Dear Reader

A very promising test cake

Happy Monday! I am taking a week’s break from writing the novel. So there won’t be any chapters to read this week.

I have a couple of things on my plate this week.

  • I am working on getting hard copies of The Dog We Stole published. I have got the book edited once more and I need to review changes.
  • I have published 3 back-to-back chapters with a trigger warning. I feel the story is in a really dark place right now. I want to take some time to think through the rest of the story. And we also happen to be in the middle of the book. Wish me luck!
  • My niece is turning 10 at the end of the week. It is one of my life goals to be her favourite aunt. So I am making her a fancy strawberry cake because she loves pink! Pictured here is the very promising test cake that I made over the weekend. Will post the final results here if it all goes well.
  • I have a couple of pending books in my to-be-read pile. I want to get through a couple of them this week.
  • I am a lazy writer and I want to take a breather. 🙂

Have a great week folks. Will be back with Chapter 15 next week!

ETWA|Ch12b: Are Eyes For Seeing?

Photo by Shawn Ang on Unsplash

Every Thing We Are is a coming of age novel where Samyukta aka Sam learns that every thing we are is not always on display. This is my first attempt at writing a novel. I started this project as part of #NaNoWriMo2020 before I fell off the wagon. Hope you will read along as I get back to writing it. All episodes of this series are available on the ETWA page. Subscribe to my writing here.


Trigger Warning: This chapter contains graphic mentions of suicide methods, self-loathing and alludes to mental health issues.


It could have been me. It could have been me. It could have been me. It could have been me.

She repeated like a chant. This was a newly acquired habit. It numbed her brain. A pleasant feeling. She found it hard to stop. She had been cruel to Adil and John even though it could very well have been her. If it were her, a girl, her classmates’ reaction would probably have been worse. And yet, she had been cruel. I am horrible. I am horrible. I am horrible. I am horrible. I am horrible. I am horrible. Another chant formed spontaneously. 

What if I didn’t exist tomorrow? This whole body of disgusting, lesbian me. What if I were to vanish. Would they miss me if I wasn’t in my room? How long would it be before anyone even notices? They would perhaps be happy to rid themselves of this prashnam. One less thing to worry about. One less justification to make to colleagues, friends and relatives.

Achams was snoring lightly now, periodically. Sam liked this white noise, a relaxing ASMR experience. How would I vanish? She thought, lying in bed, staring out of the window, paying no heed to the din of the city.

I could hang myself from the ceiling fan. What would I need—a saree or a belt maybe? It’s very painful, she’d heard from Siam. Zassies were talking about how the films make it look so easy. Anyway, she’s not allowed to close her room door. Nor is she ever left alone. So hanging would be a difficult feat. 

I could slit my wrists like a helpless heroine. That would be very dramatic. I could do it in the bathroom. How long does it take to bleed out? Do they keep track of how long I take in the bathroom? They probably do. I’ll need a knife or blade that’s sharp enough to make a gash deep enough. Mama would notice right away if one of her knives were missing.

Another option is to pop some pills. Achams’ pillbox is by her bedside. She has diabetes, hypertension and a heart condition. Her pillbox could literally be lethal. I could collect them over a week. I could vanish in my sleep. Would the capsules make too much noise popping and rustling as I open them?

What’s the point of living anyway? There’s no point. There’s no point. There’s no point.  There’s no point. There’s no point. There’s no point. There’s no point. There’s no point.  My parents are not going to let me be. They will not allow me to go to college. If Chinnu is to be believed, they will marry me off in a couple of months to the first man who shows interest. Just to get me off their hands. They already want to cure me. Wouldn’t I be doing them a favour by disappearing?

At least they would be able to put this shameful incident behind them and be happy again. Up until a month ago, they were a happy family, right? I used to think I was lucky to be a part of this family. And now they are worrying so much because of me. It is my fault. I am the rotten egg here. I am making Mama-Papa fight. I am getting Chetta all worked up. I am even making Chinnu pick sides. I am the bad apple. I had to go.

But there was nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to run. They’ve made it impossible to leave the house. Even if I managed to sneak out somehow, where would I go? If I went to one of my friends’ houses, their parents would send me back for sure. Their parents would surely know about me by now. If I was to leave the city, where would I go? Where and how do I catch a bus out of here?

