Posted in Books, Humour

Ten Of My Favourite Insults in Literature.

I cannot resist a good quip. There are quite a few insults from great historical characters and Tumblr posts that I love, but the ones that follow are solely from literature. Enjoy, and use with discretion.

  1. “If you’re looking for sympathy, you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” -David Sedaris, Barrel Fever.
  2. “If you will forgive me for being personal — I do not like your face.” -Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
  3. “I never saw anybody take so long to dress, and with such little result.” -Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.
  4. “And she’s got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need.” -Sally Nicholas in The Adventures of Sally by P.G. Wodehouse.
  5. “If your brains were dynamite there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.” – Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut.
  6. “Shadwell alone, of all my sons, is he / Who stands confirm’d in full stupidity. /The rest to some faint meaning make pretence / But Shadwell never deviates into sense”- “Mac Flecknoe”, John Dryden.
  7. 9dbeb5d9-a05b-4684-9579-76b6764975d4-620x372-Coriolanus by William Shakespeare.
  8. “She is nuttier than squirrel poo.” -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J K Rowling.
  9. “He would make a lovely corpse” -The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens.
  10. “The man is as useless as nipples on a breastplate.” -A Feast for Crows, George R. R. Martin.
Posted in India, Kota., Life, Me and moi

Just be good. You’ll be good enough.

The 12th std CBSE board results came out yesterday. For people who don’t know, they’re for a national test that high school final year students in India have to take to pass out of high school. Initially, your performance in the CBSE boards used to decide into what colleges you got admission. In recent years, its importance has waned with the advent of national entrance tests for pretty much every professional course. However, it still is the first truly big test that a student has to take and a very big deal in a high schooler’s life.

It is also, unfortunately, a matter of social pride (or shame) for the parents. Taking the tests that span over the entire month of April is hard enough for the kid, without his or her parents’ ego being attached to whether their child does better than Mrs Sharma’s kid.

What ensues is more anxiety and stress than any 18 yr old should ever have to face.

A common cause for concern is the pressure from parents to do well in the national board examinations, especially for Class XII, before finishing school. As scores in these exams often determine college admissions and subsequent employment opportunities, students aged 16-18 are often subjected to undue pressure at home to succeed. When they don’t, suicide becomes a way out. In 2013 alone, 2,471 suicides were attributed to “failure in examination”.

I did well in my board exams, but I had to face the failure of not getting through the medical entrance test. It’s the same kind of pressure, even more, amplified in Kota. Fours years on, let me tell you: it does not matter. Not a single person in the last four years has asked me my CBSE marks, or even my rank in the medical entrance test. The thing about the Indian education system is that it’s a great equaliser in a beautiful, fucked up way. Simply because of our population structure and size, there is intense competition to get in. But once you’re in a professional college, a topper and a passer are equally unequipped to deal with actual life. What matters is your work ethic and your good humour.

So, if you did well in your boards this year: Congratulations. Enjoy the moment. Just remember that you WILL NOT get these kinds of marks in professional college. Ever.

If you thought you did well when the results first came out but now too many relatives have asked you “Aga marka kuthe gele? Ajun ka nahi milale? (Why didn’t you get more?)”: Hang in there. You’ll be fine. Also, sometimes, if your parents think you could’ve done better, it’s because of their belief in your potential, not their disappointment in your reality.

If you haven’t done as well as you’d hoped: Calm down. I know it sounds like a cliche, but it’s not the end of the world. I know you don’t feel like facing their disappointed faces, their tears. I’ve been there. But please understand that there’s more to life than marks. Please understand that your parents understand that too. A failure is an amazing learning opportunity. Use it as such. If you’re worried about disappointing your parents, remember that a rash decision is going to sadden them a hundred times more than bad marks. Everyone in the world continues to disappoint their parents much beyond high school. And your parents will still love you after every let-down.

