Sunday 5 June 2016

Shoe Saga...

This was no ordinary torn, worn out shoe abandoned near a central Mumbai suburb. In its glory days, it had been an elegant pair of leather boot hailing from an expensive Italian brand, to be found to settle only around respectable feet with the slightest inclination toward the kind of flamboyance so characteristic of the 80s Mumbai. Despite the blackened edges, it still retained some of its previous glory and struck an odd sight near the contrasting green garbage bin.

I was to wait for my morning auto just a few feet away from the bin. While covering my nose to get rid of the disgusting stench, I could never stop myself from taking a quick glance at the shoe - surprised how it stood out everyday, despite my knowledge of it being there.

Thanks to my romantic self, I would spend the better half of my morning trying to imagine the life it might have seen before being dumped here. The warmth of its wearer's feet during the infamous Mumbai winter, the beads of sweat mixed with the smell of his socks during the humid days, the times he had flung it out of passion while making love to his woman, the times he had slowly and methodically tied its laces to get over the humiliation of rejection, the fervent tying and untying and retying of its laces before an interview and the last time he put his feet in it - grateful for the companionship it has offered him over the years, pained at the realisation of its inevitable end and yet excited about the possibility of buying a better and newer and probably more expensive pair. I wondered what this pair might have felt like when it was dusted one last time and hung on to the rack, never to be touched again. I wondered how it must have felt being a mute spectator to the new member of the rack acquiring its place with absolutely no history with its owner. I wondered if it shared with its successor how its owner made a squashy sound the first day it rained in the city, catching him unaware and forcing him to walk down muddy and water - logged streets in his favourite leather boots. And the darkest secret of his sniffing his socks and the boots every once in a while when he didn't have company and wonder what it'd be like to be made to go down on his fours and have the socks stuffed into his mouth, the lace tied around his neck and tugged at every now and then and the other pair being used on his exposed buttock for his alleged insubordination. And how he would weep throughout the night once the dark moments of fantasy gave way to the scary awakening of his senses.

I wondered how it came to be here, near this bin, out in the open to die its natural death. I wondered whether it was left there as unceremoniously as it's surviving now or there were silent tears or even better, a grand farewell. Or maybe during the riots of 1993, when the rest of the country was struggling with the ugly face of natinalism gnawing at the very definition of unity in diversity this country is so proud of, a Parsi gentleman was being chased by the faceless goons one fine evening and his favourite leather shoe slipped out of his feet while he was running for his life. Maybe a few feet down the road, where my auto takes a turn toward the main road is where he was finally put to rest - bloodied, bruised and without a shoe. And his favourite shoe, a few feet away from his lifeless body, stood a silent witness to a shameful history.

Dress - Linking Road, tassel neckpiece and sliders - Colaba, lipstick - Arresting Pink by Colorbar

Sunday 7 February 2016

Love is in the air(sic)

Come the month of February and the world paints itself in a nauseating shade of pink and red. Every morning, social media accounts seem to be full of notifications for some 'day' or the other. Rose day, kiss day, teddy day and what not. And then comes the mother of it all - Valentines' Day. It's a day when one is supposed to hold hands with their loved one(s) and let them know how much they are loved by taking them out for romantic dinners, giving them fancy gifts or signing up for expensive massages or dance classes together to strengthen their bond and fall in love with each other all over again.
Much has been said on this blog about the origin of this celebrated day and how it is abused by our materialistic generation. I have also written numerous posts about how feelings, whether love or hatred or fear or respect should never be restricted to one day and should be celebrated every moment through our actions. Another common theme on ze blog around February every year happens to be celebrating all the single souls who brave this red and pink circus without self - pity. However, seeing a very close friend struggling through separation this year made my focus shift to those who, unfortunately, choose to part ways with their partner when the rest of the world is busy showing their togetherness off. It's easy to be single, it's easy to accept the fact that your perfect one never happened to you and there'd be no one to take care of you, offer you a gentle kiss on your forehead when you are unwell as you slowly age. What is really difficult is coming to terms with the fact that what you had perceived to be love was nothing but an illusion and what you had invested years in, is about to fall apart, leaving you empty, alone, defeated. Getting married is a brave decision to take and I have immense respect for those who have had the courage to walk down the aisle. I have more respect for those who had their dreams of a perfect married life crushed to death after a few months of marriage and still refused to come out of it just so that their children don't have to go through the trauma of growing up in a broken family. However, my highest respect is reserved for those who were brave enough to admit that they had taken a wrong decision and chose to free the other person as well as their own selves from the bond that served no purpose, knowing very well that they'd have nothing to fall back on other than their empty couch once the final call is taken.
So, this Valentines' Day, when you see a colleague smiling politely and giving an excuse of being overworked when asked about their Valentines' Day plans, please spare a moment to wonder what they are hiding behind that painful smile. This Valentines' Day, when you celebrate the passion you and your partner still have left after six years of suffocating togetherness, consider toning it down so that the man next door, who comes home to a strange musty smell and hidden, torn packets of contraception behind the kitchen sink can take a deep breath and pour himself another scotch while watching his beautiful wife sleep. This Valentines' Day, shed a tear or two for all the love gone awry, all the dreams shattered and celebrate those brave souls who rose from the ashes of their failure and chose to live instead.

