Those Dial-up Connection Days


Here’s the thing, adults love to remind us of their good old days and how we will never know the blessing of being tech free. However, what they fail to remember is that we too grew up without tech. At least my generation did. We had Sega but we also had playing under the sun. Regardless, my childhood was nothing like the one of my nieces and nephews. They will never know the sheer the fear of that dial-up connection sound. To this day I get goose bumps if I ever hear it.If you wanted to use that worldwide web, it needed to be through the devil’s ringtone. And you had to make sure that your parents never heard you calling him. Not that you would have hell to pay, but you just wanted to avoid the conversation and lecture that followed whenever you used it to play games. So, to control our internet usage, my parents would invest in those dial-up internet cards. They had an x amount of hours in them and that package was supposed to last you till the time you actually needed it, never mind the fact that your project wasn’t due till another two months. That package needed to survive till the end of the year. Let’s get real though, that never happened. Our parents should have anticipated that it would be a miracle if it even lasted till the end of the week.

Fast forward to the end of the week where you have finished your dial-up minutes and now must let your mother know. Or at least somehow sneak out the house without her knowing, run to the nearest store and buy an exact replica of that dial-up card without her ever realizing you were gone. Fat chance of that happening. So, instead of choosing either of the options, you went with the third option; don’t bother telling her and just live without that internet till your project rolled around, feign ignorance, and blame the card manufacturers for the faultiness when it wouldn’t work.

But, those dial-up connection days were scary. If you wanted the internet you had to somehow mute the dial-up tone that reverberated in the whole house, pray that your parents went deaf in the moment and pray again that no one needed to make a call till the next hour or so. Hey, this was a time before cell phones could be used as an alternative mode of communication. That landline relationship was still going strong at the time. Now, you try a bit every day to somehow keep the spark alive.

Still, nothing compared to when the telephone bill came rolling at the end of the every month and you were never the one first one to have a look at it and prepare yourself for jhar that would follow. I swear that dial-up connection really knew how to betray. If there was one thing that got my father going about that bill, it was international calls and internet usage; they might as well have been one entity. They fell under the same heading of, ‘why the hell is the bill so much?’ And the follow up threat of, ‘this is coming out of your pocket money.’

Well, thank God for wifi and thank God for our own parents’ dependency on it. They’re glued to their phones just as much as we are, if not more. How we survived the age of slow internet astounds me everyday. 

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At the Doctor’s


If you must know

This clinic

Is eyesore white

A failing attempt to prove cleanliness

And a single crack 

Weaves its way 

Along the wall
The only colour in the room

Is a blazing red

And ironically

It screams out in pain

At the merest contact

Of a tush

Your weight ain’t no indication

Of its agony
I might as well be a palmist

For the lines on its rubbery surface

Reveal an unwell life

Vacuum

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Don’t tell me God doesn’t weep;
these fallen stars
Are witness
to tears shed
and your wish upon a shoot-ing star
remains in vain

Hopes and dreams and desires
you vacuum,
these stars
are nothing more than flecks
of dust, littered across the night sky
that you no longer recall

This velvet suffocates-
No fairy dust to light the way
each constellation
a hindrance in the philosophy
of existence-
we no longer wish
to understand.

Oaks and Weeds

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Throughout the years of our life, we come across different people. I firmly believe that while there may be many, you can always categorize them into two groups. There are those that stand strong like ‘oaks’, deeply rooted into the ground. And then there are ‘weeds’ that grow in the moments where you ignored and changed route – ‘growing in the wrong place’.

Weeds will always fester, and like poison attach themselves, eating away at all the good. Unless you don’t make the active effort to pull them out and chuck them away, they will remain. But once the weeds are pulled out from the ground, they are pulled out from your life as well.

The oaks however, unlike the weeds hold more eminence. Their loss is not insignificant like the weeds’. It is commonly wondered, “If a tree falls in the forest with no ears to hear does it make a sound. It matters not for the tree has fallen.”The obvious, scientific answer would be a resounding ‘yes’. But that sound unheard would not remain unfeeling in the heart. The true answer actually does not lie in the sound but rather the fallen tree – the unmistakable loss of the tree.

An oak may never have the power like the weed to disappear. An oak with always make its presence, or lack of, be known. The lush forest will may appear the same to untrained eyes of an outsider, but for those who live within its depths, the loss will be imposing.

This brings into question why it is always considered a ‘family tree’. Drawn on paper is a great sturdy oak that branches across the page as the family grows. That single truck holds everyone together but the loss brings everyone tumbling down.

We all resume life after the death of an oak, a loved one who held importance in our life, but are we ever able to extract ourselves from the legacies that they leave behind? Your oak need not be famous; their legacy could simply be living. The loss of that one person in our life is like losing the whole forest, leaving behind barren land that cultivates no life.

Life is never the same. Slowly, traditions start to die down. They almost seem trivial and time consuming, things that we rationalize with ourselves that we no longer need to do. Sometimes, it is that single person who was the last piece in the jigsaw puzzle and with them gone, the puzzle forever remains incomplete. That single piece possessed the power to bring forth a landscape that had mesmerizing qualities and with it gone, the rest of the puzzle begins to dull in comparison.

The family is no longer complete. Relations are no longer complete. The oak’s roots were what prevented relations to drift away and with it gone, the landslides of strife and missed connections come to play.

The disappearance of the weed causes no loss to land, to life, to love. It is the oak that holds the power to make true loss felt.

Just Because I Don’t Go on a Social Media Date with God, Doesn’t Mean We Don’t Have a Relationship

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Today life consists of falling in love 140 characters at a time and proposing through status updates. Your friends, popularity and likeness are measured through the number of likes and comments. Every aspect of your life is infiltrated by others and so, how could religion stay far behind.

Social media has always had its highs and its lows, and while it has worked to salvage misconceptions and ideals, it also has worked to create unnecessary fear and hate. Don’t tell me I’m going to Hell just because I scroll past the Holy picture that you’ve shared. Don’t promise me Heaven if I do continue the chain and share it. None of these outcomes were ever in your hands. And our piety cannot be measured this way.

Instead of being pious in the eyes of God, you work to appear pious in the eyes of the world. And then follows your innate need to flaunt this piety making others out to be sinners in your eyes. Religion should not be measured through the horn that you blare all over your timeline. The sheer volume of your voice does not constitute anything. This itch that you constantly feel to ‘save’ people only proves the kind of person that you are.

#Blessed has become more a part of our lives than the simple, private act of thanking God of bestowing His blessings upon us. Don’t recount your blessings by making it a public matter because it brings into question just exactly what you’re trying to prove and show to the world. Religion has never not been complicated and we’re all in the midst of learning, always will be learning. It’s hard enough loving yourself but when people make you out to be sinful, it becomes all the more difficult.

Religion has always been this beautiful, private relationship that we have with God. Don’t make it perverse by attaching multiple partners. The power lies in the silence of a voice that requires no sound. God ain’t your trophy wife to show off to the world.

Pressed

There were moments in our life where we wanted to play God,
And we pressed flowers into books
Preserving, making the mortal immortal
Only to feel powerful in a world
That continued to take us apart,
One petal at a time.

She Burns Lavender Incense

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She burns lavender incense
To fill her lungs with silent hope
They said it would help,
Help her remember
Bring back memories
Clear her thoughts so jumbled
Like hair knotted together over years of ignorance
and her fingers will try to do the job
Combing, combing, combing
Unsuccessfully, painfully;

That’s what her life has become
Lavender incense in the morning,
In the afternoon,
In the evening
All in the solemn hope of rectifying
A past so jumbled,
Navigating turns into claustrophobia.