Wednesday, August 28

I am Lord Krishna, my biggest misconception as a child.

I was around 8 years old and I had watched way too many superhero movies, cartoons and Lord Krishna episodes. I was having a tough time not finding the normal life mundane and boring. While growing up, one notion constantly played around in my head, I thought I was like those superheroes, those caped crusaders fighting evil for humanity and I was destined to greatness. And perhaps because of this notion, I couldn't connect to normal characters on TV, I would just see them and think, 'he can't fly, so boring'. While the superheroes continued to grip me, I could connect with them, I could relate to their hardships and pains, they felt to me like my distant relatives, the good ones. 

There was one particular guy, Karma. His story was fascinating. This guy got his true potential only when he turned 18. He was pretty much normal before (like my friends and bad cousins). I liked him because he gave me hopes and he gave me excuses, ‘see Vineet, you’re exactly like this superhero, you’ll get your powers when you’re 18. Stay quiet till then!’

But childhood is not just a joy ride full of excitement and happiness. I like to believe I was an introvert of sorts, and during my free time, I used to think about what powers I’d have and what I’d do with them. I remember getting nervous when there were unknown people around. Or known ones. In school, I can’t recall a day that passed by without anyone making fun of me. Most of the times, my dark skin tone was mentioned as some sort of a defect and laughed upon. It's hard to understand now, why it was done and why it hurt. They teased me and called me names. In turn, I made fun of other kids, laughed at their overgrown belly or girly voice. Kids just do that.

But serious trouble that ‘fucked’ my brain started when I realised that adults were just bigger version of these kids. An Aunty would come to my home and most of the times I could overhear her conversation with my mother. She’d say, ‘Oh! I wonder how they chose the groom, can you not see how dark complexioned and, thus, ugly he is?’ When I greeted her with thousand protests from my heart, she’d always say, ‘Didi, bathe him in multaani mitti, we want a fair wife for him.’ I think I have developed a sense of hatred for milky white girls. Blame the aunty. There were all sorts of insults, some explicit, others implicit.  Your cousins, grown up to be man of the family, would come and judge you for the colour of your skin, or they’d give you a nick name that actually means ‘dark guy’. Why we never have a nick name like, ‘White Guy’ and say it in an insulting way like one does with ‘Dark Guy’? Why’s that different? The situation was hopeless and there was nothing I could do, I was a superhero but with no powers yet. I took it all in having firmly decided I would take revenge one day when I get my powers. This is the reason I wanted to grow up to have a say and tell people on their faces it’s normal to be black, they’re as smart or loving, before slicing them off mercilessly. Such was the rage!

So one day, I am in my house wearing my age old nickers. The summer vacations have just started a week ago. My hair’s messy. My manners as well. There are some guests in my home. There’s some sort of a party, I don’t remember it clearly. This one guy, twenty four years of age, some distant relative of mine, turns around to me, and says, ‘Ramu, bring me a glass of water!’
I remember his age clearly because right then I had calculated when he’d have kids who I could murder.

The delusion of being a superhero arrived a little late in my life. A dent was already put in my self-esteem with my whole confidence in the gutter. Watching me agonize in this pain and rejection, my Naani thought it was absolutely necessary for me to build some confidence. So she suggested something. She actually just said, 'Even Lord Krishna was black.' I don’t know if it was planned or just said, you never know with these old retired people, how much they know and all. The minute she said it was the minute I had this glorious epiphany that I was an incarnation of Lord Krishna himself [so much for all the other dark complexioned people]. I believed in this idea literally and I also believed in not telling anyone about this, for they would feel inferior.

The bell rings, and we are all in a hurry to leave. The subject is so boring, one says to another. There’s a massive crowd busying the small gates. A queue is being formed. I am standing and due to a push from behind, I stumble forwards. The guy on whom my body rests for support, turns around and says, ‘You stop touching my white uniform, you’ll ruin it.’ He laughs with few others.

