A Play Of Words And Faces

“So what kind of music are you into?”

“Metal and some Hard Rock.”

I heard a patronizing chuckle.

“So you are one of those types. Is that why you had long hair?”

It was just another one of those get-to-know-each-other conversations where the person puts in very little effort to hide the fact that they are classifying you. Putting you into categories where you seem fit, based on assumptions that leave you wondering if there exist rumors about you that you aren’t aware of, or is this person really THAT delusional?

I have been a helpless victim (Did you just say victim? That’s weakness. Are you sure you don’t suffer from a Victimhood Complex? Are you sure you aren’t in need of some psychiatric help?) of these conversations and many more, ones where I am made into things I wasn’t aware I was. Dealing with this identity crisis for me has been far too complex and almost always unsuccessful.

When people do get the categories correct (Oh, you’re an atheist!), it’s the negative connotations that come along which are irritating. Being an atheist doesn’t imply I’m nihilist or angry and frustrated. Although going through bad life experiences, death of a loved one for example, is the reason some people turn into a Godless state; most others are atheists for purely logical and rational reasons. Some others reject the existence of God in favor of an even more supreme absolute; humanity. I guess atheists get a bad rep for deliberately choosing to stay away from the perceived majoritarian beliefs and lifestyles.

“I am afraid of speaking to atheists.”

“Why?”

“I always feel they might make me one of them.”

The immediate consequences of these assumptions are never good for either of us. I can’t count the number of times I have been told I’m unpredictable which has always come as a surprise since I lead a pretty mundane and consistent routine and thought pattern. Maybe the unpredictability doesn’t lie in my actions but in the fallibility of your baseless assumptions about me. No relationship, or conversation for that matter, can happen without a certain amount of trust. Trust comes with consistency. False judgements create a distorted sense of this consistency.

People would generally react to this situation by ‘sucking up’ to people which can be a total suppression of the individuals true identity. An obliteration of individuality. It can lead them to behave in ways they never would just to seek the approval of a group. While this can be positive reform in some cases, it ultimately leads to a suffocating effect where the individual feels like they are no longer in control of who they are. ‘Lost’, ’empty’, ‘confused’, and ‘insecure’ become regular states of the mind.

My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

I’m standing on a stage
Of fear and self doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway

“My Body Is A Cage” by Peter Gabriel
(originally by Arcade Fire)

 

How do I deal with this? I generally try my level best to not be judgemental towards people and give them a fair chance to reveal themselves. When I do encounter people who I feel are judging me in disagreeable ways, my response is either in silence or when the situation is appropriate enough, I like to play along with the statement and make a really offensive and/or silly joke about that particular stereotype. Not only does it take away the awkwardness but also manages to give the person some food for thought. Let them be aware that there might be a lot more to you than what meets the eye, you just might be the most perfect person for them if they hadn’t been looking at you through a fractured piece of glass.

“So, are you in a relationship?” She asked after a long period of silence. I didn’t know how much information she had gathered about me in the course of this conversation. I didn’t actually want to know. I didn’t want to know what she thought of me. Somehow it just seemed too irrelevant even though we had been around each other for a considerable amount of time now.

“No”

“Do you think you’ll find someone?”

“I guess I’m weird enough to find a real special one.”

Red

The monk had to bite his tongue

Before he could admit it to himself

He had seen the girl during the festival

And she had stayed in his mind ever since

It was the first of his innocent sins…

I wanted that rose so badly

I wrapped my flesh around its thorns

The way it stood, bright red

My hands are withered, but my heart is clean

Why did you do this to me?

He spoke to her so frequently

She seemed to him so disturbed

What is wrong, my child, he inquired

Her face twitched and made sounds absurd

Her parents had harassed her

And now all he knew was rage

I wanted that rose so badly

All my prayers were for it

The way it stood,so brightly

My mind is without peace, but my heart is clean

Why did you do this to me?

They decided to end her misery

He was man enough to help her

He broke into her house and killed her parents

She looked at him and smiled and that smile was treasure

But the smile melted away

And her eyes turned sinister

I wanted that rose so badly

I betrayed my God for it

But still it stood with so much pride

My conscience is stained, but my heart is clean

Why did you do this to me?

They put him on the stake next day

All the monks and villagers

She was there too, with a smile

He was treated like the killers and pillagers

They burnt him while they cheered

And he wept through his final moments

I wanted that rose so badly

I traded my life for it

But it stood like nothing had happened

My body burns, but my heart is clean

Why did you do this to me?

