When he told me that he loved me, I told him that he was lying. I told him that he didn't understand love and he told me that I didn't understand his love.
For me love was long handwritten letters while his stood amidst the early 'good morning darling' followed by tiny emojis of hugs and kisses.
For me love was observing, listening, understanding and while his was to share every bit from his life. I never did that, I never thought anyone would be interested in my monotonous life stories but here I was, becoming a part of his life.
For me love was 'i love you' and while his love was 'how are you'.
For me love was to be a little possessive and maybe at times aggressive, while his love was liberating and letting me to explore the sides of me that i never knew existed.
And even though we try to understand our love, we keep getting lost in our translations like the last time I met him and we were going down the elevator after a happy meal, we stood there like strangers until we reached the ground floor. Seven days later, I asked him why didn't he hold my hand, and does he not want me anymore? And he told me that he was just trying to disconnect from all the beautiful moments we had because he knew we wouldn't meet for the next few months until he came back to my city. For me love was touch, it was enclosures, it was being entangled and while his love was to give us space, to grow. His love was to let my insecurities beautifully fit into the spaces he owned, entangling us and enclosing us, together and tighter.
We don't speak the same language of love, we barely understand it but when our lips meet, they speak words and emotions that could never be written.
We don't speak the same language of love, but we try to understand our love, our love for each other.
The first time I had seen a glow stick, I was so amazed that I couldn't stop buying as many as I could. Hydrogen Peroxide is sealed in a glass capsule that cracks open when the plastic stick is bent. Once it's unleashed, H2O2 triggers a chemical chain reaction that puts the glow in the stick.
My breathe is exceptionally calm and my arms are tightly wrapped around his lean body. I can feel his fingers caress my hair and neck while his other hand lingers on my back. I finally ask him, "Can I please hug a little longer today, do I have to pay?". He looks at me with a smile and says, "No sweetheart! You don't have to pay, please stay as long as you like".
Yes, I suffer from tactile defensiveness.
I remember the agape look on my friend's faces, when they come close to me maybe as a friendly gesture or to confide something in my ear, and each time... each time I step back as a reflex.
How can I forget... I was six when the hands that had outlined the hem of my skirt had divulged further. I was nine when the fingers supposed to hold a duster and chalk had stroked my lips. I was thirteen when my dad's embrace became rare just like my appreciations and academic feats. I was fifteen when my boyfriend's cuddles were followed by attempts to feel the insides of me. I am twenty and my mum's snuggles are followed by the rant, "how thin have you become?"
Nope. I don't like people hugging me. I don't like them getting close to me.
Yet, today it is the 6th day and I finally managed to gather some courage and hug him a little longer. Initially, I had found the idea extremely frivolous and I am not sure what pushed me to try it... But, I know this calm won't last long and there is a long queue behind me awaiting affection from the man on the metro station, with a board which says "FREE HUGsss".
************************* TACTILE DEFENSIVENESS: a pattern of observable behavioural and emotional responses, which are unpleasant and negative. Such as: ▪ Avoidance of contact, anticipated touch, tendency to pull away or negative responses to touch, including that encountered in the context of intimate relationship even in a friendly or affectionate manner ▪ Aversion or struggle when hugged or cuddled ▪ Avoidance of a crowded environment
Hello! Dont look at this letter, crumble it and chuck it in the corner of your room. Dont. Please dont. Read. Read as much as you can, this letter, books, newspapers, people, words on their t-shirt, ingredients of the pickle kept on the dining table, french, spanish, german, anything; but read.
If I could come over to you, which believe me l don't want to because you would probably freak out upon seeing me now. No, I dont look like you anymore. I have grown slightly taller, skinny, people tell I look weird and sort of intimidating. My hair is still the same but it is more of red than black. I know, I know you would be like "ewww... red? blue would look better" but I didnt want to bleach or whatever my hair. My eyes now look a little strained with a look of 'I dont give a damn, really' but it still has the innocence of a 12 year old in it if you care to look deep inside. My teeth have grown out pretty well, nothing to worry about sweetheart, no braces too, but the nose is still puny. Believe me, time will work it's miracle on you.
A gentle reminder... You are twelve and your troublesome teens are standing outside your door, ready to pounce and gulp down every ounce of good you have known in this world. You are going to be through hardships, you are gonna have thoughts that convince you that this is the end, that nothing worse than this can happen.
You are gonna hold blades between your fingers and you are gonna etch 13 perfect straight lines on your wrist signifying your age and you are gonna regret doing what you did. You are gonna apply ointments to heal them and get rid of the scars.
You are gonna be 14 someday and write a letter which says that it is your last. Darling believe me, that letter is going to be torn and flushed down after a week along with all your tears.
