About The Woman Who Raised Me

The woman who raised me is not my mother.

The woman who raised me is not a mother.

 

This woman has a tiny heart, and a smaller spirit.

I have learned this the hard way.

 

She was always too busy to read me bedtime stories but never too occupied to later point out the adolescent acne that spotted my face.

 

And now whenever we meet, she laughs and tells me I’ve gained quite a bit of weight.

And then she compares her legs to mine and makes me believe I am inferior.

She makes me believe I mean less.

 

To understand her, you must first understand the man who raised me.

He always had time for stories and games and long talks over bittersweet cocoa.

He read my poems and stories and made me believe I meant the world.

 

He also had a wandering eye.

 

But the man who raised me loves me to no end.

And the woman who raised me resents it, and me.

 

And today, the woman who raised me resented the gold pendant the man put around my neck.

She stomped her feet quite a bit.

The man who raised me had a gold chain for my sister. He quietly presented this one to the woman who raised me.

And she took it.

My sister’s bauble around her throat.

 

The woman who raised me has taken and taken, and then taken some more.

I have nothing left to give but resentment.

She is welcome to it.

 

I always say I grew up without a mother.

I will never be anything like the woman who raised me.

Bird In A Doll’s House

When I was younger, there used to be times when misguided little birds would accidentally fly inside the house. The thought of those tiny sparrows straying in from the open skies to the four walls of my home continued to interest me. The bird would hop from the shelf to the television, then on to the chandelier, and then fly in circles trying to find an open window.

All I wanted then was to catch the bird and keep it in the house. I wanted to put it in my pink doll’s house and act like I had a live doll. It seemed like such a good pet to have; this bird that had wandered into the human world.

The bird would peck at tables, alight on the fridge and examine these objects with so much curiosity; it fascinated me. It seemed like a child’s dream.

My mom would always open a window and let it zip out. She’d tell me she wasn’t ready to host a houseguest covered in feathers. Plus, who’d take care of it? 

I would whine, feeling like something had been taken from me.

Until two months ago, when a freckled brown sparrow whirred into my room through a frayed part of the mesh screen. It flew to my dresser, knocked over a jar of beads, pecked at a necklace, and tried to put its tiny head through a bronze hoop. 

My little sister wanted to keep it. She promised to feed, clean, and pet it, if only i’d let her keep it!

But, what would it eat? How would it eat? Where would it perch? What if it would be lonely? What about bird diseases? And what if it died? And most of all, it couldn’t live in the human world, with our gizmos and gadgets and alien possessions.

I looked at my sister’s drooping face, opened the window, and let the bird fly out to the sky.

And now I understand.

Image

Sometimes I wish I could have been a child forever. 

How To Be Proud Of Your Thin Skin

I have a new mantra for you. 

Over-feeling is not a bad thing.

Going through the world with your heart on your sleeve is not a bad thing.

Feeling others’ pain as you would your own is not a bad thing.

Taking things to heart and hurting is not a bad thing.

There are people who will ask you to toughen up, brave the world, grow a thicker skin. These people feel the world’s pain on a daily basis, and have learnt to weave shields.

Being the hugger, the sympathizer, the caregiver, is not a bad thing.

Loving too much, too deeply or too often, is not a bad thing.

Saying thank you with tears in your eyes is not a bad thing.

Being overwhelmed by situations and people is not a bad thing.

Aching is not a bad thing.

Feeling others’ emotions as you would your own is both a blessing and a curse.

You will be loved, and you will be shunned.

You, are not a bad thing.

Know that.

How To Love Your Looking Glass

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you see you?

You have bumpy bits and wobbly bits and parts of you you wish you could photoshop away. It doesn’t work that way.

To throw some ideas out there, for example: What do you need for the perfect bikini body?

Why, a bikini, and a body, of course. What more?

You are not your waistline, or your pores, or your thighs, or your forehead, or all the things you think are wrong with you. You are confused. Between what you see “out there” on the internet, and T.V, and magazines, and what real people are, in real life.

Because you know, if all of us were actually six foot tall models with legs up to our ears, we’d be pretty ordinary.

