Love & Labour

I wish it took a lot more from me to be able to cry. It doesn’t. I cry for everything and that’s why, when I say I cried while watching a scene in Queen Charlotte, nothing is actually said.

Even so, I am glad.

I cried while watching episode 3 because there is so much love in the space they’ve been able to make between two women, one white one black, to talk about intimacy – having it and not having it.

There is something deep about this attention/inattention to race that’s happening in this show. Reminds me of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, which requires a whole other post so I will get to that some other day. Today is only and only about Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury, and all the men and women in this show. It’s also a little about protecting your joys from people peeing all over it.

I was moved when Lady Danbury and her help hug and squeal when Lord Danbury dies. There is so much restraint, so much freedom. Questions about whether it ok to celebrate somebody’s death are best reserved for other people. I am so happy to say I can make the choice of not having these other people in my life or even caring about what they say.

I am happy that in that small moment, I was rewarded with this feeling of being moved, of remaining open to being moved.

Last week, I presented my research proposal on Dawn Powell. I stood in a room full of people and asked why we don’t talk about love when we talk about research. Isn’t it a gift to be able to begin research because you love somebody so much that you don’t want to see their name being forgotten? When I talked about Dawn, I felt blessed. It became even better when two girls doing research in Botany came up to me and said they were very happy to hear someone speak about love during a research presentation.

A few days ago, someone asked me what I wanted to do my PhD on. When I said Dawn Powell from Ohio who ran away from home to write; all they wanted to know was, ‘White Woman?’ and when I said yes, they said hmmm.

If I was irritated, I better be prepared for worse. It’s going to be a thing now.



After weeks of assaulting my nose to dig up dry blood and booger, I’m pleased to finally be phlegm-free. I am in equal parts grateful for and terrified of that inner plumbing which ensures that I never have to pay attention to my own breathing.

Read Annie Dillard’s Total Eclipse today and felt pangs of sunlight spreading across my body. Now reading Lynn Nottage. Ciao.


I like the word firm. It imitates its meaning almost teasingly, as if by standing sincerely next to other casually thrown words, it is holding on to last minute dignity but still dignity. I first registered the word when I was reading a story in which a man moves his hands inside a woman’s blouse while they are kissing. Her breasts were firm, it said.

I’ve never quite figured out that way of understanding breasts. But I grew more attracted to ‘firm’ after I began noticing its use in the way people held back opinion, thought, action. There is an extremely desirable edge to it when people refuse to give in and perform the unsavoury act of withholding. I have never been a fan of withholding. It reminds me too much of first-rank brahmin girls from school.

But that is not the firmness we are thinking about today. This is the kind of firmness that comes from having been bitten twice, thrice. The kind that is not sure of itself but only knows that it must do what it is doing because it doesn’t know any other way. A firmness in the way of thinking like slow-walking, of talking like mindful-chewing, of decisions to not give in to gossip even when it is tempting, of refusing invitations kindly: a weak back bone that is bending but also standing.

After all this, I only want to know if I have it today or not.

Postcard from today VII (dedicated to Naziti)

  1. Loving this SRK reel where he talks about Saroj Khan whacking his head for complaining that there was too much work. She told him that as an artist he shouldn’t complain when there is work because not having work is a bigger and more real problem.
  2. The ability to breathe well is everything.
  3. Silence is a reasonable response to women who perform male supremacy. Pointing it out is exhausting.
  4. For my sister’s wedding, I wore a red chikankari kurta, the grandest set I own. Guests kept asking me when I was going to get ready.
  5. I want to watch Farzi everyday.
  6. Law is sexy. Reading it as literature is sexier.
  7. I vaguely wondered if I would be taken seriously if I combed my hair more often. Then I told myself to fuck off so I stopped wondering.
  8. Wondering is a reliable word.
  9. Thinking about long and lazy lunches with women I adore makes me less bitter.
  10. Poetry has all the answers.
  11. This kept me up last night:

Knowledge is freedom from getting mad at facts

Found this on twitter and spent half a day reading and rereading it. For as long as I’ve known myself, I have been attracted to freedom, and freer people – even more. It’s why I enjoy teaching. It’s a way of meeting some of the freest people on earth.

When I say freedom, I don’t mean the kind of freedom that results in having your own home. I mean the kind that comes from cultivating a certain life of the mind which results in an unchangingly tough attitude in the face of charming situations and charminger people. A kind of self-assuredness that isn’t scared away by anything. A bigness of the mind, an unreachable, unavailable space for manipulations – other people’s and your own.

This blog was interesting to read because it breaks down large ideas like freedom, and self-hood into small, hold-able sizes.

Through that, I found Allie Brosh’s comic essay on depression which is as decent a read as possible, considering it’s about a subject whose discourse is becoming exhaustingly savarna by the minute. Allie’s approach is funny, gutting, and very much in touch with the fraudulent side there is to depression, its claimants, as also the rest of us who believe we are not depressed but sad.

I’ve been curious about how people remain unsentimental and also experience love and desire by holding on to every inch of their self-respect. This was a good read and I’m now curiouser.

The writer is a dude named Venkatesh Rao. Whoever you are, thanks boss. Yesterday, his work gave me a different set of eyes to see the world with. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see a parrot without thinking of this anymore.

It’s a Saturday today and tomorrow is Sunday. That’s all I know for now. An Instantgram reel I saw this morning broke it down quite simply. Are you more afraid of what’s coming next or that you can’t see what’s coming next? Here’s a thought – can you see your next step? If you can, then just take that. Don’t worry about anything else.

Too much funda on rumlolarum is not allowed. I will now go watch a cat video and feel better.


I wish there were two mornings in a day. In one, I would wake up early to read, in the other I’d wake up early to talk to trees.

In one, I would do yoga, in the other I’d watch a film.

In one, I would write, in the other I’d go for a walk.

I wish there were two mornings in a day. In one I would go back to sleep, in the other, I’d keep sleeping.