The boy’s toy.

Dear Mr. Invisible Bully,

It is my 4th birthday tomorrow. I am my mum’s favourite son, and my sister is her favourite daughter. It is a happy family. Though the upcoming birthday has filled me with a sense of dread and trepidation.

Now you might blink at my use of such big words, ‘dread’ and ‘trepidation’ while I just said my age to be 4 years (minus one day). It is just that I am syphoning the vocabulary of the future me through a giant black portal with shiny lights all around so as to make this a more cogent narrative.

So making allowance for that teensy bit of creative freedom, let’s get to the root of my dread. I want a Barbie for my birthday. My sister got one and I love it. But she just wouldn’t let me play with it. But my mum is planning to buy me a GI Joe set. Now you might wonder that I am caught up in the midst of childhood genderification. Well, possibly. Or maybe not. But I like what my sister got.

You know, mum got angry the other day when I lingered in the cloth store by a pink frock. I thought it was pretty and asked mum for it. She refused and was visibly disturbed. I notice such things. They think we kids don’t, but I do. Back home, mum had a long heated argument with mum. No, she didn’t speak to self, nor to her mirror reflection. I just got two mums. My mum married my mum. No dad. It’s allowed where we live. It made me no difference. I think. I am open-minded and accepting.

But mum was discussing with mum that maybe I needed a positive role-model. What they actually meant was a model for male-gender role. But they don’t get it. I don’t want to fit in a mould. I want to be me, whatever that may be. Though they are worried that a lack of a male presence at home is hampering my gender-awakening. Woah! I know, big talk, as if that’s even a thing. Is it? Be it what it may, but why need there be one anyway? I want to think thoughts of my own, feel emotions that are mine, be a person that I am to become based on my own individual inclinations. I don’t want to be impressed upon to fit in conventional social schemas. I want to be an original me.

Are you worried this would be the end of civilisation as we know it? All the social anarchy and break in custom such thoughts lead to. Well, don’t. Not all are me, just as I am not all. And I don’t want to be bullied to be like all. I just want to let be. But how do I tell my mums’ that I indeed want the Barbie. It would just spark another fight. I will have to compromise I guess. About time I learnt that trick of the adult.

A bear is cute and soft and fluffy while yet being a boy’s choice isn’t it? Yogi bear is a boy right! I would be allowed to get him as a present rather than that stupid GI Joe where we are meant to imagine battles and clarion calls?! Guess I will ask for a bear. For now. Though someday, I do want that barbie. And mums’, no, I want that regardless of your choice. I don’t think having had a dad would have changed it. But this is me brought up in the absence of dad talking. So who knows. Yet, either way, what’s wrong in wanting a Barbie? Why your guilt? Sister got it. I want it too.

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She danced.

I watched my sister dance at the funeral of her husband. It wasn’t the frenetic swaying of a delirious mind. Nor was it in measured restraint. It was seamless, fluent, san all conscious effort. It felt the same as the day she danced when I told her that she had become an aunt, her movements sparkling of joy and pride. It was the same as when she got into the grad school for design, her life’s motive, her long-cherished desire. It was the same as when she fell in love and danced to let him know, that while her heart was all his, she couldn’t be. She bowed to her mother’s dying wish and married a guy of her family’s choosing. The guy, today, lying on the funeral pyre, was silenced in death. He didn’t hurt her, nor was he bad. He was a good fellow, kind and gentle. But she couldn’t bear to hold within a love she felt for else. She wrapped it deep within, where it simmered. One fine day, unbeknown of the cause, she cracked. Breaking the calm placid facade shot out the hand, her hand, grasping a knife in a tight clench. A cruel unfaltering slash, it hit an artery in his neck, and he ceased to be, diseased, sliding to the beyond in a gush of blood-red blood spurting from the gash. She was sane, oh yes, rational too. She just broke once, then, and the deed couldn’t be undone. Today, she danced in farewell to the guy, her erstwhile husband, caught in cross-fire of her unrequited love. It’s wasn’t his fault, nor her’s, or her mother’s who died while holding on to the wisdom and custom of the eras bygone. It just happened, and all she could do was to dance resigned to the fates design. She danced. She did.

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IITx diaries. Episode-1

smoochHe and she were sitting adjacent, actually more proximate, well frankly smothered into the other, on the rear-most step of the Open air theatre in-campus late at night. Let’s step back a moment. Well we do literally need to so as to give them some privacy. Now literal-qualms aside, metaphorically taking a step back to ponder a deep philosophical injunction, why need it be a he and a she?

No, now don’t get all creative and start imagining plural forms of either or both pronoun. Did you know mélange a trios used to be an accepted, or rather still is, a form of social co-habitation in Europe? I want to go Europe. To see the Eiffel tower ofcourse! What were you thinking? Back to business with the he and the she, why need there be this gender duality in a relationship-duo. Given we are liberals in the 21st century, we take no issue if it were a he and a he, smooching the life out of the other! Did that scene where the Dementor sucks the life out of Harry’s luscious lips flash in your head? Did I spoil Harry Potter for you forever? Let’s hope not. Or it could as well be a she and a she (giggles!). What? I am no intolerant bigot! Isn’t humor an inexplicable thing? People find humor in death. Well, some do. Crimes-against-humanity did not sell-out for no reason. A she with a she can’t be more ominous than mortis can it?

