How often have you had withdrawals from quitting cigarettes and boys who smelled like them?

I’ve been really good at quitting, for all my life. From music lessons to relationships –  I’ve quit anything that’s caused me inconvenience. So I never really had a talent because I never really had the patience to pursue anything with all I had. I’m one of your Gen Y Kids, who wants to be famous but really doesn’t know how. I’m also not a keeper. I get attached and I detach just as quick, people only have to try to tell me what to do and what not to. I literally shut people out at the snap of my fingers. Definitely not a keeper.

So when this boy crashed right into my life, like a huge tidal wave, I was of course, swept off of my feet. This one did not fit in any of my plans, but there he was, grinning like a Cheshire Cat, while I tried to wrap my head around whatever the fuck was happening, and I never could. He became my muse really quick, and that made him really hard to quit. I started writing about him, his habits, how he exhausted me, how he never stopped talking about his family (adorable) and how we went to our favourite (inexpensive) Chinese restaurant so that he could have lemon tea and I could have coffee, pay Rs. 65 and leave. We’d sit in the same place every time, an extension near their kitchen, because that was private and all we did in that private area was insult each other. It was one of those days, in that restaurant when I observed, “You smell like cigarettes.”. He came up with a defensive “so?”. “So, I like it”, I said absolutely unironically. Maybe it surprised him, I never knew what went on his head, but I’d never forget that poke on my nose because it was the one of the last few good moments before the end.

It was impending doom, whatever we had because we were total opposites. I jumped right in headfirst, while his affection came in lapses and withdrawals, like the waves of the sea. Now that I think of it, this boy who loved the mountains was so much like the sea. And even if I loved the sea like nothing else, we wanted different things.

It took me two years of diving headfirst to reach rock bottom and he obviously wasn’t there to catch me. I hurt my heart really bad.

After all this time fooling around, the end came really quick, again like a tidal wave. I was really proud of how I handled it, no crying, no ‘unblocking’, no going back, no desperate attempts to see him. Poof, I handled my broken heart like a pro and I decided to never write about him again.

It started first, at when I realised it had, when I called this mutual friend by his name. He just stared at me for two seconds and let it go. It happened again and again. Once I got slightly drunk and kept complaining about him to my friend. The most recent one was when I asked my best friend not to panic because his father taught him that it made you unable to think straight. This happened randomly and I was certain I did not #majormiss him. So I decided to take care of it like people take care of withdrawals, only god knows how. But since I was feeling especially cranky, I decided to write about it. A final work, almost like the farewell we never got.

And by writing about it I only related him to my most favourite landscape, so it’s not helping either. Let’s not forget people reek of smoke everywhere, I do too. But since I very publicly declared on Facebook how “the boy who broke my heart at 19 can’t be the one who breaks my heart at 20 (#newyearnewme), I’ll have to deal with these withdrawals, one way or another. And it’s about goddamn time.

If he was like the sea, I wonder how would the next one be? Would he be like the mountains or a hurricane, a thunderstorm or an avalanche? And the next? Told you, I’m not a keeper. How would they smell like? Of musk or sandalwood or forests? They could smell like roses and lilies for all I care about. But if one of them smells like cigarettes again, I’ll only smile at the memory of a certain boy who would always be my favourite.


The little thing my PG owner taught me about life.

Anyone who knows me or my roommate knows that finding the PG we’re currently staying in, was a miracle. It was a hot day when a broker showed us the tiniest of rooms in the dirtiest of places in Vijaynagar and we had lost all hopes of finding a good place to live in. It was nothing short of a miracle when we bumped into our place, it was there, hidden in plain sight, in the most perfect location ever. Well, not really, because just like beggars, students can’t be choosers. But if you would’ve seen the places the broker had shown us – near garbage dumps and pig steads, we were more than happy with this one, we were grateful.

The rooms sealed the deal, though. They were huge and furnished and the bathroom was perfect and we couldn’t think of anything else. We met the PG owner and we realised it was his own room, the one we had chosen to live in. After 20 years of living in that huge house, they had to move to a little apartment in Noida because their son had a job there and commuting to and fro everyday was not possible.

Not that we weren’t cynical about this ‘too good to be true’ place. My roommate dreamed that the house was haunted on the first night there. (Just to clarify, because I don’t want to get killed, she’s the brave one after horror movie sessions, I am the coward). And neither was staying here a cakewalk. It took us around 3 months to adjust to the lack of a standard source of food and money almost never staying in our pockets. And to tell y’all a secret, we’re still struggling.

One thing I should tell you now is that our PG owner talks a lot, like so much, we dread to even complain about our blocked shower. And it’s almost always the same things, what their family did when they stayed here. And obviously old people are annoying to this inhumane, apathetic generation of ours. We could be on our phones all day only refreshing our social media timelines but still pretend we’re too busy to listen to someone who needs an ear.