You are gonna be 15 and fall in love, the kind of love you had imagined, the kind of love you had prayed for, the kind of love that loves you back, the kind of love that looks into your eyes like there is no one else, the kind of love you would want to fall in love with every day and every life. An year you are gonna cherish, and the year that shall come and knock parts of your brain and make you blush like a wild combination of apples, tomatoes and cherries.
My dear, you will experience your bitter-sweet 16, you are gonna fall in love deeper and deeper, you will go to extents that one does in love and you are gonna go too far. So far that you shall be lost forever. Your world will shatter, people will walk away, no shoulders to lean on, the end of the world it would seem. Drenched pillows. Red eyes. Visits to doctors. Pain - physical, emotional. You shall be through them all.
This too shall pass, sweetheart. It will. You will be 17. You will be stronger than what you have ever been, a heart stronger than stone, a one of diamond it shall be. It would gleam and shine but deep down it would know all that it has been through, and by now you will learn how to fake a perfect smile.
The so called responsible 18 shall knock on your door even before you would realize it, days would pass quick in queues for the formal legal documents that you would need, you shall no more be a juvenile and would be responsible for all your actions. Scary, isn't it?
The last teen - 19 will pass with an eye blink and you are going to be super busy trying to strike off all the things from your bucket list before you tatter from your teens.
You are going to be 20, 21, and 22 and write this letter to yourself one day and silently pray that it never reaches you because darling all that you are going to go through is going to make you.
I was exactly 12 years, 4 months and 23 days old when I got my first periods. Oh! Did I just utter the 'p' word? Did someone get offended? Sorry! Let me whisper it to you - p.e.r.i.o.d. It was that time of the year when I was chilling at home in the hot days of April, enjoying my summer vacations and I was one of those lucky girls who escaped the nightmare of getting her first puberty showcased on her school skirt and although mum had told me all about menstrual cycles and how it is a good thing, yet the first time l saw blood on my pants, I freaked out. I did. I stood in the bathroom for 17 minutes doing nothing and when mum knocked on the door, all l could tell her was "shuru ho gya". It has begun. I don't exactly remember her reaction but I am sure she was happy and hugged me and got me a sanitary pad and helped me out with it.
Yes, I am one of those lucky girls born in a home where menstrual cycles aren't considered a taboo. Yes, I am lucky but what about those who aren't?
What about the 12 year old who is deprived of her right to have a pad and uses old clothes, dried leaves, accumulated cotton, plastic bags and what not?
What about the 13 year old who begs her mother to write a letter to her swimming instructor in school stating "My daughter is ill and cannot swim today. Kindly excuse her." No, she is not ill. She is bleeding. She is living.
What about the 14 year old when she is called to the school auditorium with all her female classmates to attend a lecture on 'how to sit and not stain' while the boys are sent to the playground with curious minds that later question her about the hushed session?
What about the 15 year old who is made to sleep on the cold floor because she is bleeding through her vagina but her 11 year old brother is put under a blanket because he bled through his knee while falling off the bicycle?
What about the 16 year old who suffers from PCOS, a hormone related issue that causes weight gains, acne-breakouts on her skin and chest, facial hair and extremely painful periods yet she cannot share a bit of her problem with the world, maybe not even her dad who sadly looks at her writhing in pain in her back and stomach?
What about the 17 year old who has finally started believing in miracles and God and you stop her from setting her foot into the temple. What about her beliefs? Did she ask God for this?
What about the 18 year old who is expected to stay in her room, not touch clothes in her wardrobe or sit on the couch with others? She does this five days a month because oh! she bleeds and she is impure.
What about the 19 year old who is questioned by her curious boyfriend if she bleeds all day long or just when she urinates and she blushes and replies: all day long and listens to him say "I bow to you".
What about the 20 year old who listens to comments 'oh! she is checking out her ass', while all she does is ensure that there is no stain on the other woman's skirt or pant or kurti or saree or whatever she is covered with because what is more embarassing than having a blood stain on your back, right?
What about the 21 year old who still gets a gaze whenever she asks for a sanitary pad or a tampon from the shopkeeper and she requests him to cover it with newspapers?
What about the 22 year old who has to reply to her friend's message "oh! you are pmsing".
What about the 23 year old who is trying to break the glass ceiling in a world dominated by men and her promotion is held back because she takes an extra day off every month because her periods are nasty and painful?
What about the 24 year old lady who has accidentally stained the bedsheet while sleeping with her husband?
What about the 25 year old who misses her period by a week and silently prays to God hoping that it is not a girl, not because she is not proud to be one but because she does not want her kid to go through it all, for ask her and she will show you all the hair clips, tiny frocks and the little ballerina shoes that she had bought.
No matter how violent the oceans get. The ferocious waves always succumb at the shores Those calm shores absorb all the chaos of those waves. That's why even the highest of the tides return back home. It's the shore they craves.