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Take it easy bra(h)!

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Women have a funny relationship with bras. From the myths of bra burning, to listicles showing what relief being braless once home brings to everyone who chooses to wear a bra daily. There are conversations about understanding all sorts of bras, some preferring one type to another and many, not wanting to wear one at all. I have always hated this piece of cloth since I can remember. As a youngster rebelling against anything that pleased others when the question of appearance arose, especially, demanding dorky teenagers to look all girly and feminine, I assumed that the bra was be worn to make a girl’s breasts look presentable. I remember cringing at the thought and deciding not to comply.

I can’t blame my childish self for presuming that. Back then, media selling lingerie danced to another tune as opposed to the current tune of making bras desirable for women for their own likes (hell, make them cheaper?!). Shreds of memories of men selling lingerie at counters and once that of watching a man pick out bras by testing out the strength of the cups while accompanying mother to the store left some very strong marks on my desires to wear one when the time came. I pushed the inaugural date by a whole year and I remember my friends all stare with widened eyes every time I would proudly say that “I am bra-free”. I can still picture the look of immense pride on my face, almost as if I had conquered the Kumbhalgarh fort and the judging eyes of my friends.

I would definitely say that I have had the most forward thinking mother, in a geography like Rajasthan, who had always set the example for me. She would talk about bright colours and rather nudge the deliberately prudish daughter of hers to buy the nicer colours. As I learnt more and evolved more, I did accept that these pieces of cloth weren’t that bad at all and that, at certain times, they are much needed as well. It is just a manner of choice and whatever is comfortable one must choose. Like your favourite cocktail, the best fit for you will always be different and no advert, model, film star or the salesgirl at the lingerie store should dictate to you what you would like best.

Why am I talking about bras here?

I was reminded of my entire bra journey recently when walking towards the gate of a reputed gated colony in Mumbai. Let me recount – as I was walking, I saw a lady in a yellow and red t-shirt and pink track pants sitting and staring into space, presumably taking a break from her morning walk. I only glanced at her from afar and continued on my way. As I passed her, I heard a loud yet attempted hushed up “listen!”. I looked at her and  responding by way of raised eyebrows asked her if was the one she wanted to talk to. Happy that I had heard her, she promptly whisper-screamed “its transparent, your top…its transparent, I can see it.. (you know what)”, all of it with a look of urgent secrecy and a mission oriented glaze in her eyes that my modesty, centred around the bra I was wearing was almost saved since my hero sat right there in pink tracks.

In response, all I could do was stop myself from bursting out in (actual and not mirthful) laughter and just nod and say “okay!” as I hastened to run and laugh as she gave me a look of utter annoyance at my not getting the point of bra hiding sisterhood.

I am not saying that I was always like this. When on my personal adolescent mission to not wear pretty bras to dress up for the world that looks at desirable breasts in one way, shape and size; I was a hater of halter neck bras. I did not see the point of those and I still don’t like them, primarily because of my bad neck. But, the point is that I had always presumed the possibility of this to be in a smaller city / town and not in Mumbai where school kids grow up way faster than women my age have. I still don’t appreciate school kids imitating pop idols or models and wanting to wear hot pants or anything to ‘fit in’. If it’s out of own choice and comfort, of course no one must say anything. However, it sure felt funny to be called out by a resident around for an allegedly transparent shirt (was not wearing cellophane or any NSFW shirt) while living in a locality with quite a few of those grown up school kids.

This brings me to my point again that feminism clearly isn’t anti men. Here, it was a woman telling me and requiring me to cover up something which was already covered up and she had no business doing that! It is against such mindsets that are rooted deep in our culture to surface in this top notch cosmopolitan city of mine. I realise today that I could have probably had a dialogue with her trying to communicate to her why the bra is not something to be so scared of, that a suggestion to the world that women have breasts under the cloth is not to be fearful of, that patriarchy controls the female sexuality precisely in this manner and hyper-sexualisation of the female body on media is just an economic gimmick. But then, I shall leave it for another time when I am more well prepared and not as taken aback, even humorously so.

