J Jayalalithaa, 1948- 2016

jj

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

– Anne Sexton, ‘Her Kind’

the essential internet/ 32

kajol

Most writing about female politicians tends to be snide, either ignoring the role of gender, or making it the sole accusatory subtext. This balanced piece had me slow-clapping at the end. You can admire a lady for making it in politics and still be critical of her work

Are Indians suckers for grand gestures? Evidence certainly suggests it

Can mediums kill each other? No

The canny economics behind Sabyasachi Mukherji’s success, and why he’s forever mic-dropped the debate around design wins v/s commercial success- do you lose one when you invest in the other? (Brand stakeholders please note- your brand can be a work of pure art and lead share simultaneously)

Desi cover of Sia’s Cheap Thrills. Best!

Image- Vintage Kajol. All you need is a strong topknot game + earrings that graze your shoulders, and you’re set. 

depression/ celebration

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won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

– Lucille Clifton

Image- A picture of me from 2013 or 2014, depressed.  My depression was triggered by a personal tragedy that brought the person I love most to his knees. To watch your beloved struggle is not unlike watching them die- the horror is as intense, you’re watching them lose large chunks of themselves to pain by the hour, whittled ultimately to ghosts. You’re terrified they won’t recover. Grief churns in your belly like poison, slowing you down. You wait and watch. Watch and wait. You too become a shadow- light and insubstantial. You read everything- jam bottle labels, old airport magazines, circulars from your building co-op- to keep yourself tethered in the moment, to not cut loose and float above your reality in a sickening separation of body and mind. Friends and family don’t get it. You close yourself off to them, shooting off missives into the ether in the form of poems on Facebook. Your poems are pleas for help, but no one catches on. People respond with kindness- ‘What clever lines!’- but it’s not the sort of kindness you’re looking for. The fact that you can smile, laugh, make jokes and whip up comically large batches of spaghetti makes it harder to tell people you’re dying inside. You begin to hate yourself for betraying you, curse your exterior for not matching your interior. Your alienation from yourself is complete. You are now two separate people: one pleasant, sociable, life of the party, the other grieving, lonely, jam bottle label-reading. Every day, you pray for wholeness, cohesion. But it never comes. It never comes. What makes this worse? Your beloved going through the exact same thing. You are two stricken shadows. You can not comfort the other because shadows have no substance.

If you’ve survived depression, are struggling with it or suspect someone you love is, read up extensively about the condition. And never forget to celebrate that everyday, something has tried to kill you or the person you love, and failed. 

gratitude

purple

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.

– Alice Walker, The Color Purple