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Are You Happy?

I cannot even imagine the number of times I’ve been asked this question in the 22 years of my life. And I haven’t had the chance to actually sit and contemplate what this question really means.

Does it ask me whether i am happy in general or in that moment or just this neurotic person who is insanely bright beam of happiness that lights the lives of people.

Well, if you were to ask me if i was happy, I assure you that the answer would be, “No”.

You know why, because just being happy is not satisfying enough. Striving for something that is way beyond your reach or fixing the broken pieces of someone who is beyond repair, making a melody out of their broken shards, painting their monochromes to colour, living as life comes to you, raw and undone, that is what counts for living and not just searching for happiness in this meek  world.

I know that being happy is a choice but sometimes life makes you stand at a cross-road wondering which to choose, the one that will lead you to your happiness or the one that will lead you to something beyond the mere concept of being happy.

If you take this world and remove the happy from it, all there remains is realness. All the people without the masks of pretense. That’s what happiness has come to in this world, a false belief that a person has to have a smile on his face to survive.

No, the world was not built by bunch of people smiling, it was built by survivors. And how do you think people survive in this world? By smiling? No, by finding it in them to face this masked world with their bare, scarred faces.

It does not mean that i don’t have my moments or i don’t enjoy being alive and being around the people that make my heart flutter, it just means that my life shall not be a journey towards something which is not and will never be a destination.

Happiness cannot be termed as a destination which one has to work towards in his life, instead happiness is this trifling moment that passes us by so quickly that we cannot even hold on to it.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against happiness or people who’re genuinely happy in their lives, I just feel that this word has been given so much importance that when faced with any minute hitch the person loses the ability to believe in it.

So, if you ask me whether I am happy, the answer shall always be a no because, happiness is never that ever-shining bright star, it’s that meteor that occurs rarely but is worth the wait.

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For Better or For Worse

When I entered my teens I was sure there was something wrong with me, being a geeky kid with big glasses and a fat body, I knew people were not going to look at me the same way they did at other girls of my age. I was shy, awkward and tried too hard to fit in. So, when every high-on-hormones teen was getting a boyfriend or a girlfriend to spend their time with, I was either busy with a book or lying on the dirty ground surrounded by three to four stray dogs.

I was the girl who was always found squealing at the sight of a dog, any dog, rather than getting excited over what was the latest fad. I would pet any stray that i found without worrying about how dirty he might be or what diseases he might carry, I would just look at those eyes and would get fixated. I would gladly sit beside them, feed them off my hands and let them have their fun with me. I would stop my vehicle to pet a dog and to talk to the person walking it.

People often asked me the reason for this crazy love for dogs and not any other animal. The reason was quite simple.

I was a kid who wasn’t allowed to have a pet in the house because of the mess they create. My dad wouldn’t let me bring any stray inside the house for a simple reason that I might get too attached and it would hurt me when it would leave us. Well, not having one by my side everyday hurt anyway.

There were times when my hands craved to hold the soft, tiny and magical paws which people said have healing powers, to be able to cup his face in my hands as he licked my face, to come home to a wagging tail, to tell stories to people of how he threw up on my assignment and i had to make it all over again, to be able to look at him and smile like an insane person because of how full of love I was. To be able to watch him do nothing but lie with me and make you me as if the whole world was mine  to conquer.

There were times when at night I would lie in my bed, alone, thinking about something bad that had happened that day and no one to just sit and share that silence with me. There were times when i would come home from college in a dire need of a hug and would find my room empty. There were times when people exhausted me and I needed some escape. There were weeks that went by without even smiling, but just the sight of one dog would brighten my day as the first ray of sunlight falling on the ocean, like the moonlight lighting up a dark alley.

These were time times that i needed those magical paws by my side to help me realize that there is still some good left in this world.

For a girl who hasn’t had the chance to own a dog or to fall in can’t-eat-can’t-breathe-around-him-can’t-stop-thinking-about-him love, the mere sight of one dog on the road or in the college campus would fill up with such inexplicable joy , joy that people have never been able to understand, joy that brought a huge smile on the face along with some tears to the eyes. Joy that would remain in her heart for days.

Now, I am a 22 year old and I still don’t own a dog. Coming home to no guy doesn’t hurt as much as coming home to no dog, trust me.But I’ve made my peace with the fact that I was not made to own just one dog, i was made to have as many dogs as my house can hold. I was made to fill my house with these rainbow pooping creatures who’ve made a very unhappy girl, ecstatic time and again.

And there will come a time when I will own the biggest dog-petting zoo, where kids like me who never got the chance to own a dog, will be able to spend hours with the dogs and their pups, playing, laughing and calling them all their own.

I will help in forgetting for a little while that this world is a broken place to live in, especially without a dog. And also, that nothing fixes a broken soul better than a dog. Or lots of dogs.

