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Filthy Rich

Sometimes, I wonder when the nights dark become scary, and my air-conditioned room  confines me from the fear of the outside- of flashes that go at random and soft rumbles that I guess is thunder  because there’s a whole world outside my window, where there’s no Netflix to binge watch on nights like these that I’m insomniac, nor books to hook when  my mind’s hungry for more, but my stomach isn’t because I’ve been too lazy  to move out of bed. Nor do I fear of anything  except what I’d do because being restless at home with kids to play and time to spend deems a bad appetite, sad boring days, and fear of missing deadlines, and everything’s lethargic.
What I wonder is how this lethargy, this unhungriness, restlessness, this boredom, the WiFi, and the AC, and the fear of things distant as the ‘sour’ grapes are for the hungry fox, the conflict of what temperature must the thermostat be turned to  this sweltering night; questions of why dinner is boring, of which room is the coolest,  of who gets to use the charger, of which w…
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Tonight I Write the Saddest Lines

Tonight when I paint, The canvas Penetrates into dark, greasy stuff That rolls and drips  Over and over Onto parchment as dry and dusty As life itself.
Tonight,  My unicorns and rainbows  Are in monochrome, The trees have shed their leaves, Lawns have been mowed till parched, And love has failed to bring, but crows and mute cuckoos.
Tonight, The stars have dozed their way Onto trepidations, because the fog  Is generous, but only enough to give short breathes, And gazes have been blurred, They can’t see me herald them  To play peek-a-boo.
Tonight, I plant my hopes onto A dynasty, And the day breaks;  it’s still dark.

So, How do You Manage?

I don’t, I don’t manage at all.  Sometimes, I get so involved in work I don’t even recognise the lingering back pain or the rumble of my stomach shouting out hunger until I’m done. I don’t understand why my stomach bulges out with too much sitting even though I know I haven’t done much work. 
And I forget. I forget important dates and time and names and sometimes I don’t bother remembering them at all, I’ve learnt to prioritise. My phone is full of lists for each day that I review often in case I forget important stuff, I set in dozens of reminders, alarms for things as trivial as food timings.
I get hungry all the time because I know I’m pushing myself to do too much work, and then I get too tired I don’t know when I fall asleep until I wake up in the morning. 
When I’m at home I get guilty for not helping out, for being selfish, and try to; when I’m alone, I find it difficult to manage things- food, laundry, keeping the room clean, everything.
I worry that I’m being antisocial, for cavin…

The Durantham Parachil

It’s been quite a while since I’ve started what one of my friends calls the ‘durantham parachil’. Being the perfectionist that I am, I’m a bit over stressed about my thesis, the lectures I attend, the resource people, and of my own lack of knowledge, and  inability to produce ideas too. And sadly, I wasn’t like this at all.

It took my cousin who looked at the handful of alarms set on my phone (each for a specific purpose) and asked “Are you a machine?”; and a friend who looked at my WhatsApp chats and asked whether I just chatted with ‘intellectuals’ to make me realise that all the stress came because of my conviction to indulge in academic circles. Well, that circle has expanded, I’m ecstatic, but stressed.

Do you have things you love to do so much, that you push yourself into it so deep in, and you want to explore it more and more, till the day you realise it’s the only thing around you, and suffocate? And do you ever get the feeling that you’re not making much progress, even though w…

Who is Ziva Hind?

‘So, why do you have a pen name?’
That’s the second thing people ask me when I say Ziva Hind isn’t another person who I’m close to, it’s me.
And what’s the first thing?  ‘What does Ziva Hind mean?’ Ziva is the Persian words for radiance, something we all want to be. Hala, means halo around the moon, so they’re related. Hind is one of my favourite persons in history, a strong woman I want to be so like. Coincidentally, Hind was one of the names my parents had to choose from, and discarded.
Like Hind, I imagine my alter ego to be a strong girl having strong opinions, and fight for the justice she believes in. Like Hind, Ziva has to be non-compromising in her identity and stay headstrong when she believes that she’s been wronged, to believe in action. And like Hind, I want her to be fully empowered, choosing rationally and from the heart, and to aim for perfection. And like Ziva, I want Ziva Hind to spread light in dark times, smiling the whole while.
When I become Ziva Hind, I feel myself beco…

