THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING OPEN MINDED

By Tanvi Deshmukh

I read an article the other day, about how sex work qualifies as real work, and no one in the world has the right to shame prostitutes and gigolos for what they choose to do for a living. While I feel extremely strongly about the LGBTQ community and the rights of the sex workers, and have always been vocal about the same, this piece shook my very foundation. I realized how easy it is to have unacknowledged prejudices in your head about topics you may, in reality, think you are in consonance with.

When we read about issues of a politically, socially, or culturally sensitive nature, we tend to be blindsided by our preconceived notions about how things are supposed to be. To put it simply, we only see what we want to see there. Upon being forced to pay attention to detail, to reflect on the things we are used to brushing aisde and overlooking, our beliefs can tumble down like a house of cards. Read full article here.

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Mirror

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish…

~ Mirror by Sylvia Plath

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Edge

What can possibly go wrong in a day? The answer is plenty. Let’s start last weekend…

Middle of the highway on ordinary weekend afternoon going to the shopping mall. There was no other option. The weather was as usual abominable. It was good we’re not teasing each other (like we always do when the boredom strikes which practically every second of every day now) not even talking in fact or otherwise we could have been dead.

All of a sudden a car materialized from nowhere and slowed down almost to a halt. I know there was  no way D. could avoid a collision. I was not driving but I can drive. Anyone who can knows what I mean. Driving is automation. You don’t forget how to drive. Your skills might decline out of practice but you still can. That was why I knew that moment the inevitable will happen and I braced myself for impact, both front and back.

I didn’t know that a human brain can process million of thoughts in nano second. While I knew that we’re heading for possible death, I was kind of hoping D. can manage to pull to the right all the way to the shoulder. Okay, that might be a stretch in a three-lane highway but it was better than being in the middle with a big truck behind us.  

What D. did was the last thing I thought he or me myself was going to do in that situation; he pulled to the fast lane instead with one handed swift motion flooring the car to the max slaloming between vehicles and came out unharmed. I thought we’re dead. And at the same time expecting a major pile- up behind us with explosion and all, similar to those big budget action movies directed by Michael Bay. None of those happened. We were back cruising as if nothing was wrong in the world. I congratulate and admire the driver of the car directly behind us for executing the same maneuver D. did with success. I am still not able to process the thoughts up to this very moment.

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Lately I am not able to sleep. I always been insomniac. My seasons are reversed. I am awake in the night and sleep in the day time. Like a vampire. But at least I could sleep. Not anymore. Since my condition declines rapidly all sort of things are happening to me but I will not trouble you with boring details. Enough to say that it’s getting worse.

Today at two o’clock while reading in bed I noticed that my jaw (which they told me years ago needed a reconstruction because the pain in my neck is causing it to tight-lock- temporomandibular joint syndrome) had difficulties moving more than usual. Out of habit I ignored it together with other pains I am experiencing lately and continue reading. A moment later I was drenched in sweat all of a sudden (not the usual sweating associated with menopause syndrome) and trembling uncontrollably and my vision swam in and out of focus I thought I was going to passed out (which happened anyway minutes later thank heaven it was only for a moment)

There are few similar cases in our country that I know of that have the same symptoms, one of those is breaching a post-partum recovery period of six weeks. Recovering from flu and failing to rest resuming hard work is another. I saw the signs from other people including my own mother. But none of those applies to my current situation so I don’t know what to think. All I know was/is I have to recover my strength. D. was not at home (still not when I’m writing this and I’m still shaky and not quite myself) I am alone. I have to keep my wits with me. Going down to search for anything sweet had proven to be an ordeal. I practically crawled my way downstairs.