Now within months, after some of own personal research, I had thoroughly established the fact and instilled it in my brain that I was a great man, an incarnation, who seldom comes to earth. I should highlight how I researched, the whole research would actually conclude in one or two sentence. I used to ask every religious person I met, ‘when do you think the new avatar of the God will happen?’ You could imagine the joy I felt when they said, 'with so much cruelty all around, it’s about time now'. These people didn't know, I thought.  

I remember a guy from my childhood days. I don’t know where he is now or what he is doing. He is a relative of mine. They used to live right beside us. There was a lot of coming and going from one home to another. We almost met twice daily. He was an old man, married with two children. Of the eight years I have lived there and roughly 5000 times I have met him, there’s not a single time I can recall when he used my real name to greet me. He always used my colour to seek me, and somehow he found it amusing. A grown man with two children.

Then, one day magic happened. I was sitting with my elder brother [Krishna has a brother as well, I have two, just to make it less obvious] and literally magic happened. I saw something before it happened. How do I explain this? I saw something, I had this vision and the same thing happened right in front of me, just in two seconds. I was perplexed, I was amazed and well, even scared a bit. I could predict future. I knew now my potential abilities were coming into shape and by the time I was 18, I could use them properly and entirely. There was no other proof I needed. 

I decided not to tell anyone about this, not even my brother for I had no proof, it just happened. Without proof I knew, they’d all laugh and tease me in front of the elders who’d then join them in the laugh riot and show their teeth to me like I was some joker whose only purpose in life was to burn some of their white complexioned bodies' calories. I do not hate the kids, I just hate their parents. Hell, I loathe the parents; I can still recall every single one of them who has commented on my complexion and I do not talk to them. Anyway, so I decided to practice my abilities till the day I could predict the future properly and do so many more things at will, and only then I’d announce my mystical nature to the world. I just decided to practice. I had to.

I also didn't tell anyone because I knew they'd then feel inferior, I didn't want that. I was a great man, he doesn't behave like that. And I was black; I knew what it felt to be made to feel inferior for something you’ve no control over. 

I kept practicing, tried using my senses more, observed more, listened to people, watched for signs, smiled unnecessarily, anything I thought could help me I did that. And I let go the ones who still did trivial things like making fun of someone’s skin tone. This vision happened some more times in the interim. I could see the event a second or two before it happened. I kept on practicing, treating people fairly, listening, talking, reading, understanding, but most importantly not bullying. You would wonder how I, being black, could bully people? I could bully the black plus fat, the white plus extra fat and so on…but I didn’t.

When I turned 12, I stumbled upon the term Déjà vu!

[Déjà vu: Déjà vu, from French, literally "already seen", is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not]

And Lord Krishna knows, what a heartbreak it was to feel ordinary not because I was not a God, but because I was just an ordinary black to be made fun of.

We were sitting, there’s a religious function going on, everyone’s meeting after almost a year. Greetings are going on. They are exchanging the news, what they have done, what they have bought. I am standing with *someone* I absolutely adore, and so won’t name. One Didi comes up and comments on my black kurta, ‘Vineet, why black on black? I can’t see your face!’

*someone* turns to her and says, ‘well, he’s surely looking better that you, you blithering self-obsessed piece of shit!’ He’s the good one!

lord krishna avatar

SAY NO TO BULLYING OF ANY SORT, in school, in college, in your workplace. It is not cool. It is not funny. It does not benefit anyone. I am told that I have developed my sense of humour because I was bullied and made fun of. I don’t know if I have a sense of humour, or if it’s the result of the constant insults. What I know is, there are some people, some kids who are bullied and made to be feel like they are going to fail. I had people who supported me throughout. But what if the one you’re bullying doesn’t have? Do not bully or pick a case. Do not be a part of that. I sincerely request you.

And for the ones who feel they have lost their confidence because of some low life bullies, listen to me, they are complete assholes, they know nothing better. Just ignore and do what you’re supposed to do. I know it gets tough, but trust me, you’ll find your place in the world. There’s just so much to do man. Don’t even feel they are some competition. Magic will happen!

[Image from Flickr: Here's the full album]

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