HUMAN HAMMERS

Humans are carpers. And it’s an immutable, unbearable trait.

A wedding is about to take place. The groom’s mother views the bride’s family with much contempt as the latter has decided to conduct the wedding at a small church and booked a medium-sized hall for the buffet. That’s all they can afford without sharing the costs; plus it was beyond the budget they have planned. But affines are never satisfied, are they? They just need that one thing to hold against you.

After the nuptials, the mother-in-law takes direct digs by griping about how her cachet among her high-society friends and relatives came down due to the economical wedding the girl’s family has managed to pull off. How the congested church made her feel claustrophobic. How the food items at the dinner were not properly garnished. How the chillies in the biryani were sliced too thin and also how the server didn’t smile at her. The girl took the offence in silence.

Now time comes for the mother-in-law to marry her daughter off. And she doesn’t pick any fancy beach resort or a backyard of a mansion as the venue. The wedding’s going to take place at her home—the cheapest option available.

I cited this example not to stereotype anyone. I wanted to pinpoint the kind of hypocrisy that prevails in majority of humans and how people take delight in hammering anyone that doesn’t share their DNA. But say one thing even remotely unfavourable to them, they would be glaring at you with fangs ready to sink into your throat. You can dish it out but you can’t take it.

Why are our thoughts and morals so warped? Our favourite pastime is to criticize. We condemn everyone for everything just to feel better about ourselves. God, why are we born this way? Why can’t we be more pure and acceptive?

The kind of people I’ve seen in my short existence so far has made me a cynic. I see a person spending as meagre as a cent on a birthday present to someone but expects to receive a gift worth one hundred dollars in return and if you don’t sate his anticipation, then get ready for some serious arraignment and bad-mouthing. Wow, doesn’t conscience dictate human thoughts and actions anymore? “We give, we take” is how life is supposed to be within a society. But I see more of “You give, I take” in people these days.

It’s important to take the other person into account always simply because we can’t spare the price of being an outcast, which would be the definite consequence of acting like an ass.

Expect the other to do what you would do in their shoes. You can’t aim to be treated like a queen while you view every other person as your minion. I see that most of them are not satisfied with what they have. They want additional, that too for free. Isn’t that nasty? You’re basically hoping to lick on someone else’s sweat. Produce your own sweat instead of being a parasite.

When you bundle up jobless people together all they do is gossip, pummel and slam with limitless ardour.

‘Mr. X doesn’t hold his wife’s hand in public. Things are not right between them. I give four months max.’

Maybe Mr. X is just shy and doesn’t like PDA.

‘Miss Jane had a tear in the dress she wore yesterday. She’s so broke.’

Probably, Jane didn’t notice the hole and unfortunately became the subject of your hole.

‘Mr. Y uses a basic phone despite being a millionaire. Such a cheapo.’

Perhaps, Mr. Y loves simplicity and doesn’t heed barking dogs.

Such is the dreadful situation. If you have nothing to do, then do nothing. But do not hammer. It hits very hard.

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Whoa! That’s deep. But I’ve been feeling feministic lately especially ever since I’ve received a distress call from one of my close friends. Apparently, she’s been a victim of domestic violence for about three years and has opened up only now. She called me to seek my advice on what to do next and my input was same as all her other girlfriends she had contacted prior to me—LEAVE THE BEAST!

So, when I first started this blog, I didn’t intend to explore the murky waters given my scant experience of the goings-on in the world. But the call perturbed me to an indescribable extent. Someone whom I have known for about a decade, someone whose wedding I attended and was held with much fanfare, someone who fell in love with the handsome guy her parents so meticulously chose from among numerous suitors, is enduring abuse in the hands of a heartless husband. I’m saying heartless from a woman’s point of view. But I’m sure he has a heart. What he doesn’t have is control over his mouth and limbs.

So, when she described how all hell broke loose just six months after the presumed marital bliss, I felt a shudder run through me. She shared her woes with her friends but what about many others, who’re silently suffering in the confinement of the four walls? How do we see behind the mask of happiness they sport whenever out in public? How does any girl identify the wolf in sheep’s clothing?

There’s no answer to those questions. It depends mostly on luck. And luck is not in our control. But what is in our control is the ability to chop the finger (well, not literally, unless that’s the only option left) of the man who dare lay a finger on us. One needs the courage to acknowledge an abusive relationship and come out of it before it’s too late.

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Easier said than done, right? I agree. But think of it this way. You go to a restaurant, order a sumptuous meal but find out that it tastes bad. Later you also discover that if you keep on eating, the food would cause grave harm to your health. Would you still go on? The example might be stupid but I hope I’ve made my point.

On the other hand, I just want to ask all the abusers a question? It has been scraping the insides of my brain so vehemently that I had to put it out here. Why do you do it? Seriously, why? Is it to feel a sense of control? But why would you want to control another human being who is equal to you in every way? A relationship is not about who is in charge. It’s about sharing and compromising.

