Life as a Literary Art and Creative Writing Student #2 (When I was made to accidentally meet one of my favourite fictional characters)

I twisted the head of the tap and the water ceased to flow down on the sink. I wiped the water off my hands with a handkerchief. How long had I been zoned out washing my hands?
The face in the mirror looked unsatisfied and tired. Festivities of this kingdom always were a taxing job. They required me to play the part of the timid, conforming, virtuous girl more efficiently than on normal days. It drained the life out of me.

This coronation was especially depressing. It had malice written all over it. Wasn’t King Duncan just murdered? Yet no one, especially Macbeth, had an ounce of grief. This celebration was tainted and to a great extent, insensitive.

As I was preparing myself to get in character before moving out, I heard someone’s clumsy handling of the washroom door knob. After a few minutes of noisy playing with the doorknob, a tall woman in a black robe stumbled inside the washroom.

“All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” She shouted and burst into a fit of manic laughter as the door shut thud behind here.

As she tried to walk towards the sink she toppled and fell on her knees still laughing. She was lean with her hair tied in an aristocratic bun, but a few non-conforming strands of it were all over her face. Her complexion was flushed and her face sad. For a moment I couldn’t recognize who she was because I had never seen Lady Macbeth that vulnerable. She was a marble statue at every occasion. An unapproachable figure with a plastered smile and very few, but only kind, words.

I hurried towards her to help her stand up but she pushed me away to lean on the wall and sit awkwardly on the washroom floor. She was wrapped in a repelling stench of liquor. I carefully placed myself next to her to provide assistance which she obviously denied.

“Is something wrong my Queen?” I asked in a whispered tone but it somehow triggered her. Her sad face had angry eyes bored in it and my question acted as a catalyst to that anger.

In a hushed tone that was full of rage, her words came out from between her gritted teeth, “But everything about this is wrong. HE wears the crown of MY ambition.” And a tiny tear escaped her left eye as she swiftly wiped it off.

“Because I had too many dreams for a girl I was married to an ass-licking, ambition-less man and now look at him! He is the KING! MY GOAL, MY PLAN, MY BRAVERY, and MY CLEANING UP THE MESS; and he gets to sit on the throne with a gold crown on his rather dumb head,” Her voice got louder with every repeated and emphasised ‘my’.

“What are you talking about my Queen?” I ask in a concerned voice even though I knew what she meant. Treachery aside, I knew what she felt at the moment. Wasn’t this my life on a daily basis? Frustration of not getting what I deserve. Frustration of not being who I am meant to be. Frustration of being a woman in a man’s world.

“But you get to be the Queen! You get to sit next to him and wear your own crown.” I give my vague consolation that wasn’t even sufficient in my head.

She winced and laughed sarcastically. “Oh no, I get to be Lady Macbeth. Do you know my real name? Does anybody know my real name? NO, because I am Lady Macbeth. Lady to King Macbeth. That is all I am and that is all I’ll ever be. But do you know what I am should be? I should be Ruler of the Land Gruoch. I deserve to hear ‘All Hail the ruler, Gruoch!’ I am meant to be the power on that throne because I’VE done the good, the bad, and the ugly for it. But…”

As her voice trailed off she stared into the void for a few seconds and abruptly stood up to settle her garment and hair in the mirror. Still a little tipsy, she moved towards the door rather gauchely and unacknowledged my presence altogether. She sent a clear signal of ‘this talk never happened,’ to me and I was more than pleased to oblige.

“I know what you are going through my Queen. Trust me, I know,” I said in a reassuring voice. She stopped for a minute at the door with her back towards me and took a deep breath to fake composure, before finally joining the festivities again.

We all were playing our parts.

Life as a Literary Art and Creative Writing Student #1 (What do you want to explore through your writing?)

It is rather funny and astounding that we are generally enthused and quick to answer fact based questions about this humongous outside world but falter and stutter when we are asked the simplest of questions about ourselves. You know what I am talking about right?
When a new professor in a new class goes on a ‘tell me a little about yourself’ drill and you vehemently hope that he’d start with the other row so that you can paraphrase their answers to form your own or at least borrow some ideas.

Have you wondered what makes us do that?
Well at least I have.