Ray Of Hope

She finally reached her wedding venue
A couple of hours late
Their car had broken down
The guests had been waiting
She first saw her sister
Who gave her a look of utter disappointment
Her mother looked disgusted
And her father disinterested
But she didn’t mind
It was her wedding after all!
Gone were the days
When she was told that she’ll be kept in an asylum
She was going to be a wife now!
They gave her the ring
She fumbled and it fell
Three times
He smiled, she giggled

They were announced man and wife
Everyone made their speeches
But her mother was nowhere
Locked in her room
She was sulking
While her father flirted with young ladies
But still, he smiled

She said she needed a break
Went to her room
And feel asleep
Three hours later
He was at her door
The guests were impatient again
Some had left
But still, he smiled

Everyone assembled in the floor
While she stood in the balcony
Ready to throw a bouquet
But she never did
Just stood there smiling
Her sister snatched it from her
Threw it into the crowd
And gave her an angry look again
Do not create a scene
She had been clearly told
But she had failed
But still, he smiled

They went to the garden
Half the guests gone
Music was played and the dance began
Her parents began quarrelling
And soon turned into an ugly fight
The guests left
It runs in the family they said
He was smiling no more

Angry and sad, he left
But She danced
The music had stopped
But she kept dancing
To her own music
Her dress was in a mess
And the entire hall was empty
But she danced
Smiling and joyful as ever
Like a ray of hope
In a mad, mad world…

Lost In The Moment

He and She were in the garden
Sitting under a tree
By a quiet mound
Sitting quietly
He held her hand
She shivered
And gave him a delicate nudge
A faint smile broke across their faces
She let go of his hand
Picked a flower from nearby
And began playing with it
He sat watching her quietly
There was romantic tension in the air
Suddenly He wrapped his arm around her
Pulled her closer to himself
It was the first time they were enjoying
Since their infant died
The boy had climbed a table
And walked out of the window
Fallen down to his death…
She was giggling as He pulled her closer
It was a relief for him to see her not crying anymore
She placed her palm on his face
And stared into his eyes
Tired they were
They had been all this time
But now there was life in them
They had made it through
And were happy again
Cuddled very close to each other
Listening to the sound of their breathing
Lost in a moment of heavenly love
Finding ultimate solace in each other’s company

They heard bustling of leaves
A chick fell from the tree
Rolled down the mound
Right next to them
There were ants all around it
Feeding on its flesh
Hollow eyes with worms piled inside
It was twitching with the activity inside
Putrid stench emanating from the carcass
She was on her knees, crying
He kicked the corpse in a fit of rage
She wept hysterically
Shattered and helpless
He stood in silence…

A Love Letter to Online Relationships

‘They’re not your real friends, you will never meet them. There are no real emotions, it’s hollow’ said a friend of mine about internet friends. It made me boil with anger. The same rage fills me up every time when someone says ‘What if it’s a fake profile?’ when I tell them about my Facebook friends. Acceptable or not, online relationships have been something I’ve often thought about, I’ve often wondered if they’re better than irl friends.
As opposed to my real life friends, I might never know what an online friend actually looks like irl, their address, or what they smell like, or if they come from a rich family. However, I do know things about them that I wouldn’t know about my real friends. Superficial details aside, I know what their real thoughts and feelings are, I am more well-acquainted with their likes, dislikes and points of view than those who are physically present around them. I often find it bewildering how I find it much easier to vent to an online friend rather than to an irl friend or even to a family member. Part of the reason is that I know that an internet friend will never bitch about me neither will they judge me because they themselves have gone through similar phases and the lack of fear of social stigma, which often leads to heavy unpleasant judgements in real life, will allow them to vent out to you as well instead of deriding your feelings by projecting their insecurities which often happens with the ‘real’ social circle.

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Venting to an online friend comes with no cost. There are no responsibilities attached. Sometimes the person you are venting to might develop a deep connection with you, other times the process might just end up being severely impersonal. All it comes down to is finding the right person you want to develop a friendship with. Again, finding like-minded people online is far easier than in real life. We often find ourselves surrounded by people we can’t relate to one bit and yet the ‘friendship’ drags on as a part of some social obligation. This problem doesn’t arise online, like a particular genre of music? Get on a music group, like a particular celebrity? get on their fan forum, follower of a particular ideology?, it’s pretty easy to find people with mutual interests. Another great aspect of online relationships is that since there are no responsibilities attached, you can break free from the relationship whenever you desire without any drama or the awkwardness of meeting the person in public. Once you block the person, it ends the relationship forever. For good.
Hollow or not, I do not care. I love meeting new people online, much more than in real life. I don’t have to constantly worry about how I’m dressed or how I smell or about acne when I’m speaking to someone online. I get to meet people from the most diverse societies, cultures with really interesting religious and art history. I see people who are discriminated in real life and are severely depressed but they find solace in online communities where they are appreciated for what they actually are. The online world is a part of our reality and the social component is a very essential part of this reality. I’d rather have a conversation with someone online that I share mutual understanding with than be with someone irl who sugarcoats their words but hold grudges against me inside. It doesn’t matter to me how far they might be from me physically, mentally they’re in my arms holding on to me tightly and making me feel beautiful.

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