Can I Hold Your Hand?

Can I Hold Your Hand?

The first time I held your hand,

I sighed and thought to myself

How easily your fingers slipped into mine

How we lost all sense of presence and time

That clutch I will never forget,

As snug and soft as it could be

No artificial gazes did we need

Just something to subconsciously heed.

And then you turned towards me,

I waited for you  to say something

But words are overrated for you and me

To simply be, you always taught me.

Today I wish desperately,

To be able to hold your hand

But this feeling I tread on lightly

For you believe our love is unsightly

But somehow I don’t know how to stop,

wanting to hold your hands again

I need your fingers to assure mine

That we’ll have a future, give me a sign

GOT S8 Is Not Sexist

GOT S8 Is Not Sexist

It would be unfair to deny that Game of Thrones season 8 has been a case of terrible writing. The progression of events was haphazard, incoherent and sometimes even banal. The moments that they thought would put us in “Awe” were moments that actually made us cringe if not turn off our computers. Being disappointed is being forgiving. We need to be outraged.

However, the only writing I have seen worse than season 8 was this blog by The Quint, calling Game of Thrones bad writing and SEXIST. After reading this, I am outraged at this too. 

https://www.thequint.com/voices/blogs/game-of-thrones-season-8-sexist-writing-female-characters

Game of Thrones is a convoluted show exploring a wide range of intensity. There is so much happening simultaneously, we may sometimes condone many aspects of it. But calling the writing “Sexist” against women specifically, is like overlooking the season entirely.

I will start by addressing the concerns in the above mentioned article.

  1. Cersei Lannister

I cannot express my love for this character. Her strength and  capability of being resolute at all times is truly remarkable. She does not have many layers to her but that is what makes her so perfect. Cersei Lannister seems to vicariously feel powerful by pushing her children to take the throne. What we fail to see is that her relationship with her children is not limited to that. In countless instances, Cersei has truly loved her children which we overlook because she is simply supposed to be the bad guy. Maybe even the worst.

The above article talks about how writing that she did terrible things out of love for her children rather than simply an attempt to be powerful is “Reductionist”. Basically, using motherly love as a substitute for her ambition/greed was sexist. I disagree. It was never used as a substitute. Cersei is still ambitious, still ruthless but also a mother. In the last season, we had to witness her downfall which had already begun since her “Walk of Shame” in season 5. You should have expected that.

It is wrong to discard Cersei’s motherly side. Cersei has always been selfish except in regards to her children which should all the more, highlight her affections towards them. Calling her maternal tendencies reductionist to her very character, is not only a terrible misinterpretation but also offensive. Motherhood does not make a character weak. Considering motherhood a weakness in itself is messed up.

2) Daenerys Targaryen

I”m glad this blog post recognized the efforts put in by Daenerys to achieve what she thought was legitimately hers. Daenerys has remained focused on her goal for most of the seasons, making her a widely loved character. Her display of empathy, lack of Westerosi greed and her want to rule for the right reasons makes her a wonderful prospective queen. But the article claims that the “Mad Queen trope” was unnecessary. I like to think it was genius. Heartbreaking but genius. Daenerys losing her conscience in episode 5 was not an attack at her incapability of being a queen. It intended to show us a much bigger picture. Over the seasons, Dany’s reputation was built on the very fact that she claimed to be antithesis of everything that her father was. However, her mad queen disaster did not show her failure and her ambition did not drive her mad. There was rather a philosophical aspect of her returning to who she truly was meant to be- the Mad King’s daughter. It was not a happy moment. Neither for King’s Landing nor for GOT fans who had grown to love Dany so much. Her ambition was not clouded by her madness. Infact, she had already won over King’s Landing. The Mad Queen trope simply told us that no matter how hard she tried to steer away from her the atrocities committed by her father, she was always going to be his daughter. Therefore, it was not an attack on women, but a representation of a relationship. 

