One nation, different worlds

It seems like very different worlds exist in India at the very same time. Our problems appear to be first world when compared with that of the poorest living in our country. While we are debating about ways to kick start the economy and hearing about making India more self-reliant, a woman gave birth on-road and walked about 160 km more after one hour of giving birth. In search for some assistance, rest, and clothes for her newborn, she and her husband walked miles before they finally got some help from local people. This shows an uncanny difference between the living standards of people who are residents of the same nation. I have no right to point fingers or put blame on anyone for this situation because I have done nothing to make a change for some betterment. I have posted agitated tweets when I felt wrong was done to me and my family, written emails to the government but got no response from their end. I was active when it was for my family and ignorant otherwise. This is because I know no better than this. The shouting in your head will silence itself after some time because this is our reality which we have internally accepted and if you can’t digest whatever is happening before your eyes, you can choose to move out of this setting. I have the luxury of leaving this country behind but the major lot living here has no choice. They can’t run and they can’t shout because their gut is empty, they have given up the hope of living a better life ever. For them, it is still about survival and we are in two completely different worlds.

We all must have seen hundreds of movies and read books teaching us that good will always win over the filth of power. But seldom have we come across a magic lamp to make that happen. In reality, it is the other way round where people build upon empires of power and lust for position from institutions which originated initially from goodwill and sermons about enlightenment. These reverse cycles have existed long in history and still prevail because those institutions had acquired the trust of people, all the people living in this nation. It is then easier to feed on people’s devotion and trust and polarize them towards completely different paths. These paths are painted in queer colors which display a plastic model of the truer society. People very easily believe in them and the powerful pave ways for themselves. In my country, this practice has blinded some and wounded others.

To think India as a whole is very difficult on many levels. Those who do consider all at the same level are misguided and mistaken because my nation is a jumble of strata of people who know nothing about other people’s world and can’t care less to know. Every entity is wronged in one way or the other, scarred with the mishaps of their past. They are either filled with complaints or attempting to seek revenge for all the wrongdoings to their tribe. Everyone carries a piece of baggage of the past accounts with them, only increasing by each day. After all, when has anyone ever forgiven wholeheartedly and started afresh.

India is still home to all, the ones still fighting and hoping to bring change, those who have turned their faces away, those who look for their benefit in disguise and for those who have lost all the strength. What has blurred is the understanding and communication between the groups, resulting in the formation of their own nations in India.