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. She shook her head to make the loop stop.

If I were to stay in the city, where would I go? Who could I go to? Who would listen to me? Madhu. Yes, I could go to Madhu, she thought for a moment. But what could she do? If her parents got to know she liked me, they would perhaps do the same thing to her. I have no money either. All the money I won in dance competitions I’ve given Mama for safekeeping. It was just simpler to cease to exist. Cleaner. Calmer. 

Cease to exist. Cleaner. Calmer. Cease to exist. Cleaner. Calmer. Cease to exist. Cleaner. Calmer. Cease to exist. Cleaner. Calmer. Unscientific as it may be, the head shake seemed to have made the loops shorter.

She tried to imagine them finding her body. She conjured up their faces. A cold shiver went down her spine. No, that was a truly scary thought. No, I couldn’t do that. She began counting upwards from 1001 again, desperately summoning sleep.

Thank you for reading today’s chapter. As this is the first draft of the novel, I expect a lot of changes in subsequent drafts before this goes to print. I would love to hear what you thought of this chapter and how I could make this better. Hope you will leave your tips in the comments below.

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Next Chapter | Ch13a: A Small Talk Tsunami

The Dog We Stole Giveaway!

[Update on 27/01/2021] This giveaway ended on 24 Jan 2021. Winners have been notified by email. If you would like to buy a copy of The Dog We Stole, it’s available on Amazon here. To support my writing, sign up here.]

Dear Reader,

It’s almost a month since we launched my first eBook, The Dog We Stole! It was a giant leap of faith for me. Thanks to book lovers like you, the response has been very encouraging. Encouraging enough to get me back on the writing bandwagon with Every Thing We Are. And get me thinking about printing hard copies of The Dog We Stole. By the way, the eBook is available on Google Play Store. To celebrate this incredible milestone in our lives, Pathu and I are doing a giveaway starting today.

We are giving away four copies of The Dog We Stole to four lucky winners chosen at random!

To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is join my mailing list.

What does a fictionhead subscription get you?

  • Exclusive access to my short stories which are not available on the blog.
  • Read along as I write a book from scratch.
  • Monthly updates, book recommendations, subscriber discounts and freebies.

If you are already a part of my mailing list, I have taken the liberty of adding you to the giveaway. Hope you don’t mind winning! Would it be too much to ask you to forward this news to your dog-lover friends who might enjoy a hilarious pet biography? And thank you for being my first readers.

Giveaway Details

  • Prizes: Four copies of The Dog We Stole.
  • Winners: Four subscribers chosen at random.
  • How to enter: Subscribe to fictionhead.
  • The giveaway closes on 24 Jan 2021, 11:59 pm IST.
  • Winners will be notified via email on 25 Jan 2021.

And as always, thank you for reading along!

Cheers!

ETWA|Ch6b: Universe, A Bollywood Movie

Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash

Every Thing We Are is a coming of age novel where Samyukta aka Sam learns that every thing we are is not always on display. This is my first attempt at writing a novel. I started this project as part of #NaNoWriMo2020 before I fell off the wagon. Hope you will read along as I get back to writing it. All episodes of this series are available on the ETWA page. Subscribe to my writing here.

“Good morning Mani anna! Let me get you some coffee”, Sreeja said, unable to contain her appreciation for the Universe. Help had arrived.

Mani was not a diffident man. Diving right in, he proclaimed to her husband with enthusiasm, “Vineeth, I am telling you. There is no need to worry”. He did not bother explaining how he had heard the news or what he was referring to. Sreeja could not have asked for a better morning.

“We can cure her. Have faith. Give me a couple of days. Once this upcoming eclipse is over, I will find an auspicious time to speak to my guruji”, he said, turning his eyes up to the ceiling in reverence, at the mere mention of his guruji’s name.

“But how can the guruji help?” Vineeth was not sure.  

When Sreeja handed him his coffee, Mani was saying, “…the operative word here is to believe that guruji can help. What he offers is a way of life. It’s not a pill that we swallow that sets our life right. In his philosophy, a solution exists for all of our problems. All we need to do is to find it. And when we are unable to find it, he nudges us towards it.” Mani took a long pause to savour his coffee.  

A godman who could fix Ammu would be just the medicine the doctor ordered.