Dress - Vero Moda, oxford - Simpark Mall, earring - New Market, lipstick - Red Plum by Colorbar

Sunday 24 January 2016

Dreams born out of fear...

I'm a firm believer of dreams. Dreams, if believed in and strived for, do come true. Even with the excessive exposure to television and video games these days, I'd like to pass on the pure, unadulterated gift of dreaming to my next generation. But do we ever wonder how our dreams are born? Do we dream of becoming someone or doing something because we really want what we dream or because we are scared of becoming someone else or doing something else that we loathe? I found out the origin of my dreams and it didn't turn out to be delightful. If there's one thing that I've wanted since time immemorial, it would be independence. Independence didn't mean only being financially independent. I always dreamt of being empowered enough to take my own decisions and own up my failures. Whoever saw me as a child still talks about how my games were always about going to work carrying my mother's "vanity bag", teaching, treating patients, refusing to get married and spend my life doing household chores...However, on further introspection, I realised how this idea of independence appealed to me simply because I didn't want to end up being like my grandmothers - asking for money from their husbands for every need, quietly accepting the humiliation of being explained how hard earned money should be spent if their husbands don't consider the expenses justified, not being able to speak out if they don't want to get pregnant any more, not being strong enough to walk out of a toxic marriage, putting up with abusive fathers for years...I didn't have a very coherent idea about being independent. All I knew was that I didn't want to grow up to be one of them.
Set Theory in Mathematics explains a beautiful concept called Complement Set using Venn Diagram. If all Sets are considered as Subsets of a Universal Set U, the Complement of a Set A would be U\A which includes everything under the sun other than A. My attempt to escape the life my grandmothers have had has forced me to become everything other than what they were even if I didn't originally have the taste for some of the things I have done during this attempt.
The sudden and painful realisation of not having an original dream of my own, independent of others' influences hit me hard. Would I be a robot without dreams if the persons playing an incidental role in forming my dreams simply cease to exist?

Pants, jacket, midi rings, loafers - Linking Road, thrifted tank top - B.K.Market, lipstick - Red Plum by Colorbar

Sunday 3 January 2016

Another year, nothing more, nothing less...

As I stared into the midnight sky lit with the crackers from New Year's Eve, I couldn't help suppressing a chuckle. People making merry, watching popular actors dance and crack jokes in the idiot box, drinking and passing out in shabby hostels... celebrating is a diverse exercise indeed. What would remain unchanged on the very same day after a year is the desperate attempt to leave the failures of the past year behind and pretend, even if for a few days that everything would be all right in the coming year.

I, for one, belong to a different school. The burden of things that should have been completed in the year gone by weighs me down every time. The oh-so-familiar sensing of mistakes that would be repeated once more scares me. And the sheer boredom of the year ahead tires me even before the year has actually begun. And, just like my all time favourite poet Plath, I too keep wondering then,"is there no way out of the mind?"

Kurta - Colaba Causeway, ripped denims - Jabong(and DIYed by my love Debi), rings and earrings - New Market, silver kolhapuri - Shreeram Arcade, bindi - mom's, lipstick - Wicked by Colorbar

On a more cheerful note, I turned 26 and realised that I quite like the idea of slowly turning into a lonely old lady with an opinion. In order to celebrate ageing, I chose to go ethnic with this kurta I had bought during one of my random Colaba trips and never wore later. With age, the effort associated with accessorising is also proving to be tiresome. Hence, I go minimal on most of the occasions these days. Having no winter here in Mumbai doesn't help the layering lover in me though.

How did you usher in 2016? Lonely and unceremonious like me or grand and blurry?

Sunday 29 November 2015

Memories unsold, stories untold...

In the flinching light, I saw.
I saw traces of memories
from last night,
unpenetrated by the harshness
of morning reality,
strewn about the floor
like virgin jasmines.

Maxi Dress - Sudder Street, cuff - New Market, neckpiece - Linking Road, shirt - Nuon, lipstick - Passionate by Colorbar

It's an understatement to call this maxi my go to piece of clothing. Bought from a random shop in Sudder Street during a lazy afternoon walk with a friend on a marijuana hunt for some 250 bucks, I have worn this maxi at least thrice in the past two years on the blog itself! Same goes for the cuff that has been my staple accessory for the past four years. And even though the neckpiece is no more alive, thanks to a wild encounter one Saturday night, it has served me well for the past six months.