When My Daughter Asks Me If She’s Beautiful..

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I will tell my daughter to look in the mirror so deep that she feels the world around her fading from the sides and only she remains in focus. 

I will tell her how this world would never care about how many books you read or how beautifully you can put your views about this world in front of the people.

I will tell her no matter how pure her soul is or not matter how accepting her heart is, she will always be measured in pounds and kgs. 

I will tell her that this world will give her a thousand people who see only with their eyes, I’ll ask her to hold onto to the one who sees with their soul.

I will tell her to not wear flowers in her head because this world will only care for that flower and not the head that makes it more beautiful.

I will tell her not to place that last piece of brownie back in the bowl just because some woman stared at her like it was the end of this world and she reached out for the last piece of food.

I will tell her to wear her body as an armour, ready for any battle. 

I will tell her to shed all the façade only when you are sure of your soul being taken care of. 

I will tell her to love her body just as much as I loved mine or tried to when I was her age.

I will tell her to swear off any man who keeps her body first. 

I will tell her how she has been born from a star and she’s nothing less than one incandescent body.

I will tell her how the universe strived to make her what she is and how what one boy says does not matter.

I will tell her to wait for that one person who sees her and despite her being cracked from places, holds all her pieces together. 

And even if she still doesn’t believe that she is not what the society calls “beautiful”, I will tell her that there will be times when she won’t believe that she is because the people said so. There will be times when she’ll open a magazine and point out each flaw in her when compared to the model.

There will be times when people will tell her to adjust her pieces according to the norms of the society and them, I’ll tell her to remember how a puzzle seems like a broken piece of cardboard to a person who only sees the broken piece of cardboard.

Image :Flickr

How To..

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Do nothing.

Sleep, wake up then sleep again repeat this as many times as you want, let the oscillating blades of your fan be the first and the last thing you see, the whole day.

Flip the tear soaked pillows, flip them over and over and over and over again until you find that one tiny spot which is not stained.

Go to the place you first met, light up a cigarette or two or the whole packet. Smoke. Till the air coming out of your nostrils form their face. Smoke till your hands burn and till your lungs catch fire.

Lay on your back, listen to every goddamn sad song you have. Let the salty water run through your scars, let the skin burn, that’s how they’ll heal.

Stand in the shower for however long it takes to wash their touch from your body. Let the water cleanse your soul.

Keep a stack of whiskey ready, for when the time comes your limbs won’t move, but your mouth would want to reach out to the mouth of the bottle as if it were his mouth.

Kiss as many mouths you want to to forget what it felt like to kiss his.

Drink as many cups of coffee as you need to stay awake, tape your eye lids to your forehead if need be, because you’ll expect to roll over and find him but there won’t be anything but void.

Write. Fill the pages of diaries. Write, till you’ve used up every word to describe how it feels to hold yourself with tape and glue. Write, till your fingers bleed on the pages. Write till you forget. Write to forget.

Decide to go out, dress up, cancel, change to sweats, stay at home, order Chinese, put on a sappy movie and cry in your chicken noodle soup.

And after you’ve done all of this do it all over again, because it’s not about making yourself okay, it’s about telling yourself that you were okay before they came, because even if you are a little bent out of shape, it’s still you in there, because you don’t need to apologize for loving till your insides reeked of him, because you never have to be ashamed of pouring yourself out in front of the wrong people, because you can always ask for your pieces back.

Because no one has ever been able to succeed a heartbreak and there is a slight possibility that you won’t either.

Fire

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Bend your chest open, let me through the labyrinth of your rib cage
making my way towards the far end
where in a small dark corner
your heart resides.

I walk with fire burning on my finger tips
to brighten up my path,
it’s a long way to your heart but
my flames are inextinguishable.

I see scars and parts of it missing
some broken some loosely fixed and
some on the ground. 
I want to pick them all up
put them back together,
make it whole again.

Used to the cold touch, it quivers as the warmth from my flames advance. 

I secretly wish for it to burn completely
I can rebuild it with the ashes
like the Phoenix rising gracefully.
I can change it to Vermilion
it has been purple for far too long.

I can see myself out as soon as I pump my heat into it to enkindle it.

I take a few steps back 
taking full responsibility of the arson and watching it rise andante maestoso.

I wish I could stay and watch but my flames are still ablaze and you wouldn’t want a heartburn.

It Hits You Like A Train

It hits you like a train.

You weren’t even planning on standing at that station and it hits you like a train.

Saturday morning, coffee in one hand and the newspaper in another and it hits you like a train

The toasts burn, coffee remains spilled on the floor and you do not know what to do with your hands anymore.

The buttons on your shirt are all in the wrong holes, the pants don’t match and you forget how to walk.

