Rules. I despise them. They don’t let me celebrate anything.
My best friend is a girl, yet I can’t celebrate friendship. To lunch with her, I need permission. It’s neither my parents nor hers who bother, but society. Two friends eating together takes meanings I don’t understand how they can be formed. I have to answer “who she is” to me, even when that is known to those who matter!
My life is about writing, yet I can’t celebrate writing. To write a poem about something, I need permission. What I write are my thoughts, why I write is to get them out. If I say I love my cousin in a brotherly way, does that love take on a meaning of romance? Why should it, especially to those who have known that love since our childhood days?
My sister means the world to me, yet I can’t celebrate that bond. To care for her, I need permission. What mistakes I made are mine, I have learnt from them, and I have every right in the world to guide her. If I advice her, it’s to make her succeed, not fail. Yet I am looked at for those mistakes. Because I made them, I can’t guide my own sister? The ones who have known why I failed still don’t understand it. Guess some scars really don’t heal.
My friends are online, yet I can’t celebrate friendship. To talk to them, I need permission. There is a saying, “Strangers are friends we haven’t met yet”, and I’m yet to meet some I met online. But it’s my instinct, my trust, my choice to befriend them, have fun with them, understand them, be understood by them. Yet I’m scorned at by those who I love. Why? Because they read in papers about “what happened to somebody”. If they can fear what happened to someone they haven’t seen or understood, why control me? I have only not seen them in person, but even to a little extent, I have understood.
My problems are mine, my life is mine, my feelings are mine, yet I can’t celebrate being me. What necessity that once you are of eighteen years of age, you must drive, drink or smoke? What necessity that I must go after a big money job just because the neighbor got a big raise, or my old classmates are in brilliant positions? What necessity that I must work through a migraine just because my forefathers used to never miss a day of work? They are not me. I wish my loved ones would understand that. I wish they’d celebrate that I am happy with who I am now. I wish they’d celebrate what I do now. I wish they’d tell me to relax when I am ill, instead of telling me I’m feigning illness.
There are so many festivals in a year. I don’t give a hoot about religion. There is one God, and I celebrate whatever I can. I pray for good thoughts, good actions, good paths to come along my life’s journey, and I do it on Diwali, Onam, Ramzan, Christmas, Mahavir Jayanthi… whichever the day might be, whatever date the calendar might show, I celebrate the day.
Yet, all these rules, all these damned rules made by people who I don’t know, and don’t care for… the neighbor’s uncle’s paternal grandmother or the lady who comes to sweep the road, the smiling dhobi who talks something else once I’m out of earshot or politicians who can’t understand the meaning of sacred bonds like love, friendship, siblinghood… all these rules keep me at bay. Each day I wake to celebrate my life, and though I say “To hell with rules”, those rules, through these people who get to those who matter to me, they say “To hell with me” and screw my celebrations.
Rules. I despise them. They don’t let me celebrate anything… anything.
(’12, Nov 04)