essay writing

The terrible, terrible Indian Wife

I am shocked. And sad. For I became truly the Bad Indian Wife.

It started out that it was a play on words, that my fierce, non stop loving and passion was what made me the unconventional Bad Wife. That I did not nag, cry, become desolate and manipulate with tears. That I was so aloof and uncompromising and unusual, that alone was going to keep my man.

But actually I became the terrible, terrible wife. Call off the visit to the lawyer. We will not make it to man and wife. Every single relationship threshold has been trashed, and mostly by  me.

On the whim of everlasting romance, I said yes to moving to Jaipur for a three month work visit. We set up home and I was excited to visit the archeological wonders of this paradoxically ancient and modern city. I took photos of the mirrored halls of the Havelli’s, and the majestic doorways of the city that capture the most electrifying sunlight. I photographed every single bouquet of flowers adorned on the city walls, the city palaces, the rooftops and I wrote everyday inspired that one day I might have a story to share at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

I wore sari’s and placed rose petals at our guru’s image. I hung heavy curtains in the winter to keep out the drafts, and I cleaned the bathroom floors and walls with the dedication of a brahmin in the making. I went to male only parties and ate boiled egg for dinner and I choked back my tears when the men mocked me and laughed at me.

I tried to be firm and have boundaries with the boys that forgot to turn up to classes without a word of apology and I tried to keep my manners when groups of men came to the house to drink, make merry and speak in Hindi only. I was the Bad Indian Wife that smiled, made fat home-made fries, and trays of roast potatoes and NEVER, never showed my upset.

Most of this eighteen months has been an archive of photographed moments, that look mighty impressive. Each photo though was a patchwork of lies, covering up that yet again that morning, that evening there had been a fight. One way or another there was always a fight.

He blamed me for most of it. For raising my voice and being an embarrassment in a society that is always looking, peeking and poking their nose. He tried so many times to warn me, that socially it was unacceptable to make a noise about many things that should remain private.  The more he asked me to not make a noise, I am afraid, the more damn noise I chose to make. Yes, I screamed at him. Yes, I threw some glasses at the door in my frustration. Yes, I threw the desk photographs of us at the wall.

He repeatedly told me that his friends said I was crazy. That they knew it, and they were right. So, I carried on writing on social media that I could handle it, that I could absolutely not give a flying fuck that his friends thought I was crazy. I removed them from having access to my personal musings, and found secret, private places to write. Then they called me crazy for removing them from social media. See she really is crazy.

We did a bit of travelling, the usual three day trek by train to Kerala, a few times. Many of the trips were marred by more fights, more inconvenient culture clashes, more disappointed expectations that I would mismanage. I could not be anything but the Bad Indian Wife. I liked to sometimes wear my hair loose and wild, and laugh wildly and reveal my bad teeth. I liked to wear Western clothes that did not hide my middle aged weight and I brazenly wore bare arms, which was not a culture mistake but an aesthetic one as my arms are not as toned as a taught twenty four year old.

We did not see much of Rajasthan. We kept talking about a trip to Udaipur, but all we actually managed was a few days in Pushkar where he found his Charas Wallah and I did not find my yoga school. I was always looking for the defining thing that would make it alright. Maybe I would join a jewelllery school in this holy lake town, and commute monthly back to Jaipur and we could be a grown-up couple both fulfilling our dreams. I visited those jewellery schools, and said, No, this is not real. What is real is facing the music, standing by my husband, and living our life day by day and getting through whatever it was that was happening.

My resolve was to stop running away every time it got difficult. I stopped packing my small overnight bag and booking tickets to Chennai. I stopped imagining I would just find a great teaching project, and I would lean-in to this life, and face the difficulties. I had no friends. And in a way that was part of being the Bad Indian Wife. I did not run out on the town with my girlfriends, giggling over new places to visit, and nor did I come home drunk on white wine and late-night taxi soirees with friends. I stopped playing the independent sassy woman role, and I just chilled.

I live with someone who smokes a lot of ganja so I thought I understood the rules of chill. But I got them wrong. Chill is a head-state. A mental landscape akin to Utopia. It is were the buzz of dreams and fantasies collide, those pretty girls, the great art conceptions, and all the universal questions are balanced with doped up sweet and tidy reconciliations. Real life is not really the same tidy peace-making entirely visual mental construct that we have in our chemically altered minds.
For one thing it is less attractive. Those flaws that get erased in magical marijuana moments are all glaring in our faces. The crooked smile, the slightly sad eyes, the slightly unattractive patch of dry skin by your cheek, and your frizzy, sun-bleached hair is annoying. It just does not look and feel like the airbrushed gloss of the artists’ perfect image of the world.