Jasnoor Kaur

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“Aabiya, get up to eat, my child”, Ammi said in a soft tone placing a bowl of poha and dishes beside dry fruits and milk on the table.
Aabiya still half asleep sat on the bed rubbing her eyes. She saw outside, it was still dark. It was time for Sehri. Abbu and Aqdas, Aabiya’s younger brother were already gathered near the table so she picked up the pace, washed her hands and face, made a bun of her clumsy tangled hair, and joined the family.
Sehri was usually a mix of dinner and breakfast at Aabiya’s home, there were quite a lot of things but Aabiya couldn’t eat much. She knew that if she didn’t eat enough, she would starve the whole day but her stomach was wobbly. She didn’t feel like gulping the food, that was Aqdas’ style of eating.
“This is the best time for Roza, the whole world is just stuffing themselves day and night as they have nothing else to do”, said Abbu, cutting melons he brought unknowingly at double the price from the street vendor yesterday.
“Eat, sleep and play video games, I am absolutely not minding this new normal”, Aqdas gabbled.
“This is what you used to do even when the school was open”, Ammi said and everyone giggled.
Aabiya felt comforted strangely for a few minutes. Listening to the same talks of the only three people she had physical contact with for more than a month now, didn’t bore Aabiya this time.
After eating, Aqdas and Aabiya went to wash the dishes and the elderly went to sleep.
The next morning was just like every other morning. Abbu was cleaning the house and Ammi went a bit paranoid over her sore throat.
“We already got it checked with four doctors, Hadiqa. You are all fine, stop being so antsy”, said Abbu, kicking Aqdas as his nth trial to wake him up.
“Aabiya remember to make me green at night and use those Kashmiri tea leaves, they are good for the throat”, Ammi said, glancing at Aabiya and she knew in that instant that today the duty of washing clothes would be allotted to her.
After doing all the household chores, the family gathered again for board games. This way everyone could distract themselves from the news. Nobody was interested in hearing the news even Aabiya’s Abbu was sick of it by now.
Lying on one side of the couch, Aabiya wasn’t much interested in the games, not doing anything perhaps. Not thinking, not worrying, just hanging in the layers of uncertainty the time had to offer.
After an hour, everyone was not in the mood to talk much or do anything which happens when you have not eaten in the last twelve hours. Ammi and Aqdas went to make preparations for Iftaar, Abbu went to pray and Aabiya was doing her college work half-heartedly.
But she wondered that isn’t this everybody at this time? Half-hearted. Or this is how it has always been. Her contemplations were so clouded and indecipherable that she felt all of this to be fruitless.
Finally, it was time for Iftaar, everyone gathered around the table. The quantity and variation in the food items rose exponentially from Sehri to Iftaar but the quotient of healthiness depleted significantly.
Abbu shared a few funny videos from his Whatsapp group, Ammi shared a few new recipes Khala tried and this was followed by a long session of family gossips and talks.
Aabiya talked, laughed, and ate a lot. She felt lighter and warmer. After the feast, the family went for the fourth prayer of the day. At night Aabiya and Aqdas went to clean the dishes.
When Aabiya came back to her room, she took a diary and a black pen from the study table, flipped open a random page of the diary and wrote:
“Love exists in all the bits and pieces,
the wisdom to derive it is hard to attain.”
She felt the slightest of content, she had felt this year.

Journey

Aimlessly treading the marked tracks heaped with a baggage of pain and discontent which almost every tramp on these roads carry but seldom stops to discuss,
I gulped in as much water as I can to set me off for a very long trip. But little did I know that the measures taken in haste and anxiety often don’t lead anywhere greener,
Just like ever traveller, I too have to go through it all, the suffering when the ache peaks and the happy runs down the hills,
The palpitations and dry mouth are too conspicuous sometimes that they embarrass you so much so that sometimes you wished that you had never started walking that path.
All this is just to make you realize that neither bitter nor the best, it always comes in package for you to explore. I know because I am there right now. Standing on the cliff.

jk

Kinetic Misfits

We, the creatures find it really hard to put ourselves in motion

Procrastination is a long lost subject for us, we convince our minds to not to do the things which don’t require immediate addressal,

there is striking off of tasks from the TO DO LIST, only its implication is a bit different.

It requires eccentric routines to help us shift from dead to tired
and with a pinch of modesty, we take pride in the ability to still fuelling our intellectual and financial engines somehow,

I would like to believe that we the misfits, are curious and driven about a lot deep down, it just emerges in various outlandish forms.

Some of us have made peace with ourselves,
others are still loathing their hearts out,

but if I may speak for my community, we can be super productive and have our lives the way we have always dreamt but today we just don’t feel like it.

-Jasnoor Kaur

Not doing enough

I am weak and indecisive, I have gobs of problems in myself which I try to address every day. I successfully recognise them but almost always fail to deal with them. This is not only me but almost everyone maybe. “You should not be so hard on yourself”, I have heard this quite a lot and I know that I do dislike myself or keep questioning every new habit of mine but that is just for the sake of it. I never get too moved by things that I start working on myself diligently. To be very honest, I give up the building energy too soon for it to turn out in something fruitful. This rant keeps on playing like an eternal song in my life. There is a need to let go a lot of things in life so as to live a relatively satisfactory life. I am never ready to let go those things because in my opinion whatever it is, it defines me, it is a part of me which once in a while brings a spark in my eyes though after digging deeper, it just leaves me with more tears and discontent. I partially like the person I am becoming, I have left the gates of betterment open always but the guilt of not doing much about it or perfectly tread the path I see for myself, aches me.