There’s sunshine in your smile, and your eyes light up when you laugh. There’s kindness in your voice when you meet a stranger on the street. A million good wishes follow you like whispers, wherever you go, from all the people you love. 

For all the things you wish you could be, there are a thousand things you already are.

You’re you. And no one can appreciate you more than you can.

And until you love you, shoulders and neck and thighs and pores and all, nobody else will be able to.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance,” – Oscar Wilde

 

The Coward Does It With A Kiss…

Have you ever loved someone so much that it takes over an entire city?

The walls of your home have sponged up bits of the love you had. And now they’ve turned on you.

Every street you walk on, each corner you turn, it’s there. The love, it stares you in the face. The rain coaxes it out of the ground; it crawls up with the writhing earthworms.

The love has taken so much of you, there’s so little left.

A textbook romance, and now it suffocates you.

You know you want stability. But then the love knocks you out. It knows your tricks, when you wrapped your shivering self in it and slept warm.

It’s in the perfume you wear, and the clothes that are second skin and the whole damn city reeks of it.

I changed countries, people and possessions. I started to breathe freely again.

Then I came back. And all the air got sucked out.

I should have listened to Wilde.

It’s so, so much more difficult to kill the love itself.

Leave me alone.

“If You’re Going To Have Two Faces…”

You know those people who walk around with their heads high and look like they’ll slap you if you say hi?

I’m one of them, or so I’ve been told.

But, I’m nothing like that once you get to know me. I have a big mouth sometimes, I’m outspoken and sometimes tactless.

All my flaws are on the outside, and once I become friends with someone, I’m loyal to a fault.

And then you know those people, who’re easy to talk to, cheerful and ever overly helpful?

Once you get to know them, you find their other face. All their flaws are on the inside, sharpened to prickly polished points.

If I could change just one law of nature, it’d be the layers people have. The ones with their flaws on the outside, those are the ones worth bothering with. They don’t make friends for the sake of it, but actually work and keep them. Because they’re secure in their faults, and display them loud and proud.

I found another face in a person I called friend. And I ran. And am still running.

When you find someone who isn’t instantly likable, make more of an effort. Their quirks and issues are out there for the world to see. And their hearts are that much purer.

Also, it’s easier when there’s one face to talk to.

              Source: dollface801

Avoid confusion, make genuine friends.

How Mr. Darcy Proposed Under Meg’s Umbrella In Hogwarts

I bought an umbrella from China. A frilly edged, white and pink parasol with a neat wooden handle, glossy and polished.

Walking to class in the morning with the sun trying to burn my skin, I had a sudden vision of Meg going to the Gardiners’ house for the weekend, and deploring the umbrella Mrs. March gets her. She wanted a black one with a white handle, and got a green one instead.

Now, let me explain. This is out of Lousia May Alcott’s Little Women. For those of you who have not read it, please do so now. You’re missing out.

My point is, though, that books have a particular way of nestling themselves into one’s subconscious. Quite a few times I find myself “recalling” a memory, which turns out to be something from a book I’ve read in the past.

Often times, I’ve found myself “remembering” the creaking gables and snow crusted lattices of Wuthering Heights. And the lantern-lit looming corridors of Hogwarts. I’ve smelled the musty odor that lingered in Miss Havisham’s halls, and seen the crumbling wedding dress.

All it takes is one whiff, one image, and I fall into the pages of one book or another.

I look at everyday situations through the eyes of my favourite characters. Their conflicts are mine, and when they resolve them, I cheer. I learn. Every time I pick up a novel, I learn. All about conflict, war, love, tragedy, pain and gladness.

Oh, Elizabeth, it was your pride that refused Mr. Darcy that first time. But you fought battles with yourself afterwards, and then the world started to make sense.

samluce.com

Yellowed pages will always be my home.

Where’s Daddy?

“Class consciousness.” Never been truer than for the middle classes.

Now I grew up in nine different houses. Sometimes I got to put candy in the grocery cart, and sometimes not. There were vacations some summers, and some summers were spent under a lazy ceiling fan at home. I didn’t grow up with the security of a trust fund. And I never missed a day of school.

But little rich girl, yours is a different story.

Daddy’s here, daddy has money. 

You want that dress at YSL? Get daddy’s credit card. Unlimited funds at your disposal.