There are some situations where the girl would provoke the man to raise his hand. But I can say for sure that in 90 cases out of 100, a girl is never the first one to start a physical tussle. If she can patiently and stubbornly carry on an argument or fight verbally then why the hell do you want to make it complicated by turning it into a scuffle? Don’t you have the guts to challenge her with your words? Are you so feeble that you had to shut her mouth only by hitting her?

There are so many ways in which you could tackle the problem of having a difficult wife but domestic violence is not one of them. And to all the men who torture their partners only to exercise control over them, here is a titbit. There are so many women protection laws introduced into our system that you would rot in jail for a decade minimum if she decides to open her mouth. And it’s only a matter of time.

HOW TO DEAL WITH INSOLENCE

Rude people are not necessarily bad people. They just need a lesson or two about manners and respect. But we can’t go about philosophizing 30-year olds on how to behave. It’s their damn responsibility to treat others the way they want to be treated. Or else, someone like me would watch with eagle eyes for an opportunity to exact revenge.

I don’t let go of the insult of being yelled at unnecessarily, the humiliation of being the subject of embarrassing jokes in public, the belittlement in front of even an ant. I convert the incidents into a camera reel and replay them frame-by-frame till there’s retribution.

Movies like “Mean Girls” and “The Clique” give youngsters a strange sense of belief that being cheeky is cool and it’s even regarded as a funky trait. In reality, society views rude people as bullies. Reality doesn’t work the same way as it does in movies. At least youngsters can be taught and will learn from experience. But what about adults like my twenty-three-year-old germophobic cousin, who shouts at me for offering him a glass of water? You read that right.

He arrives at the living room, tired after a long nap in the afternoon. As a responsible guest, I offer him some water, in the presence of his parents and other relatives. He refuses.

‘Have some. You look weary,’ I insist.

‘I said no. Just leave me alone!’ he says in a mildly loud voice.

‘Are you sure?’ I say just to be polite.

‘God, just go. I don’t want your stupid water. Did you even wash your hands? Get out of here!’ he yells.

I felt the whole building shake from the sheer loudness of his annoying voice. Stunned by his hostility, I retreat from the spot without a second look at his skunk-like face. The hall falls into a cloud of silence, although they’re used to these meaningless outbursts from the thoughtless man.

Nah, he’s not mentally unstable like all of you might be thinking by now. He’s just someone who loves to shout at others with no consideration towards their dignity. If he was worried about germs, then he could have let me know in a civilized way. But, no. He chose to humiliate me.

I shrank into a corner and forced the prickling tears back into my eyes as I vowed revenge.

This sweet cousin of mine was asked to drop me at my place the next day. He whined like a sick monkey before agreeing to his mother’s order. I saw an opportunity and schemed while on my way, seated beside him in the car. He wasn’t speaking anything. I thought of several ways I could start a conversation so that I would get a chance to insult him but none of them was non-pretentious.

Finally, we arrived at the destination. My aunt, his mother instructed him to carry my luggage up into my apartment. He was especially not happy at being my porter but he obliged any way. He got out of the car to pull out my bags from the backseat. The watchman nearby was thinking whether or not to help. There was a lot of buzz around on the street with people going about their chores. As he lay his hands on the handle of my bag, I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Take your dirty hand off my bag! I’ll carry them.”

He was gobsmacked, not being used to taking an insult in public. I removed my luggage from his car and disappeared into the building. Yes, everyone around gave him weird looks and I left with a satisfied smile on my face.

From that day onwards, we greeted each other with icy glares. I lost a cousin that way. But God, it felt so good. That’s how I treat brash people. I give them the taste of their own medicine. Most of them don’t even realize that they’re being impudent because they get accustomed to treating fellow humans like doormats.

My cousin is so kind and caring; tall and attractive; stylish and sophisticated; uncouth and apelike. The last two qualities negate the former ones obviously and he had few friends and many haters.

They say, ‘Don’t waste your time on revenge. Those who hurt you will eventually face their own karma’. That’s some unrealistic rubbish. If someone slaps you, you need to show them how painful a slap can be. I’m not promoting revenge but I sure believe in an eye for an eye.

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When it comes to rude people, they need to know that they can’t get away with ill-treating others and taking them for granted. An antidote to insolence is insolence. Rude people, if not stopped, turn into bullies. Hence, they should be taught a lesson that they won’t forget.

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MY SUPERHERO

A father is indeed a candle that melts in order to spread light to everyone.

Yes, I remember that today’s Sunday and not Thursday. But it’s also Father’s day. Here’s a post that’s a tribute to all the dads, who also double as superheroes.

Why is that there are innumerable quotes on the significance of mother but not many on the sacrifices of a father? Why is it that since childhood, we have been taught to regard a mother as God—as in the famous quote, ‘God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers—but dads were relegated to the position of admonishers and disciplinarians? Why is a father’s love underrated?