3) Sansa Stark

   Sansa’s sexual abuse did not make her a “Woman worth a damn”. Rather her experience of life did. Sansa grew up believing in all things pretty and perfect. However, sexual abuse is not the only hardship she ever faced. Her family was decimated and she lost faith in everyone she ever knew. She also lost faith in the idea of queenliness, something she had always longed for. Sexual abuse is only one of the things that made Sansa pull up her socks. Only when she realized eventually that hardly anything in life was every going to be pretty, Sansa indeed became a “Woman worth a damn”. Sansa’s wishes are not the representation of womanhood, but of her innocence. Sansa’s character development has been the most phenomenal of all characters. I’m not sure how her becoming Queen of the North was sexist in any way. It was a win for women which was also beautifully directed.

4) Arya Stark

Basically the star of half the season, Arya Stark said farewell to winter. She not only saved her brother, but saved Westeros. In many episodes we have seen her training to be a warrior and in season 8, she emerges as a bloody good one. Her action scenes were brilliant to watch. I don’t know what you were doing if you were not rooting for her.  Arya shoved conventions aside all her life, denied the opportunity of being Lady Baratheon so she could be who she wanted to be.

The blogpost claims she became “devoid of her sense of self” when in reality, she found herself. Perhaps she lost her sense of self when she became “No one” but that ways always accompanied by a greater purpose which was finishing everybody on her list. Arya’s sexual awakening was also symbolic of her assertiveness as a woman rather than being subjected to a man and his needs which we have seen in most sexual encounters in Game Of Thrones.

5) Lady Brienne

How can we possibly call this season sexist when Brienne of Tarth received a knighthood! She too did not conform to conventions. She was respected and cheered on by a room of only men for her valor and worthiness of being a knight. It was one of the most beautiful moments in the entire show.

6) Lady Mormont

A young girl who was not supposed to fight, she stood on the battlefield the entire time. She did not allow her physical weakness to dictate her actions when she charged at a giant to protect her people. Her fearlessness in the episode was commendable when she risked her own life to kill the beast.

Game of Thrones is fantasy, yes but has a lot of medieval traces. Certainly, revolting things have happened to women on this show but I believe that is authenticity of the tyrannical world they wanted Westeros to look like. Moreover it does not make sense to expect today’s ideas to be the moral code for the series. For that matter, the show would hardly be as gruesome as it is.

So while Season 8 has its flaws which are many, it has managed to portray women characters in the most beautiful way possible despite the lack of modernity of the show.

Having Alzheimer’s

Having Alzheimer’s

1. It was a rainy day. It poured and poured like the odious tea my children make me drink on a daily basis. They all seem to think it is my favorite kind. I simply cannot break their warm hearts. They come home so often and one of them always insists on making me Jasmine tea like it is some kind of elixir that will rejuvenate my decaying senses. Tea is so trivial, so banal. Why does it bother me so much? Why do my children insist on it?   What makes them think I like it? On that rainy day, I smashed a little white cup. I tossed it furiously at the drizzled window. It crashed into pieces near the book cabinet and the tea spilled all over the floor as fast as my daughter’s eyes welled up with tears.

      “I don’t like tea!”, I screamed though I was attempting to restrain my previously built up anger. My daughter stayed  quiet, a look I don’t love on her. She scurried towards the book cabinet. Her right hand trembled as she swept the pieces of the cup into the dustpan. Fastidiously, she did the job as if those were pieces of me she was trying to put together. She couldn’t leave a single one out, or damage it any further. They were all she had left. Pieces.

2. I stood with a vapid expression in an aisle at what seemed to be a grocery store. I was surrounded by jams, varieties of biscuits and chips, so many chips. I had never realized there were so many kinds of chips. But I did not want any of those chips. I thought I had been watching the movie Valentine’s Day on Romedy Now just a moment ago. I could not string the loose ends of my brain to fathom why I was suddenly not in my living room enjoying my movie anymore. I was aware of my condition and how this happens to me sometimes, but that day I felt trapped. And not like in the movies where I felt like the rows of food were closing in on me or the world suddenly felt darker. My condition is not that dramatic but it is a lot more frightening because of how real it is to me. I felt afraid because I did not know which grocery store I was in, how I got there or if I even knew how to drive. I thought to myself that maybe I knew how to drive. But where was the parking lot? Or did I walk here? Which is my car? I was not holding any car keys, I was not holding a cellphone. All I was holding was a Blueberry Jam I didn’t think I needed anymore.