Missing what you never gained

Where you are plantedParvaneh gazed out of the window of the taxi, looking outside blankly, reading the name boards for the streets as the taxi passed by. A roadside Parvaneh gazed out of the window of the taxi, looking outside blankly, reading the name boards for the streets as the taxi passed by. A roadside florist had the most different variety of flowers, far different and colorful than the ones the local florists of her city had. “Such beautiful lilies”, her father pointed at the window for her mother to look. Parvaneh really doubted that those were lilies but she didn’t care to dig deeper into the topic.

Parvaneh and her parents have come to a nearby city to meet her father’s ill sister. Parvaneh has never met her aunt much and in general, she is not much attached to her paternal or maternal side of relatives. The necessity of making an obligatory visit to aunt Poonam’s lead the family to take a two-day break from their daily lives and travel to a nearby city.

Parvaneh didn’t want to come because she had to work on her CLRM project, studying the impact of the technological advancements on the unemployment rate, not that she was interested in the subject but she had always dreaded the deadlines and the thought of lacking behind in studies in any way. Nevertheless being a single child is always a struggle, her parents couldn’t let her stay alone for two days and couldn’t leave her at someone else’s house either. She was just waiting for these two days to end.

Aunt Poonam’s house was a decent sized double story house surrounded by a garden from all the sides but the house and the garden were not taken care of that well which was apparent by their appearance. The house had not been painted from like centuries and the garden was filled with weeds and rarely mowed. Parvaneh spent most the noon of her arrival day in the backside verandah on a swing chair. She was mostly collecting data for her project on her laptop that she had bought with her, also this was better than the much-dreaded human interaction. In the evening, she went out with her dad to a nearby market looking for some local street food.
Next morning, Parvaneh woke up early and went out to the balcony. Her room was on the first floor to the rear side such that the balcony faced the house on the right side of her aunt’s house. The door of the room of the other house facing her was also open. There was a canvas in that room which had a painting of a girl sitting on a swing chair with her laptop. Parvaneh couldn’t believe her eyes, it was her sketch from the previous day. First, she thought that maybe she was mistaken but the girl in the sketch was wearing the same blue striped t-shirt that she was wearing yesterday. Though the sketch was extremely fine and intricate she felt kind of exploited.
She wanted to meet the person who made the sketch, ask the reason for breaching her privacy and at the same time appreciate the art. She thought of going to the house but decided to wait in the balcony for that person. She stood there for around 10 minutes when a boy, wearing a brown plaid shirt and baggy faded jeans, looking nearly her age emerged from the right side of the room to grab some textbooks kept on the table behind the canvas.
The boy disappeared to the right side of the room again as immediately as he appeared. She wanted to stop him but didn’t know what to call him. She ran downstairs because she figured that the boy was probably getting ready to go somewhere. The boy appeared on the front porch of his house just as Parvaneh came out of the house. She faked a calm expression on her face and walked to the front gate as if she ran into him by chance.
“Hey!” she said just when he was heading out of his house.
“Hello! Never seen you here before.” He said.
“Yeah, came to see my aunt, she wasn’t feeling well lately.”
“Oh, okay.”
“Did you draw my sketch yesterday when I working in the backyard?” she asked while noticing the freckles on his face. She began to realize that he had deep dark brown eyes and archly curled eyelashes.
With all the noticing of his facial features, she missed the beginning of his answer but the portion she heard was about that how he loves drawing new and different things and usually can’t find much inspiration around.
Parvaneh got stuck at the word inspiration like the guy had actually said that her image of working on her laptop was pretty inspirational for him.
“Is it okay with you that I drew you?”
“Yeah, fine. Do you study arts?” Parvaneh asked randomly.
“No, I am doing bachelors in Aeronautics. Well, I am getting late for my class so I should probably be going. Nice talking to you.”
“Yes alright. I just wanted to say that I really like the drawing.” She paused. “You can text me some time when you are out of ideas as to what to draw. I am not an art person but some of my friends are really good at this stuff.” Parvaneh had no such friends and she didn’t know why she even said that in the first place.
That boy giggled and said okay. Parvaneh wrote her name and number on the backside of his notebook. “Parvaneh, nice name. I am Ayaan.”
“Bye Ayaan.” They both smiled and he left.
Parvaneh came home but couldn’t stop thinking of Ayaan and his drawing. She thought that he would definitely text her. Why wouldn’t he? If he can draw her sketch, he can text her. No text ever came. She would have messaged him if she had his number. She didn’t realize that she could miss a person she had talked to for only 10 minutes. She had infinite imaginary conversations with him in her head but this didn’t make sense, how can you miss something so transitory. She felt stupid and the feeling was real and she knew it. She subdued the feeling because she was missing what she never had.