Maybe the world is spinning too fast maybe it’s you but you have nothing to hold on to.

The computer screen remains blank because suddenly it’s midnight in your head and all the lights go off.

It hits you like a train. Someone splashes the puddle water on you and drives away and you stand still trying to open your mouth to scream but nothing comes out.

The words seem to have lost somewhere, but you don’t have the keys to your house let alone words to your thoughts.

It hits you like a train.

Phone. Text. E-mail. Your fingers type the same words 27 times, erase them 30 times, words fall off the screen.

It hits you like a train. Did you turn the lights off before slipping into the bed, who can tell? It’s dark anyway.

It hits you like a train, the same train they sat on and went and never returned.

Defeat

I’m living this life one sigh at a time.

Every morning stepping off my bed onto the floor of a malfunctioning life.

My shoulders stoop as the obligation to be alive stands over them, wrathful and unappeased. As I try to sit upright my back doesn’t support this defeat.

My soul musters up the courage to come face to face with this world, my eyes on the other hand search for an escape.

I walk into this labyrinth of a life, unguared, unprotected, one step at a time.

The yellow light at the end of the tunnel moves farther and farther with each step I take.

I stop. Rest.

The yellow light moves farther and disappears into thin air, leaving pitch black darkness.

I sit. Open my eyes, close them then open them back.

My eyes have adjusted to this darkness now.

I stand back up and extend my hand in search of something to hold on to to help me out of this darkness, but only thin air slips out between my fingers.

I start walking anyway in the hope that this darkness will replace the blood in my veins and show me where I’m supposed to go.

How To Be A Woman In A Man’s World?

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How to be a woman in a man’s world?
You can’t!

At age 5, they told me how to sit, eat, dress, stand and how not to interact with older men. Men that were of the same age as my father and uncles. How not to come out of my room when my dad was having one of his guy friends over for a drink. How not to pass a smile to a strange man while crossing the road. How not to be a five year old. 

At age 12, they told me how to fold my napkins, how to get the creases out of my skirt, how to not dance without wearing tights no matter how uncomfortable I got. How to bow down but not while wearing a low neck top. How to not let my skirt get above my knees because there are bad men in this world who not only enjoy looking at a little girls’ knees but also like to tear her childhood apart along with that skirt.

At age 15, I got familiar with the words rape and sexual assault and I knew they were frowned upon because my mother would change the news channel as soon as those words came up. I knew there was something bad going on this world. But what? Nobody would tell me. Because the doers were the men and the mouths of the women in this world were shut tight by those men. Nobody would tell me what happened to that little girl in a small village and how she died and why were all the people blaming her dad for her death. My mother would tell me she got sick, very sick. I wish she would’ve told me the truth. I wish she would’ve told me its the people who’re sick and how sick this patriarchal society really is and how keeping your mouth shut only gives power to those who do this. I wish she would’ve told me to speak out loud. 

At age 21, I am told that I am supposed to remain pure for my husband. Pure being the word used to cover up the actual term here because saying things as they are, Indians don’t do that. I am supposed to save myself for my husband. Yes, so that he can claim me and destroy me and the society would be okay as long as he is my husband. Though I am an adult, I am told not to party out along with my friends late at night because apparently moving my body to a funky tune determines my character. The same character that I am supposed to keep tact for the guy who gropes girls like me while dancing. No matter how educated or well read I might be, at the end of the day judging me and my character comes down to this.

The greatest threat to a man would be an ego bruise or a heart attack, but do you know what the greatest threat to a woman is? The men she lives in this world with.
And people still question the existence of the word feminism.

You ask me how do we live in this male-dominated world?

We don’t.
We barely survive.

Artwork : LÜTFİYE KÖSTEN

You Don’t

You don’t want to be loved by me.

I will put my arms around your neck and mark my territory. I will want to put my hands all over your body and write pretty poetry on your skin. I will want make a museum of all your belongings, I will want to make a museum out of you. I will want to glide my fingers on those forearms watching how the veins carry your blood to your heart, I will want to do that all day and night. I will want to kiss that face the first thing in the morning and before you sleep and then watch your eyes move while you dream. I will want to be the part of the dreams you watch. I will want to put a picture of you in my purse and look at you when no one’s looking at me. I will want to make a home out of every inch of your body. I will want to draw maps on the scales of your skin and travel along them. I will want to memorize the shape of your lips, eyes and nose and I will want to put in on canvas. I will want to crawl inside your skin and look for the lost love. I will want to open my chest and put myself in your hands in the hope that you’ll preserve me like one those collectibles you love so much. I will want to carve your face like a pumpkin and keep it on the top most shelf.

You don’t want to be loved by me. Because I will never stop pouring and you’ll eventually run out of vessels to collect me in.