Why did I start blogging?

I guess, this post should have been my first or second post, but I was unsure then of what I was doing.

Here is a little backstory- I started this blog on my birthday and just to give you a little more insight- I had the suckiest birthday this year, or perhaps in the hindsight, I didn’t have the suckiest birthday. It was low-key, I did nothing. I was knitting, and that’s about it. My mom felt bad and tried to overcompensate which annoyed me further, but it wasn’t really my mom’s fault. I had the suckiest birthday because I was in the suckiest place in my life- I had recently lost a job, a job I was good at, lost my first adopted cat, my first healthy relationship and on the top of all of this, everyone around me seemed happy living their lives. I kept on wondering what is it that these people in my Instagram and Facebook feed knew, that I didn’t? It seemed like they had won the lottery, that they had done it, people were getting married, getting accepted in universities outside, having babies, getting a promotion, somehow they had cracked the secret to life, and I was stuck here- jobless, petless, boyfriend-less. I still didn’t know what I wanted in my life (for the record I still don’t) and I wasn’t anywhere close to figuring it out. On the top of it, wherever I applied I received rejections. I received close to 10 rejections in the past 1 and half months.

So I did, what I always do when I have no idea where my life is going, I am no longer steering the wheel and it’s on auto-pilot, I dove in my mind- a whirlpool of genius crazy ideas, anxiety, sadness, and self-pity. Every morning I had a new idea, which I pursued with fervent enthusiasm for probably 20 minutes, which was soon replaced by thoughts around practical concerns, then anxiety, then sadness, then indifference and back to another great idea. This blog was a result of a great idea-see the thing is I have always wanted to write, to become a writer, to be a published author/poet, for people to read my words, and somehow I didn’t just do enough to get better at it- I have been writing in journals and scribbling poems since I was about 9 or 10, but I had never shown it to people around me, I thought and believed that it sucked, and it wasn’t worthy of being read, over the years, this fear of not being good enough just went deeper and deeper until one day, it settled itself comfortably in my veins, now everytime I wrote, my veins throbbed with the burning fear. To get over this, I thought let me start a blog, and I know it’s not an original idea, I have tried my hand at blogging at least thrice before, but never really stuck to it- lack of discipline and fear of being read and ridiculed or not being read at all. So this time, I upped the ante and I bought a domain name.  I figured if I paid for it, I would stick to it. Rational thinking, you invest a little and you want to make sure your investment doesn’t go to waste. And for the month of January, I posted regularly. I made 12 blog posts which are three posts per week- a goal I had set for myself. Come February, the scenario had changed, barring today, I had made only one blog post. So like any reasonable person, I sat down and tried to strategize- I was way behind schedule and this just wasn’t done, I had made a goal and I was nowhere near it. I tried making a structure for myself, but then thought about the purpose of this blog first- why did I start it?  I wrote down my answer in a simple line:

“I started my blog so I could become disciplined about writing.”

The purpose is clear and simple, but then the question that arose was what am I going to be writing about? Because a part of the reason why I hadn’t been posting was also that I didn’t know what I want to post So it was essential that I find an answer to this. Here is what I want to write about- my views and opinions- DUH, post my poetry and short stories, write about my personal projects that I keep undertaking and forsaking and write about things that matter to me- animals, environment, education, feminism, culture and much more. I don’t have an exhaustive list, but I guess this is a starting point. So a month and a half and 14 (including this one) blog posts later, I have a little more clarity about my blog and what I want to put in it. A late bloomer in the blogging world, I guess.

Now you may be wondering, I started with talking about my suckiest birthday and then claiming it wasn’t the suckiest after all. Here is why- because of my anxiety, sadness, indifference, anger, and bolts of genius ideas- I started a blog on my birthday, I started decluttering, I started a bullet journal, I started an initiative called- A bag of kindness, I started knitting and finished my first ever self-knitted cowl, I adopted another pet- Zoro, the puppy I found on streets, I tried getting him adopted but I guess he is going to stay with me, he is a bundle of love and chews everything in sight and well I reached a place in my life where I am not swimming in a pool of anxiety but resting on a beach nearby, I know sooner or later, this anxiety would return, I would again feel I don’t know what I am doing with my life, I would again go to a dark place in my head where I have often traveled, but I know I will make it out and again start something small.

