Home & Identity

Finding home & a sense of belonging within shifting identity politics of geography, region, language, politics, ideologies and culture.

Cityzen
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Cityzen

I’ve been told my love for Mumbai comes through in my words. It’s true that being of & from this city is a big part of my identity today. It wasn’t always the case. Through my 20s, I saw my future move outward. As my identity expanded from the small…

Valentine’s Day Farce
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Valentine’s Day Farce

Whew pink season is over, what a relief!To paraphrase Mad Men, romance was invented by capitalists to sell more stuff. Valentine’s Day single-handedly created an economy of greeting cards, pink teddy bears & red hearts. Nothing wrong in these, of course. But let’s not pretend it’s something else. It hit…

Certified Weirdzo
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Certified Weirdzo

I’m a certified Weirdzo. Certified by the Confederation of Superficial Judgement on Body, Apparel & Behaviour. They really value conformity. I qualified early, aided by a love of bright colours, fascination with shapes & textures & absolute indifference to social rules. The kid in a neon raincoat when black &…

Shadow Play
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Shadow Play

How do you cope with the pain of being overlooked, of being forgotten, of being seen but not as who you are, of being misunderstood, of being forced into mental cages, of being nothing more but a screen on which other people’s projections land? You don’t. You let that part…

Blank State Self
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Blank State Self

I think we yearn for our blank slate states, for our most pristine, untouched selves. It’s why we romanticise childhood even though it’s most likely had its share of hardships & knocks. Tattoos are a curious borderline point between our most fearful, vulnerable selves that want to look back &…

Blotting Paper Art
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Blotting Paper Art

I love colour. Bright, vibrant hues lift my mood. What’s on the outside is connected to what’s on the inside and I like them in harmony. I’m a summer child. A Mumbaiker lives with a permanant layer of humidity on the skin. And that’s as good as my city hugging…

Fortune Hunting

Fortune Hunting

I turned 21 in a world that promised much even for an averager like me. Then a plane flew into the twin towers & all millenium dreams crumbled. Things they never teach you about in a boom economy b-school: how to spell RECESSION. I landed a job, found harassment, ran…

Reclaiming Fairytales
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Reclaiming Fairytales

Remember the emotional breakdown scene in QUEEN where Kangana bemoans wandering the streets of Paris by herself instead of with the new husband are thought she’d have? I thought I’d have a wedding & a honeymoon in December 2012. I didn’t. Earlier that year I’d been to Goa, my one…

Lessons On Being Loved
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Lessons On Being Loved

Some of us need to learn how to be loved. How to receive warmth & not fear burns. How to forget that trembling alone, arms wrapped around ourselves, is not the same thing as being held. How to feel without flinching. How to change a body rhythm that only beats…

Happy Isn’t Getting It All
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Happy Isn’t Getting It All

What does happiness have to do with getting what you want? When setting my life goals, I thought “I want to be happy”. But that’s not true. The list of what I want is long, complicated, twisted, expensive & unhealthy. I’ve wanted desperately, eagerly & in many other ways we…

A Voice To Shatter The Glass Ceiling
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A Voice To Shatter The Glass Ceiling

I became a singer in my student days. I was on workaholic track but some classical training & 2 years of guitar lessons had me considering my vocal potential. Bollywood competitions were respite from classroom debates & projects. So I became a regular on the college festival circuit. The ability…

Tinsel Life
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Tinsel Life

I feel like a character in someone else’s coming of age story. The kind about a young man discovering life, love and that, contrary to what his mama said, the universe does not revolve around him. I’m Sunday morning breakfast in a social calendar filled with boozy Saturday nights &…

This Body Is Home
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This Body Is Home

The body is a box, it is not me. When you trap my identity in labels of gender, regional feature, skin colour, this body makes me feel like a prisoner. I’m told I carry the honour of my family. I am custodian, my sexuality its gatekeeper. That men approach this…

How To Draw A Straight Line
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How To Draw A Straight Line

A boundary is a lesson in consent, which in turn is rooted in a sense of self. Who you are says what you allow. A boundary is not a weapon or defense mechanism – these are escapes. Boundaries force you to do the hard work of taking responsibility for what…

Language No Bar
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Language No Bar

(This was written for an Independence Day celebration) The words that issue forth from meI taste them on my tongueFlavours of ideas shaped by thosewho came before me, far from meSeparating me from kinI am an English speaking Indian The language that shapes my identityborn differently from meIts birth land,…

Timeless
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Timeless

If you were born in another era, who would you be? What would your personality be like? Your values? How would you survive that world? What role would you play? I think about this often, now. It makes me feel very grateful to be born in the time I was…

Orange Solo
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Orange Solo

Some nights are a turquoise tango, some days are an orange solo.  Flashback 12 years. I wandered down bookshelves that I’d been glazing over for weeks. It seemed wrong to be there alone. The environment matched my mood. What was earlier opulence had run into decadent indifference. Books lay piled on floors,…

Drag Me

Drag Me

When you look at me, what I’m wearing is the first thing you see. My clothes are my way of saying hello. My chosen language to say, this is me. My red lipstick is a fashion statement and that statement is NOT “You can fuck me”. Sometimes, it’s “Look at me!”…

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Vulnerability Bait

Art makes honesty accessible, believable, livable. It makes vulnerability look appealing by giving it validation. I rewatched an EASY episode of an ageing graphic novelist. It tapped into my fears of growing old & irrelevant, regrets over bad choices. When I began blogging in 2004, I didn’t know I was…

Pockets Of Courage
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Pockets Of Courage

Inside my pockets, I keep pieces of courage, to reach for when I need them. See, life has become an unpredictable horizon strewn with landmines called memories. An accidental sighting and unfortunate coincidences. We’re so connected, we’re entrenched seamless and a chance encounter, becomes an obituary. Memory, that unreliable narrator…