“A genius like guruji could have owned the world if he so wished. But here he is among us, helping us live our measly lives by solving our mortal problems. That for me is the greatest proof that he is not a fraud. I think of myself as a rational man. I am not going to fall for a swami type who makes the blind see or the mute speak. I have read most of his works. And I think the way of life he suggests could be one of the ways to live a successful life.” Try as he may to make his coffee last, Mani was unsuccessful. Finally, he returned the empty cup to Sreeja.  

“Anyway, I will get back to you as soon as I get in touch with him. Again, don’t worry!” he laughed a hearty Santa Claus laugh as he headed out of the house. 

Vineeth shook his head in agreement. A godman who could fix Ammu would be just the medicine the doctor ordered. With lifted spirits he headed to his room to get ready for his workday. 

Unfortunately, the hope that Mani had instilled in him did not last very long. Barely a day or two had passed before Vineeth found himself deflated. He decided to speak to his mother about the prashnam looming large over his life.

He found her on the balcony, engrossed in a book, “Amma, I wanted to talk to you about Ammu. She has got into some bad company.” 

“What kind of bad company?” Indira was the queen of downplaying her intelligence. 

“It’s a small prashnam. Nothing that can’t be fixed”, he tried to evade her question. 

“But what is this prashnam?” She was a dog with a bone.

“Amma, what have I not done for her? I’ve pampered her too much I think”, he was pouring his heart out. But she was eyeing the finish line. “That’s what you are expected to do as a parent”, she prodded him.

“To pamper her?”

“No, to help her deal with the prashnam”, she said with a hint of a smile. She had flipped that conversation like a masterchef. And just like that it was Vineeth who was being questioned.

“So this prashnam, do you think it’s a prashnam or does she?” she began.

“She doesn’t know what she’s doing, Amma.” Vineeth was flying blind.

“If she doesn’t know, then how do you know?” Indira was being deliberately obtuse.

“You know what I mean, she doesn’t understand that, what she is doing, is wrong”, he clarified.

“But what is she doing?” relentless should have been her middle name.

“How do I tell you, Amma?”, said Vineeth looking for a way out of this conversation.

Sadly there was none. “If you can’t even tell me, how will you help her deal with it?” Indira was gutting him mercilessly.

“Hmmm, she likes girls, Amma”, he recoiled from the sound of his own voice as he said it out loud for the first time.

“Is that all? Actually, girls are easier to like. They are much more sorted than boys”, Indira laughed silently.

“That’s not what I mean Amma. She likes girls. She has been spending time with a girl. My accountant, Vaithi sir, saw her kissing a girl the other day.” Vineeth was now questioning his decision to talk to his mother.

“Oh!” Indira fell silent. “Hmm…kissing a boy would have been worse, no? Or is it easier to explain away kissing a girl? Who knows!” she said to no one in particular after a long pause. 

“Anyway, how are you going to deal with it?” she was doing her thing again. Her thing where she blows hot and blows cold before putting him on the spot. 

“I don’t know yet. But I was thinking we should do a pooja…a ganapathi homam perhaps…to save us from whatever this kashtakaalam is”, said Vineeth hoping his bad fortune could be banished with a ritual.

“Aaanh…”, she said producing a sound that could mean either agreement or disagreement based on the listener’s temperament. “It is pointless to waste money on indoor fires, coloured powders and overpriced snacks. But if you must do it for your peace of mind…”

“I am too old for these things anyway. I have one foot in the grave already. Do what you think is best. I think I will lie down now”, she said ending the conversation in one deft move.

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Next Chapter| Ch7a: The Unravelling

The Death of Disbelief

Photo by Alejandro Barba on Unsplash

When I read about the storming of Capitol Hill in Washington DC, I was first overcome by disbelief. There is absolutely no going back from that breach. Soon after, I went down a rabbit hole of news. When I came up for air a couple of hours later, I realised that the gumption white folk feel in America is uncannily similar to how upper caste folk feel in India. As you know, I am supposed to have written Chapter 5 of Every Thing We Are. Instead, I wrote this poem, essentially to collect my thoughts and calm my mind. Hope you will take the time to let me know what you think.

The Death of Disbelief

I know the truth about you, America

Where ‘Black Lives Matter!’ needs to be said.