Oh how terrible that you didn’t get exactly that shade of red for your $300 manicure! That incompetent woman, probably Asian.

You can never step out without that delicate gold bracelet on your well fed wrist, or the shiny diamond watch daddy gave.

You get paid to go to college? Why would you ever work hard? 

No, work is for the people without the rich daddies. The scholarships and grants go to the people who work themselves dry.

And you, with the plushy comfort of your life, look down at them, and don’t understand.

People who’re stuck in the middle see misery and dreams of money. The poor in their tents and crumbling houses, and the upper crust, with their seven cars and gilded chauffeurs. The middle classes see both. And they empathize.

Daddy, daddy, daddy!

Why must I see these people around me? I won’t have to *gasp* get a JOB, will I? No daddy!

Take off your Prada glasses, princess, and look around.

The world is a whole lot more than can be bought with daddy’s card.

Books Will Never Judge Your Cover…

I trail my fingers down the leather clad spine, ridged and looped with gold thread. The pages are a buttery yellow, smoothed and soft. There’s a clinging delicate scent, of old ink and new desires. The tale remains the same and yet, it makes some laugh, and some it makes sigh. 

Ah, old friend. We meet again.

A book is so many things. It can be a best friend, a comforter, a confidant, a safe haven, a shining lighthouse, a dream keeper, a parent, a guide, a reprimand, or a teacher.

A book will never judge. It can be held and read and dog eared on any day of the week, in any outfit, during any season, at any particular moment in time.

Books don’t ask for much. Well, except that you do them justice. Take the time to dive into it, make it come alive, listen when it speaks, strain when it whispers. Take what you want, and it will still be there, waiting to be prised open.

Books have a language. A book will never shout. Well, unless it is an exceptionally thrilling one with an exceptionally moving tale. Books are sensitive creatures, concerned with intricacies and intimate connections. They beckon with grace, never with promiscuity. 

A book is a book all the same. You can think what you want, feel how you want around books. They won’t sit a court and judge how you feel. Books support far fetched claims, tall tales, and revolutionary thinking. People can be selfish: they view the world in set ways. Books are kaleidoscopes. They sympathize, and give you new ways of looking at old things.

A book is safe. Unless you read particularly propagandist material, books can act like warm shawls on a freezing night. They reach out, wrap you in the tale, and keep you cocooned. Safe, warm, and content.

Books don’t judge, nag, yell, constrict, or hate.

And sometimes, they’re that much better than people.

My Father, The Mortal

Today, my life changed.

Well, not in the shooting stars or melodramatic turn of events way; rather in a stop and think kind of way.

Today, I realized my dad isn’t immortal after all.

Sure, he’s the hero I’ve always looked up to, the staunch defender of his castle, the infallible, strong male presence I’ve come to associate with safety and comfort and love.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll be around forever.

It’s little things I’ve noticed: how he’s started to forget tiny details, like where he put some papers or which new boy band my youngest sister is currently obsessing over. It wasn’t like this though. He was the warrior, the king. He’d know everything about everyone; he’d come home with Enid Blyton books for me [she was my favourite author] and Justin Bieber cutouts for my sister…

Today, we ended up at a shawarma place – and I felt like the adult. I told him where the place was, how to order, what to ask for, even the right way to unwrap the food. This is not something I’m used to. I’m the one who would be led around and ordered for. 

It’s the small things, but that’s where our mortality lies. I’m starting to notice the cracks. 

Eventually, my dad will grow old – he’ll have white hair and his jokes will become outdated. But what if I don’t want that? I’m not ready. 

Mortality reminded me of Mistry’s short story, “Of White Hairs and Cricket,” where the son sees his father’s imminent old age in a pair of tweezers, and cries.

Live forever baba. Stay the same, and let me stay your little girl forever.

Amen.

6 Issues All International Students Face

Flying to another country where you will live for the next four years can be challenging…to say the least.

You’re excited, upbeat, willing to try new things, and face new obstacles.

Until you find yourself staring at the unnaturally bare walls of your new dorm room, sitting on your suitcase – the one familiar piece of your old life.

Because that’s no exaggeration: your life will change. In a multitude of ways.

