My Heroines


Here’s a compilation of my very favourite female authors/ philosophers/fighters…in short, the heroines who have taught me that you may belong to the fairer sex but you have every bit of a right to raise your voice and bring about a change; a revolution of sorts. Here is my list:

  1. Ayn Rand: This list cannot begin with any other name but hers. Ayn Rand had a vision…and she brought it into being through sheer persistance and hardwork. Born and educated in Russia, Ayn Rand migrated to the USA because she was lured by Hollywood and the prospect of screenwriting. Moreover, she was against the entire concept of a socialist economy: her vision was to establish the roots of ego into the minds of men who had been brought up to consider their own selves as unworthy of attention and had been taught to put others before themselves; this having been born as a conscious decision they did not even know they had taken! Her books The Fountainhead and ATLAS SHRUGGED brought into being her radical theory of objectivism; a philosophy that is unforgiving, just and stripped clear of emotion, riddled instead with a clear and cool logic. The masses she still draws, albeit posthumously, make her one of the most radical reformists I have ever known.
  2. Margaret Mitchell: The next name in my list has undoubtedly got to be that of the wonderful authoress of the epic love story Gone with the Wind. When I read her masterpiece, I was blown away by her comprehensive description of the American Revolution as a backdrop against a terrible love involving two extraordinary people, both ruthlessly selfish; Rhett Butler, who loved with an unbending, obstinate resolve and Scarlett O’Hara who did not know her own mind until it was too late. Margaret Mitchell undisputedly won a Pulitzer Prize for this piece or genius and she opened my eyes to a new style of writing; to begin with, she taught me that my protagonist can work as an antagonist as well and that real people are grey!
  3. Anne Frank: My list will be incomplete without her. She, who had the vision to make the world a better place, and if given a chance to live would have surely turned into a heroine of sorts. Nevertheless, her diary is the only way we can salute to her. To me, she has always represented the millions of other Jews who died under the Nazi regime as a result of the gas chambers, diseases and illnesses, or plain murder. Her diary is a ray of hope, the voice of a teenager who continued to believe in God, even though she was forsaken. And towards the very end, though everyone may not know of this, Anne Frank breathed so she could watch her sister delivered safely to the doors of death before she allowed her own self to succumb to it.
  4. Jane Austen: In a world where girls were like flower vases; inclined to be decorative, unworthy of eloquence and capable only of fish-hooking men through their captivating and flirtatious manners, Jane Austen created a bevy of beauties who were strong-willed, determined and out to conquer the world, listening to no one but their own selves. Jane Austen’s novels are long-term, perspective and satirical tales of love and loss and I enjoy them because she has created some endearing characters, Elizabeth Bennet is my favourite from amidst them.
  5. Beatrix Potter: I would say she is the least known personality on my list. I know of her only through  a movie; Miss Potter, which I saw a long time back. Miss Potter was an English author and illustrator, most famous for her character of Peter Rabbit. She drew delightfully and created wonderful tales for children but lived during a time when women were discouraged from pursuing such arts. Her father was especially opposed to her indulging in intellectual pursuits. She well in love with the man who supported her; her publisher Norman Warne, but they were not to be, for Warne died. Later Beatrix estranged herself from her unsupportive parents and shifted to a beautiful countryside house, marrying another man for love and continuing down her chosen career path with amazing will-power! The movie inspired me enough to make me adore Beatrix Potter for her relentless drive!
  6. Agatha Christie: How can I keep her out of my list, the genius who wrote The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Five Little Pigs, Evil Under the Sun, Death on the Nile…and gave us the delightful M. Poirot with his bushy moustache and ever-proud brains?? I’ve spent hours enjoying her writing, feeling the goosebumps prick my arm as I read…Agatha Christie had a sharp, witty tone of writing and she added amusement to gravity, making her novels eerie but at the same time, cheerful!
  7. Enid Blyton: Anyone who grew up reading could not have grown up without reading Enid Blyton. I still remember the first Enid Blyton book I read: it was a Noddy story. Oh Noddy, the delightful, nodding little wooden toy! One of my favourite childhood characters. How I used to adore Tessie Bear! And then there were the Famous Five: Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog! ‘They find adventure and excitement wherever they go’! I devoured each and every single Famous Five book and the Malory Towers. And the best thing about Enid Blyton has been the fact that she never grows old; her books never go out of fashion and…neither does her food!<grin>
  8. J.K. Rowling: the last two people on my list are contemporaries, the only two people on this list who are still alive but their books are already hitting bestsellers. That’s not a criteria here, not really…but I would like to have Rowling on my list. I admire the Harry Potter series she has created and here’s the main reason why: I read a lot of Nancy Drew, see? And Carolyn Keene doesn’t make it to this list because she irritated me by making Nancy so flawless and amazing that beyond a handful, I did not really enjoy her sleuthing. At the same time, J.K. Rowling gives us Harry Potter; a novel, wonderful, no-pretense, peace-seeking, justice-loving Harry Potter who only wanted to be allowed to lead a normal life! Harry was never exceptionally talented nor exceptionally morale in his treatment towards life but one could always relate to Harry and live with him and love him (yes!) and that is what made the Harry Potter journey so special! Also added to it is the fact that J.K.Rowling had such an intricate, well-thought out layout for her novels. Such a fast-paced, exciting, biting suspense! Genius indeed.
  9. Stephanie Meyer: The last on my list, inevitably, is someone who i believe to be a victim of a fever that has swept across the world at large: the Twilight fever. I can’t believe she enjoys it, though she probably does. In her place, i wouldn’t say i would! But this is about her series; the way she writes is so ‘hypnotic, dreamy, enchanting’. Her narration flows like liquid and the scenes she had created are like reading through a vision- my favourite being the New Moon scene when Edward leaves (‘it will be as if I never existed’- ooh so chilling and heart-breaking). And yes, Bella Swan is not your typical, modern heroine but when I start to draw certain parallels, I can’t help seeing myself and a lot of other teenage girls in her. Yes, Stephanie Meyer has taken idol-worshipping to another level but hello? Would anyone ever stop to admire the fact that every teenage girl who has just had her hormones kicking in (oh dear, and its nearly impossible for anyone else to understand) goes through exactly the same things that Bella did, and that it is natural and if each of us were given an Edward of our own, we would forsake the rest for him because he would be so perfectly worth it, like no one else is? So Stephanie Meyer has created a saga of heartbreak and she has created it beautifully and I do wish the movies had never been made because they are undeserving and disgusting and I hate the fact that the movie characters have more or less destroyed the virgin purity of the books and now we have Twilight merchandise hitting the markets, not to mention the fact that people are dividing over into Team Edward, Team Jacob and Team Bella! How phony! I can bet the next thing to hit the streets would be Twilight games and that would be the successful slaughter of a tale well told!