Your Proud Boys—you’ll never

Say their names—terrorists, terrorists!

It’s their ‘constitutional right’ afterall, 

to storm Capitol Hill.

What great country pits their citizens in corners

Against each other in a grayscale dual,

One maimed systemically, the other unleashed?

When you let them storm the Capitol

You pillaged through my last defense: 

my disbelief. I can’t breathe.

By letting these supremacists occupy Congress

You undermined the supremacy 

Of your institutions; of our institutions.

You belittled democracy today.

You also made a believer of me.

I believe anything is possible now. Anything.

If your superpower is under siege,  

How can I sleep in peace tonight? 

My country, my house, my body

Is no match. It’s up for grabs, 

For anyone with the right 

surname, religion, skin colour. 

You have broken through that thin plexiglass

That separates us from the cavemen 

exhibit at your Natural History Museum.

Society is a construct. Civilization is a myth.

I can see that clearly now.

The fog of decency has lifted.

You are free to sleep with a child

And grow humans for their organs.

Your country, like mine has become autoimmune,

Eating its own people, spitting out hate.

This street is Anarchy. 

Ten houses down is Annihilation.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I owe you, my reader, an apology for dropping the ball on the novel series, Every Thing We Are. I am back on it in the new year. And I can’t wait to get back into the groove. Hope you will still read along. 

As all of you must have heard December was a fantastic month for me. I published my first eBook, The Dog We Stole, on Amazon. Thej and I had planned to get it published in December, no matter what! And I am so glad he was a prick about it. Left to me, I would have dilly dallied.

I’ve been thinking of how writing fiction can pay my bills. Apparently that’s not very easily done. Publishing The Dog We Stole as an eBook was one attempt towards this goal. While I like experimenting with biographies and novels, what I really enjoy writing are short stories. Whenever I have reached out to traditional publishing houses about publishing a short story collection, I’ve been told that there is no market for short stories in English. 

What I want to do in 2021 is to build my own audience. I want to start a newsletter where I will send you one of my short stories to read on the first of every month. At the end of the year, I plan to compile these short stories and publish them as a book. More on this soon. 

Happy New Year!

Subscribe to fictionhead in 2021 for daily fiction.

TDWS | E23: Pathu Is Dying

Pathu has been coned!

The Dog We Stole is the definitive biography of Her Majesty Begum Pathumma. Read earlier episodes of the series on the TDWS page.

As many young girls do, the onset of periods made Pathu believe that she was dying. She was leaking from her chu-chu and her days were numbered. She even made Echo, her most trusted ally, check that this was the case by showing him her bum repeatedly. As always, not only was he not helpful, but he also made a tortured face that reminded Pathu of an assault victim.

Pathu had such lofty plans for her life. Plans fit for a queen. But now, they were all laid to waste. She wanted to sniff her way around the world, discover forbidden salty, sweet and spicy food from different cuisines and learn to play the jal tarang to distract the pigeons.

Pathu, never one to despair, knew that this was an opportunity for self-discovery. With limited time on her hands, she had to make something of herself before life leaked out of her vagina. Laying luxuriously on the human’s king-sized bed while he was safely secured in the bathroom, Pathu dreamt of a career she could excel in.

But for Pathu, surveillance was simply a passion. Something she did for leisure. She enjoyed it too much for it to be work.

She would be excellent at surveillance, of course. With her relentless notetaking and impeccably keen eye for detail, she could make a mark in this field in a relatively short time. But for Pathu, surveillance was simply a passion. Something she did for leisure. She enjoyed it too much for it to be work. Pathu knew that work had to be something that brought in good money and something that she only vaguely enjoyed doing. That way work would be challenging enough not to bore her.

As Pathu stared at the humans’ dinner, willing a piece of carrot to get up from its juicy bed of cucumber slices and fly through the air into her mouth, it struck her. She would be a wet waste recycler! As an advocate for climate change action, this would be the perfect job for Pathu. She loved going through garbage. The humans waste so much edible food. This apple is too brown, this chapati is too old, this curry died in the fridge. The garbage bin was a heavenly buffet of sorts. She loved eating vegetable and fruit peels, leftover rice with or without condiments and meat bones. Yummy! She was sold on this option when she saw the human dump a load of coffee grounds into the bin. “Urgh. No way! I cannot work with coffee grounds. Thanks but no thanks!”