If you’re a parent with a child in any of the above categories: Please make sure that your child feels loved at this point. I know that as Indian parent, you have trouble with differentiating between negative reinforcement and punishment; your child is feeling like shit anyway, they don’t need more reasons to be stressed. Help them look at themselves and the future in a better, more productive light. Your child is old enough to go out in the big outside world, but not old enough to deal with it. I know that the last few years have been teenage hell for you, but your child is more like you than you or the child knows. Please, be a friend. Be a parent.

Nobody loses all the time.

Posted in Life, Me and moi

Catharsis.

I have been going through a down patch in my anxiety and depression over the last couple of months. The trough began around January. I don’t think it was triggered by anything. I rather think that I’d been so immersed, so busy in studying for and giving my university exams that after they ended in January, my mind chose to fill up the sudden free time with its old enemy. They do say that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. I could feel it coming on slowly, but I couldn’t fight it. The more depressed I got, the less I wanted to talk about it. It became more and more of a struggle to want to get out of my room, to interact with the people around me, to seek help.

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I wasn’t severely depressed; I wasn’t suicidal. I got up in the morning every day; I went to college. I talked to my friends and family.  I’m a private person anyway, but my depressed self went out of her way to assure people that everything was alright. To stop them from asking too many questions. You guys, it is so easy to smile and lie to your nearest and dearest. It is so easy to maintain a facade of overt contentment. You laugh at a few jokes here and there and you smile widely when someone asks how you’re doing. My introversion and depression were stopping me from talking about my introversion and depression.

When I got up in the morning, I’d already decided that the day wouldn’t be worth it. That I wasn’t worth it. That meant that even though I went about my daily life, I wasn’t engaged in any of it. There were a few small points of joy, sure, but I was approaching everything I did with the belief that I was wasting my time. That obviously meant that I wasn’t doing as good a job as I could be. Especially as a student, I wasn’t learning and absorbing enough because I didn’t think I could ever do it. When I opened a book, I’d already told myself that there was no way I could ever understand or remember any of it. It was all so pointless to me that it became pointless by my apathy and disinvolvement. That, in turn, reinforced and worsened my conviction that what I do day to day is worthless; that there is nothing being gained by me getting out of bed.

Thankfully, even at my lowest point, I don’t go as low as I used to a couple years ago. Nowadays, all it takes is a gentle push to get me on the road to recovery. My mother noticed. It is difficult for her to say the word ‘depression’ when it comes to me, but she noticed that I was having ‘the same old problems’. She gave me a stern talking-to, and it was exactly what I needed. At this stage in my depression cycle, I think handholding and mollycoddling wouldn’t have helped me as much as her “how dare you treat yourself like that” speech. I could feel my psyche being whipped back into shape.

I’m better now, which is why I can write this. But I’m sure that sometime in the future, I will be low again. And I’m writing this so that the future low me can read this and help herself out of it. So that she can tell herself that, even if she doesn’t feel like it at that point, talking freely to people is much easier and more therapeutic than she thinks. This is my catharsis.

Posted in Stories

Saudade.

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I met you again today

At our table at the same old place;

I tasted just a trace of what

I used to love about your face.

Your eyes, they crinkled

Your sly smile beamed at me

I held my breath, prepared,

Against the brute force of memory.

I waited for sadness

To fill my mind and my heart.

I waited for longing and pain

To fill the time we spent apart.

The sunlight changed.

It became a rose-tinted hue,

As if greeting an old friend,

I greeted nostalgia and you.

We had had the past.

It lingered there in the air.

I smelled it in your coffee cup.

‘Twas tousled there in your hair.

It didn’t bother me.

I wasn’t sad or bereft.

I’d grown my soaring wings

.To fill up the space you left.

My soul has changed.

I’ve built upon the ashes

Which you gave the fuel for

But I provided the matches.

We’d both moved on.

On our own separate paths.

You’re content and happy.

And I’m not a part of that.

I get up to leave.

We shake hands again.

Laughing at the difference ‘tween

As it is now and as it was then.

We won’t meet again.

Neither of us wants to.

Sometimes reunion tales

Are actually too good to be true.