Thursday, January 17, 2013

Migraine Monster

I walked down the road with fancy uneven lumpy tiles. I was wearing slippers bought street side and they were uncomfortable as hell. I walked down quickly. I was on my way to the cafeteria to grab a bite to eat. I was hurrying for I was hungry and on the verge of a migraine.

The noise is getting louder and my brain is hurting. I resist the urge to shush the moron who speaks loudly on the phone within the lift. I run down the aforementioned lumpy tiles in precarious shoes, because it’s too noisy in the lobby where it all echoes. It takes effort to smile and talk to the servers at subway, I can barely hear them. My ears are almost blocked. I do the ‘hold your nose and swallow’ thing and nothing. I just nod to what he says and end up with grilled chicken in my salad. I pay. I get some change back. I try to calculate if it’s the right change, and I fail. I try again. I just decide to trust the guy.

I have a salad and a sandwich, then a dispirin. The headache is going away. But I am holding my head still in fear that if I move it too much she might come back - The migraine. My head is still mildly throbbing. I love this throbbing. This tells me that the painkiller is working. And that I have been able to thwart a full-blown attack once again.  Success!

And I am not writing 'this' out of self-pity. Just wanted to talk about something terrible I live with. This short episode was of course one of the good ones. There have been times, when I have sat crying in an A.C chilled room, with mint-oil in my hair, having had multiple painkillers, crying and wanting to stab my temples, in my eager desire for the pain to go away. This is not an exaggeration. Migraine is so painful and debilitating that I have had suicidal thoughts. And I am not saying this to garner sympathy, for it is very difficult to explain migraine to people who have headaches that ‘go away on their own,’ normal people. Migraine has to be chased away and prevented. There have been people in my lives, who thought I was using this term as an excuse to get away from chores, or to ask for attention. I remember a friend grabbing me by my hair and shaking my head and almost banging my head to the wall behind, because she had been pissed off at me whining about the pain. She is not in my life anymore. There have been people, (young and immature, I grant them that) who have switched on lights in my dark room and screamed in my ears because they thought I was trying to get away from setting the table at dinnertime. There have been people in my lives who thought I was lying, because, they thought migraine was hereditary and since my parents didn’t have them, I couldn’t.

I am misting up a bit.

However, there have also been friends who have offered to and have applied balm and massaged my forehead and neck till their wrists have ached, sometimes in the oddest of places, like the shoe section ‘Lifestyle’ store. Friends have bought and stacked painkillers for me even late in the night, because I feel so vulnerable and jittery without any at hand. There have been people who have understood or cared. Or at least believed me when I said I was in pain.

The sufferer has to be aware of their triggers. For me, they are sun, humidity, hunger, and cheese. Coffee can be bad too, but since I usually have 0-1 cup of coffee a day, I tend to forgive coffee. Stress is another – or like I like to call it, ‘thinking too much’ can give you a headache. The most dangerous trigger is of course, lack of sleep. I have missed school, days of work. I don’t go out in the sun in the summers, or indeed in the winter. I hate every bit of sunlight, so much so that I hate sunlit rooms. I am terrified of feeling hot. I am always drinking water so I don’t get dehydrated, which is another big trigger of migraine for me.

Lately, I have been abusing my body. I am not sleeping on time, or enough. I have been staying awake for 30-35 hours at a stretch and feeling very unwilling to sleep even after my eyelids are heavy and my eyes refuse to stay open. My mind is not at rest, and I thus don’t let my poor body rest. So, it is no surprise that migraines are a knocking again.

Friday, January 04, 2013

We Want Patriarchy! We Want Patriarchy!

Why do patriarchal men not want things to change and why do they keep citing the Ramayana in order to warn women to toe the line? Why do such men keep living happily, ignorantly, and moustache-twirlingly. It is their world. It is their India. They love things as it is. They don't want change. Any change in the direction of modernity is deemed western thus against Indian culture. In fact, it is against their comfort, against their grain. To recognise women as equals will hinder their perfect little worlds, where their women are for them to control, love and patronize.

Fuck Feminism.

I too want to be a Patriarchal Man and live happily placidly forever. To be a Patriarchal Man in India,. Imagine the (never-ever-felt-by-me) comfort, the going with the grain, of being part of a majority, of knowing my elected leader has the same family values as me, the same disdain for women, the same hatred towards jeans (on women) and skirts.

But I have a vagina and modern western ideas and I can't be servile and I am uncomfortable all the time. In my bra, with my dupatta, in my home, under my grandmother’s judgment, at my marital status, in an auto with the mirror fixed on me, on the streets, in my heels, in my ragged jeans, at my age,  at my more than visible body. I am uncomfortable.

If living in India is easy for you. You know which side you truly belong to.