Finding a source of quick energy is difficult in our house. We don’t keep unhealthy things around.Fruit I can’t digest as well as raw vegetables and doctors prescribed them out of my diet unless I put them in microwave oven for a minute till they are soft. The only thing I could find was a half empty jar of unsweetened peanut butter and I gladly devoured them with four slices of multi grain bread and a glass of milk while sitting on the kitchen floor leaning against the cabinets. My stomach turned over and threatening to expel the food. Eating anything with rapid succession is a big no-no. My ulcer cannot handle big amount of food, but with breathing techniques and sheer will, I managed to keep them inside.

I’m on the front of the computer now trying to write the experience before my damaged brain and declining memory wipe it out from my mind completely.

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Earlier last week the grandfather of D. died after battling Alzheimer for almost  seven years. He passed away quietly in the middle of the night in his nursing home bed. It was not a surprise. I predicted it and told them it will happen in two weeks. His grandmother was preparing the details of his funeral since then. I can talk a great deal about the issue of getting old and dying, loneliness and isolation  but I will not. Not this time. Perhaps in another post. But I want to say something about the way older people are easily forgotten by their nearest and dearest saying they have also their own lives to attend to. I want to tell them that’s right, you have a life to attend to, think about that, you can still resume it after your mother or father has died while your parents only have few more days to spend why can’t you not spare some of your precious moments with them, make them feel cared for, needed, loved… deaf they are deaf. They don’t realized (or don’t want to realize) that that’s their future they are looking at. Let’s see when it is their time. Then probably they will know what I’m talking about.

The funeral is tomorrow. I still have to pick outfits to go with the occasion.

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Frivolous

Today I heard that someone I know managed to board a plane (despite of our national airport being closed due to some recent incident which I know you heard of since it is a global news and trending) and landed safely in our home country an hour ago. For the first time in my life I feel a pang of envy. I used to be the one who always going away, I used to be the daring one, the careless one, the one who always going home, sometimes five times a year. Now, I am always the one who is left behind, alone.

There are so many reasons why I can’t go back to how it was. My health doesn’t allow me for one. Two, I have no home to go back to. No family to welcome me and there are no friends left either. And that is what I’m jealous about. I know the very place that someone is going to come home to. I’ve been there myself. I know how beautiful it is. I’ve met her family. Good people. I have walked the very path she is treading at this very moment. I know the feeling, I know the people, I still miss everything. Even the constant rain.

The difference is she really is going home. She was born and grew up there. She walked that road all her life. And that is something to be jealous about. I don’t have roots. She has. I spent two and a half months living her life. My way. The best vacation I ever had. I can still smell the intoxicating aroma of coffee flowers and the constant gurgles of the little creeks along the paths. I can still see in my imagination the way the forest shone with eerie greenish light from  bioluminescent fungi. I can still taste stolen kisses in the dark.

No I cannot go back. We parted ways a long time ago. My decision, her fault. That is here where we both live. I cannot go back where she came from. Too complicated. My fault. I should have known. But I knew even then that it was once in a lifetime experience. I even said it to her brother while we’re walking. He didn’t understand. They never could. 

I’m good at burning bridges but I don’t want to rock the boat. I got that impact. Seem I always left footprints more deeper than I thought. I know for certain (and by experience) that troubles will follow if I dare to show my face anywhere. Either they consider me as trouble or they are troubling me. Why I can’t have a normal existence?

Sometimes I wish it could have been different. But we cannot choose where we will love or the family we are going to be born into. With all the consequences of course. Anyway, She’s there and I am here. And that is a bitter pill to swallow. Life goes on and around. Reminds me of someone I chose not to be with because of the huge difference in status, education, and prospect in life. After ten years, seems he’s catching fast and looks like he will take over soon. What do you know… Life is full of surprises.

Daily Prompt

Colors

How utterly different would life be if humans were made of different colours. Each a different shade. And a change in their colour had a specific meaning attached to it.

One would turn a light lavender while meditating, blood red when angry, a tinge of indigo with the purest beige when shy and shiny white while making love.

And let’s say that once two souls mate for life, they acquire the exact same shade which would never change.

