RATP: Rage Against The Plastic


Capitalism isn’t an easy word for blooming toddlers to conceptualize. Especially, in a world where social hierarchies thrive, its essence is swiftly doomed to obscurity. But it doesn’t take a Socrates to realize that plastic is indeed capitalism’s best friend. In fact, plastic unites humans. Humans tirelessly feed plastic to the other sentient beings. If we teach our kids to relish the diminishing traces of nature, we sure can teach them to abhor nature’s biggest threat. Of course, love and hate isn’t something we teach but carefully impart. We’re born with an instinct to love nature. We’re erroneously taught that plastic is innocuous.

It took me astonishingly longer than the average rebel to understand capitalism, let alone perceive it as the biggest evil plaguing our society. There is no escaping the reality that perceptions of capitalism will forever be clouded by a myriad of factors that will only prolong the struggle to eliminate the production of plastic. So, here we have our synonym. Where words fail, ghastly images won’t.

Over the span of seven years, I have had a privilege of posing as a school teacher roughly 11 times. Excluding the time where I swapped places with the kids and ended up being the student bullied into memorizing the Assamese alphabet, every session concluded with a variation of “Quit Plastic”. I wish my rage against plastic was contagious. And of course, I do feel like a hypocrite for sprinkling droplets of milk into my coffee from a carton. But people living in first world countries consuming water from five liter plastic cans? Obnoxious.

I am pleased to have a vegan date this week who agreed to meet me after I suggested a café that has a recycle bin exclusively for coffee capsules. And she has accumulated a bunch. It didn’t bother me that she had zero interest in my coffee-skin zygote because at the end of the day, the global landfill weighs less by half a kilo of plastic.

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From 25 to 1


The wee end of 2011 saw me listing 25 resolutions and the year after endured a dispensable deconstruction of not having resolved much.

361 more days to go and I have none but one to hold on to. I lament that it begs to renounce the Yes-Man slowly dwindling inside me.

1) Never travel to another city for love or for sex.

O barco parado, não faz viagem


I have never been accustomed to waking up early. Neither was I accustomed to tying ties. I did however, persuade myself to sleep earlier than usual for my first ever day of formação. A marketing company had selected me for a round of observation and boy, was I validated! While the job wasn’t what I expected, neither was my first morning text that I chose to dismiss as I trudged on the pathways that this mysterious job demanded I do.

Fanny, my grand-aunt had passed away. The last time we exchanged pleasantries, her disposition rung no warning bells. Of course, I maintained a distance after being accused of allying with the devil for refusing to shave my beard but that memory blurred itself out when my trainer politely fired me. “Acho que esse pode ser o fim da nossa viagem“(This could be the end of our journey together). As I tried to affirm that being lost in translation doesn’t mean I am far away from perfection, I found myself using a word(eu fico parado…) that when fused with viagem(a word she had just used), only whipped up memory that was to open the floodgates once I got back home.

I resolved to dissolve the memory of her reprimanding me for my devilish demeanor in favour of a rather pleasant one. One of her coaxing her caretaker to pull her off her rocking chair with more haste- “O barco parado, não faz viagem” (a stalled boat will never reach its destination). I remember ever so fondly, the way the caretaker gently pulled her off her chair and enunciated the phrase, very obviously the first time she ever attempted Portuguese.

I loved Fanny. Unlike her sisters, she never had children. Unlike her sisters, she embraced a whole new faith. While it certainly wasn’t a faith that resonated well with me, what did resonate was the spirit of rebellion. She believed in something that her kin could barely digest. As I guzzle down one of the many bottles that are bound to gravitate towards my hand tonight, I toast all of these sips to Fanny.

Debes llevar el de las sandías


Willst du schlafen?” were the words I coaxed out of my dehydrated mouth after much careful deliberation. The glow of his bare white chest actuated the shadows of our embrace. Squinting marbles bulging out of wrinkled sockets distracted me from the longer-than-anticipated response. I played my classic Noey card every time I threw myself in a precarious linguistic challenge. I compensated for the temporary arrest of my vocal chords by doubling the labour force of my tongue. He didn’t complain. When our lips parted, he resigned to the inevitability that until we kiss again, it was his brain that was doomed to the drudgery of translation.

I gladly indulged him in an outpouring about his ex. It was my turn to lend my ears. Two hours before, when we had beer mugs in our hands and clothes on our torsos; he was more than a great listener. He helped me see my former paramour Fig for the gem that he continues to be. I had turned a blind eye every single time Fig responded to my cantankerous outbursts with invaluable food for thought.