I'll be back with my 'oh how I miss Kolkata winter' posts but till then, take care and like I always say, keep it stylish.
P.S. If you are travelling from Kolkata to Mumbai any time before February, you can also get me some nolen gur. *Wink*

Sunday 27 September 2015

Setting priorities

A considerable part of my childhood was spent making plans on things to do once I get a job. Buying all the books under the sun, going on a shopping spree and signing up for expensive, day long dance classes topped the list. It hit me the other day that working has only taken me far, far away from the person I had aspired to become once I start earning. I've not been able to pursue my hobbies as much as I used to while studying, let alone more. I kept wondering whether it was worth it. Sure I love my job, I love living in the fastest and arguably the biggest city in India, I love being independent...I love it all! But with every passing day, I lose touch with my true self a little more. I wake up every morning - fresh and beaming with energy, ready to take on the world but what about the early morning newspaper I used to read till 12 p.m. before researching more on the topic the editorial that day was written about? What about the leisurely breakfast I used to make myself and wonder if it'd feel this satisfying even when I'm eighty? What about the hawker I used to chat with every afternoon irrespective of whether I buy Popsicle from him or not?

Life is cruel. It lures one with promises of things they have always fantasised about and then takes even their bare necessities from them. I've learnt it the hard way and therefore, decided not to let go of the few principles I've, the few people I care for and the few things I'm passionate about, come what may. I decided not to give up on my early morning exercise, reading a few pages at least once every week and talking to my parents everyday. Putting my foot down and taking this decision not only made me feel empowered but also a lot lighter. Setting our own priorities is important in order to stop disappointing ourselves everyday. What are your priorities? How do you ensure you don't compromise on them?

Pleated maxi skirt and tan tote - Jabong, tussled crop top - Max, black oxfords - Simpark Mall, silver neckpiece - Linking Road, lipstick - Arresting Pink by Colorbar
Picture Courtesy - Anu
These pictures were rotting in my draft for almost a month. Crazy working hours and hectic travelling(and a laptop that's obsessed with crashing) didn't help. But I finally showed them the light of the day! Looking at these also reminded me of the super, super fun evening I spent with my best friend during her Mumbai trip for Lakme Fashion Week almost a month back. This skirt has been my go to piece of clothing for almost a year. The crop top was a gift during my recent Hyderabad trip. Together, they make for such an effortless, chic look even though I wish I had enough energy to take better pictures.

These days, I've also been introspecting a lot regarding my blog. More on that later though. Meanwhile, if you are in Kolkata at this moment, do let me know how the kaash phool(the nerds tell me that they are called saccharum spontaneum but I find it very difficult to believe) looks now and if the Dhaakis have already started beating their drums. Oh how I miss this pre - pujo madness!

Sunday 14 June 2015

Unequal Role Perceptions

I was fifteen when I had told a friend that I want to be a single mother because "I don't want to share my baby with anyone else." I told her that I felt my mom was capable of doing everything that my dad does if she wants to but my dad can't do the same. So, I can imagine her bringing me up on her own but the idea of growing up with only my father scares the shit out of me. I also admitted that I like boys but I'm not sure about sharing things I love with them(chocolates and books being my obvious choice back then). My friend was horrified and even though she didn't tell me, I'm sure she thanked God for not being my daughter. A decade has passed but the story remains the same everywhere.
                                                                                                                        I'm not a staunch feminist. In fact, I have chosen to call myself "not a feminist" for at least the past five years. So, the idea of some people perceiving women as weak, fragile and dependent doesn't annoy me, it amuses me. Yes, I have seen women who always need someone to fall back on but I know for sure that I can bloody well protect my child in this big, bad world and provide for them as long as I have a job and I'm physically fit.
                    On a related note, I was reading an article the other day about male rape victims finding it difficult to share their pain and seek medical help because being raped isn't "manly" and trying to carry on with their so called normal life despite the regular bleeding and the pus-covered anus. A little more research on the same topic made me throw up and cry. I kept wondering what purpose such skewed role definitions of our society served other than alienating people and breaking their hearts. Putting your wife through indirect mental torture because she earns more than you do is as bad as leaving your husband because he is a rape victim. Forcing your son to go for Cricket coaching instead of Odissi classes is as bad as not letting your daughter go to school. When would we accept human beings as human beings? I see so many brave, intelligent, powerful women wasting all their energy on the eternal I-can-do-it-better-than-you fight with men instead of trying to find out what it is that they are originally good at and focus on being the best at that instead of always trying to be better than someone. If one always strives to be as good as someone at something, the person would never be able to rise beyond that someone. I should aim to be my best. If I end up being better than a few people in the process, that's only an added bonus. Is it that hard to achieve? I dream of a society where sex would be just as menial an information as someone's blood group on a form which is meant to be used only in case of emergency. I dream of a society that welcomes both a masculine woman and an effeminate man with an open embrace. I dream of a society where I won't be judged for being a single mother and my son won't be called names if he finds my aanchal comforting even after the age of eighteen. I dream of a society where I'd be a human being first and then a woman.

Maxi dress- Emami Market, cuff and rings- New Market, silver kolhapuri- Shreeram Arcade, lipstick- Orange Punch by Colorbar