December 26, 2016

George Michael - Untitled

George Michael was my first pop star crush. The image of him with a blue jersey, longish hair and arms crossed is so vivid in my mind--my first poster. His music played incessantly at home, in the car and everywhere else possible. 'Faith' was an oft-hummed and whistled tune in the house, even by my parents. When my friends and I listened to the album, I turned down the volume (a bit) to 'I want your sex'. 'Ladies and Gentlemen' was the last album I bought, and 'Jesus to a child' was my favourite, if I could actually choose one. Hope, in times of despair and sadness.

On a somewhat recent trip home, I found a faded and torn life-size poster that my parents had gifted me for a birthday--torn jeans, white vest, bracelets, stubble, aviators, leather jacket slung on the side and staring away at a distance with a smile. Ah, I wish I had taken a selfie with it.

He was sexy, he was cool and he had a fantastic voice that held a note time and again oh so brilliantly!

All things past, for he is no more. 2016 turned out to be his last Christmas after all.  

And what have I learned 
From all this pain 
I thought I'd never feel the same 
About anyone 
Or anything again

But now I know 
When you find love 
When you know that it exists 
Then the lover that you miss 
Will come to you on those cold, cold nights

When you've been loved 
When you know it holds such bliss 
Then the lover that you kissed 
Will comfort you when there's no hope in sight

Your music will always comfort me. mwah.

December 17, 2016

I'm missing some letters

im trying to get te keyboard to work but it ust doesnt
all o a sudden te letters begin to appear on te screen
and makes it look like i’e been making typos on purpose
ow strange
ow strange
ow strange
ow strange
im not cray! Im typing ow strange until te begins to appear
tat’s all
im not mad
im ust persistent
i ust keep trying
no its not cooperating
i dont know wat to do now
i need to use te letter
or so many tings
but isn’t an ot-used letter you know
i was reading a page on a website and realised tat isn’t used muc
not as muc as te owels or r s and t
wy is tat

a sudden tougt enters my ead
sould i paste tis into my blog
to tell you ow i’e spent te last 3 minutes?
Typing away wit purpose
but to no avail?
Oh yay! V worked! Which means H will too! and z!

now fill in the blanks :) 

crazy little thing called love

it comes in many forms
yet, we struggle to understand it
an ideal version is what we look for 
one that fits the norms
that have been ingrained in us

a perfect other, a soulmate
someone who understands everything
who gets us in and out
right from the first date
isn't that what the movies say

not just the movies, but books too
and music, even those who rock
and comics, posters, cards and more
reinforce that this must be true
can we blame ourselves for believing it

but what happens to the rest
who have loved us and who still do
in their own way without definition
a way that, in us, brought out the best
all thanks to the multiplicity

of thoughts, feelings and experience
of what they've learnt and seen
in a gentle voice that doesn't judge
and to converse, is ever so keen

where do all these connections go
why do they get lost
is it because we sometimes pull each other 
so far apart that there is a cost

a toll that leaves us drained over a period of time
all because we want to possess, and feel, "they're mine"
also because we're louder
and supposedly mentally stronger
but are we really that

or are we hiding behind a mask
one that either smiles or looks tough
because both help handle the harshness
oh we've been wearing it long enough

and then one day we realise
the damage this has caused
from closing these other worlds
until at some point, when we are paused
by some circumstance or the other that lets us think, breathe and be
and look at our lives, minus all the certainty

then dawns an understanding
one that doesn't come from books
or movies, posters or cards
but only from taking a good look
at all that's happened in our past
everything that's shaped us
things that we can never change
but things that have made us

it's us, and them, and so many more
that we need to forgive for our own sake
it isn't easy, but what else do we do
so we don't make the same mistake
and more important so that we may find
the spirit that seems long gone
the one that was shaped by many
the one that will never be alone

can we bring back these worlds, one by one
back into our lives
and start slowly on the road to find
dare i say, sanity and a love that doesn't bind