International students leave behind their homes, people, pets, streets, secret walkways, and a piece of themselves. They face an interesting transition. These are a few of the things they go through:

#1 The “EVERYONE IS MY FRIEND” phase

You meet a new person nearly everyday as you find your way around campus and the dorms. This gives you the illusion that you’re socially accepted, and/or even popular. You feel like being generous: saying hi to everyone you see, smiling, and waving to people at the bus stop or down the hallway. All your issues seem to be everyone’s issues: you’re all away from home, and trying to adapt like so many insects feeling their way. And so you bond. And bond. And bond some more.

#2 Then it “CLIQUES” in

No, that girl you met last week in the cafeteria doesn’t actually listen to alternative rock. And that guy who called you cute and asked you to hang out sometime; he sidles past when you wave now. Now you see the groups they have. You pacify yourself… ‘college can’t be like high school!‘ And then you realize otherwise. People who knew each other before you knew them stick together. Others have formed new cliques. It all happened so fast, you didn’t even have time to sit and ponder with a thoughtful expression. Cliques can form on the basis of race, gender, nationality, campus, age, music tastes, soda preference, wealth, and so much more.

#3 Ride on the “DOWNWARD SPIRAL”

So you find out you have no ‘real’ friends, and you’ve ignored the ones you had back home and so they probably hate you. Your cat probably wants nothing to do with you either. What could be worse? You shut yourself up in your room and decide that studying is the solution to everything. Except you also know that’s impractical, but you have no real friends, so what do you do? You’re trapped in a whiny social conundrum. Welcome.

#4 Answer your “PHONE” already

Your parents gave you space and time, and more space and more time. Now they want to know what you’re up to. You probably haven’t remembered to call them up in the last few days because of all the issues you were having. But they don’t know that. They’re sitting 3000 miles away fuming and feeling ignored. And so the family problems begin. You feel like slamming your phone and severing contact altogether. Yet you know you can’t, so just sit there and take it. Grit your teeth.

#5 You do have “BOOKS” you know…

You came to college to study. And while orientation is glossy and happy and sunny, you will need to get to studying eventually. Added to the other problems, this realization will hit you the hardest. Didn’t you have your fair share of dreams? Visions of a 4.0 have clouded you over. You think you’ll fail, or die, or get expelled. No, you won’t. Trust me.

#6 How does your “WALLET” feel?

When you moved in, your parents bought you everything: pins to paper to shower curtains. And now you must fend for yourself, mustn’t you? Back at home you’d say “I’m rich today,” or “I’m poor today,” depending on how much money your parents forked out every morning for school. And now…your three jobs have you running around in circles trying to balance it all out. Your wallet is all about you…welcome to the world of adult finance.

There could be a lot of additions, but I think I covered the main ones.

My “X” and I…Or Why Equations And I Don’t Get Along

(Read the whole thing. I promise, it’s worth it.)

Why, I ask, must you have equations? Isn’t it bad enough that there exist letters in a subject, which should only have numbers? I mean, a and b belong to the alphabet; they are numerals of the English Language, not of something that has plus and minus signs. I thought that would be common sense in itself. But no.

     First, you feel the need to scramble those two elements into a complicated mixture of symbols, numbers, and letters, and to top it off, you want to find a solution. Please tell me then: will an equation help you walk to the end of the hallway? Will it help you wash the car, water the plants, feed the cat, hug your mother, eat that suspicious looking piece of cheese hiding underneath your bed, look out a window, or have a conversation? No. I repeat myself: no.

     Well yes, there is always a deeper meaning. Mathematics makes up the world, and all that drama. It might explain a lot of mysteries, but it does not help me write this paper. Yes yes, math was used in the programs my laptop uses or the rate at which I type, or the frequency at which I spit out curse words when I think about equations, but that is a very indirect connection. This is why we have certain sectors of the economy dedicated to people who are good at numbers and that sort of thing. That doesn’t mean arithmetic should be forced down my throat.

     Let’s look at an example of an equation and try to understand just why you think it’s an important element in everyday life.