There I was, in the throes of passionate Liebeswerben only to realize that I had already found what everybody squanders a lifetime seeking. Once my flavour of July was done relaying the events of his train-wreck, I predictably launched into my story-telling mode. “Now that’s the third smart thing your man did,” he remarked.

Here’s where I rewind to our second installment of honeymoons. I just turned 29. We were in Madrid, his gastronomical Shangri-La. I was ill and fell prey to an online self-medicating recipe that somehow triggered an unfortunate sequence of fiascoes involving me almost setting a kitchen on fire. We were thrown out of the AirBnB. This debacle of course, merits another blogpost.

Fig bottled up the palpable urge to reprimand me until I evinced the remnants of my assholery at a sushi restaurant. So, I bailed out of our evening itinerary to fume in my chronic idiocy. Halfway through my fuming exercise, Fig returned with a shopping bag. “I bought us some socks.” He pulled out four pairs. “I thought you’d like the ones with watermelons.”

Last week, I sent my most recent Tinder date a video of me attempting to play the ukulele. Her only reply was “Nice socks hanging on the rack!” They weren’t the watermelon ones but they were socks that I had inadvertently stolen from him.

One for Baldie, Baldie for none.


One of my many fears is
that you and I
who share mutual disdain
for malls
might have had our last rendezvous
at one
unlike the many
we’ve beautifully dismissed.

Untitled


every time my eyes reflect
and my sawdust lashes deflect
the travesty that
we’re sons of the same soil
does your body convulse in disgust
does the irony shrivel all lust?

the mass of me dangles
a beacon of not just one
but two colonialisms
both taking turns at missionary
the only constant
are the jibes at jingoisms

how absurd to be unearthing
patterns as if it were a sister
of Mizo and German
something that was the pulse
of an ancestor
fuck him for being Brahmin

if the moon didn’t pull the tide
toward the Kafkaesque side
i’d pay more attention to every suffix
than the tasks assigned by Netflix
and sprawl on your family couch
relishing every smattering
as mellifluous chirpings
that skipped three decades

alas, no can do
i’m better off mouthing
silly bajaboos
whilst diligently conquering defeat

until the aid of a dictionary
as well as its first syllable
I shall no longer need
the seed always planted
will soon be germinated

and words shall sprout
hopefully better
than the stagnant waters
that not so gently flow
few steps away
from where I write

Those Three Words


A lump in your throat, often dispelled with drivel that half almost salvages the embarrassment of the regrettable utterance. In the throes of making love, the smidgens of my ingrained ebbing masculinity haven’t yet succeeded in obliterating the reflexive ritual of this utterance. And I seldom bite my tongue because I almost always mean it. And then there comes a time when those three words frolic around the underside of your chapped lips. It’s a cold winter night but that’s not why they hesitate to be suspended in thick air. The law of emotion stipulates that at least a milliliter of foreign saliva must lubricate my vocal chords for the utterance to be released. I gambled with the cliché of spewing the tingling in her mother tongue but ruled that out two seconds later. It’s not like it was Xhosa or some endangered Andamanese language. When the time for a birthday greeting arrived, those three words seemed too fickle for the weight they held throughout the period of calibrated hesitance. Or was I anticipating those three words to tickle my ears to fuel an echo from my parched lips? The only thing I could bet on was that those three words weren’t worth complicating a beautiful friendship.

And yet, a recent rendezvous masks every scruple of my hectic brain to blurt out the folly of an enchanted dumbfuck. Only to be slapped with a “I saw this coming”. Of course, that drove me to abuse those three words until the chapter incinerated itself.

A taste of my own medicine? Rewind to 2014. Perched on a rock, a cigarette in my right hand. The November breeze whistles those three words. I turn to confront the mystical beauty orchestrating this sublime exercise in boosting my self-esteem and quiver a reply- “You’re a lovely person.” She was great but just like me, she didn’t measure the weight of those three words. For her, the only thing worth measuring was grams of coca.

Diary Entry #418


I didn’t wake up craving sex but predictably, I rolled a cigarette to help denounce the lazy morsels of yesterday.
I later accompanied Papa Toni and together, we struck off a few pending errands. Celebrated the beginning of a lesser futile day by purchasing a papaya and some bibes.
The scorching sun convinced me that my tresses served no purpose on my head and hence, I began scouting for local barbers. I thought of the time cousin T wrote my eight grade essay on my seemingly eternal barberphobia. I thought about the times my mom attempted to cajole my way through a haircut by plopping me on a pony and simulate some far-fetched horse-riding experience until the magic scissors made me a boy again. That Barberia no longer exists. Fortunately, right next to it, I chanced upon a secret bar with a suitable boy. That was yesterday.

