Resistance


  1. What does it mean to resist? When our head interferes with our heart, in our art, when our flow is interrupted, when there is disruption in our receptivity, we are resisting.
  2. Writing itself is resistance.
  3. I went to Barefoot College in Tilonia, one of the poorest villages in rural India. I saw puppets educating elders on matters of social justice and musicians educating children on social change.
  4. A kathak dancer, Mallika Sarabhai goes to villages all over India. She educates women on menstrual hygiene through theatre.
  5. I vomited on stage, an Aftertaste of my arrival in America. It was a play about the international experience.
  6. When I was seven, I wrote an angry letter to my grandfather when he wouldn’t listen. We cannot talk back, we need to respect our elders my culture preaches. I scrunched my letter into a ball and threw it at him. He threw it out of the window.
  7. I spoke about reclaiming my voice, my accent at Naropa.
  8. My parents challenge customer care representatives everytime they answer the phone. My parents’ accent “confuses them”. Dear America, must you only understand the norm?
  9. “What is the relevance of writing? Will it get you a job?” my father said.
  10. I speak perfect English. Are you waiting for me to talk in Hindi, will that make me more exotic? Will that make my activism special? Chutiye saale
  11. Two Indian Americans speak about the terror attacks in a school in Peshawar in broken Hindi at a silent vigil. My friend from Pakistan walks out. Must we always voice that which we don’t understand?
  12. Must we always have a cause to resist?
  13. Can’t we just lie down on the grass and enjoy this sunny day?
  14. Please don’t call my approach radical.

Dear,


Dear fear,

Dear guilt,

Dear confusion,

Dear Youtube,

Dear Buzzfeed,

Dear Superwoman,

Dear Justin Bieber,

Dear Miley Cyrus,

Dear chronic backpain,

Dear insomnia,

Dear depression,

Dear weed,

Dear uncle,

Dear ex lover,

Dear future lover,

Dear Ria,

Dear Pema Chodron,

Dear Anne Waldman,

Dear Reed Bye,

Dear CA Conrad,

Dear Jane,

Dear Liat,

Dear John,

Dear money,

Dear woman,

Dear mother,

Dear Vassar,

Dear Social Justice Warriors,

Dear activists,

Dear Buddhists,

Dear white people,

Dear Americans,

Dear Indians,

Dear junk food,

Dear porn,

Dear Mom and Dad,

Dear Dada,

Dear incomplete sentences,

Dear

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda


Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

—from Extravagaria (translated by Alastair Reid, pp. 27-29, 1974)

This is my love


I hear the soft lullabies of the angels ushering me deeper into your unending abyss as I fall, tumbling through this wondrous maze. The stars lose their sparkle to the earth, blending their glitter with the dust and your soul with mine. I dream of the honey dewed nights and the ruby filled morns. I lose myself in you on this quest of seeking. I know not of what I seek, I know not of what I yearn.

And often I find myself groping for answers. I feel this need…this want, to understand, to know. In the cold breeze I hear your whispers echoing words that seem from a different era, another age. “I love you. I can’t explain it, name it or guarantee it. I only ask you to feel it and try and accept it however and whatever it might be.”

And I dream once again. I gaze into your eyes, losing myself in you. I see the wonder, the awe blinking from those orbs and I realize…I see the untainted, untarnished child in you. I find beauty untouched. I notice sheer wonder and inquiry. I sense the newborn in you, raw and fresh. I feel the astonishment, the shock too as I look into you. I feel your enigma. I see you.

I see you rising with a halo over your head. Your smile radiates sunshine all over; your footsteps creating patterns as you walk. I trace your impressions on a cloud, never getting my fingers too close. I am scared to touch you, afraid you might not be real. What if you disappear?

So I hold on to your whispers, wishing for their immortality as I stare at the impressions on the cloud. Logic tells me to move on, life tells me to let go. Your groans tell me to seek a more fulfilling venture, a new chance.

So I try, but each time, I fail. Because I can’t. Or rather, I won’t. This is my love. I can’t explain it, name it or guarantee it. I only ask you to feel it and try and accept it however and whatever it might be.