This was written a year ago, in response to certain controversial comments made by Justin Humphrey, an Oklahoma state legislator.

He says we’re hosts, like the body I’ve lived in my entire life was a rented room, one I must vacate for whomever he likes.

He says we’re hosts, as if I haven’t already been told my entire life that I must please everyone around me, that what I want is secondary to what people may think, that being good and pretty is not an added bonus but a requirement to being a woman, to taking up space on this planet, and he says he “understands” why I would feel like my body is my body, but does he really? Does he really expect me to believe a word he says, after he tells me being pregnant makes me irresponsible, that I should give up my rights because I “invited that in”?

He says we’re hosts like the person I am doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things, like the sole reason for my existence is so that my body can be used to house a future citizen, I mean I should’ve known my personal choices were something I would have to sacrifice as rent for just living, for just breathing, for just surviving.

He says we’re hosts and I barely flinch; being a girl is about learning to cling on to your humanity when every word you hear is a scalpel dissecting your personality, and if it were up to everyone else, all that would be left would be a cookie cutter daughter, a perfectly crafted woman, someone who never disagrees, someone so soft and docile, she rivals a lamb. If it were up to everyone else, I would participate in my own slaughter.

He says we’re hosts and I continue living. I continue being my own person, continue taking out my own trash, continue making my own decisions, whether irresponsible or not, I continue living. I continue living and trying to make a difference, I continue living and with every breath I take, every word I say, I prove him wrong.


the beach/ 87

At the beach, even the air is different. You can taste the sea- the salt hangs in the air, and as you walk, you walk through every particle, every molecule of the sea. The breeze doesn’t feel harsh. Instead, it brushes past your face as if to welcome you, to tell you: this is a place for you. This is a place for everyone.

The first time I saw the sea, I was twelve. I was on holiday in South India, living in a quaint little town called Tranquebar, and I still remember my first reaction to the sea. It was nothing like I had ever expected, and nothing like I had ever experienced. Having grown up in North India, in a city that specialized in having small streets and a large population, I had never witnessed anything so big. Where I was from, the city was like a blanket around a body; it was all encompassing. There had never been any way to leave the city behind because no matter where I was, the crowd didn’t diminish. Even outdoors, skyscrapers towered on either side of me, like giants. The city always felt cramped, and harsh. I had always known, almost by instinct, that the city I lived in was unyielding. It didn’t make a difference whether I was there or not, it would continue to thrive.

Everywhere you looked, people were smiling. Beach blankets were spread over the sand and little children ran around. Your feet sank into the ground whenever you took a step. Despite the crowd, the noise wasn’t unbearable. Instead, it faded into the background as you looked at the sea, which stretched as far as you could see. Everything faded into the background- when you looked at the sea; it felt like you were the only person there- miniscule in the grander scheme of things, and yet the most important.

Ironically, Tranquebar seemed vast. Much smaller in size than the city I grew up in, it nevertheless felt bigger. I had driven down from Pondicherry, and on entering the town, it felt like I was entering a different era. The houses were built in typical colonial fashion, with slanting roofs and decorative pillars. The streets were lined with bricks, and were broad. There was no traffic to speak of. For a girl who had lived her entire life in a city with another 800,000 people, a town with 20,000 people felt like a neighborhood. My mother decided that we should take a round of the town before we reached our hotel. Thus, my first glimpse of the sea was literally that- a fleeting glance through an open window at the largest blue thing I had ever seen. We must’ve driven next to the sea for around five minutes, but to me, time had slowed down. I had fallen in love with something I had only read about before, with something that I had imagined a million times, but never quite realized the magnitude of.

You climbed over the rocks that led to the sea, and kicked off your shoes before you waded in. The water came up to your ankles at first, and then till your knees. You stopped walking forward and just stood there. You could feel the small pebbles below your toes, smooth from the centuries of water that had run over them. You had never realized how alive the water would feel. Unlike a swimming pool, the water didn’t stand still. It rocked gently as waves rolled in to the shore. The sea and air moved in tandem, like they were perfecting a delicate dance which relied on balance and coordination. The water flowed around your legs, and that’s when you realized, it wasn’t just the sea that felt alive. You did too.

We reached the hotel about ten minutes later, and almost immediately, I was begging my mother to let me go explore. An hour or so later, I convinced my family that a walk on the beach while the sun was setting was the perfect way to end our first day in Tranquebar. Coming from a city with clearly defined areas and sectors, I had assumed the beach would be the same- a small section of the town that had been clearly demarcated. I hadn’t expected what I saw- the beach was not a small section, or area of town. Instead, it ran at the edge of the entire town. From far away it just looked like a strip of sand before a larger strip of blue. From far way, it didn’t look like anything special.

When you looked back at the land behind you, it looked special. The people were inconsequential figures in the larger picture of the sky and land- the way both met through the buildings that occupied a section of both, and the way the color of the soil and buildings stood out starkly in contrast to the soft hues of the evening sky, a mix of red, orange and purple.

By the time I reached the beach itself, the sun had already begun to set. But it didn’t matter. Though the light was fading, I could still see the sea, slowly heaving up and down with each wave it sent to the shore. What I couldn’t see was made up for by my other senses- at the beach, even the air is different. I don’t know how long I stood there for. I remember looking at other people enjoying themselves, and I remember what the water felt like. But mostly, whenever I think about the first time I went to the beach, I remember how it filled me with an unexplainable joy, but also with an understanding of the world that I had lacked before. Mostly, whenever I think of the beach, I think of how in that first instance, I knew that this is where I belonged. In that first instance, I know now that what I felt wasn’t just awe. It was an aching familiarity. It felt like the sea was welcoming me. It felt like the beach was telling me that it was a place I could be myself. When I think of that first visit, I think about how, even then, I knew the truth: I was home.