Next day, like an alarm, Pathu woke up on time and supremely agitated. She had stayed up late thinking of other options—a voice trainer, a high jump coach, an apparel model, an acting coach, a twerking champion—but nothing seemed right. She woke up her wayward humans and barked at them till they fed her. She made sure Echo got his daily brain activity by doing circles around him and forcing him to play with her. She was settling into another great day of surveillance, and boom!

Of course, it had been before her eyes all along. How could she have missed this? How could she have been so blind? She would become the operations head. She was always overseeing these buffoons. She made sure that this household worked without glitches. From screening visitors, to round the clock surveillance, to deciding timelines, to building processes and even taking care of their garbage. Begum Pathu, the Chief Operation Officer. It had a ring to it, didn’t it? She was a natural fit.

Pleased with herself, Pathu waited for the clock to strike 11.30 am to make sure everyone took a tea break!

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Next episode | E24: Pathu Has An Action Bias

Workshop on Gender Inequality in India

Gender inequality is not just out there, it’s in here too

On 21 October 2020, development consultant Smita Premchander and I ran a series of workshops for the students of a school in Bangalore on Gender Inequality in India. This 50 minute workshop was crafted for a group of 14-17 year-old students.

Gender inequality in India is a vast topic, one which Smita has spent her lifetime working on. We faced two challenges:

  • Providing a substantial overview in a 50 minute workshop
  • Personalising the problem of gender inequality

We decided that we would look at three facets of our lives where this inequality is apparent: family, institutions and society.

We began the session with this icebreaker: Share with us your first or strongest experience of gender discrimination? As expected, participants shared a range of responses. From not being selected for football because it was considered a ‘boys sport’ to not being allowed to walk in the city alone because ‘it’s not safe’ for girls. We used this opportunity to discuss ideas of social conditioning about gender and women’s access to public spaces.

From the personal, we extrapolated to how these experiences look back at us as data. We ran a data quiz and followed it up with a discussion. The discussion unpacked data and made it relevant to them. For instance, we said, if your class of 25 students were representative of India, 8 of the girls here would already be married.

Next, we took the recent case of Vijay P Nair, the YouTuber who made an abusive video titled “Why feminists in Kerala don’t wear underwear” and turned it into a roleplay game. This case, we figured, summed up very well the deep hold patriarchy, sexism and misogyny have on our society. We divided the participants into Women, Police and Society and had them discuss the case.

We ended the session with this reiteration: We don’t know what ground zero is for gender equality because we have inherited an unequal world. As demonstrated today, inequality exists in families, institutions and society at large. And the best way to tackle inequality as individuals is by asking the tough questions that need to be asked to these structures of power. 

The detailed breakdown of the workshop is available for free download. Sign up to access the workshop.

Picture Credit: Photo by Lindsey LaMont on Unsplash

Project On Her Own_Version 2.0

I feel as though September 2019 was spent on an entirely different planet in a parallel universe. It seems like eons ago that Yasho, Sunayana, Thej and I received the Gender Bender grant and pulled off a multimedia installation project at Gender Bender 2019 while holding down our full time jobs. As I write this, that thrill of building on an idea from scratch is almost palpable. 

For the uninitiated, Project On Her Own is a call-in service where you (can still) call +91 80660 84304 and listen to everyday stories of women and share your own. We had little over a month to put this together. We organised phone booths in Cubbon Park, ran workshops with women and had over 1000 calls to show for it. You can read more about it here, here and here.

Earth has gone around the sun once and life has changed in many ways. But when the anniversary of our epic feat came around we couldn’t but revisit the ‘what next’. We’ve always talked about building out an archive for the everyday stories of women that are still getting collected behind the scenes. What if we could harness the asynchronicity of WhatsApp as an upload mechanism for stories? What if we collected stories in workshop mode from communities and groups that we are keen to engage with? Questions like these and more finally got us thinking about Project On Her Own_Version 2.0

I am delighted to report that we have begun reconvening on this idea. On Sunday afternoons, I drag myself from sleep at 3 pm to groggily join the discussion on how to move forward with Project On Her Own. I give up my nap only because I tremendously appreciate the opportunity to work with this team that works like clockwork.

