Thursday, March 29, 2012

begin there

a whore is granted limitless whoring

liberty begins there.

lubricating the system

ke lekhum?

ke lekhum, ke lekhum, ke ke ke?

kollai sodhum?

sansaarai haraami.

time of no reply

when we finally looked into your eyes
we wanted to hold your hand
be by your side

fill your gills
with the warmth of a smile

drive out the suicide

pink flesh
coiling into happy accidents

we wanted to stop asking
because finally
we would have

Sunday, March 18, 2012

how so?

today while staring into your sad eyes i noticed


both of us are more confident about loving


being loved.

Monday, March 12, 2012

and now, just putting out contrived stuff out there feels a bit odd.

hoina? always trying to be a somebody trying to be a somebody trying to be a somebody trying to be...

also, my hair smells like food. i had better do something about that. feel so nice to let myself be, isn't it? to write the way i used to once upon a time when i used to write in my notebooks. when there was so much writing happening, but writing didn't even mean anything. it wasn't even writing.

and now there's so much of conscious effort going into carving and chiseling and trying to perfect an art and trying to convey meaning. and wow, i guess i haven't written this loosely in a while. felt this free, haven't, haven't.

weighing the weight of each word, idea. excluding unless they seem worthy. i dont know, there's something unclean about that. ki ke? khoi ke khoi ke.

tv herchhu ajkal. khoob. romantic comedies. newspapers pani padhchhu. nepali ma padhna khojirachhu. tv herera pani khushi nai chhu. watch romantic comedies, am gullible to believe in all of it. hindi serial ni herchhu. ramailo maani maani. khoob ramailo lagchha. keta le keti lai hereko, keti le keta lai hereko.

must be feeling lonely. but also feel unclean from the inside. what should i do about that? cleaning up the insides. top priority. ho ki hoina?

aba distances narakhne. aba je bhitra chha tyei nikalne. hola ni. don't know what i'm saying.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Written in the body

