Day 1: #1000WordsofSummer

I have a splitting headache, but it’s day 1 of the #1000WordsofSummer challenge that a few of us from The Purple Corner Community are participating in. 

The headache is because of a major bout of acidity, that perennial side effect of being 30 that no one warns you about. Sugar, carbs, food that’s mildly spicier or saltier than usual, half a glass of beer – your body is going. To. Protest. And how. 

I think this time it’s cause I had a few extra peanuts and two extra cups of chai over the last two days. 

Anyway, I had a very neat content plan in place for these 14 days of the challenge. But I have absolutely no energy to get up and open that document, so I’ve decided to type on my phone. 

It’s better. I’m more emotionally inihibition free on the phone. I think it’s because years and years of texting, emotional outpours, passionate back and forths have trained my brain to consider the phone as a safer space to say whatever I want. 

So today’s 1000 words will be just that, saying everything on my mind. 

I don’t know where to begin. 

Let’s start with the music I was listening to on my way back from dinner with Aakash. Yeh Raatein Yeh Mausam, Lag Jaa Gale – some other slow Hindi classics. While listening to it, I thought about how my tastes were an oddly built Lego house. A little bit of everything, with no real definition or personality. 

I cannot claim to … (I’ve started and stopped this sentence 8 times. There’s a thought, but no words). Let’s try saying this in less fancy ways. 

It’s like this. If I hang out with people who like old Hindi Music, I’m sure to be lost after the first five-10 songs. Then they’ll start playing Advanced level stuff and know exactly what sets a Mohammad Rafi apart from a Kishore Kumar. 

English music is another ball game. I’m seldom able to understand a song without listening to a lyric video atleast once. I know pop songs, some classics like ABBA or Goo Goo Dolls, some off beat stuff like Snarky Puppy. But if someone started to talk to me about 80s Rock and Roll, I’d have to just start noting names and recommendations. 

That’s actually what I did as a child. I was in a convent school but came from a household where English education was a treated like a necessary villain. So we never saw English movies or listened to English music. When my classmates would talk about Avril Lavigne or Akon, I wouldn’t know what to say, so I’d nod along. Agreeing with whatever the opinion is. Then come home and add the artists name in a list I was compiling for when we got a computer and I could search for these songs. 

I’ve realised that over the years I’ve become very good at the nod along. If I didn’t know about something, I can simply agree. This made me a very lazy hack eventually, because after so much practice, you learn how to mirror well enough to never be caught. Like if I don’t know a song, I’d hum along. And tell someone I didn’t remember the lyrics. 

But now I don’t do this. I just admit that I don’t know it. I used to be embarrassed by that, but now I’m longer embarrassed. 

Sometimes I think about why I’d hate admitting I didn’t know something. Where did this begin? 

My sense is, in fifth or sixth grade. I used to be among the top three score achiever’s of my class. Once, our teacher asked a science question. No one raised their hand to answer it. 

(I need water, the headache is getting worse. I also just want to sleep but need to brush my teeth. Another post-30 mandate. Brush your teeth and sleep. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to brush it. But that’s probably just post Chicago trauma. About it, another day). 

Back to my school days. So, no one raised their hand. Then my teacher said out loud, “Prakruti you tell us the answer, obviously you know it.”

I was 10-11 years old. I couldn’t say I didn’t so I took a guess, and that was a wrong guess and I writhed in embarrassment. 

I think because of that incident I got into a habit of having only answers, no questions. And it really harmed my general development, until finally I unlearned it. 

I’m still unlearning that, and only now finding the courage to ask questions about my own curiosities. 

Right now, I have so many other thoughts. How to be a millennial voice online. How to find and write stories faster. The thing about anticipation fatigue that Aakash was talking about. Purple Pencil Project – shut shop or push harder ? The need to do more cardio. Tomorrows election results. Getting synopses of books. This wretched headache. The climate crisis. The heat. Mortality. Taking mom on a trip. Leaving home for good. Marriage. Kids. Adoption. Having a home. Working hard. Working smart. Unforgettable kisses. Sugar is poison. Taxes. 

How I’ve missed today’s LinkedIn post. How I don’t have anything to say online anymore, everything I think is being said by more popular people already. How it often takes one big inciting incident to liberate you. Self-worth. How I’ve never been able to break the “above average” barrier. How I’d one day like to share a smoke with SRK. How I have forgotten so much of my knowledge because I always tried to be cool or win someone’s approval. How that’s another mother wound I want to heal. Nishi and Nilesh and Mohit and Gurshawn and Mahek and Drashti. The team, and how I must find a way to forget. More headache. Timing. Emails. Tiny Change. Cardio. 

I hope that’s a 1000 words done. I am drifting into sleep. James Joyce.

Want to talk more about it? Tweet to me @pramankapranam or email me at prakrut[at]purplepencilproject[dot]com