December 13, 2016

rainy, with a ray of sunshine

dull, dark, gloomy and grey
in more ways than one
that's what started off her day
oh, how she longed for some sun

two little munchkins
under the weather
rough night resulting in
a sleep deprived mother

such a bad start
that even the third was naughty
she well played her part
but only out of necessity

she wanted to scream
she was so beat
she was tired and cranky
that it felt like a feat
to get through the day

but then she thought
that this was an opportunity not often got
just the munchkins and her

so her sleep she fought
and a hot coffee she got
and let the day unfold without a plan

all cuddled up under the covers watching a movie
sans snacks this time, oh for recovery
chit chatting and shooting the breeze
with her little muchkins throwing in an occasional sneeze

and then it was time for music and games
boy did it fly by, she wanted more of the same
for this precious time, time at home
she hardly got with them, almost never all alone

she wondered how they felt, were they bored at all
did they humour her or enjoy it, even if only just small
and so today went by, with a little of this and that
what will tomorrow bring, a repeat perhaps

she sees them growing up and feels melancholy
but only at times, she's mostly jolly
she's proud and happy that they are how they are
her little munchkins, but already ready to fly far

It's easier to get a divorce than to renew a minor's passport post-divorce!

I read a post on The Wire about the humiliation women face when they want to remove their spouse's name from their passports after going through a divorce. I went through a similar experience while renewing my minor child's passport after having gone through a divorce.

The Passport Seva site is quite well organised with links to most bits of information such as required documents, appointment dates, and Passport Rules and Acts among others. It lets one upload all their documents ahead of time, pay online and schedule an appointment as well. What it also unfortunately does, is trick one into believing that the rest of the process will be as smooth.

There are three stages to the passport application process of which the first two are 'outsourced'. IT service professionals verify, scan, snap and file away all the necessary documentation before one can move on to meet the passport officials from the government. While they are efficient at what they are trained to do, they are unaware of the formalities that the passport process itself mandates, especially in cases like mine--single parent who is also sole custodian of two children. In non-legalese, this means that my children will not need their father to sign off on their passport application--which is a standard process otherwise followed--because he had waived off his rights as their custodian after our divorce. There is a form, Annexure G, that is specifically for this purpose and I had this at the ready as well.

Armed with everything, I made it through the first two stages with not as much difficulty as immense delays. Glad to see my token number flash, my joy was short-lived. It was that particular passport officer's lunch time, but he couldn't reassign me to another officer as it wasn't protocol. After a 45-minute wait, he came back, asked for my documents and went through them cursorily until he reached Annexure G. He looked up at me and said, "You're divorced?" and I said, "Yes." "The father is not a custodian at all?" "No, he's chosen not to be." With a puzzled expression, he asked to see the divorce petition where this is explicitly stated, but he was still not convinced. He asked more questions about the details clearly stated in the petition, even though it wasn't his place to do so. Finally, he returned all the documents and reassigned me to another official who, supposedly, had some experience handling cases like mine. Murphy's Law or what have you, but it turned out to be his lunch time as well when it was my turn to meet him.

So another 45 minutes went by, and a conversation similar to the one with official one happened upon his return from lunch, but he made some notes in the system and told me to meet the Assistant Passport Officer (APO). So there I was, in line for the third time in a span of 3 hours, waiting to meet the APO. Luckily, she didn't go to lunch when it was my turn, but the conversation turned out to be much the same. I had wrongly hoped that a woman might empathise, but I felt judged at every stage of all those conversations which finally ended in her saying that she couldn't authorise the renewal and that I had to meet the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) in Koramangala who would take the final call on this.

By this time, I was livid. I had been in line with my 6 year old since 9 am. It was 3 pm and we had nothing to show for it except three annoying conversations and a cranky child. And I had all documents down to a T! If the outsourced folks had been better briefed, I could've been on my way out soon as the picture and biometrics stage was finished, saving me about 4.5 hours! I had no choice but to leave the Passport Seva Kendra that day, set up an appointment with the RPO for another day, go through this entire rigmarole of explanations one more time until the passport was finally granted. But it didn't end there. At the police verification, I had to explain all this one more time while the policeman in charge talked to his colleague in Kannada about my divorce when all he was supposed to do was to verify the address.

This was more than a year ago and now, unfortunately, it's time for me to renew my other child's passport. I'm telling myself that I should expect nothing. After all, a year isn't much time for any change, is it? If anything, a process change is possible but a systemic change? Hah!

I hope Part two of this post has a happier ending.