A Mosaic of Identities

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 Photomontage by Hannah Hoch 

I’m writing it as is. but I wonder if anything can be as is.  

The cursor blinks and my butt on the bed slides further away and I’m almost laid on  my back as I continue typing words of utter bullshit-ery. Or so I think. Is this what Ms. Woolf  did when writing her rebellious A room of one’s own? Folded and unfolded her legs a million  times. Put her head on the desk waiting for the thoughts to settle and to find a thread to place  down on the paper?  

She talked about a room of one’s own. I’ve a room of my own. I’m writing. I’m  maybe practicing what they call the stream of consciousness. But maybe it’s not just a room  in the physical realm that a woman needs. A room in my head for myself would be nice. Away from the manly chatter. The chatter of the man. of a man. of the man.  

Images of Ms. Woolf sauntering across the Oxbridge gardens flood me. And her at the  bottom of the river Ouse with rocks in her pocket. I’ve a pencil in my pocket. I imagine her  drowning in her thoughts before the water could’ve ever taken her. Thoughts seeming cruel er than any force of nature in these moments. 

The curtains in my room flutter because of the high-speed noisy fan. If I consciously  try, I can shut my head from them cruel thoughts and instead focus on the waterfall-y noise of  the fan. I wonder for how long though.  

Hah. 2 minutes! But I wonder how true the focus was. I sometimes felt myself  slipping, but refocusing, as if zooming back to reality from a partial haze. Like some sort of  a camera lens embedded in my mind. I remember feeling this once this other time. But uh I  might/ might not have consumed a certain Ms. Cannabis then.  

The sunlight from the window forms a kryptonite-like pattern on my cupboard door.  But more yellow and no green.  

I strive for a time when my vocabulary would be enough to describe things without  conjuring images of obscure things to aid it. Or without any traces of neologisms. I wonder if  that is possible at all though. Reminds me of when I try to explain my queerness to my  parents and come short of any words at all. But of images of my head on her lap and my heart in her hands. How do I tell them I’m queer without sounding- well, queer? 

Or am I queer at all?

It’s the next day and I’m nestled between heaps of clothes strewn on my bed. They  leave little space for me but just enough, suggesting a passing storm, the previous night, of  conscious scrutiny of my flabs and the white rivers running down my thighs and up my  breasts. Stretch marks are fine. I’m fine.  

There are no mirrors in my room I realize. But there are still so many. The books I  read, the characters I sit with. But more so in him and in her. People who claim to love me. I  realize I am more the people around me than I am me. They say they like my flabs, my eyes  and my flowing rivers. I believe them but I believe him more than I believe her. His lips on  mine leave an indentation more profound than hers. 

Then am I queer at all? 

My butt hurt and so now I’m laid on my stomach, as both my elbows hold me up  enough to look at the screen and attempt to type just as fast. I peered to the side and noticed a  squished mosquito on the mosquito-net covering the window. Hah! the irony of it all. Have  you ever had to squash a mosquito dead while it’s perched on the thing that’s to keep it out in  the first place? You’d know then that your palm dismembers the poor mosquito, all of its  body smeared and stuck in between the rhombus pores of the net.  

Not a pretty sight, but so miniscule that it doesn’t matter. Which makes me wonder if  we’d look the same from space or from a temporal space looking over the chronology of  being, and if we’d matter just as much, as well. And is it to say that size reflexively decides the value of life?

It’s yet another day and today the curtains are fluttering just the same and so is the fan  with its waterfall. The kryptonite is nowhere in sight though and my bed now is strewn with  books and magazines I’m yet to read. All of them by Indian writers and journalists, as if a  testament to my search for ‘my roots’. For my ‘culture’. A while back my postcolonially- read self, wanted nothing more but to assert to herself an Indian identity free of any white  washed whispers. She questioned if her English speaking self was doing a disfavour to herself because of the choice of the language.  

But now, with all this time that has passed, and with the growing surge of nationalism  and identity building in the nation, she wonders if she needed that identity at all. That when  people call her privileged, it is more the privilege she owns, to shed off some of these identity  masks and live in some sort of a vacuum. That she’d rather be free from those. But can she  ever be? 

Am I a woman? Am I an Indian? Am I queer?  

What if I want to be nothing? And what if I want to be everything.  

A bee just entered through the open balcony door and I very gracefully had to place (not drop) the laptop on the bed and run off. It was scary :). Phew.


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Vaani

I’ve always stood in between boxes and boundaries. Boxes and boundaries of identities, the in-between of black and white. Very reason I decided to pursue a triple major which would allow me to continue this tradition. I’ve done my bachelors in Theatre, Psychology and English literature. Three fields that allow you to study the human experience in their own different ways. I’ve come out of it with more questions than answers though and I don’t mind.

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