Monday, September 2, 2019

An intense love letter to Delhi

I was traveling in the metro the other day. Taking the violet line, in between Mandi House and Nehru Place. Traveling along the route that I have taken many times when I lived around that area few years ago. I would never take a seat to sit because I loved standing next to the door and looking outside of it. When the metro shifted its route above ground after Jangpura and towards Lajpat Nagar metro station, I would feel like I was emerging out into the crowded world from dark lonely caves. The moment metro compartment I would be standing in would see the light, I would imagine my skin beginning to glow. I would imagine that light running all around, dancing across strange faces and loud phones. The way the world passed below me, after the Greater Kailash metro station, made me feel like I was part of something big. Something much bigger than me or anyone. Recently while I was taking the same route, standing the way I always used to, I hated that it had become about you and not about the city. And very specifically you. I hated that I had somehow lost that excitement of feeling insignificant. That humble feeling that the world would keep moving on no matter how many of us live and die in it. I hated that Lajpat Nagar had become about you. It's funny how I write these posts seeking some kind of closure from mourning but it never ceases to amaze me how constant my state of mourning is. Not for people but for eventualities. For possibilities. For the future. For love. 

I don't know if I am writing this post for you or Delhi. And you are not even from Delhi! Yet you became the city for me. You don't imbibe that Delhi aesthetic (thank god!) despite your fuckboi haircut. You are not anything like those boys from Lajpat Nagar but your accent wants to be. I forgot at what point I started feeling you through Delhi and Delhi through you. So, I adopted a strategy to protect myself. I limited you to that single road and not the entirety that Delhi is. And I limited you to that single roof in Lajpat Nagar. The only problem with this strategy was that the lane and roof felt anything but limiting. That lane felt endless. That roof felt infinite. Like it was going to take over my life. Like the dirty night sky that we both were staring at while stealing glances at each other was filled with hope. You know, I try to be as abstract as I can be while thinking of you? You are not a person - but a brief intimacy. Your kiss is not a kiss - but a passing intense reflecting moment. Your smell is not just any smell - but a discussion point for polyamory.

Why am I doing this? Because lately, I have been getting tired of myself for always writing for men.  I feel ashamed that I keep returning back to mourning. So I try to separate the specificities of men and turn them into abstractions. Into nothingness. Because that way I feel like I am above it all. That I am not bothered by small things that won't matter in the long run. That I am not afraid of losing myself again and again in men like you. 

I was passing the Lajpat Nagar metro station by road the other night. After I had deleted your number because I was tired of hoping. And dreaming. And looking. And abstracting. I was looking at how anxious women and transwomen try selling sex (love?) just few steps away from Exit no. 1 metro gate and I thought maybe I should look at the city through your eyes. Not through hopelessness and despair but optimism. And I couldn't come up with anything. Maybe because I was too afraid of not being hopeless? I guess I felt like there could never be any direction in which I could escape with you. Like I would just be floating around. Like that infinite sky we kept looking at on your roof.

'A date in Lajpat Nagar'
Few days later when I was pouring that infinity and that roof into the painting, my art teacher casually asked me, "who are these two men? Are they good friends?"

I couldn't come up with anything. I had no answer.
Nothing specific
and nothing abstract