Mother spent her evenings in the living room, plastered limb stretched out on a sofa. Grandmother too wrinkled and frail to make meals twice daily sat beside her, both binging on unsavoury tele-serials. Histrionics crackled on TV, making their way through the closed kitchen door to nag away at my already irritated mind.
Pods needed to be popped to release peas, potatoes needed washing, peeling, then some more washing, defiant onions needed fine chopping and odious garlic mincing. In the sink, pots and pans were collecting to make a pile too high. I would set my nose to the greatest possible degree of crinkling and pick up a plate between reluctant thumb and index finger. My approach was straightforward—the idea was to try and clean the dishes without really touching them. Not much of an approach at all, I soon realised. And so, I had to eventually let my hands dig in.
At first, picking out the flakes of rice and bits of vegetables that coagulate at the bottom of the sink made me writhe in disgust. It was often at this exact moment that father would saunter into the kitchen, dirty cup in hand. Placing it on a slab by the sink, he’d give out a mumbly, apologetic laugh and then he would leave; the kitchen wasn’t his territory and dishwashing not his duty.
There were lines. Oh, there most certainly were lines! Invisible ones that my family refused to see, as much as they were marginalised by them. Every day, these lines pushed me into a more limited space, making me work against my will. I didn’t mind so much when I had to serve mother or grandmother, but it irked me to have to do anything for father.
It was mother’s fault for pleasing her husband, grandmother’s too for not letting her son-in-law into the kitchen, society’s fault for giving that privilege to men, father’s fault—beyond anyone else’s—for so easily succumbing to the most stereotypical version of a Nepali, Bahun male. Within the space of my kitchen, I began to trace the history of my family, our patriarchal lineage, Nepal’s history, until I found myself another tedious, defeated dot in the stale, repetitive history of womankind. I couldn’t even stand up for myself, free myself of the obligations forced on me just because I was a woman. While meals simmered inside pots and pressure cookers, something else boiled in the tiny passageways of my veins. Day in, day out, I poisoned father’s meals with the contents of my mind. The plate was politics, the spoon, the ingredients, the fuel, the will of my own mind, all politics.
I don’t know when I became a convert—from despising my time in the kitchen to finding it tolerable, even enjoying it. There was no moment of epiphany, no rolling of drums, but before I knew it, I was at home amidst vegetables, spices, soaps, and dirty dishes. The more I spent time in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning, the less I felt disgusted by the leftovers on others’ plates. The grease on the karai that needed more effort was an added attraction.
My ego relaxed as the muscles on my arms tightened, and my body regained a confidence lost through years of sedentary living. There was something altogether therapeutic about that time spent in the kitchen, cooking and feeding, combining ingredients, experimenting with culinary alchemy. I felt closer to my entire family than I had done in ages, connected to them through my effort, my offering of food. The desire for vengeance slowly vanished.
Now that mother is back on her feet, and with that sedentary work piling up again, my entries into the kitchen have become rare, but I cherish whatever time I can spend in it. I dip myself into action and indulge in some self-forgetting.
No sooner am I fully immersed in the act of cooking, it’s as if my being extends itself to the knife, the vegetables, the ladle. My mood blends into the mellowness of the light, my soul dances in neglected corners of the kitchen. The food soaks in the flavour of my emotions. I become the walls of the kitchen, its unruly cabinets, the hissing of the pressure-cooker, the shine of soap suds as they slither from plates. My kitchen offers me a solitary space where identities blur, and in a way, I cease to exist.
All this reminds me of a story I once heard. I am in the centre of that story, for it is written in my body. In it I trace my origin. I am born of parents who were born of their parents who were born of their parents who, if I trace far enough, were born of things unevolved, unrecognisable. I also try to trace my end in that story. I find myself in my children who find themselves in their children and so on, until the end of time? My body will be set on fire, smoke will twirl into the atmosphere, ashes will merge with the earth. Or else I may be buried, in which case my body will decay, becoming food for the soil, nourishing things that live in it. I will slowly seep into plants, then into animals that feed on the plants, then maybe back to the earth as they perish and decay. I belong to things I may not have seen, touched or held, things whose name I don’t know, things that might not even have names. Where do I mark my beginning and my end; at what point do I stop belonging?
Even as I live and breathe, the atmosphere becomes part of me. Every morsel I consume is the joyful union of the earth and the sun. The sun may be the most active ingredient in the making of me; it is in the oxygen I breathe, in the water that sustains me. And moving farther away, apparently it is the moon that makes my sanity sway just as it does the seas, and the stars that hold my destiny. It seems that the entire universe is conspiring in the making of me.
This is the story of everybody, every creature, every object, and it clings to me dearer than my own skin. Every time I get trapped in desires and dissatisfaction, I try to remember this story. It makes me feel so small, almost nothing and at once a part of everything in the universe. I let myself loose from the boundaries of my body and my mind, I open doors I’ve locked myself inside, and notice how freedom is a personal choice that politics undermines.
My kitchen, at one point, used to be the home of my discontent where I waged political wars. It has been strong in my education and upbringing—that desire to condemn the world—to point fingers and locate blames, accurately. To be all too aware of what is wrong. To see the world as a wrong that can be righted with my thoughts and actions. It seems that we latch on to unhappiness because that is the easier choice. Through it, we hand over the responsibility of our happiness to somebody else, somebody who is most likely going to disappoint us. It takes a great deal of unlearning, a continuous washing away with the soap of experience the dust coated lens of prejudice to see the world anew without itching to change it.
When did I truly become a convert? Perhaps when I began to see father as an extension of myself, and myself an extension of him. Perhaps when I began to see the open air for what it was, not as invisible, suffocating walls that minds can so easily build. Perhaps when I saw that we are synonyms in the same story, living out a similar essence in different disguises.
Like myself, my father, through his body made of a commingling of all elements, of time and space, makes available his share of qualities and flaws. Outside of words and vocabulary, outside of language and meaning, outside, certainly, of politics and identity, outside, mostly, of the desire for discontent and within the realm of uncertainty are lingering possibilities.
Today, steaming bowls of vegetables, plates full of rice and wafting aromas form the centre point around which mother, grandmother, father and I huddle together. There is food melting in our mouths. There is contentment making its way into our hearts. Our faces soon disappear into a faceless whole.