“x + 2 = 28”

 This clearly means you need to find “x.” I have an issue with this. WHY in all holy hell does anyone need to find “x?” Why is it lost in the first place? If it didn’t have the good sense to stay where its mother told it to, why should I bother to pick up a pencil and look for it? It’s like the problem of the child lost in the parking lot. If it had listened to its mother and stuck to her close, it wouldn’t be left behind when she went home from the supermarket. It would have been in the car with her and all his snotty siblings, going back to their shambles of a hut they call a house.

     Coming back to the point, I reiterate. If “x” was this irresponsible, I don’t need to look for it. I want to practice my arithmetic and algebra, not act as unpaid babysitter.

     Now, to find “x” one would have to follow a set of rules. One would move the “2” to the other side, inevitably making it a negative number, then subtracting it from “28” to arrive at the answer for “x.” Asides from my obvious question of why in hell, I have another concern. Who says, and I mean WHO is dictating these rules? If I want to move the number across the side without changing its sign, I should ruddy well be able to. These rules for equations, BODMAS etc., try to dictate our lives. This should not be the case. Freewill is a concept that has been thrown around since well, since the human race started. Furthermore, it is also one of the rights of a citizen in the USA. The First Amendment clearly states that all persons of a free and just country may have the right to free speech, free will, and free expression. What is math, to denounce the great country of America? The rules go against every rule free man has ever known.

     Were cavemen told how to hunt? No sir. Were soccer moms told how to suffocate their children with over displays of emotion and exaggeration? No indeed! These skills are learnt over time as any great concept is, as life is. Laying out rules as to why and how something should be done doesn’t resonate with my personal beliefs and as a student of an American institution, I believe I should be given the right to practice my faith in good conscience.

     Going back to the equation, the answer is clearly 26; “x” has been found. “x” was hiding in the equation all along. So my question is, why is this little sadistic bastard allowed to play these mind games? It poses a befuddling threat to unsuspecting human minds; why in the world do we allow it to take advantage of us like this? I for one, possessing much bravado and courage, do not allow anyone to take advantage of me in this way. I feel this is a good approach to life: if you let things affect you, you will fall. You will die on broken knees.

x2 + x – 4 = 0

 Let’s look at this one. Here, instead of having to look for one “x”, there have been given two. TWO inane lost children without the common sense to stop drooling on their thumbs and grab their mother’s coat tails instead. And now they have been left behind. And they are crying. And you need to look for them. Well, I don’t envy you your job at all.

     So this is an example of a quadratic equation. Hateful, filthy things. These are the bad dreams that keep you awake at night. This particular one doesn’t even factor and so is a more spiteful SOB. What you must do to locate the ever lost “x”, is to apply the quadratic formula. Now again, why you would do that will forever remain a mystery to me.

     Solving this and finding “x” is one thing. But when you want to create a graph out of this…well we have a problem. I have given you a full background on the worthlessness of equations in general. Now I will tell you why it is also fruitless to turn them into lines.

     What is a graph? Basically bunches of criss cross lines drawn across a page of pretty squared paper. Why would you want to complicate that by putting equations into it? Its one thing if you needed a graph urgently because let’s say, your grandmother was having a seizure and you needed to know the exact amount of time an average phone user takes to place a panicked phone call based on general data collected in a survey by hospitals. Will you at any point ever need that information? I don’t think so.

     Equations in graphs aren’t required for any useful purpose other than to make my life hell. You say you need them for vital things such as forecasting the weather, or checking the federal deficit, or predicting a slump in the business cycle, but do you really? Humans have been living on this earth since time started, and they managed not to wipe out the race. Everyone knows nuclear weapons will be the death of us, not badly forecasted weather. So why even bother?

     I haven’t talked about the sheer stupidity mathematicians do when they bring in more than one variable into an equation: let’s say “x” and “y.” So if the child was inept enough to get lost with a friend who has no way of contacting its mother, well then. What is the world coming to?

     I see no reason for drawing up equations, or integrals, or square roots, or graphs, or strawberry milk. All these things I can live without, and thrive, even.

     There should have been a graph to show how disgusted I am by the concept of math and equations. The more math I see, the worse my day. At least we have a direct, honest, relationship.

*This post was written purely for comic relief. It depicts my difficult relationship with Mathematics. No seriousness intended.