Well there’s my list and please let me know what you think of it, if you ever reach the end of it! Toodles 🙂

Trade-Off


There was a transitional phase in my life: the craziest, wildest, silliest time ever yet it was so beautiful and now, as I am ripping it out of my heart for good and accepting it as passé, I ask myself one question I never needed to ask before: does the part of me which dies with that phase take away with it the last ounces of my childhood innocence? Does it really have to be one or the other? Can I not keep both- my innocence as well as the lessons I have gained? Must one make way for another?

I know how hurt I used to get- it did me no good, I believe, but it gave me some of my deepest emotions. No longer can I understand the need to pine for people I barely knew, idolize them into a character out of one of my books and then hero-worship them to the point of obsession until, typically, they were grandiosely revealed for what they truly were with a single, magnificent stroke- they were unmasked and another part of me which believed in fairy tales and in heroes and in love-stories and knights in shining armors- died, much like in the movies.

I kept the cycle up. Continuously, without fail. Blindly, I tried to wrestle against everything that pushed me back. There were two things I could have done: gone down with my skin or shed it and moved on for good. I recall the conflict- its remnants still echo within me but ironically, I now miss the battle I think I won. It was the battle that had fuelled my faith-the battle that had created my make-belief, fed my fire of teenage dreams gladly, and devouring my practicality and rationality as a price. It was that battle which had revealed the Atlantis of my childhood to me- a glimpse of the glimmer through the fast gathering clouds. Because how far will you fight? If you are holding fort alone and the walls around you are collapsing and tears are of no help except to reveal, time and again, that you are vulnerable and that you belong to God and are still as alive as you were when He made you; and you see that there is no one to listen to your lament, how long will you survive? What chances do you possess? The chance to die or the chance to change: simply, these are your only two bets.

I remember some of my cycling expeditions through a world I would rather not name- listening to, ‘I believe, for every heart that whispers in the dark, there’s a ray of light somewhere, shining through’. I remember the countless hours I could spend discovering the shapes of the clouds or the patterns of stars in a nighttime sky or the times I stood in the wind, uplifted and hopeful- hoping I would be saved and delivered to my Atlantis. I never was.

And yet I am alive. And I am alive only because I change. Yes, I recognize and acknowledge the battle I fought. The two ways to look at it are: with a bitter regret, which I am prone to feel whenever I remember the vulnerability I can no longer feel inside me, or with a sense of peace that this is how life goes and this is the price I had to pay in order to continue living.

Was the price worth my life? Or are those who die without being sold better off? I still struggle with the shattered pieces of what had once been my complete psyche. I know which way my battle is headed: I chose life, but life comes at a price: the price is your entire childhood- your blooming innocence, your bubbling ecstasy, the peace of your heart, the protection of your parents arms, the blissful ignorance of death, the oblivion towards the opposite sex, the careless love of nature, the unhurried pace of purity, the wanting to grow up and be all important and busy, never knowing the cost.

