saudi Arabia. Iran is India’s best friend and so on and so forth. We live in 2014 but on the systems, values, technologies and motivations of 1914.

People blame the system. “It’s the system thats rotten!” And?

What anyone or any government that claims this has done? Maybe apart from Scandinavian countries, all others want to either be markets or cheap consumers and everything finishes there. How many of us actually understand the system to actually fault it in the first place?

In school just like 1914, we are taught languages, literature, mathematics, science and social sciences (some geography and civics), in India at least. CIVICS, the most important aspect of humanity: governance, public powers and responsibilities, social manners and communal living and harmony, this is all encompassed in maybe 20 – 40 pages in our history books. How many of us actually remember what’s in our Constitution? How many of us actually care?

Not many. Ofcourse some do. Some end up being politicians don’t they?

I think it was Abraham Lincoln or any of those early Presidents of the US who said that the nature of power is such that it attracts some of the most depraved among us as they seek to exert power over others not because they feel a responsibility to take care of the community.

Anywho!

When the children should be learning CIVCS, they learn algebra, scientific names of ferns and the diameter of the sun. Ofcourse its not that simple. These things are also very important to us. They are the future. But WHAT makes these subjects as our future priority?……..hmmmm….now I’ve got you!

In order to understand that we need good governance, the concept of power and responsibility, prioritization of not only survival but also proliferation with technological advances, we need to learn how things actually take shape. Unfortunately most of the time, the people who don’t even understand this concept or hardly care, end up with this duty. We are such losers really sometimes!

Before we decide for our future, we need to understand law. I must admit, I had the least respect for lawyers while growing up, well, because I thought they were money-sucking scumbags. A lot of them are. But tell me one profession where we wont find them? Understanding law gives each citizen enormous power against exploitation. But alas. A raped teenager won’t really know that she has rights! She needs to have the copies of her statements, given to the police, with her and not the defense lawyer. Hence when there is a religious ceremony and the defense lawyer doesn’t show up, she at least has the papers and they wont just get lost with miracles performed by the guilty’s family money.

When life has become fast and dangerous, why our future generation should be taught how the mitochondria burns ATP before it UNDERSTANDS that it IS the future of life on Earth. This reminds me, has anyone seen the trailers of the movie Transcendence or related science fiction, especially Hunger Games.

Now coming back to flying cars.

What future do I have? According to Wikipedia, if I am lucky I get to live for 60 more years so I should only be caring about what happens in those 60 years or maybe 200 because we want to have healthy children and grandchildren.

Yeah that’s not happening! Rise and shine.

Our children will be much different from us, they will live in a warmer world full of insecurities, over-crowded, and pumped with fertilizers in the food they eat. Heck even mothers’ milk has them.  They will have more health amenities though, so they can live unhealthier but longer lives. I will also live longer and I would like to welcome old age but Russia and US scare me shitless. I am not a pessimist, I am just sleepy.

There are 4 possibilities to what awaits us:

  1. Apocalypse: maybe some people are left to live a depressed life
  2. Hunger Games: Need I say more, loads of poverty and hunger and Paris Hilton with her puppy being groomed with a diamond collar. Aww I love puppies though.
  3. Compromise: We give up Oil and coal. Earth lets us……..live.
  4. We enter the world of Transcendence (without the evil computer hopefully). Let me explain: We Reprioritize. Change the existing system. Combine forces and stop fighting and spending on science leading to weapons. Instead focus on science leading to awesome discoveries and possibilities for us so that we can make mommy daddy Big Bang proud of us.

Its easier said than done though. What would we do if we are constantly threatened and fear for our lives. I would like to have a gun. Heck I would, if I could bring a gun with me to India. If anyone messes with a tiny girl, they get their leg blown to bits. AND THAT’S THE FUCKING PROBLEM.

We as human beings have been at constant competition with each other, as people, as tribes, as countries, as businesses, etc. We are constantly being threatened by our own kind.  Technically we are still no better than a group of angry dogs fighting because one of us didn’t let the other sniff our bum! Ridiculous.

WE DON’T DESERVE FLYING CARS.

Instead we get what we deserve: Shakira’s three leg warmer dress! FML

 

 

To Dad with Love

I would begin by saying sorry for delaying the blog post for so long. By doing this I go against the golden rule of communication i.e. never start by apologising.  Since writing is not my profession, I don’t have to be on time or follow the rules. This makes me really happy.

 

The following is an email I wrote to my parents from Scotland:

 

Date: November 15th 2008

 

Namaste papa and mummy.

I hope you are fine and are taking proper care of yourself and I hope mummy wants to go to take a liver function test.

I am fine here. It’s very cold here and I bought a new coat. It was for £35 or according to the current exchange rate it was for 2520 Rs.

It keeps me warm and saves me from the winds. The winds are strong and cold.

I hope that you are not missing me a lot as I am now fine but I dream a lot of mummy.

I am too loaded with my work and sometimes get stressed with it otherwise everything is in place.

Quite interestingly yesterday when I was talking to a woman from Denmark, she shifted my attention to something very essential.

She said that as a person I would change staying in the UK. So when I come back home my parents would be quite surprised to see the changes in me. And I will find it hard to adjust with them.

Now papa, if that that is going to be true then I just want you be prepared to see those changes in me.

I might change in the way I talk to people, the way I interact, the choices that I make and my preferences and even my perspective towards life.

I want you to be considerate of the fact that I am a human being and liable to change with the place I live in. Although I know that the person that I won’t change completely but some changes would be quite inevitable.

So please don’t be alarmed to see those changes in me.

Even if you are I would want you to please take it as a new me and not a bad me.

I know you are intelligent enough for understanding that even before I said it. But still for my satisfaction I would like you to consider it.

Papa I want you to be proud of me. In fact I want each and everyone who has ever met me to be proud of me.

I just hope that I am able to maintain that balance and properly utilise the freedom that you have given me.

I will take this time as an opportunity to learn a lot of new things, meet new people and go to new places.

So please do not think that I am trying to distance myself from you. I am trying to be an independent person. Your daughter is now growing up.

I will always love you and respect you till the day I die and I want you to know that and never forget it.

I just hope that when I return to India, I might not disappoint you. I will work as hard as I can. But I will also enjoy my life as I have got this life only once.

This letter is getting long and I have to do my assignment now.

So I will take your leave.

 

Bye papa.

I love you.

See you. Take care

 

Neeti.

 

One may wonder as to how was I “changing”?

 

I always had my doubts about religion and its subsidiaries e.g. gods, goddesses, forced guilt and fear of punishment, etc. I was realising that I did not need to be religious to be an OK kind of person. I just needed to have a conscience, some responsibility and understanding of the principles of cause and effect. I was becoming an atheist and was happy with it.

 

Of course there were other aspects too: my priorities changed, goals in life, opinions, level of independence, way to perceive the world, people etc. It was like feeling the earth while it rotates…if it makes any sense. It’s interesting how much of me is in this over-the-top, dramatic email.

 

What’s also interesting is that my parents have still not read this email; it’s been 5 years.