About today, I found a suitable barber. One that spoke Konkani and was old enough to narrow down all possibilities of being sexualized. I thought about hoW abruptly the tables turned. I loved Barbers now. My phobia was only a phobia- an irrational fear. I thought of my linguistics mate Kristina and how she pitched that when an anthropocentric uprising threatened to transport the cats in residence to a laboratory. And then, my thoughts graduated to more pertinent ones. Live in the present. So, I thought about how these barber visits were one of the last domains in which I rehearse Konkani sentences that I never had the balls to utter before. And then, it ended. I walked back home and prayed that Papa Toni would turn a blind eye to my conventional makeover. Thanks to the dog squad and how much more worthy of gaze they are, he didn’t.

Resisting my third cigarette of the day, I collected scraps collecting in my room and kept them aside for roaches. I am not going to forfeit any more precious birthday cards for a toke.

I walked back to town, I had more tasks! Today, I am a productive being. On my way, I ran into a reformed drunkard who arbitrarily took ownership of Lame duck, a visitor from the dog squad(until Fat Lady returned to rain on her parade and imposed migration). And yes, Papa Toni christened her that. “Where is she?” I asked the reformed drunkard, hoping that I didn’t flout any gender rules in Konkani. A car ran over her. I couldn’t process the rest. Natural selection, some say. I miss her.

But of course, there were distractions. The suitable boy mourned the departure of my unkempt appearance while my fiancé seemed elated.

I promised a friend in distress that I would meet her at a pretentious gathering of self-proclaimed artists. My plans crashed and I made a chikoo milkshake instead.

Chantal sauntered in. Got me high. We spoke about death. I thought of my unborn sibling. Thanks to my duolingo exercises, decided to remember it as Unbekannte.

Now that you’ll be back home


Blissful monarchies seem like light years away
since I resumed the mundane grind:
hours of lament punctuated with swirls of nicotine
And you, galloped to familiar terrains and familiar tongues
familiar noodles and the almighty half-boiled egg.

Now that you’ll be back home
I marvel at Google’s spirit of full disclosure
31 minutes and your feet shall tickle the soil
where you beautifully belong

Now that you’ll be back home
will the digested medallions of sushi
somersault at the sight of the floor
welcoming you in multiple languages?
will your eye fall on ようこそ before Bemvindo?

Now that you’ll be back home
what will it feel like to validate your andante?
still perfunctory?
or like our first kiss in Madrid?
oh, wait…a metro ride with all that shopping?
I didn’t think this through.

Now that you’ll be back home
what will you eat for din-din?
too late for a cachorro, I reckon
and would you even miss me
if I leaked my recipe for flammkuchen?

Now that you’ll be back home
my toes tingle
knowing that your background music
is what I foolishly call my mother tongue.
Would you still miss the Brazilian twang?

Now that you’ll be back home
notice the right side of the bed smile
because I don’t shower after long flights.

What triggers the writer in me?


It all began with my cousin T. Some would say we were Siamese twins.
One fine day, it subconsciously dawned on me that if I invested half of my childhood co-writing bizarre scripts for soap operas with Barbie dolls as our actors, I had but one skill to hone.
Twenty years later; as I scroll up and down clumsy portfolios, I find myself thrown into the not very revered niche that is heartbreak non-fiction.
It’s no surprise that I’ve spent the latter years flitting between new languages.
My boyfriend has been waiting for me to meticulously string a few words together to garland his porcelain neck with. I promised to recount a splendid tale of how a Japanese lad made me weep. And then it hit me- those trifles mean nothing to him and his fluffy heart.

It is this newfound contempt for cheesy prose that deters me from repeating history. I’m sure he wishes I nurtured the same contempt for my predictable adultery. One thing at a time, I beguile myself.

The third time I’ve returned from a honeymoon with him and as I hit the sack, I mustered a rough outline of cute boyfie musings.
“Cuneiform-Introvert-Thailand-Void.” My lazy doodles were more obfuscating than helpful. The only keyword flickering a light-bulb is ‘void’.

My reluctance to unpack after our most recent sojourn resonated with my denial of the end. The fact that the next hundred mornings would be without the odour of him. Without his alarm that I was a little relieved to be extricated from. As nostalgic as it continues to be.

My backpack isn’t empty yet. It still contains a phallic fridge magnet and some incense sticks. Other trinkets that are to be grazed with future trinkets that will soon fall into the lap of his right-hand palm.

What triggers the writer in me?
Whatever triggers the inexplicable.

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