Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Great Wall of China

Human nature, essentially changeable, unstable as the dust, can endure itself no restraint; if it bends it soon begins to tear madly as it bonds, until it rends everything asunder, the wall, the bonds, its very self...My inquiry is purely historical, no lightening flashes from the long since vanished thunderclouds...The limits which my capacity for thought imposes are narrow enough, but the province to be traversed here is infinite.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Illicit Happiness of Other People

I was in the sixth grade. My father is the conventional Indian papa with the big doctor/engineer/IAS officer dream carried forward to his children, so each weekday, instead of watching Powerpuff Girls on Cartoon Network, my brother and I were sent off to tuition at neighbourhood waali aunty's place, half past three in the afternoon.

Jaya aunty was a homemaker, frustrated because she was overqualified to teach us, a devout Buddhist. I'd borrow books from her that mostly always bordered on preachy, like Tuesdays With Morrie and The Alchemist. When she'd spot a rebellious paperback sneaking out of my bag she'd mutter that I must be careful. I was her star student, my hair was combed back fiercely to show that I meant no nonsense. I'd agree and nod multiple times with her to ensure that I followed everything she was saying. I'd secretly steal expensive soap from her washroom.  

There was this another girl in the same tuition, she was two years older to me. Stupid as a doorknob. She would make make your eye twitch and lip curl if you paid attention to what she was saying any longer than six minutes. 

So Jaya aunty slapped her once. An hour into explaining a simple mathematical problem, and this girl could only look at her nails she had painted earlier. Aunty said really mean things to her that day. I sat there in my seat, my back straightening with every word, neck out like a swan with an enlightened expression like I was the Buddha himself.

I feel ashamed when I think about it now. I say 'now' because it has taken me years to get over the whole idea of what is the right way of being a girl. If I saw someone pouting in a short dress in a Facebook picture or putting more than three hearts in a comment I would be quick to dismiss them. I've always taken pleasure in doing this. I probably will remain hypocritical and continue to do so on some days out of sheer habit.

But the reason why I've written about this is because the truth is that no one gives a fuck. This is Buddha's moment of enlightenment- No one gives a fuck. The girl came to class the next afternoon and nothing had changed. She even had a pleasant, dazed expression on her face. You should have been there to see how the vein on aunty's forehead threatened to burst. It was quite hilarious. I don't know what to conclude from this. What I do know is I don't want to turn into my bitter teacher.

I'd rather not give a fuck.