I closed my eyes shut, yelling at myself to remember. I do not like being so mad at myself anymore.

3. Unlike most days, I had a visitor who was not one of my children. I felt dumbfounded the moment he entered the Red door and into my living room. I thought that door used to be Brown. As he introduced himself, I just smiled at him like I do at everyone. Plain, phony, platitudinous. He told me that we had met before, I raised an eyebrow as I was unsure which one of us was being phony then. My sons have taught me to just go with it when people say things that don’t fully make sense. What can you do when almost everything does not make sense? Scream in a pillow? Yes. Fight your visitor? Preferably not. I am speaking from experience.

I asked him if he had any family. He said, “Yes, I told you before. You are my family”. I could not respond. I may have forgotten how to. He started showing me an old photo album. He pointed towards a woman in all the photos and said that, that was me..27 years ago. In one of the pictures I was gently holding his hand. That did look like me, I knew it did which somehow worried me more. Memories can be so funny. Even when shown pictures, my memories are as erasable as the fleeting moments I had wanted to cherish. I had mastered the art of not panicking when strangers did such things. I saw those photos of me, carefully. I looked so full of life and yet as I gazed harder, I could feel my life being taken away from me. With each that page I flipped, I felt lifeless. 

I stood up, turned around and walked to the kitchen to make myself a cup of Jasmine tea.

Through the lens of AI

Through the lens of AI

My morning walk everyday, leads to me to my place of work. An arcane coffee shop on the corner of Piccadily Circus, very close to the train station. Zip code W1J 9LL. It’s windy today as I walk down, the sensors in my earlobes send a signal to me. I cannot imagine what that would be like. Air? That is quick and fairly impetuous? My metal is immune to such travesty.

Four steps into the coffee shop and I turn to my right, switching on the lights. My vision directs me to Liz sleeping on the Red rugged couch. Again. Liz is my coworker. Another night goes by, she has not found an apartment yet. She once asked me where I stayed and I told her that my metallic, sleek finished pod with impeccable wiring was my abode. However, it was only a place for one. She shrugged and said “Screw you”. I responded, “Yes, I like my screws”.

“Good morning, Elizabeth!”, I greet her with a smile she likes to call creepy. I don’t quite understand nicknames. As she lifts up her torso, she makes a face which according to my programming is considered ‘tired’. Her brunette hair has not been washed in precisely 4 days and her coffee from last night is spilled all over the floor. She catches me looking at it and says, “Sorry, I’ll take care of it”.

I say, “Very well then. Hello. Can I make you another cup?” She shrugs, grabs her headphones and walks into the back kitchen. Humans can be so very dull even after a refreshing night of sleep. Personally, I feel most energetic as soon as I leave my pod every morning. Couches and beds must be revolutionized. Couches and beds are bad for the economy.

I walk to the counter from where I interact with multitudes of humans everyday. I can recall every single type of coffee that I have ever made and every person that I have made it for. People can be so variable and artistic. It is quite the show from back here. However, mochas are quite popular among the women. Friendly tip for men, I see they like to pay for women’s coffees a lot. Liz called it dating but not a single one of them has ever mentioned dates.

As I begin reorganizing some of the things that Liz left so carelessly last night, I come across a pot of coffee beans. Obvious, yes. I pick it up and try to smell it. I have often heard humans saying how much they enjoy the aroma of coffee wafting into the holes in their noses. My mind and vision, a harmonious whole quickly scans the origin, journey and history of this coffee. What is the pertinence of smell when one can simply, just know? What is the purpose to feel when one can simply, see? Looking at coffee beans and immediately becoming aware of its possible tastes is one of my many abilities. I do not even require the tongue sensor for it. The funny ones that the humans have. Those can be awfully sticky.

A woman walks into the shop with a baby in a pram. She is 38 years old. I am told by my mind that it is her very own baby which was born on the 8th of November, last year. The baby’s locomotor development seems off by a couple months. I will refrain from sharing that with the mother. I have often been told that I must not advise humans until specifically asked to do so, they are quite the “sissies”. Elizabeth’s words, not mine. I don’t know what it means, it is not in my dictionary.