Cocooned Blocks

My poem refuses to come out.
I coax it with favourite sips of coffee, With sprigs of lavender, with fresh morning air, With parchment,  With the intoxications of appeal In my curly letters.
And yet, my poem refuses to come out.
Paradoxically, I’m afraid. Afraid of my baby being judged. Worried that the caterpillar I cocooned in leafy folds within Would wake up to A world of beauty, Only to find itself in a tumult, Of excuses, and barricades of interpretations.
And I stop my poem from coming out.
---Ziva Hind

On Reading (and Not)

I’m not sane all the time, I’m such an absent-minded reader. 
I don’t like many classics or popular or award-winning books, neither do I find myself having a favourite genre or author, if I like one book of the author or a genre, I may not like the next. 
I bookmark pages with anything- ribbons, bookmarks, tags, flowers, leaves, boarding passes, tickets, even valuable currency notes (that‘s applicable for library books too) and even forget to take them back. I usually forget names of characters in books just as I forget names of people in real life. I forget authors, book titles, plots, and get confused between one book and the author, between facts and fiction.
Sometimes, I buy books I like, usually for beautiful covers, sometimes because they’re on sale, and then I go on to borrow books I actually want to read from the library. At times I struggle with words and thoughts and stop reading books, other times I drag on a book even when bored, sometimes I feel incomplete after reading, and…

Of Little Things

Well, I’ve been going and on about the University Hostel in my recent letters and phone calls, but can’t still get over it.

It’s beautiful here, I love the hostel for exactly the same reasons many people hate it- I love it for the slow network, for the window opening to a landing filled with trees and light golden sunlight filtering through it, for the coexistence with nature, for the unidentified blue bird with the red throat, for the little creatures stalking around, even though it does get me worried at times. Growing up in a metro, deserts and seas and skies being the only refuge I had, these are luxury (I do love the other life too). I love a slow life, eating from small-scale vendors, travelling in buses, rickshaws and trains, and for the most part walking, at times the modern lifestyle serves as disillusionment, especially the rush behind fads. My vote goes for minimalism, life without the burden of money. For slow, beautiful, normal lives.

But I loved it most early in the morn…

...and the struggle goes on

I got married at 21, fairly young, and to the first proposal. Let’s not pretend I love to write about it on social media, so forget this.
Growing up a rebel, I hated lavish stuff- I hated, and still hate weddings, too much jewellery and makeup, a too glossy dress, and dolled-up couple with watery eyes in front of a million paparazzi-inspired photographers. I hate how weddings are intentionally show-off stuff. But obviously, surviving a wedding day is the easy part.
When I got married, I was seen as this naive NRI girl who doesn’t even understand the courtesy of giving seats to elders, because apparently NRIs don’t know basic manners. So, all the little fights during our Milkah period were made into huge hyperbole and justified with my so-called ignorance, because I didn’t know anything. For a girl, already surprised with marriage, which I believe every girl is, it made it harder. That was the first lesson I learned, to not let people interfere into that special bond you share, no matter…

Elitism and Literature

I’ve been told more often than not that the vocabulary I tend to use when writing is simple, lucid, easy to understand. It’s always alright if ‘difficult’ words are peppered, though difficult is relative, but not at all when the whole thing sounds like some draconian effort towards the sunrise of non-comprehendability. I’ve always been a campaigner of literature, literature as something for the common man, literature for the the spread of subjectivities and passion, literature not restricted to the elite. How often do we find though, that intellectuality is flipped over to the culturally elite, when it should be the other way round. When the primary aim of intellectual capacity of any person should be to spread exceptional ideas to the common man. We do find a lot of velvet-coated stupidly being spread around a lot though, among the so-called elite.
     When I first started writing (for someone other than me), I remember searching for words that were strange and unused in our day…