Monday, 23 February 2015

This One Is For You

Hey you,

I can see the cross you have been carrying around on your shoulders. A burden large enough to weigh down the act of letting go. Letting go is simple. Imagine dropping a hot potato. Plop. And you can walk away. But sometimes, we do not carry hot potatoes. Sometimes, we carry crosses we have been nailed & chained to, be it by our own shackles. And letting go can threaten to crush you under the enormous weight.

I can see that. That is no small cross. And you cannot make it go away on a paper plane.

But crosses can be bridges. They can help you bridge a vertical drop between two high cliffs, move on to the other shore, separated at the moment by a gaping hole that threatens to engulf you whole. His form of words may have been part of the cross you have to bear, perhaps for the rest of your life. But there truly is no reason why it cannot help you take flight, away from his world and ideas. Those same words, the same form of art, twisted and hurtful in his mouth, can transform to freedom and flight in yours.

Words are just the chosen weapon of choice. Words are also just the chosen form of medicine. What makes you different, stronger and beautiful is the silence in which you can etch this learning into your mind. What makes you you is that you have chosen healing over hurt. Why else would so many beautiful people find you now? Because you have made space for them to come to you.

Hey you. Like attracts like. You know where this comes from.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

I got my first ever tattoo yesterday. It was Feb 6, 2015. We started at 4.30pm. My artist's name is Sandip aka Sandy & his studio is in Mulund. I wore a pink gunjee & a shirt, denims & new sneakers. And I was accompanied by Ramya.

It took three hours.

I did not yell. I did not cry. I cringed & winced. I may have wrung Ramya's hands a few times in pain. I apologised. I swore a bit.

I have Kaali & Shiva on my left forearm.

This is real. This finally happened. I have waited almost 15 years to get a tattoo. And now, it's mine. I sometimes look down at it to check if it really happened.

I wanted a tattoo that I could see. Because I got it for myself. Putting a tattoo in a place you cannot see is the inking equivalent of choosing a career so you can flaunt it. Tattoos are for life. They are a stamp on your body. Your body is your only dependable home in this lifetime. And putting something on it for the sake of anybody but yourself is a humongous mistake.

It's barely been 24 hours and it already feels like a part of me that's always been there. A few people have asked me what it signifies. I have told them I am Bengali & we worship Kali. Most of them have accepted this as a solid reason. Only two people on this planet know the exact, completely real reason why I got this tattoo. One of them is me. The other is the man. We will probably take the reason to our funeral pyres. I told part of the reason to Ramya. Kaali has always felt like me, who I am and what I can be.

Some people have leapt up & said "hey, this is so you!" They have an idea but the real picture is a lot more esoteric.

I was very stoked about this tattoo before I got it. Several reasons; it's a sketch by one of my favourite authors & mythologists, Devdutt Pattanaik. It's Kaali. It'd scandalise my in-laws, which is a reaction I usually have a lot of fun seeing unfold. It'd also piss my mum off, which is a much more responsive reaction than ignoring me, which is what she has been doing these days. And finally, because I have always wanted a tattoo, long before it became the big rage, it felt good that I was finally gonna have my own.

By the time the day arrived, I was most solemn about the process. It felt like a very real ritual, something to be taken seriously, something to be honored, cherished & if possible, fathomed. I no longer cared about how my in-laws would react, I did not care if mum saw it, I did not bother with details. I read about precautions, saw a doc & went right ahead. I sat through the pain, penetrating through its layers, seeing it transform from just pain to wave after wave of an awareness: I have a body, it is mine, and it can transcend pain. I also realised it is possible to get addicted to pain; after a point, it feels normal, natural, like the ebb and flow of life in your veins. Is that how victims are born? I also realised there is no good pain or bad pain, just pain that you can handle & pain that you cannot. Is that how Siddhartha realised all of life is suffering?

I was getting a tattoo for me. Everything else was a by-product. I will not flaunt my tattoo. I won't wear clothing so that I can reveal it - I will wear what I feel like. I will not keep talking about my tattoo. I will treat it like a limb: a completely natural, normal part of me. Because it is.