Coos

The dawn breaks
With your sound.
Ruffling of feathers.
You have made a home
Inside mine.
Invisible. I only hear
Your presence.
My house rings with
Your coos. A background score.
Outside, I witness your dance.
On the railing.
You read me. We are not friends.
You stay in your territory.
I stay in mine.
Your eyes follow my move.
I type away, hum in silence.
You pick up the twigs and gather bits.
I hear a call, sometimes,
I respond.
I know it’s not meant for me
But I talk to you now.
My house has become your refuge.
Your coos have become mine.
new doc 2018-01-16 15.58.05_2– Avni Vij

 

A packet of chips.

When I had started writing this post, I had named it- ‘Shit, jobless people do.’ But it soon transformed into something else and I had to rename it. What led me to rename a blog titled ‘Shit jobless people do’ to ‘A packet of chips’? Read on.

If the title didn’t give away, I would spell it out for all of you, a total of 4 followers and my stalkers on Facebook, I am currently jobless. Since I graduated long back in 2014, I have been working, with the exception of few months here and there, where I was pushed in an existential crisis and searching for the meaning of life. My first stint was in the glitzy world of corporate, doing the most boring god-forsaken work ever, though I learned a lot  (read exceptional MS-excel formatting skills), my soul had died, and I realized, doesn’t matter if I didn’t finish a year, an accepted minimum for a good CV, I am going to leave and so I did. I believe my second job was till now my most treasured two years ever spent, I worked with a reputed NGO as a fellow and taught for 2 years in a low-income community in Ahmedabad. Spending all my time either with kids or thinking about them or working for them, I enjoyed every single minute of it. I also hadn’t received so much of love until this, but alas, that came to an end, but it reaffirmed my belief in innocence, kindness, love and the world could be a better place, with stronger, beautiful, kind-hearted, smart children, and that income, skin color, religion has nothing to do with it. I soon transitioned to my latest job, where I wrote stories for kids- dream come true- but dreams don’t last forever, and neither did my job, but I did manage to travel a lot of Bihar, eat the best litti chokha in the world and meet some really beautiful people. Last 3 years have taught me a lot about myself. Reflection entered my dictionary, though I had always maintained a journal since I was 8, I was now consciously thinking about what I am doing, what I want to do, where am I going, what is right, what is not, the kind of life I want to live. Needless to say, I don’t know yet. I only know of things I don’t want to do. Probably elimination is my way of getting the right answer. The day before yesterday I was talking to a cousin, who said,

“Choosing a career or what do you want to do after 12th grade is a lot like choosing a packet of chips, without knowing how it would taste like.”

I couldn’t have agreed more. I have until now, eaten quite a lot of packet of chips, and I still haven’t found my flavor, some flavors have come quite near to being ‘the flavor’ but none have won. Yet. I also believe doing things that you would not rather do will take you closer to things that you’d rather. I have met people, intelligent, funny, working their ass off in a job they hate, I have met people intelligent, funny, working their ass off in their dream job, I have met people, talented, creative individuals, and seen talent paying off. I have also met people, talented, creative individuals, who are trying their hardest to make a name for themselves, to get recognized, to be known for their work, I have seen people with no talent living a life with all one could dream of.

I have met, seen, heard of all sorts of people and I have been a kind of person who’s lost, always on a threshold wondering if to step forward, to turn right or go back, a pendulum of sorts, moving from one puzzle piece to another, solving neither. To people like me, I’d say, take a deep breath, do all that you want to do, don’t let the world stop you-you were not born to sit comfortably in a plush chair in an air-conditioned room, or to travel the world, barefoot. You were born somewhere in between, wanting all- you are that thin visible line that separates the oil from the water.

You are neither oil nor water, you are somewhere in between, and be okay with that because you are the reason the oil and water don’t become one.

-Avni Vij

A little person in search of something

A reflection on gender identity and life in the 21st century…

A little person was born in a small family, living in the suburbs of a major city. The little person was dressed in yellow on the name ceremony. The little person still didn’t know the color spoke volumes in this world, more than words did. That there was meaning attached to each and every single color that existed. But these were bigger matters, and the little person didn’t concern with such. The big people could take care of these. The little person cared about where the food came from, and if the little person was feeling warm enough and sleep.