Fast forward to around 6 months here, uncle had employed people to fix a few things that needed to be fixed in our room and was supervising them. He looked at the line of our shoes and asked me “Beta, how many people are staying here?”. I naturally freaked out for a little bit, because that list of rules and regulations didn’t really exist for us. He then laughed and talked about how his daughter would line up about 10 pairs of shoes, one for her parties, one for the bathroom, one for her college and so on. It was around 10 minutes later he looked at our cupboard and said “My daughter had a huge poster of John (Abraham) here (that part of her room which is adjacent to ours). And then she went to Bombay for her BDS and met him. She took a lot of selfies with him”.

On any other day I would’ve dismissed it as, you know, annoying but I happened to be extremely emotional that day and I couldn’t help but really think about what he said. It was then I realised how he was still so much attached to his room, which made him attached to us. Maybe that’s why we never really needed to abide by his rules. We paid our rents late, went months without paying electricity bills, didn’t have to tell uncle or our parents to take a night out, and sometimes be late and get away with it. Our shoes, the cupboard reminded him of his daughter. Maybe, just maybe, we did too.

A person works all their life to build an estate in his/her own right, only so that their children can have comfortable lives. But when it’s time for the little birds to leave their nests, they sometimes do so by wrecking those same nests.

Uncle sent his son to Madrid to study and helped him build a very successful career. But that career made him leave his house that he dedicated his life to build. Life is unpredictable even after you think you’ve seen a lot of it.

And old people are the sweetest, most adjusting people ever. You can hurt them but they won’t tell you anything out of their love for you. And then they’ll talk to random people, like uncle talks to us. Maybe their nests have been wrecked, maybe they don’t get back the love they give and we can’t do anything to make it better.

But the least we can do is listen.

Love is a Losing Game?

I was going through old pictures in my gallery when I found these photos of Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil, one with them sitting on a sidewalk looking either distraught or passionately in love and one in which he was sitting by her grave, with a bouquet, crying. I had saved them on her birthday this year, because every time I think of Amy I go to a different zone. Today it all came back, and I decided to write about it.

It’s not that I really loved all of her songs or something. I mean they were masterpieces but most of them didn’t help me. I only listened to her when I was in the zone and I only heard either “Love is a Losing Game” or “Back to Black” on loop. If I felt a little upbeat there was “Rehab”. The rest, I couldn’t even tell you about any, because my brain never registered them, I didn’t need it to. It was not “Amy Winehouse the singer” that captivated me, it was “Amy Winehouse the person”. Mostly because of what happened to her, more specifically what her love did to her.

Amy with her winged eyeliner (so sharp it could slice someone’s throat) and a “Blake’s”tattoo right above her heart loved him so fiercely that it killed her. Much to our dismay quite literally. Their love was like a fire, all consuming, and it finally consumed all of her. When I think of her I can only imagine what it felt like to love him. Did it make ecstatic or was it exhausting? When did she cross that thin line between intense passion and violence? What made them rip each other’s face and still stick together? What was it about Blake that when he decided to divorce her she couldn’t let go and “take the high road” like most celebrities like her would? Why couldn’t she find love in someone else? How was it to involve in an addiction with someone you love? Was it their love that made them do drugs, or was it all the drugs that convinced them they were madly in love? I would never know.

I grew up reading romantic novels, I grew up believing in love and I’ll never be okay knowing that love can make you kill yourself (or other people). I’m not okay knowing that love can be so toxic it can destroy you and snap your heartstrings and be the end of you. I’m just not. A part of me is so glad I’ve never had a love like that. And I hope I never do.

But a part of me deep down wants to love like that. The fierce, intense, passionate kind of love that can make you overdose on your alcohol and kill yourself. Because that’s how you know you have power over somebody and they have so much power over you too. That is exactly how capable you are to be destroyed or destroy someone. But you don’t. Well, in Amy’s case they did. But that’s how your story lives through generations. That’s a kind of love people want to have. That either makes you a hero or a tragic end. It’s what makes people write or think about you after you’re long gone. Or as a certain Alison DiLaurentis once said “It’s immortality, my darlings.”


To friends who aren’t friends anymore.

So proud of my friend Kritika Mandiya


//this for a friend who asked me to write on a friendship that faded away. thank you for trusting me with my words.//

Remember that Sunday morning when you woke me up at 6 inspite of knowing that I would kick you right in the face for doing so?

Remember the times we planned to miss our English classes together to have food?

Remember the drunk calls we made to our crushes and then giggled about it for hours?

Remember the nights before our History exam when we solved the entire question paper together?

Do you remember any of it? I do.

I remember it as a faint memory. The one I wish to forget and remember at the same time.

I always knew I’d have my best memories with you. The only difference is, that I thought I would remember it as something I’d boast about to the whole…

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My Love Letter to Patriarchy.