I have fallen for every single feel sorry for myself trick in the book. I have become desolate, scared, and insecure.

I have wanted validation, and become needy of love. I became jealous and spiteful. I resented those pretty boundary-less young nymphets taking his time. I complained when we went to festivals and he sat me down in a cafe and went to party for three days with his Kerala friends. I called him out when he would sit me by a door and then go and hang out with cool dj’s and divas and say I was just saying hello. I called him out that he was expecting me to live life in purdah and I could not do it.

I wrote of my unquiet heart. I felt my radar for untruth. I laughed at the deceipt that was so evident of those men telling me to my face All that was wrong with me. They told me I was in the wrong relationship because I wanted my husband to not put his joint butts out on the terrace floor. They lectured me that I was a petty woman and that I was not treated him right, or allowing him his masculine freedoms.

But actually, the Bad Indian wife was allowing it all. That is what made me so ‘bad’ was that I refused to stoop as low as the ancient bondage that really exists in Indian arranged marriages. I actually believed I was playing poker and even with an open hand I felt I was winning. I laughed because those critics had to go home to their deeply unhappy marriages, and mine was different. Mine was full of joy and we were living in some kind of superior truth.

But we are not. We have lost sight of everything. We are in stale and tired situation, where desire has not existed since the beginning. Where I have internalised every doubt and fear and no longer no who I am. I have lost any sense of inner pride, and I do not look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman looking back at me. We don’t actually have a mirror. Because I have allowed our home to become something where woman does not exist.

I have erased my own needs. I have certainly erased like-minded friends, and Western culture from our world. I have erased sexual desire. I have given up. When my husband smokes his last three joints to knock himself out into a deep sleep and avoid sex, I have stayed up on the internet till dawn, and hurled myself into writing, and exploring and trying to accept it all with some academic distance that keep me from my true feelings.

We went to the homeopath, and smiled and shared our difficulties, and we carefully took our dilutions daily, and if peace returned, we said Jai Dr Bhatia. But then would stop going.
I can NOT make another human being look at their stuff. And damn I have tried.

He blames me for my outbursts, and my emotionalism. And I blame myself for my stubborn and reckless ego driven fantasies that I was the woman that was so damn hot and amazing that I was, and would and should be enough for him.

I blame him for a lot of things. I blame him for being so damn intelligent that he must surely comprehend all that really is, and for avoiding addressing it. I blame him for his ability to look away, to not feel, to refuse, and to refute that Houston we really do have a problem. I blame him for his desires online, his search for fame, and his refusal to know me and avoid intimacy. I blame him for his quick temper, his stubborn moods, and his restless nature.

But obviously, I blame myself mostly. No matter how bad it has ever been, I blame myself for crying in silence. For not calling a girlfriend. How on earth did I think I could get through this alone? How did I think I could live for eighteen months in a city without work and without one single friend. Not a single person to share a coffee with, a walk or a smile with. How did I live for eighteen months alone. How did I allow such torture to happen? All I have done is sit and watch myself age. And become unhappy and afraid.

I doubt now, I will find love again. I doubt now I will be a fabulous sexy girlfriend, if only it was the right man. It is true what they say, all of this self-esteem, vitality, sexuality is, of course, an inside job.

I have searched and searched within myself, and I cannot find it. I can no longer find that woman who was happy and confident. I can no longer find that woman who feels that she is unstoppable and a giant of a Bad Indian Wife.

I became a terrible, terrible girlfriend, racked with doubt and fear. And blame. I no longer think we will kiss and make up. That we will make love all afternoon, and kiss, and whisper and feel like allowing saliva and sweat to soothe away our troubles. We have found other ways now. To keep cool and calm.

He will go to his studio. And I will write, or relax on the balcony. We will share some food and drink some rum and say Ah yes, Good wishes for next year.

But next year is just a few hours added on to this year. It has been goddamn awful. I want to go kickboxing and kick the shit out of a wall, and say what a fucking terrible terrible year this has been.