Years passed and the little person acquired language, a funny tool. You learned it and in the initial stages, the big people would clap and congratulate you for doing a wonderful job. Words could mean so much. More than what they intended too. Sometimes, words could even define, faith- a complex phenomenon created by an intelligent lot of the big people- mostly of one kind. Words could also box you into a certain archetype. But these were bigger matters, and the little person didn’t pay heed to them. The little person learnt how to read, spell and write and do numbers. The little person grew up playing house, dressing up dolls, kicking footballs, going to summer camps, on family vacations to mountains. The little person was unaware, that what you do, reflected more on who you are than how you felt. The little person had beautiful hair- brown, average length, not straight, not curly. The little person often drew it behind with a help of a hair band, sometimes tied up in a black hair tie. The little person was growing up and was not so little anymore.

The little person was transitioning from one phase of life to another. A phase, as confusing and daunting, as exhilarating- the little person was experiencing things that the little person thought nobody could experience. The little person didn’t know, that’s how every big person felt, at every stage of life, that is how human beings are- willing to be understood, but desiring to stand out. The little person played rock music in the bedroom and experimented with alcohol and other illicit drugs. The little person could feel the change, could see it happening. Some days, the little person locked the door and stood naked in front of the mirror- touching, feeling, exploring. The little person fought with the parents- the designated adults responsible for a smooth transition from being a little person to a full grown adult- a big person. The not-so little person anymore felt that these designated adults were unfit for their role. They didn’t understand the little person. They didn’t know who the little person truly was. But did the little person possess this knowledge? The answer to the question of the human age, ‘who am I?’ The little person had now started associating things to identity- what I eat, what I like, what I don’t like, what I do, the way I dress, the music I listen to, the way I like my eggs, my role models- all this obsession with, me, I, made the little person question everything around. The biggest philosophical questions haunted the little person- what is the purpose of life? What made the little person unique? What was the little person’s identity? What if there was no light at the end of the tunnel? – The usual kind, the mini-existential crisis-every not so little person had in their life. Where nothing makes sense and yet you feel you could conquer the world, you are invincible- and to escape all of this, like any other not-so- little person, this one also made meaningless connections that somehow seemed to define the little person’s life for those years of life.

But alas, immortality, however short-lived, dies when reality strikes. The little person had entered adulthood, stepped into the shoes of a big person- shoes too big to fill and often too uncomfortable. The ‘real’ world was knocking at the now big person’s doorstep with job interviews, long hours, deadlines, bills, insurance, loans and the questions had metamorphosed from who am I to what the fuck am I doing with my life. Years after year, it was the same thing, work long hours, get promoted or don’t get promoted, yearly bonus, Friday night parties, road-trips once in a while, to feel alive-even if for a week. The little person big person, quit some of the early jobs, frustrated with how things were, unable to grasp the unfairness and pointlessness of it all- but eventually the once-deemed unfit for their role-the parents’ finally had their way. Too tired of not knowing where the next paycheck came from, and too much dirty laundry, the big person now entered into his 5th or 6th relationship, hoping, wishing, that this one would be it. That this person was going to be the answer. For a while, it seemed that was really the case. So another big event of the life on planet Earth, the big person got married. Life had taken a backseat; it was no longer a roller-coaster ride but a drive in an old beaten once-loved car on a sometimes bumpy and sometimes smooth road. Days were clockwork- same routine day in day out- get up, a kiss, take the dog out for a walk, sometimes the big person’s companion made breakfast, sometimes the big person did, sometimes they skipped it, go to work, come back, sex twice or thrice a week. Such was life. Simple, uncomplicated, laced with monotony and comfort, till one day- another little person entered the world.

The big person looked down at the crib at what they had created- a living breathing creature. She was beautiful.

-Avni Vij

Disclaimer: I wrote this as an Entry to Jaipur Literature Festival Blogging Contest. Since, I wasn’t shortlisted, thought of sharing it. Let me know what you think of it.