A similar thing happened when our creative writing professor asked us our first question that was simple yet eminent – ‘What does writing mean to you?
An awkward silence spread throughout the room followed by exchange of uncertain glances. One person waiting for the other to answer in confusion. I’m sure everyone had an answer to it but certain doubts and anxieties made them refrain from voicing their answer. Ever wondered what doubts people collectively share that render them speechless when asked a personal question in a particular setting?
Many a times these doubts stem from our inability to articulate what we actually feel or think. Language seems like an insufficient medium of expression making us decide to stick to silence instead. No one has the gift of perfect articulation of internal thoughts anyway.

Nevertheless, sticking to my resolution of speaking up more in class, I blurt out ‘hobby’ as my answer and immediately realize how inadequate that word was to explain what writing meant to me. I wouldn’t be sitting in a creative writing class if it was just a hobby. I was here to pull it out of the shallow kid’s pool of hobby and make it swim in the deeper adult area (or at least height above four feet area).

Later, at home, I sat down chewing the end of my pen and struggling to answer the second unsettling question – ‘What do you want to explore through your writing?’

A lot of potential answers knock on my door but none of them is happily welcomed inside in isolation. I begin to wonder what can be the potential meeting point of all those ideas, ideologies and social issues that I want to write about?
After a lot of deliberation while taking showers and cooking meals I realized that the point of confluence was my own mind or human mind in general. So, I got ready to write my slightly vague idea within five hundred words.

Human psyche or mind is in a constant state of confusion and conflict; a duel ground where two ideas fight with each other to gain prominence. Every single decision we take is preceded by this confusion and since life is nothing but a prolonged act of perpetual decision making; confusion becomes very central to one’s being. I want to explore this confusion and the resolution of it that occurs in a person’s mind before they take any big or small decision; the confusion that resides on the line of control of internal and external worlds.
I want to weave stories inside a characters mind and explore the ideologies, social influences and histories that create these conflicts and shape an individual’s line of thought and hence, way of life.

This exploration of the human psyche will also allow me to unravel the features of such ideologies and social constructs and showcase the dangers of their partial understanding or prevalent misinterpretations.

 

Day of an Empath

A rather silent day, calm.
Particularly uneventful.
People moving around close to each other,
But essentially in their own separate worlds.
And I, in mine.
But unfortunately (or not?)
My world absorbs the energies of others’.
Their vibe seeps into my skin and makes a home in my body.
X’s life is sad today, she probably cried in the shower. (I want to help but she has a smile here)
Y is just tired.
It isn’t visible but he hasn’t slept for a while now.
(I want to help but he won’t let me)
Z is numb; his energy stagnating but
Shattering.(I want to help but he doesn’t open up)

And I.
I just sit there.
Filling up to the brim.
Like a wine glass on a Saturday night.
Helplessly stationary, but bustling with waves inside.
By midnight.
I get full and a little more.
Enough for me to spill-over
And make myself a mess.

Saturated to that extent
How doesn’t one explode?
How does one explain the whys and stick to the don’ts?
How do I say that I’m sad
But nothing really happened to me?
How do I make sense to you,
When you don’t even believe in energies?
How do I not spill-over every night?
How do I make you stay?
When I’m clueless how to make you understand,
The intensity of an empath’s day ~ Devika Sinha

How much do you even cry?

Me?

Oh very much actually!

I’m this gooey, leaking heap of emotions.

Not subtle ones, oh hell NO!

Each feeling hits me like a fucking natural disaster.

Each hurt raging up like a sixty feet tsunami wave.

So, the cracks in my eyes are bound to leak that way.

 

So what?

Everyone has disasters within.

And I choose mine quite well.

I’m not very scared of drowning,

But famines terrify me to death.

I’d prefer torrential rain on my cheek,

Than a barren landscape in my chest.

I’d like the breathing to cease

Skin that once was chocolate
Is raisins lately.
I sit and count the wrinkles around the sockets
That had eyes shimmering with purpose
Once.
Now
There are hollow grey mouths of guns
Shooting out vacant stares towards me
That pierce the soul
For hours;
Sometimes days.

I wonder
How long does a day feel
When the breaths you take are fabricated through machinery?
How lengthy is an hour
That battles with air every second?
The belly
I witness inflating,
With pumped breaths,
Rattles every organ there,
Also,
Every organ here;
Within me.