A mother bears our weight for nine months whereas a father bears the collective weight of the whole family all his life. His sacrifices go unnoticed, his protection seems like suffocation, yet his love remains limitless. We rarely get to see our dads, as they’re always hard-pressed with work and responsibilities. We whine about how little time he devotes us but does he ever complain about the encumbrances that are compelling him to toil round the clock?

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There’s the cabbie, who shifted to a different country, far away from his family, only to earn daily bread and pay his children’s tuitions; the menial labour working at a construction site, who can’t afford to move his family due to the maintenance costs and limitations; the Navy employee, who misses the birth of his child and doesn’t get to hold it in his hands for another six months. Their stories make my heart ache because they are forgoing their comforts for the sake of their families’ better future. Couldn’t they just find some low-paying job in their own country, be near their families, eat home cooked food and play cricket with their children? A father is indeed a candle that melts in order to spread light to everyone.

We just see the candies and chocolates he gets for us on his return from work but do we ever think of the miles he has to drive to get them and the harsh sun he has to battle in the mid-afternoon? He pays the bills, takes us shopping, treats us at our favorite restaurants, cracks “fat” jokes at the expense of mom, unfailingly sends us the first “good morning” message on Whatsapp, gives us silly monikers, has an encyclopedic brain and still . . . and still, allows us to boss around and even enjoys being dictated by his children.

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He slaves and strives to provide but expects nothing in return. He is an epitome of patience and affection. An embodiment of love. He doesn’t show or express but his eyes betray the compassion.

My father, for me, is a security blanket. I need his presence, either in person or through phone, in order to feel protected. His jokes, no matter how inane they are, act as a break from monotony. His smile fills my heart with warmth and his laugh tickles me.

I’m an adult but will always be his little girl, seeking protection from the big, bad world. Please never leave my hand, Dad. I would be lost.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. I love you so much that no amount of words can describe it. I hope this post would make up for my wordlessness.

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Oh, Mom, don’t get green-eyed already. I love you too and you know that.

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MY REFLECTION

When I look in the mirror, I see her. When I try on a dress, I visualize her in it. When I’m eating chicken fritters, I imagine her face as she gulps down the hot chow. When I see a thrill-ride, I vow to come back with her. She is the best present my parents have ever given me. It’s my sister.

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My sister, who is two years younger to me, is like my reflection. She echoes my frustrations, understands my discontentment, weeps for my sorrows, and celebrates for my joys. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know if I would ever have come out of the multiple crises I had faced during the short span of twenty-four years. She stood by me like a pillar of strength.

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People around us often wonder what we talk about because our mouths are never shut when we are together. Our blabber mostly consists of digs and barbs at people who dare to cross our paths. But past that futile gab, there’s a strong bond that can’t be broken even by Thor’s hammer. We have had our share of fights and quarrels like all siblings do. But we also developed the kind of attachment that yokes us tighter every time a serious argument threatens to rip us apart.

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Ever since she was born, I have treated her like my baby. My responsibility. My happiness. At school, I was her bodyguard, guarding her against bullies and lunchbox snatchers. At college, I was her protector, cushioning her from the blows of adolescence. And now, I’m her giant watchdog, ready to pounce at anyone who so much as considers hurting her.

Well, I have been doing a decent watchdog job except for that one time when a neighbor’s pet Labrador was set free and it came galloping towards me like a lion. At once, I let out a dramatic, loud scream and jumped behind my little sister. I was 22 then.

Oh, there was another incident during our childhood, when I accidentally locked my sister up in a room with a flying cockroach. Cockroaches creep me out. I’m phobic and allergic to them. So, when I see that beast flying, you can expect me to either pass out or go bananas. The same happened and I skipped out flailing my arms like a mad person and instinctively closed the door of the room, which held the monster in loose, without thinking twice about my sister who later emerged, bawling her eyes out.

Okay, don’t judge me by those two instances. I verbally attacked a teacher, who hit my sister for not submitting her homework on time and I was barely eight years old then. Animals scare me. Okay? I hope she doesn’t read this post because I have denied those incidents ever happened.

Anyhoo, so, sometimes, I imagine what would have happened if I were an only child. It’s a terrifying thought. I don’t think I could have survived my teenage and twenties without her by my side. She’s like a star to my night sky. The source of glitter and light. We often dream of making it to 100 together and playing the same old silly games even on our respective deathbeds.

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Gosh, it sounded okay in my mind but now it’s too morbid. Excuse me for the gloomy end.

I dedicate this post to all the siblings in the world. Let’s all fight, kick, curse, punch, slap, tease, torment, and above all, love each other to bits.

I apologize to my sister for enduring my bossy bearing all these years and thank her in advance for putting up with my future antics.