I am

Who am I?

A question, I could’ve answered without any inhibitions or a trace of wariness in my standard cheerful tone only a few weeks ago. Now, I’m not so sure.

Am I who the trolls think I am?

Am I what the media portrayed me as?

Am I what those celebrities think of me?

No, I can’t be any of that. That girl you saw flashing all over your television screens, holding a placard in hand, eyebrows raised, gaze fixed at the tiny round lens of a cellphone camera, definitely looked like me. The intensity of her thoughts that reflected in the picture definitely had traces of me. She looked fiery, I relate to that but then the ‘Breaking news headlines’ told a different story. The headlines were not me.

Martyr’s daughter

Martyr’s daughter

Martyr’s daughter

I’m my father’s daughter. I’m my Papa’s Gulgul. I’m his doll. I’m a 2-year-old artist who did not understand words but understood stick figures, which he drew in letters addressed to me. I’m my mother’s headache, her opinionated, reckless, moody child- a reflection of her. I’m my sister’s guide to pop culture and her sparring partner before the big matches. I’m also the girl who sits on the first bench during lectures with intentions of interrupting the teacher and starting fiery debates on everything and anything, just because literature is more fun that way. My friends’ sort-of-kind-of like me, I’m hoping. They say my humor is dry but works on certain days (I can live with that). Books and Poetry are my solace.

A bibliophile, the library at home is over flooding, and my biggest concern for the last few months has been on how to convince Mom to let me shift her lamps and picture frames to create another shelf.

I’m an idealist. An athlete. A peacenik. I’m not your angry, vindictive war mongering bechari you hoped me to be. I don’t want war because I know its price; it’s very expensive. Trust me I know better because I’ve paid it everyday. Still do. There is no bill for it, maybe if there was, some wouldn’t hate me so much. Numbers make it more believable.

The news channel polls screaming, “IS GURMEHAR’S PAIN RIGHT OR WRONG?”, with a certain vote ratio as a result makes so much more sense to us normal public.

And hey! What’s the value of our suffering in front of that? If 51% people think I’m wrong, then I must be wrong. In that case, God knows who’s polluting my mind.

Papa is not here with me; he hasn’t been for 18 years. My limited vocabulary of about 200 words, learnt new words called death, war and Pakistan on the days following august 6th, 1999. For obvious reasons it did take me a few years to actually understand the implied definition of them. I say implied because, honestly, does anyone even know their true meaning? I live it and I’m still trying to figure it out especially in the sense of the world.

My father’s a martyr but I don’t know him as that. I know him as the man who wore big cargo jackets with pockets full of sweets, whose stubble scratched my nose every time he kissed my forehead, teacher who taught me how to sip from a straw and introduced me to chewing gum. I know him as my father. I also know him as the shoulder my tiny self clung to extremely tightly hoping if I held him strongly enough he won’t go. He went. He just didn’t come back.

My father is a martyr. I’m his daughter.

But.

I am not your “Martyr’s Daughter”.

129 thoughts on “I am

  1. It is so amazing whatever you did. Takes a huge amount of strength for sure. I hope things are better for you now and I really hope you dont stop speaking what you feel and stand up to everything that is wrong. It was really intelligent how you handled everything really. More power to you girll!

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  2. Dear Gurmehar, your courage and wisdom are impressive. You join the proud group of Indian women who show what it is to understand the complexity of politics and media that controls the lives and words of women and about women.

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  3. I am an anti-war libertarian living abroad in the United States. This movement is very young in India and relatively young in the United States as well. I think that some free thinkers you would be interested in are Ron Paul, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and possibly Ayn Rand. It is very difficult to stand for peace amongst those who are blindly nationalist. Libertarians call those who think the state or nation is good “statists.” War does not solve any problems. It takes but it does not give.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gurmehar – for sure you don’t know me. I am just a common man from Delhi-NCR. I am not part of any political organization – and I walked in the rally that took place on DU Campus on 27th February – with thousands of DU students and other people who expressed their solidarity with you.

    I am not a “student” either – I completed my graduation in the last year of the last century, but of course, for any new and refreshing idea, I am still a student.

    You may not be able to read my name because you can’t read Bengali – it’s my pen-name “achal siki” or “khota sikka” you may call in Hindi. I run a blog in Bengali – though not much regularly, but on almost the same line of thought.

    I have read your posts published so far and also the write-up that came up in today’s HT. I would like to keep a translated Bengali version of each of your posts in my blog and share on my social network. Because I believe by using only English language you cannot reach out to the larger audience.

    Let me know if I can have your permission.

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  5. what strong character you are baby and i feel sad when you on on starting curve of your adulthood you are facing such trolls and other embarrassment. Definitely we all indians are some or otherway responsible for your plight.I earnestly request my fellow Countrymen to be more rationale in at least keeping the dignity oour sisters and Mothers even if they feel it is not in teir line of Thinking.
    I am sure a strong character like you shall beat all this soon and wish you some good time ahead.

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  6. My dear Gurmehar Gurfateh Jeo
    I wish you very happy life and success.
    I am not a good writer but I will try to say what I want to say and I hope you will understand.
    First of all I ask you to be my granddaughter if you wouldn’t mind.
    I live in North America with my wife and three children who are very well settled in their profession. I am retired and so is my wife.
    I hope you will answer me before I start communicating with you further. My email dks44us@gmail.com
    Waiting for Your reply
    Daljit Singh

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  7. The courage & bravery you have shown in past days is just commendable.
    yes it was painful to see a young girl trying hard to explain that “war is not the solution” & so called achievers mocking & abusing her shamelessly. it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to take a stand specially in a society where thousands of frustrated folks & paid trolls are roaming to find easy target.

    More power to you
    keep shining & keep writing

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  8. Wow, that’s a lovely blog you have written out there! Myself being a blogger, I enjoyed reading it. Great that you are a reader of books. Books help you take your mind away from many things, and of course learning is a process that can never end! I love the flow of words in your blog, and the English you have used is simple enough for a layman to understand. By the way, I am sorry for your father. I believe you still miss him a lot but your strength in moving on with life is admirable. Keep it up!
    PS: One of the best places for books is The Anna Centenary Library in Chennai, if you don’t mind travelling that far! 😉

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