I put all the house bets on being this dazzling Bad Indian Wife. I held my high high at those parties and wore those curvy-licious dresses. I pouted and played with make-up and big hair. The boobs are already big, and the waist small. But I failed.

He is one beautiful, sexual, sensual, creature of love. That is for sure. And it is me that is not.

I truly in every sense, of being a woman, I failed.

May his year bring him work and personal success.

I am de-railed. I am out of alignment. I am wrong. I am tired. I became ugly, inside and out.
I am both sorry, and not sorry. I accept that far, far from being the glamorous, almost famous Bad Indian Wife, I became instead, a very, terrible, terrible pyjama wearing, unsexy, unhappy girlfriend.

The End.


The only-I


I was always a little bit open to all things New Age. I was never one who dived in fully to reiki and light and shamanic visions, but, as they seemed to be so similar in sensibility to many other magical things that have transported me over the decades, like art, poetry, song, dance, and the ritual practices of so many other people’s folklore and culture, I felt, that the world of possibility deserved as much credence as the world of fact and science.

I kind of had a red-light warning when my brother died three years ago, and a very thpiritual (sorry, Mike, I stole that from you!) wrote me a very long essay as a private message. Her essay did express her well wishes, but more importantly she wanted me immediately to understand and explain to other grieving family members that what was happening was simply a trick of the mind, a powerful illusion and that in fact, my brother was simply perfectly alive in another form. The problem, she insisted was that we, were simply looking at the problem from the wrong dimension, and that it was an urgent call to shift to the 4th dimension and we would immediately resolve the issue of grief and loss, and that we could thank her for her guidance.

Actually, I laughed. And I remained reasonably open, that at some level there might be some truth to her words, and that who was I to know of the unseen, eternal. I found her timing to be terrible, but then of course, someone locked into this dimension would take timing as a serious matter. I did not remain friends with her, and thought she would evolve and refine her thinking, and hone her delivery over time and if she worked with patients or clients, this would all get slightly more nuanced with time. I still believe that to be true, and hold no bad feelings.

Over Christmas there was a lovely animated Gif that was doing the rounds. An outstretched hand was holding in it, a ball of sparkly light, and the animation passed the light to another hand. It was sent around, as good wishes, that we may pass the light to each other, and I shared it with the reminder, that we may or not even know it, but maybe we were the light!

A friend I had known for many years, was outraged. And felt the post to be almost in the realms of dangerous and evil. She went on to explain, that in her healing work, she deals with energy blocks and she ‘removes’ these energy tumors from people all day long, and she did not appreciate the post as it was what she dealt with in her work. My first line of reason, was that she was bringing her work issue to a subject that was outside of work, and so the context was different. She would not consider that her idea was simply a reflection of her own experience, and that bundles of light were without question, dangerous, harmful, toxic and that she felt no choice but to unfriend me as I was so unaware of the dangers of this Gif. My final attempt to discuss this, was something along the lines of the process of animation itself. That a geek at a computer had taken an image of light, from a data bank of images of light, and they had NOT gone to a healing clinic, and actually stolen some light from a patient’s neck.

My reasoning did not work.

Today, I read that George Michael was in fact abducted by the Elite in the United States, and they murdered him, because he was going to disclose facts about the wrong-doing of the Powers on Earth.

Orwellian double think was along the lines, of truth is lies, and lies is truth. I feel it is present in daily life. I have stopped reading the news, and am training myself to stop getting reactive and hysterical to USA media/politics and just take time for my writing and painting, and to breathe and try to relax and live my life without this constant bombardment. I am not entirely cured yet and still read one or two short articles if I can. So, today, I read a reasonably articulate, factually presented document comparing two known charitable trusts that were in the popular news all of last year. One of them paid taxes, and has provided specific evidence of the donations made over ten years to actual projects that have served human development. The other charity shows documentation of not paying taxes, not making many donations, and using the charity money to pay legal fees for non charity matters. And, yet, the times we live in, the choice has already been determined. The Charity that paid the taxes and operated in a transparent enough way to have even shown it’s wrong doing, is the evil one, and the Charity that has failed to  abide by basic regulations, is the MOST amazing decent humanitarian charity that ever existed. (Truth is a lie. Lies are Truth)

There was another small news item that caught my interest. Facebook published an alert that an incident had occurred in Bangkok and they set up a report Safe site. The account was then deleted as there had been a mistake. In the statements that followed, they said, the news had come from “a trusted third party”. And yet, all the rules of journalism used to require at least two verification’s.