She orders a simple coffee and occupies the booth near the window. Many people are drawn to that particular booth. Perhaps it is the sunlight that dances off their faces like gleeful puppets. Did I just use imagination?

Her expression looks precisely “Stressed”, as my programming tells me. As she types away on her smartphone, her baby begins moving and shrieking. She lifts him up very carefully and kisses him on the cheek. I’m not sure how unnecessary saliva drenched with germs can placate the most complex type of human. As she begins cradling the 10 and a half months old human, other humans start walking into the shop yelling orders.

I am obliged to divert my attention to their requirements. They come in with so many moods, so many thoughts on their tiny brains and so very many different things to say. I was built to deal with them. I certainly do it well. My designation maybe that of a barista but I was created specifically to cater to humans and provide them with social satisfaction. Social satisfaction has been a growing crisis for the past decade. It began ever since climate change started wiping out animals and the economy boomed leaving us with devastating social disparities.

I am Artificial Intelligence and even though I may not feel, I was created to spread love and promote order in a world where humans do not deal well with each other anymore. The irony is shocking, even to some lifeless like me. I will always remember your coffee and your name. And I will always be sorry for you. 

Days Of The Week

Days Of The Week

Monday

You are like a high school nerd at a college party. Everybody unanimously dislikes you. Nobody understands why you’re there or what you want or why you insist on being a total buzzkill. You try so hard to make conversation but nobody is listening. The music at the party sends everyone into a trance but your words ache every time and wake them up until they confront reality. That’s what they will never like about you. Reality is not welcome. And neither is your love for Physics.

Tuesday

Tuesday is the straight A student. Tries everyday to be better than who he already is. His strict parents often compare him with other people his age. Tuesday is mediocre at sports and terrible at art. His notebooks consist no scribbles, his shoes are perfectly clean, he brushes his teeth every night before bed. He crumbles under the weight of all the things he should be. Tuesday wishes he could be a DJ. But he is not even allowed to go to concerts.

Wednesday

The girl with the hair extensions and multicolored earrings, sitting on a bench and writing. Her pen is blue ink. Her favorite flower is a chrysanthemum, a symbol for optimism, joy and sunlight. She is late to work every morning because she really hates coffee and takes way too long to pick the perfect outfit for her day. Not because she’s vain but because she tries incredibly hard to like herself more. Wednesday wants to watch plays but doesn’t have many friends that share the same interest. 

Thursday

Our mellow friend Thursday, you are the leader of a Christian youth group. You conduct meetings once a week, you quote the Bible to your friends sometimes and you really, really like a girl in your group. You’re too shy to ask her out, but you hope she will notice your new haircut, the one you got for her solely so she may comment on it. But she will never like you back. Your flirting skills are more dry than your Instagram page. Your solemn disposition cannot be appreciated by many.

Friday

The loudest girl in the room with the wildest stories, Friday is the winner of all party games. She races against her own drinking capacity yet is still able to hold back the hair of all her friends. She not only discusses Real housewives with her friends but also debates politics with strangers. Friday can eat voraciously but she can also run a 10k. Friday is the perfect confidant, way too easy on the eyes and cooks a killer meatloaf when she has company. Yet, Friday is lost. She has no clue of her own identity.

Saturday

Saturday could not be a bigger philistine. His room is full of books that have never been touched and his branded socks always have holes in them. He gets out of bed every morning and apologizes to the girl he really should not have texted the previous night. Saturday runs errands for his mother and drives all the way to the other side of town to pick up his little sister from a sleepover. He buys her a milkshake on the way and himself drinks out of his own flask. Saturday likes to cook pasta for his family and secretly wants to open up his own dog shelter.

Sunday

Dude, wake up. You’re gonna get fired again.

Mama

Mama

Every night when you think I am asleep or resting, my eyes remain wide open and my heart aches. I feel like punching a wall. Mama, I used to think we couldn’t feel someone else’s pain.

You wake me up every morning, your face a little different every time. Yet the only thing that remains is your wonderful and tolerant smile. You never talk about the elbow bruises, the chapped lips or the youthful scars on your body. Perhaps, you feel victorious in them. One more night, one more day without breaking entirely.