-Jasnoor Kaur

My thing of beauty

Its all stored inside a glass dome
like a box full of warmth lying intact in my lap
for I can open it whenever I like,
the contents please me the same every time.
It is altogether a different place
where I can bound more with myself
and the Earth around me.
The beauty is in the way it invigorates me,
the flowery hope that blossoms quietly within me
feeling like a soft burning lamp.
The beauty is the tears welling up in my eyes
when I open the box,
because of the utmost happiness I gain from it.
Despite the rough and tired days, dejection and
helplessness in the nights, that thing of beauty
always brings me home.

-Jasnoor Kaur

Self Note 1.0

I have always been afraid, afraid if I am doing something wrong, hurting others or jeopardizing my so bright future in any way. I feel accountable to comply to the norms, people around me ardently believe in and want me to obey.
It’s the guilt that is always holding me back from joyously doing what I feel is right and others don’t. The highest degree of freedom one can ever attain is freedom from guilt (heard somewhere, I don’t remember where). For this, first you need to be comfortable with yourself and actually that’s all that is needed. Facing the world won’t be that tough if your beliefs are entrenched in your brain. 

The mask of optimism and hustling hard won’t last long if that is your basis of living. Hustling hard is surely the key to almost everything but it should be driven by a soul that has faith in itself. Sometimes I feel so fucking familiar with myself when I do not shed pity with the entire fake self love, it’s too unlike anyone I presume. Tediously trying to love yourself and being accepting of all the other people you meet daily, is cool only if you want to mindlessly slither through your days.

 Everyday what you face is trash (in the form of people and your own insecurities) and if you don’t filter that trash, it may stack on your chest and choke you from the inside. Start clearing it out soon before it blocks all your working systems. All that you are required to do is respect your decisions and then follow them happily and unapologetically. You will hurt many but then hurting is inevitable (so better have a thoughtful decision making). Conflicts in your brain better be managed by your own conscience first rather than other people’s biases. I know, many people do not have the luxury to have such high self esteem and courage to pursue what they actually feel like (well not everyone can be tony stark), but prioritizing your happiness and saneness over others is prudence.

-Jasnoor Kaur

From one idiot to another

Soon you shall start feeling all wobbly and shaky
your stomach may begin to churn and even imagining food can make you sick. 
Dodge all the questions that people put,

and relinquish at the attempts of looking at the brighter side. 
Be quick on your feet to sponge up all the unnecessary challenges or petty games that you yourself throw your way. 
You are at the beck and call of your mood swings,

wanting to cry and shout loud but too tired to process everything again. 
I know you want to breathe all the uneasiness out, 

but please don’t be a bigger idiot to think that you have to find a way out. 
For no alley will lead you to that door but acceptance, 

you need to welcome what you dread the most and pet your blemishes with a dutiful soul. 
Try to embrace them as no one else will ever do that for you, 

fight the battle with your flaws by your side for then there will be no inner war to cater. 
-Jasnoor Kaur

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