The girl who has been my best friend and confidante for four years- two of it purely through the phone and other electronic media as distance separates us- met up with me recently. I could see it in her eyes; a frozen commitment from two years ago: the commitment to protect me from whatever might hurt me. But I realized how much easier her work is today. I’m not permanently hurt by my past or by that of my soul sister’s, nor am I hurt by any guy I had chosen to cherish and pledged my teenage years to. I am not hurt when someone questions my opinion or overrides my decisions.  I am not hurt that I am no longer allowed to pursue any of the things that kept me linked to that innocence anyway. I am not hurt when people change and drift away from me. I’m not hurt by peer pressure. I’m not hurt when someone ignores me. I am not hurt when someone thinks I am no good. In fact, I am no longer permanently hurt by anything; even the death of those I would give my own life for.

So it was always a trade off. And I traded away my childhood in exchange for more years in which to exist…hoping that someday, some of this will make some sense.

Crossed Hearts


Ten years ago our paths had crossed

A simple twist of fate and brilliance

You were a mere specter of what you became

But when you acted your insidious acts

Spat fire all over my still-stinging skin

And hurt me until I burnt

That’s when I knew what I had to do

And now I’m back for sweet revolt

With a vengeance as bitter

As life has made me all this time

You thought I would forget and you moved on

Disparaging everything that came your way

But I was waiting with bated breath

My fingers in my mouth, my heart half-stopped

For the day when I will have you

Right across me on this bloody floor

Tasting revenge in my mouth

Before I let the flames from hell lick you

I shall lay out bare in front of you

The missing links of our old story

The advent of my brainchild

The dangerous consequences of our crossed hearts

Tomorrow is Another Day


At some point, no matter how hard you run, it becomes impossible to escape the things that need to be done. In my virtual reality, I was panting though I hadn’t been running. I had never been this out of breath nor felt this suffocated before. The feeling in my throat was like…like a burning liquid being poured through my lungs and the strangest part was I didn’t even know it. I was blind as well, and I was numb. I knew the numbness was from repeatedly undergoing the same action, over and over. The blindness I could not place…a result of too much of running away perhaps? A psychological reaction…the way my body responded to everything that did not really matter in the core of me as I fought to retain the bits and pieces that had shattered painlessly, noiselessly and without being noticed by even me.

In this virtual reality, I sat for a long, long time. My body hardened into a sphere nobody could break into, even if they did found me. But how would they ever find me? I had made it so impossible to be found, even by me. I don’t know how I had done it. If they asked me to do it again, to fall so slowly that it barely registered even inside me, I wouldn’t have been able to. But I had resisted, I could see. I could see it in the way I could no longer pray, the way I accepted people when they said or did things I did not like; I averted my eyes and after a while, even that became unnecessary. I could stand in the same room and stare at things that were going on without feeling a thing. In short, I was so painfully blind; I could see nothing and the feelings that penetrated through the surface were too slow in reaching me. They accumulated somewhere on the way I think. And they lost their essence by the way the seeped through to me. But I had fought against the gravity that had been pulling me down. How long had I fought before finally giving up? I did not know. From where I sat, it did not matter.

I cannot really recall the way things had been before. Honestly, no matter how hard I try (and I don’t anymore), I can’t drag the old thoughts to the surface, none of those old prayers…feeling the wind blow on a hot summer evening never held the same significance. But though I cannot recall, I can most certainly miss. I miss it now and I miss it sorely from the hardened floor of my breakable world, through the coagulated layers of my numb skin which barely hears the subtle whisperings every hair on my body had once been so sensitive towards. So I sit here wondering…wondering if there is something I can do; no, if there is something I want to do about the situation. Do I want to go back? Is there a way to?

Maybe when I slipped from one world to the next, it was what I was seeking. Knowing that I can’t find something so transient, so fragile that it had drifted away, I had looked instead for a substitute. And in the never ending silence of the sudden break in my journey, I found it clearly. I found an artificial world I could sink into quite peacefully; and I did it thankfully. I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t need to emerge from make-belief. There is nothing that can make this virtual reality the “reality” it had been anymore. I think I must return, regrettably and definitely not without protest, but return I must. There is no other option.

So here is the inertia. Something that is making me cling to this happy bridge for dear life, not wanting to cross over. The inertia comes from both within and without.  From without it comes because there is nothing pushing me forward and so I am resultantly stagnated. And from within, it comes more understandably. I must move my limbs, must break the cool, shady walls of this virtual reality and walk into the blinding colors ahead. I don’t want to but I must. And the sooner, the better because the things outside won’t wait forever. The pressures won’t cease. The pushing won’t stop until I give up, which I eventually will. But maybe tomorrow. “Tomorrow is another day”.