2000px-sexual_orientation_-_4_symbols-svgNow having established it could just as well have been a he with a he, or a she with a she, let’s just contend with the fact that on that particular fateful night, fateful as because we voyeurs trained our telescopes upon them, the them, or grammatically speaking, they, chanced to be a he and a she. And we shall not judge them for sticking, quite cloyingly, to conventional gender duality of the most populous binary relationship-type in society. So what where they doing? They were smooching (giggles!).

They were at it, for quite a while now, and one could almost see that despite the flushed face and bated breath, their lips pressed against were drained of blood and deathly pale. The guy actually wanted to just hold hands and peer into her eyes, the gateway to her soul (sigh, clichéd, I know!), but the girl wouldn’t hear of it. She was a progressive she said, whatever it meant, and she wanted this thing, which for reasons of propriety and censorship shall not be juicily detailed. But it suffices to say that it involved lips, tongue, and human saliva- a slightly alkaline fluid of pH-7.4, that aids in deglutition (fancy term for swallowing) and got amylase (an enzyme aka biocatalyst) that initiates digestion of starch. But she wanted it, she was bossy and a feminist, both traits totally unrelated, and he being a gentleman listened and complied with shocking readiness.

The pale lips in due course got numb, not unsurprisingly as anyone with experience would know (do I smell pride? Envy? Disgust? hey, its fiction remember). And with numbness comes an irking lack of satisfaction and that concomitant veil of boredom. The guy wants to go back to his room now. He got to study electron wave function for the quantum electrodynamics test the next day. But he can’t tell her that. She was too cool, and above all, was a girl. He knew given his brilliant track-record with people who carried two X chromosomes, the probability of he getting within two feet of another women in his lifetime was slim at best, and non-existent on a more conservative estimate. Does this make him desperate? Aren’t we all desperate for love (emphatic pause for effect!)?

wave-equation(After an unnecessary split of paragraph to exacerbate the pause!) He wondered what if she was the one, that it was meant to be. Just then the girl does something unexpected. Why, because the narrative required something dramatic to happen. It had gotten into a slog for a while now. The dramatic thing, yes, the girl does it. She picks up her phone, takes a pic, and sends him a copy. She doesn’t upload it with a string of cheesy cheery charming smiley’s on the social media, which is enormously unexpected and a tad dramatic. Less significantly, she says, remember me, and she disappears in a blink.

Too dramatic? Well, who’s to say. What, you? Give it a break. What happened of creative freedom, free speech, tolerance at least? Let’s stick with the fact. And the fact was, as we now shall believe, she disappears. Poof! And the guy blinks. Well, the girl disappears in a blink too. Whether she blinked at that precise moment she disappeared stands to reason. Given it isn’t of any importance, her blink, as much as the guy’s blink, let’s let it slide. (Disclaimer- No, we are not giving any less importance to the girl’s blink because she is a woman. She just was so super-awesome-adroit-quick-skilled in blinking that we couldn’t record if she blinked.)

Guy blinks, girl disappears. Let’s replay, the guy blinks, he notices a stern rap on his shoulder. No, it’s not parallel universes. We abhor the multiverse hypothesis. The two needn’t necessarily be mutually-exclusive in the same universe (pardon the double negative, I know it’s a crime. I should be hanged! maybe after am dead)- he blinks, she disappears, and he notices a stern rap on his shoulder. The next moment, he’s up, wiping the copious drool from the corner of his mouth, the left cheek, in fact his entire face, and from the notebook with the half-scribbled quantum wave equation, staring back at him in dreadful disarray.

No, he wasn’t dreaming. We shall not have an anticlimactic clichéd end. It wasn’t a dream. She was real, she disappeared, and as he blinked, he was teleported through time-and-space into the quantum electrodynamics exam next day. You doubt it? Think it’s too convenient? Consider this. For the sake of sanity, he checks his phone and there she is, with him beside, in the pic she had shared. Convinced? At least he was, and a foolish smug smile lights up on his face. He looks at the test paper again. Matter is a particle and a wave. The pitiful Schrodinger’s cat is dead, and is alive. The probability distribution for an electron at all points outside nucleus is non-zero, even for large distances, though howsoever infinitesimally small the probability gets. Disappearing, poof, in a blink, while unheard-of, could be extant. As could teleportation, with no device or wand or Dumbledore’s watch. Beyond all, there is a non-zero probability, howsoever close to zero on the numberline, of him having a girl who would walk along by his side, be-it-may by chance, for at least the measure of a good long 2 feet. Having said that, he could totally nail the smooch. The pic proves that he did.  The bell rings. Exams over. The probability of him flunking the test is 1 (definitive!). He strides to the door, gets out the hall, and blinks at the bright sunlight, just as a hand appears, linking its fingers with his, and the body attached to that hand is the girl in the pic. Sure thing, quantum doesn’t make sense. And here is why, it needn’t!

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