Audience

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This is one of my favourites from the archives. Written after yet another visual on 20th March, 2015.

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I don’t know what strand is it here

I somehow

Don’t feel the familiar sense of loss and foreboding

That I had associated with them before.

Its almost as if

You’re sitting at a distance

While I know you’re around.

You’re watching me, with a curiosity

Which only I have known myself to possess.

Perhaps, I pretend not to know hence?

Its a semi – dark room after all with you

Sitting in the shadows on that winged armchair 

Is that glow from the lantern behind you?

You sit with a smile, perhaps?

Holding your chin in your left hand.

Me? Where am I?

Am I being watched or

I am the audience?

Who could tell.

No more?

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There’s a strange sense of melancholy that lingers in my heart.

I know I am here and I know I am happy.

No, I am not depressed and no,

I haven’t lost any thing or any one…

I only long.

I only long for that moment to come

When we are together, when we are not two but, one.

I await that moment when we leap with joy,

jumping towards each other such that when our bodies collide, there is no collision.

No, it isn’t you. It is I who take time.

It is I who takes a while to understand.

I have always had questions, don’t you know that?

But, I have answers now. Oh hell, wait now, I am making my way.

Making my way, to the place where we first met.

Yes, yes that same place. Do you not remember?

The one with the bright windows and white curtains?

The one with the vast blue skies spreading all the way into the horizon.

The one with the wind blowing a gentle music piece with your chimes.

Yes, I will come soon.

Until then, wait just a little more, wait for me, for I have nothing here no more.

Safar

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Kuch dinon se mann me khayalon ka silsila kuch bhaaga bhaaga sa hai

Aisa lagta hai jaise ki mere andar se kuch chhut raha hai

ek ajeeb sa sannata hai andar

Bahar bahut shor hai, bahut bheed hai

Andar sirf shanti

Sehlaab ke pehle ki nahi, aisa lagta hai ye to uske saath aane waali chuppi hai.

Kaun hun main?

Kaun hai tu?

Kaun hain ye log sab jo aas paas ghoomte hain –

Muskurate hue ya udaas, chup chap ya bolte hue ya bas sar latkaye kahin jaate hue?

Kya hai ye zindagi ka safar aakhir?

Agar iss safar me hi sab kuch hai 

To hum ja kahan rahe hain?

Translation:

For a few days now, the threads of thought in my mind have been running here and there

Feels like, within, I am loosing something / something is being left behind

There is a strange quiet within (me)

There is a lot of noise without, a lot of crowd

Within it is just quiet

It is not the silence before the storm rather, feels like the silence accompanying the storm.

Who am I?

Who are you?

Who are these people who move about us –

Either smiling or sad, quite or talking or just walking somewhere with their heads hanging low?

What is this journey of life after all?

If the journey is what life is

Then where are we going?

 

Post about a post

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Bed post. Bombay home.

There are small parts of every day that one goes on ignoring, walks part without paying too much attention. In our mad, mad race to always be somewhere, to do something, we forget the small things. The little observations which won’t get you anywhere, which won’t get you a prize but, which would remind you time and again, what it is to be alive.

The other ‘post midnight – before sunrise’ time, which is usually spent reading, writing or simply staring at the ceiling I was waiting for time to go by as my time to get home came closer. Well, not really waiting but, reading was a slightly difficult pursuit that night. I love watching the strange little glowing reflections as well as shadows the lights in my room cast on the wall as they dreamily sway with the fan. While staring at the reflections and reflecting (haha) on things in life, I noticed this bed post. I’ve been staring at it all through the numerous months that I have owned it but, it was only that night that I really looked at it. I termed it as the ‘zonked out man with a curved moustache’.

Last night was a comeback to ‘silly’ little things again with a barefoot walk on cold grass in December.

Point is, I agree when the saner, more practical part of my head tells me to watch where I am going, to always be in the know but, the point here also is to let go at times of the things out of one’s control, to consciously make an effort to just stop running for a bit and just savour each small / big, thing, experience or old / new person in your life.