Steak,
I see in a magazine
And then gaze
At the wretched food pipe:
One of the plenty
Attached to the limbs.
“Food or Sex?”
“Food!” I’d hear with laughs.
Food or Breaths?
Who knew,
Would be the options.

Treatment,
They call it:
Prolonging of pain
I deduce.
No words for months,
No songs,
No fights;
Not even humming.
Just
Fake breathing and beeps
Breathing
Beep
Breathing
Beep.

I breathe twice instinctively
Amidst every beep,
First for her,
Then for me.
Silly assistance;
Futile, I know.
But every desperate gasp for air,
Is her
Disguised agony.

I’d like, O lord, to hear now
Just the shattering
Beep
Beep
Beep.
I pray and plead to you O Lord,
I’d like the breathing
To finally cease.
Won’t you hear
These desperate calls
And
A mother’s plea?
All I want for her is now
The drowning to be
Complete.

The Other Woman

I love her and she loves me but I make love to a sin that has bewitched me.

Thrice or four times I have seen her cry. Her tears fall ceaselessly upon my shoulder as she swears to leave me this time, but cannot. I make a million promises going down on my knees, hugging her by the waist. Promises to never go back; promises to love her forever; promises I hope I can keep.
But here I am, standing at the gates of the dealer. In front of the pink house, burning with red passion I lose track of promises and I break all vows.

How hard is it to get rid of an addiction when the drug is the dealer and the dealer
is the drug? How hard is it to ignore the velvet voice over the phone asking you to come up?
I love her but I love her too. She loves me, but she loves me too. One is home and the other, an adventure. One is stability and the other, I don’t know. And I gravitate back to her, intoxicated, to get the answer to that ‘I don’t know.’

As she answers the door in her flimsy top, I undress my mistake mentally. Yes that’s what I call her; a mistake. A name she has grown to like with every lie I tell over the phone while I am tangled in the bed sheets with her.
Her skin: a magnet to my iron. I hold it tight enough to leave the impressions of blood on it. Her cologne: cocaine to my senses. I sniff till my vision becomes a haze.
I don’t have the patience to let her finish her sentences. With every word she says, I imagine her lips moving on mine.
I inspect her body before loving it and punish her for any scratch that is not mine. Not mine, but someone else’s, she dare not be. I make every desperate attempt to fence my property. I paint blue-red gashes wherever my teeth get access of her flesh and she climaxes under me with each hard bite.
I never let her dress even after having her a several times. I hate those fabrics that touch her constantly. Instead, I lazily trace all my embossed grazes that cover the round of her breast, the bent of her thigh, the curve of her shoulder and savour each cringe the wounds instigate in her. I let the pain of her revenge bites wash over me. She tends them with soft red kisses and cries.For a long time I admire all my branding proudly, the only form of art I know.
I kiss her from her neck to toe chanting “Mine! Mine! Mine!” with every breath, while she squirms and moans all night. I tickle her with soft touches and she laughs breathlessly in my mouth. That laughter, the one that drives me insane even when it bursts out in a public place, is the one that keeps me up in the nights she is away.

And in the nights when I live inside her, a small voice always pricks at the back of my mind, “two more days and she would go.” But never can I make her stay for me for more than two weeks, maximum four. Still in those days I ignore a hundred calls, from the woman waiting for me at home.
Accusations, loyalty and morals, all get side-lined while I count the moles on her neck and spine and my phone vibrates on the side table the entire night.

On our last night every time, I become the beast I fear. I fantasize peeling her skin to live inside it. I almost devour her limbs in an attempt to keep her inside me. I hurt her I know, but she never complains. She smiles through all of that physical pain. I try to quench my thirst before she leaves, but when I watch her climbing the train compartment, I find my mouth dry again.
I remember the times she used to cry at my feet. “Leave her,” she used to say “If you really love me.” I never could, I was too afraid. Weak, she said, to put a claim.

Now, she laughs when I propose to elope, like I have cracked the best of jokes.
“I am the other woman and I like that more. I like being the sin instead of your home. I love your racing heartbeat and your hunger for more. It’s fun to be the one you cheat with but not the one you cheat on. I love you too much to see your passion fade off.”