Thursday, 26 May 2016

To You, Universe

(Background: GG wrote to me telling me how angry, broken and sad she was with life. In the middle of our telephonic interview I asked,

"...wait. You know that To You is a love letter writing service, right?”

It can’t just be an angry rant I thought, no matter how justified, delayed or well deserved.
So this love letter is wearied, frayed at the edges and slightly worn: like how love is for a large chunk of its life. But despite how wearied, frayed and worn it gets, sometimes knowing that it’s just around the corner waiting for you, chewing gum and whistling an obscure ad tune from the 90s, is enough.)

To You

I’m so mad at you I could hurt you if I only knew where you lived.

I’ve stood at your highest points, gathered love like a full season’s harvest in my hands, I’ve seen glory made flesh and I’ve known what so many women’s blogs use as a template title, “what it’s like to have it all." And I knew I did. I know this in the razor sharp brutality of retrospect, because right now I don’t.

The apple of my parents’ eyes, loved, nurtured and protected, I knew hard work and the sweet fruits of labour. The head girl at my school, the title winner at the college farewell and an easy shoo-in into medical school: The Golden Girl, my tuition teacher would say.
Until with a throw of dice, you didn’t just think I’d had enough, you decided I’d had too much and moved up from the floor where you’re always lying indifferent to grotesque problems like deaths of children from starvation, terrorism inciting people to blow themselves and each other up for an abstract belief and daily cruelty. 
For years I watched you, from the corner of my eye, not stir, not once for any of this. Until you decided to get up for me and not just correct the balance, but take it all away so quick and so fast, that even my memories are singed with burn scars.

Full thickness burn is what we call this level of fire damage. 
The outer skin may bear telltale signs of scarring but the heat and burns sometimes permeate all the way down to the muscle and bone. Which was all that my father was to me: bone, tissue and sinew. I could go into details of his first heart attack in 2010 or how wonderfully you timed his death, a month into my marriage in 2013 but the weight of time will not carry the burden I do. Of shouting at him five months before, telling my mum as I stared shocked at an empty mithai box, that if he continued to eat so recklessly he wouldn’t survive for more than six months. He didn’t.

I never gave you permission, to work through my body or my words, because you’ve left me with the spine bending weight of grief and guilt. I replay those words in my head like a scratched record, hoping that one more time would mean I hadn’t said them.
Of constantly wondering why all those years I fought his beliefs.

“No Papaji, I call myself 23 because I have lived 23 years of my life. I haven’t turned 24 and I can’t call myself 24 because what if I don’t even get to see the end of this year? That is how birthdays work.
Now please write my correct age on the application, you cannot live by your own age rule.”

He died 13 days short of 58 and I don’t want to be right, I want to be horribly wrong and humbled and ashamed: I want to be all of this and have him back.

You let me walk into a marriage, which was weighed down with a depression like big, smooth-surfaced, heavy rocks in my coat pocket invisible to everyone: everyday felt like a walk to the river where all physics had planned for me was to sink swiftly to the bottom. Seven months of marriage with a depression and a throbbing, violent lack of warmth, passion and intensity was like a permanent cold.
You think you can get through life with a permanent cold? 
It will disintegrate your days with the precision and purpose of an atomic bomb. And yet I pleaded, cajoled, begged and negotiated when I was served one day with divorce papers. I searched for loopholes and drew up lists to stay. In between sobs, which still echo inside my ribs, I understood that somethings have no answers, no blame, no reason and no brakes.

So back to why I’m mad at you, Universe.

You took my best years and put them in a blender. I have nothing to show for them except aches and wounds and who has the time or hashtag to look at that?

My face at 32 today, isn’t what it was at 29 when I married. My heartbeat races to win against my pulse if I ever Facebook stalk my ex-husband to see how happy he is with the girl he married a month after we divorced.
No, I am not mad at him. 
He lived in a small town where gossip served as the only form of evening entertainment. I was a fish out of water and I know you pulled me out to put me where I belong. 
I have forgotten how to talk though. Somewhere in the internal screams hurled at you, I lost my voice. I replaced it in my throat with a constant sinking feeling.

I’m seething with rage when I think of those misguided attempts to marry myself on On the boy I spent months talking to and never heard from again.

So why am I writing this letter to you?
Because I know that sometimes even the best love breaks down, and you and I were epic. 
It always starts with faith. Mine’s as shaken as a weary bridge under a train track, rusted and corroded with years of rain. But it’s still standing and this is why I am reaching out.

It’s time we spoke, you and I.
It’s time we worked things out.
I think of you when it rains, each time it does. 
I almost forgive you then for creating sadness, because you created both and rain comes on top winning. On some tough days only by a small margin, but it does. 
We were beautiful together when we worked. You and I. You perfected blush coloured sunsets on blue skies and my smile never learnt how to contain itself. I look up often and I still catch glimpses of those sunset pinks, so I’m going to give it my best to smile again, hoping that together you and I can recreate the magic.

My father, when I was three, always had on his desk a jar full of lollipops. Carrying one in his back pocket, he would sit in front of me and conjure up gibberish spells and all kinds of complicated incantations. He convinced me he knew magic and would produce a lollipop for me, sneakily from his back pocket, wherever I went.

Well, he’s sitting in your living room somewhere. I’m sure between the two of you, you have enough magic saved up to remind me how to love, be loved, find a doctor who understands me and my work, build myself  a simple, small, content and meaningful life and be your Golden Girl again. 

Yours in waiting and standing faith,
Golden Girl


                                    ( Gunjan said she had no picture to give me, so until she finds her own, I'm leasing out my happy picture and caption from last week to her, with all my love: "Roses are for other girls, dammit. I'm going to be that goofball, sunlight chasing, badass sunflower.")

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )

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