It seems something like we are now moving towards the age of the only-I.

When we were young kids we dreamed of a star trek future with hand held gadgets that would provide shortcuts to life, and give us instant connectivity to work, and play. We are pretty close to having arrived at the far off imagined destination. The 20th Century was considered the Age of the I, as mass consumerism enabled us to become free to do as we wished with our labour, our money and how we lived. This new age of the only-I, seems to be something more like, I think it, it is my reality, it is my experience, it resonates with me, therefore it is truth.

It seems that we have a severe case of what was known as the Johari Window. That was the blind spot, that we could not even see was our blind spot, and it could be revealed in sincere work with others, who may be able to point to it. This new age, seems to be trained on the micro level of self. The other I, you, me, them, us, we, the planet, has been eclipsed from view. It is as if, the only-I can vaguely hear the words of another, vaguely say, Uh, Huh, yah, got it, but cannot actually accept the reality of another human manifestation. It is a ghost like memory, a hologram. I think that other shape is a human, they are speaking, and walking, but they are actually outside of my personal domain, so they can remain as an unaccountable; merely an external ghost possibility. Not to relied upon as verification, or as part of an entangled, collaborative shared reality.

The only-I needs only the cellphone for visual development. The only-I can now manage without intimacy or love, and instead can get quick fix oxytocin from likes from strangers. It is more than enough now. Like space food. Maximum nutrition in a micro delivery system.

Ah, Douglas Couplland, you have certainly said it, written it so much better than I, for several decades you were uncannily brilliant at poking our generation of all that we were missing. I believed you. I figured I was immune. And that the world would be made up of your readers and your non-readers. The reader community would be all be living together, working on amazing life giving projects, and sharing amazing home-cooked food together and celebrating our hard won connections in real time and real place with each other. It did become apparent to me that not so many were your avid readers, but I did not make the connection then that I too would be living in a pod like experience, where those in my sphere of worldly distance would have phobic reasons to remain disconnected.

I have to explore it for a while longer. I have to try to not take it all personally, and see it as relationship troubles. Or cultural differences living in a continent that is alien to me. I have to see that is something bigger, more barren than my only-I can understand. We have truly become Avatars only.

We have a very dearly loved friend on FB that we think we know. We think we know their look, their cultural message, and their values, and actually, if we bumped into that person in real life, without make-up, without title, we would have to face our own stunning disappointment.

I do joke that if I wrote these pieces and attached a bondage girl with a whip and a corset, I could possibly achieve cult-like Indian men following! As just me, I write because I still feel that words, art, acts of real friendship mean something and my world is limited to the people here, that I consider real friends.

Interestingly there was recently published an article that showed art experts falling for the age-old trick of deceit. Works of unknown origin were given a MoMa stamp of approval, and the critics rated the works higher with the false stamp than without. We endorse the fake, and we reject real hard work that goes into the creative process. And we do not feel shocked at our own gullible, superficiality.

There was a critical moment in my life earlier this year, that whilst not critical, is still shaping my words, thoughts and actions, as well as pointing me to consider my own ambitions, hopes, and doubts and jealous fears.

A young writer was gifted the words, “I am dragged here by the power and beauty of your words”. It touched that chord in me, that needed to know that words could do that. That in this fantasy world, we could still affect people, and we could still maintain the spark of humanity that has propelled us this far through several thousands of years.

In a lucid, jealousy free moment, I doubt those words were ever really about the words. The image that went with those words was what called. The avatar that represented those words, spoke of a divine celestial power, the intoxication of love and lust, the music of the gods. That image spoke of a thousand ancient Indian miniature paintings, of history, of Sita and Ram, of the great gods, in their dance of abandoned wanting. The only-I can dream. The only-I can fulfill every dream at the touch of a button.

Human touch, smell, pulse has no longer the power to evoke what can now be experienced only in a section of the cortex. Other centers in the physical world no longer operate and respond in real time. Only-I screen time is the world of the entertained, and the entertainer.

And whilst, much of what I write may be poetic or a story-tellers’ distortion, I see that Do Not Disturb sign only too often.

If only it were only my imagination.