Let death give people time by turning them into a rust, one hair at a time, so that they have enough days to realise it’s not long to live and pursue their hobbies, tell their loved ones how beautiful they’ve made their lives and explore things that their hearts desire.

Let murderers, rapists, terrorists go all black when performing crimes and remain that way forever so that the world could acknowledge their sins which could no more be hidden.

Let a woman turn into the purest gold while giving birth. Let lovers temporarily turn into an orange, like the sky in autumn so that the world can appreciate the beauty in their relationship not based on gender or caste.

And when things fall apart for these lovers, let their beautiful shade fade away like the autumn clouds…

– Diksha Daryanani

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Half-Light

Share a photo inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story.

I took this photographs earlier today when I was walking in the park and started to get dark. I turned around and saw this scene before me. Immediately I think of Blue Bayou. A song I sing once in a while if I feel homesick and want to go home but cannot. I didn’t have my pocket camera with me so I used my phone again. Looking at the images on my screen, I want to cry. The lights on the water and the ducks (we had lots of wild ducks in the vicinity when I was growing up. They eat fish and my father shot them for food. They taste quite divine) remind me of my childhood, watching the silhouette of my father with his fishnet scooping fish in the night holding a flashlight or a gas lamp in one hand, hunched over the fish cage oblivious of his surrounding and concentrated on the task at hand. I watched him from between the split in the walls till I fall asleep. He died 21 years ago.

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Happy Easter

I saw these two giant eggs in the mall when I passed by this afternoon to buy multi- vitamins and a gift for my mother in law for her 60th birthday. I find them cute! It’s part of the decoration for Easter. See those people around it? They seem to be miniatures compare to the eggs. I had no decent camera with me but I had my phone and something is better than nothing so I took few shots. I reckon the images are good enough to give  readers idea how they look like. What you think? 

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Price

The other day I wrote on my Facebook wall something like this: What I hate the most is women who think you will grab their husbands away from them. When I wrote this I have no specific woman in mind and I am not referring to any specific situation personal or otherwise but rather talking about the subject in general based on what I witness and read online lately. I see a lot of (picture) quotes on the walls of women passing my feed saying don’t touch my man, don’t look, smile, talk etc with my man or otherwise I will kill you in all possible variations. It irritates me to the max, things like that. 

They are supposed to be killing their respective partners instead of other women. Others can only try (everyone’s prerogative no law against that) but ultimately it’s the man who is going to make the final move. They always have a choice: To be or not to be (unfaithful) don’t blame others for trying. I for one will be proud if women are chasing my husband but will be signing a divorce paper without a second thought if it is the other way around.

Killing other women for flirting with your spouse is like treating a symptom not curing the root cause. If your partner is a womanizer and unfaithful bastard you cannot do something about that. You cannot change the innate nature of someone. Leave him. Killing every skirt flapping around his vicinity is not the answer unless you want to make killing as your profession or hobby. Like I said, leave him or live with it. No use being paranoid either. My father said if someone is not into you, you can stand on your head, put that person inside a chest and throw away the key he or she will find a Houdini maneuver to get away from you. So simple is that.

Or you can play his game (What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander) and let him eat his heart out.

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Daily Prompt

The Complete Ode To Solitude

Here is the complete poem of the passage I  featured  in one of my recent posts. This is my goal, my dream, the one thing I would like to achieve before I die…

BY ALEXANDER POPE

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.

Whose heards with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest! who can unconcern’dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix’d; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please,
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me dye;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lye.

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Dance

Earlier today I saw this boat at the other end of the mall and I was fascinated with the changing colors of the lights in accordance to the rhythm of the water. It was mesmerizing to watch the harmonious dance. I stared at it for about an hour observing the hues, silhouettes and underwater spots as they continue to blend and compliment each other throwing multi colored shadows across the face of the shallow water. Amazing. I wish It is located somewhere outside in a park or a square so I can take better picture of it in a more suitable surrounding without the constant disturbance of people walking around…

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