Dear Patriarchy.
You know that we’ve been together all my life don’t you? No matter how much I try to think of a time when my life didn’t revolve around you, just to feel how liberating that would be, even for a few fleeting seconds, there’s no denying we’ve been together almost 20 years now. And even though I’m a person who likes inertia way too much to get up and run, I’m getting really, really tired of you.
You were hoping I’d settle for you, I’d get used to your rough edges. You wanted me to believe that it was the part and parcel of a relationship – the good, the bad, the ugly. Every time I wanted to protest, you’d throw a Christian Grey and Mr. Darcy at my face and made me believe that your “dark side” was something that attracted me to you. That no matter how much you hurt me and played with my self esteem, you actually loved me and you were my home. It took me years to realise I couldn’t have a “happily ever after” without having a “happy now”. It took me years and years to realise that you never had my well being in your mind, it was always about you, your fucked up gender roles and your fucked up stereotypes.
Dear patriarchy, for every time a guy cornered me to a wall because he thought that made him sexy, every time a guy in my play school wanted to pull my hair and kiss me because he liked me, for every time my boyfriend would misbehave and then somehow make it my fault, for every time he thought it was okay for him to hide two cellphones but it wasn’t okay for me to smile at my guy friends, every time I had to wait for the guy to make a move to not seem desperate, every time I forced myself to accept that he was dating two other girls while we passionately made out because I wanted to be the “cool” girl, not the “clingy” one, for every time you made me believe people mistreated me because I was fat, I blame you. For every time I got hurt and I thought I deserved it, dear patriarchy, there’s nothing I want to do more than shout “FUCK YOU” from the rooftop.
I know break-ups are difficult, especially if that’s a relationship you’ve been in all your life. But if I never get up and walk away, I’ll never be happy. I don’t think we’re gonna work out, because I’ll never settle for less anymore. And sorry but not sorry, you’re a loser.
Dear patriarchy, we’re so over.
Don’t call me anymore.

Your ex,

I’m exhausted.

I’m exhausted because I feel like I’m stuck in quicksand. And I’m not sure if that’s the correct analogy because I don’t even know if I wish to walk away and I can’t or if I know I could but I don’t want to. I know it makes little sense because I don’t make sense to myself. And it’s exhausting.

There’s this constant push and pull. It’s like my mind is swinging to and fro and I can’t stop it. It’s in a state of inertia and I’ve almost started liking it now. But it’s exhausting.

I’m exhausted because I keep running to a person I should have let go ages ago. I feel ecstatic when I’m with them, I feel so loved that my heart could burst. It’s a high I never thought I’d be able to feel. But then they take the metro to the other end of the city and weeks pass by until I see them again. Because plans are never made for me as I’m not a priority and when they surprisingly are, they never happen, there are only “seen messages” or half-baked replies in between . But one fine day, I bump into them and I can’t stop grinning and my roller-coaster reaches a new high, only to come crashing by the end of it. It’s exhausting.

I’m exhausted because I want love but I can’t and won’t ever ask for more. I want undivided attention but from someone I’ll never get it from. Because when someone else even remotely tries to let me know that they want to love me or attend to me I snap and I want to hide and never see them again. Because even if it’s not their fault nothing is ever going to be the same. My mind does not allow it, and it’s exhausting.

I’m a paranoid and I let it take over me. I don’t like when people speak to me condescendingly. I snap when people try telling me what to do. I feel like I’m watched and my moves will be used against me someday. I do not try to filter my words or people- please anymore. But then they make me go on guilt trips. I am full of contradictions. It’s exhausting.

I’m never satisfied by average and I want my life to be spectacular. But I don’t think I have what it takes to be spectacular because I don’t even want to get out of the bed now-a-days. I swing between sprouts of self love and self loathing. It’s exhausting.

I’ve transitioned from someone who was talkative and over-shared to someone who bottles stuff up. I want to tell my friends how I feel but I can’t so I write it down instead only to realize my pen has ceased to create things beautiful and happy. And that I only write when I’m low and it can be really exhausting.

I tell people I don’t have time to be sad, and I really don’t. I tell that person he only makes me periodically happy and I’ll never give him or anyone else the power to make me sad. I tell my sad friends to keep themselves first and see how long they remain sad. And when I actually think about it, I don’t really think I’m sad.

I’m just exhausted.

2:05 am

Kritika Mandiya creates magic again.


2:05 am

And last night, when he told her she could be the reason they could tear apart, she realized how complete he made her feel. She realized how scared she was with even the thought of them not being together. She realized how happy he made her and she realized what it could do to her if at the end of the day, he isn’t the one she comes home to. She realized the obvious. She realized everything she felt about him since the very first day, but this time, so much more deeply. She felt it. She felt his absence not because he told her he was leaving, but only because she knew how much she was screwing it up for him that night. It wasn’t intentional, but she was. He loves her so much. So much that he is fighting the world for her, so much that…

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