More on our progress soon!

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A Wednesday In September

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If you are here for The Dog We Stole series, it resumes on Monday.

I wrote this on 1 October 2020 in response to two events that occurred on 30 September 2020—the cremation at Hathras and the Babri Masjid verdict.

Yesterday’s events belch up leaving an acrid aftertaste. I spent all day refusing to think or talk about what was happening in this country and the world. When a friend mentioned that she was too sad to read my series The Dog We Stole, I laughed at her asking, “What’s the point of being sad?”. She said, “it’s to acknowledge the emotion and to sit with it”. Through the day I was successful in hiding away behind a veil of indifference. I stayed away from all mentions of Hathras, Babri Masjid and the American presidential debate. But then came evening. 

Before bed I just couldn’t hold it in any longer and we talked about the absurdity of the situation and not knowing how to react to it. When you question absurdity with logic, you end up being the fool in the conversation. But in this post-truth world it feels absurd to ask, what do you mean no one demolished it? What do you mean you cremated her without her family’s consent? See how I didn’t even mention the insolence of the upper caste men who gang raped her and how you didn’t think anything of it till I mentioned it? Notice how stupid these questions sound when said out aloud? That is where we are at. The audacity of the administration to deny this brutal gender and caste-based violence does not shock me. I am well past shock. I feel sad, hopeless. Today, I am right where they want me to be—resigned to living in this intolerant Hindu nation as an object called woman, just the way Manu intended it. I feel powerless and disoriented in this dystopia.

With a simple sleight of hand, one of the tenets that makes us, humans, stand up straight has been violated—the basic right of affording one’s last rites in the presence of our loved ones. And with every passing day the bar slides further; faster now than ever before. What is this if not a dictatorship? It is probably true that there are millions of Dalits and Muslims who will suffer before these issues knock on my doorstep but that is a function of India’s population and my privilege more than our democracy.

This week, a popular dubbing artist in Kerala took law into her own hands and thrashed her online abuser, Vijay P Nair. What else was she to do when the law of the land turned a blind eye? Of course it’s her class and caste privilege that makes this a plausible reaction for her. I know that the time for being polite is long gone. A woman with patience will end up a fossil. But what is the way forward? Today, I simply don’t know.

That I can shut the world out when I choose to is a mark of my privilege. A privilege offered to me because I am perceived as an upper class, upper caste Hindu woman. In the hierarchy that runs the world, I am placed above a Dalit woman and a Muslim man or woman. Am I entitled to represent their experiences? I don’t feel that I am. But do they have spaces to represent themselves? And it’s 2020! Not mentioning that this is the lived reality of a vast section of Indian citizens just because they are Dalit or Muslim is unconscionable. Babri Masjid verdict does not come as a shock. It comes as a show of power, an entitlement that victims of patriarchy will instinctively recognise. Hathras has not been my experience simply because I am not a Dalit woman. But this experience is not alien to me as a woman. Socially and culturally I am conditioned to believe that I am asking to be brutally raped and have my tongue cut off if I don’t conform to patriarchy. 

As a woman, I feel ashamed to call myself Indian. Tell me why I should feel patriotic about a country that terminates its girl child, molests, rapes, mutilates and murders its girls and women, does not accept its womxn, makes arrests based on gender and overlooks complaints made by women. Patriotism is not a one-way street.

Rationally I know that hope is the only light that leads us. But today, as I sit with my grief for our loss of decency and dignity as a nation, I am blind, my head hangs in shame and I don’t know how to go on.

It is here

30 September 2020

I start my day laughing

Another day is dying

A cremation and an acquittal

Welcome to the denial.

Laughs wear many meaning

Some cheerful, some lashing. 

This one is at me,

witnessing the anomie.

I go about my day—isolating.

It’s my only way of coping

Away from the newspaper, 

TV is a blur.

Zero doses of Instagram

Against the tide I swam. 

When dinner is done, that familiar dread

A blanket of dark awaits in my bed.

I watch trash on Netflix, suppressing the chill

All the while waiting for the downhill.

It is late,

birds are awake,

I prepare to sleep—

That is when I break.

The intense dread of being a woman

Less than nothing in this nation.

And the shame of being born Hindu

in this bestial zoo.

It is here,

my bier.

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