At the beach, everything seemed different. Everything was different. You realized that the world did not revolve around you, that it didn’t need to revolve around you. There were better and bigger things out there, and that was alright. It was alright, because there was a place for you, because this is where you belonged. This is where you felt like yourself and that’s when you knew, you were home.

21/apology to everyone, ever

I’m sorry if I’m hard to handle. I’m sorry if you thought you were getting to know a different person, one who wasn’t so anxious or worried, one who behaved like this only sometimes, only in a bid to be endearing-

Sorry if you thought this was an play I was putting on; Sorry if you thought I was just another girl acting like she needed a saviour, but that was never my intention.

The truth is some days every bone in my body aches and creaks like a house lived in too long, and some days I can almost see myself being stuck in this town for another fifteen years and not changing at all, but instead having my personality preserved in stone; I’m not sure what to do.

I’m just not that glad to be alive in this body, not that glad to be alive at this time, in this place, around these people; I’m slowly dissolving. So I’m sorry if this is not what you signed up for, sorry if you were expecting a better deal, because so was I.

And that’s why I’m apologising, because I understand the disappointment you carry; I’ve been carrying it my whole life. Now, I’m just ready to be a different version of myself.


​When I’m around you, I want to speak in pauses. Mostly because I want to emphasize how the world seems to stop tilting, or falling, or whatever you want to imagine it does when I see you. I mean, when I’m around you, all I can do is hear your voice.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But it’s the truth. It’s like for a second, my world shrinks till it contains just you, smiling at me. 

And I know, every time you look at me means nothing now, and everytime you talk to me means nothing now, but I wish it did. 

I just wish I could travel back to the past. I wish we could be on the same page, on the same line, on the same book.

But you haven’t read a book for four years, and I can’t blame you. I wouldn’t do something that reminded me of me either, but I just wish you did.

I wish you did.


​The night sky seems to almost fold in on itself till it bleeds hue’s so dark they contain every colour,

and as I sit and stare at this messy stain of a sky, it nearly seems to acknowledge my presence by showering me with droplets of rain.

I never thought I would be here, sitting in the middle of this withered garden, sitting and watching the sky bleed as it whimpers at me, as it makes me complicit in its dark thoughts; I feel so small. 

Who am I compared to the world around me? Who am I to even be compared?

So instead of trying to wrap my head around how little I truly matter,or trying to understand how large everything around me is, I just sit.

I sit, and absorb the air like its something I’ve never felt before, like the world isn’t the same one I shrink from every single day- I guess that’s one way to look at the night sky.

Like at night our world slowly shrinks till it just contains us, like at night, everything is magical and every raindrop that hits our face isn’t just normal, it’s an occurrence. 

It’s a whisper. It’s a battlecry of vulnerability.

So as I sit there, I don’t do anything.

I just bask in the strangeness of the night, I just bask as the sky  weeps around me- I just sit.

I just sit. 

One//on blaming yourself.

​The thing about blame is that it’s insidious. It snakes through your body and buries itself in your bones till every step you take is heavier-filled with rage and bitterness. You arm yourself with self righteousness and grief till you’re impenetrable; a shadow of the person you once were, consumed by the flames of your supposedly just accusation.

The thing about blaming yourself is that it’s worse. You can’t vow to take revenge or bloat with self righteousness. Instead, there’s a quiet hatred for yourself enveloping your body till you can barely breathe. 

And honestly, it doesn’t help. You can hate yourself till Kingdom come, and you can weigh yourself down with guilt, but it won’t help. You’ll never feel better about it. You’ll be filled with self reproach and it’ll just be a shadow following you around, till you’re a shell of the person you once were.

That’s why it’s not worth it. It’s been three years of beating myself up over something I wouldn’t have been able to control, and every day was a battle, till it wasn’t and slowly it faded to once a week, and then once a month, till the present where it’s just something that hits me every now and then.

And everytime it does, I just tell myself it wasn’t my fault, that I couldn’t have done anything, that it would’ve happened regardless of my actions. At first this didn’t help at all, but little by little you understand, and you agree, and you imbibe what you’ve been trying to tell yourself till you reach a point where you can look at yourself and not cringe. 

I’m not sure I’m there yet. But my point is, there is an end. There is a point where you make peace with whatever it is you blame yourself for. There is a point where you realise your limitation and you realise you can’t change the past. This is when you’ll be able to accept yourself. And it might sound cliché, but it’s true. It has to be.

Indian Politics/Roads

Indian politics have recently been reminding me of Indian roads. Every five years, a new Prime Minister is chosen- just like how extremely rarely, the Municipal Corporations in slumber wake up and actually re-tar the roads. However, just like how politics get increasingly murkier throughout the five year term, so do roads. As the year goes by and the public waits for their roads to tared, the rains, digging and a myriad of other problems surface, leaving everyone to use paths which are more craters than roads, until someone wades in with a temporary fix. By the time someone decides to actually fix the road (or, by the time the next Prime Minister must be chosen), the road is no longer a road, but a dirt track and the public have long given up on anyone ever creating good roads (or creating corruption free administration). Yes, Indian politics remind me of Indian roads, as the common man’s faith in both functioning well is extremely fragile.