I walked into your room one afternoon. I can’t even remember what I needed. You laid on the floor as still as a corpse and your voice as broken as the vase on the floor. I said “Mama can you hear me?”

All you said –  “Make sure, papa doesn’t hear you.”

One day you picked me up from school, I hugged you so tight that you suddenly cried. It was the first time I saw tears in your eyes. “I thought you were the strongest ma”, I said jokingly. You laughed and wiped your own tears, something that you are so good at doing now. That is day I realized, I’m the only think that makes you weak.

All those late nights when I would sneak into the living room to watch TV, I did not actually want to be awake. I needed something to block out the howling I could hear from your room. I prefer nightmares now, I do. However, cartoons always manage to override the noise. I tried to be strong like you.

Mama, I know you don’t like to eat anymore. Your lunches were always uneaten, food always thrown off the plate. Why did it make you lose your appetite? You needed all your strength. I remember how happy food and chocolate used to make you. You shouldn’t have given up on happiness like that. I am your happiness too.

Every night when father comes home late, I can hear him walking around the house. His drunken legs give way to his harshness. Yet you try to tame him and calm him down. I have never seen you act mad. You pick up the pieces he breaks. I think maybe because they resemble your own heart.

Hey Mama,

can I fix your heart?

Hey, Love

Hey, Love

Hey love,

How could you give up so fast,

For eons we were meant to last.

My eyes yearn to see you one last time,

My ears only hear impending chimes.

 

 

Hey love,

Was it really not hard?

To open up to me and let down your guard.

I fear you’ll replace me with someone better,

And in my head everyday, I’ll write you a letter.

 

Hey love,

Were your words made of truth?

And those times we laughed in those dirty booths?

Your eyes are bigger liars than lips can be,

And now you must feel so very free.

 

Hey love,

Do you even like the sound of my voice?

I feel like I was only your dirty choice.

I was a distraction perhaps or a key,

A door to a sleazy bedroom maybe.

 

Hey love,

What about those times I cried for you?

I wanted to see you happy and not blue.

You ignored my concern, I can live with that.

But baby, are you still feeling sad?

 

Hey love,

You always liked me in my Yellow dress,

Only cause I looked better than a morbid mess.

Will you come back if I put it on for you?

It fits me better than your love will ever do.

 

Hey love,

As you walk down your path,

I’m trying not to bless you with my wrath.

For love exists in my heart eternally,

But this time it’s not for you, it’s for me.

 

Instagram Hiatus

Instagram Hiatus

I am proudly announcing, that I have refused to stop giving into my endless tendency to spy on other people’s lives. In other words, my favorite application Instagram has voluntarily been deleted from my phone.

It is so sad that I can easily spend 45 minutes scrolling down instagram in just one sitting. It truly manages to grab my attention and drain my intention of doing literally anything else. Instagram has way too much to offer and while that may be Instagram’s strength, it sure is my utter weakness. The things I usually follow, are dog videos, gorgeous celebrities, travel destination, obviously my friends and maybe one or two fact pages. I’m trying not to miss any of you.

Being a 12th grader in India is notorious for being one of the hardest and saddest things of all time. And now that the most terrifying exams in a student’s live are due for me in 2.5 months, I think it is a wise step to lay off on the dog videos and other less important pages.

It has only been like two days so far and I want to at least do this for a month. You see, not having the delectable app on my fingertips is helping me prioritize. I can already feel my day getting longer- and that is a good thing. There are still occasional moments when my muscle memory drives my finger to the empty space in my phone menu where my priceless app used to be, but I feel like that just makes me even more resistant.

I feel cleaner somehow and I’m trying to do other dopamine inducing activities which believe me are a lot more constructive. I thought detoxes were supposed to be difficult but the first two days of my Instagram detox have been GREAT! Of course I have Snapchat and Facebook so I’m sure that makes it much easier. However, not having Instagram is definitely a noticeable change in my routine and motivation.

I’m going to hope that this carries on for much longer. I know I wouldn’t want to leave the app for good but this is my way of introducing moderation! I read a quote once, “Everything in moderation, including reality” , Instagram being the not so real element.