‘The Lie’ by Maya Angelou

The Lie’ is one of my favourite poems written by Maya Angelou. I read it for the first time in my literature class, thanks to Mrs Stevens, my amazing literature teacher in college. The poem captures a young woman’s emotions after a break-up and also the way she chooses to defend her ego and walk away rather than try to win back her lover/boyfriend and appear weak. I’m not too fond of poetry, however, reading this poem always makes me smile. 
                                                 
                                                              The Lie
Today, you threaten to leave me.

I hold curses, in my mouth,

which could flood your path, sear

bottomless chasms in your road.

I keep, behind my lips,

invectives capable of tearing

the septum from your

nostrils and the skin from your back.

Tears, copious as a spring rain,

are checked in ducts

and screams are crowded in a corner

of my throat.

You are leaving?

 

Aloud, I say:

I’ll help you pack, but it’s getting late,

I have to hurry or miss my date.

When I return, I know you’ll be gone.

Do drop a line or telephone.

 

Maya Angelou

 
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The bike that lies forgotten

Even today, I can recall the day my parents first bought me my bicycle, seven years ago.  It was a lazy October afternoon and I was busy reading ‘The Adventures of the Wishing chair‘ . My usually frowning faced father entered through the door grinning widely, telling me to go to the window urgently.

I did as told and saw nothing out-of-place. The compound was full of the usual cars parked in front of my gate, the watchman fast asleep with his mouth wide open and the road filled with nonchalant pedestrians. However right in front of the window stood a brand new cycle, still covered in bubble wrap.

‘Whose new bicycle is that?’ I asked curiously, wondering who would be the new show off on the playground today.

“Its your’s” he replied.

I turned around to see if he was joking, but he was smiling widely, holding out the keys to the new bicycle in his hand. I snatched the keys from my father’s palm and rushed outside. This time, I observed the bike more closely. It was a handsome new Hercules Turbo drive, red and black in colour. ‘This is awesome’ I screamed ringing the cycle bell in wild ecstasy,so that everybody could hear.

This bicycle wasn’t my first. I did own another bike before this one, but I had grown out of it. However, this bike was my first bicycle without side wheels’

From the day of its arrival, I would never let go off the bicycle.  I would even ride to places that were within walking distance. It wasn’t long after that I soon became popular around my neighbourhood as ‘that little girl on the red bike.’ I was hopelessly in love with my bicycle, so much so that I would even talk to it sometimes, often referring to it as  ‘Fiera’. I would spend hours neurotically cleaning the cycle and getting it serviced on time.  On school nights as well as on weekends, I would haunt the lane in front of my house, way past my curfew riding the bicycle with my short hair flying wildly in the wind.

I felt a high, whenever i rode the bicycle. I would pretend to be a badass biker hunk and pedal away in full speed. My fantasies ranged from being a cowgirl destined to save the universe with her faithful ‘horse’ Fiera, to being a clever genius scientist who had to combat aliens with a super, high-tech, advanced vehicle that was the earth’s only hope of survival. In my imagination, i would race against time, to save the world from extinction, to deserts, to tricky caves even to the victorian era . It was a wonder, however that I never had an accident.

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Life was beautiful and thrilling but time passed. And as it did,  I traded my short crop for long tresses and my tomboyish attitude for a skirt.  Over time,  I stopped riding my bike altogether, as other activities occupied my time. the notion of taking a cycle everywhere, began to seem childish and ridiculous. However the bike stood in the shed corner gathering dirt and rust, lonely and unused. On weekends, I would clean it but it began seeming a lot like a chore.

One day, my father suggested that I sell the bicycle, but I refused to part with it. He complained to me saying I never used it, and selling it was a better option. However, I was adamant that the bike would stay. To prove my point, I took the bicycle for servicing and after cleaning it up and getting it back to working condition, I decided to take it for a round, one evening.  The idea was a major flop.  I, who was used to cycling 3 hours straight,  felt exhausted after 2 rounds. The traffic and the honking  intimidated me and I experienced hesitation something that 12-year-old Ramona, who would ride ‘rash’ on the main road during rush hour, never experienced.

I realised how much time had altered me as a person. From being the young, cheerful and brave girl, I was now a woman, unsure of my place and purpose in the world.  We similarly outgrow experiences, we want to hold on to. Priorities take over simple joys in life. In our minds, we still yearn to be, the happier people we once were, but we are far from being that person. In recesses of our hearts, though we still look upon those beautiful experiences we forget on the shores of our childhood, till reality urges us to come back to the present and continue with our chosen paths and our attempts to find excuses for true happiness.

Fat and everything attached to it

I looked at my weighing scale. The digital reader on top of the scale showed 59 kg  I had managed to pile on 3 kg in the last four months after starving myself to near death in an attempt to lose weight last year. Yes, I am very finicky about my weight.

Yet, I am one of those lazy people who would prefer to lose weight the easy way, by merely sitting at home and avoiding food. To add to my woes, I have tried all diets possible under the sun, with no avail. The weight goes away for sometime and then sneaks back into my body, without my knowledge

Many of my friends often tell me, I’m not ‘that’ fat, I just have a ‘big tummy’ and a ‘big bum’. Well, a ‘big bum’ and a ‘big tummy’ is the beginning of fat, I would retort.  As of now,  My tummy and my butt are big enough to be called separate entities, living in my body.  On second thoughts though, I wouldn’t mind naming them, Mario and Luigi respectively. However by that time, I guess they would grow big enough to be declared sovereign nations.

Yes, I do behave like a drama queen occasionally, owing to my obsession with weight. Ever since I gained weight, I hardly feel good about myself . Belonging to a slightly orthodox family from Mangalore, which is very particular about the way their women look, my  mother often taunts me calling me fat during embarrassing situations. At one instance,  during a party, there was a game where a team of two people were supposed to blow and burst balloons by sitting upon the balloon. But the condition was that only one person in the team would be allowed to sit on the balloon the other person was to merely play sidekick and  blow balloons. Just as me and another friend volunteered to play, my  dear mother looks at my derrière and starts,  ‘Oh, if You were to sit on those balloons then….’.  I stood there horrified  staring at her in anger and sheer embarrassment as people around me erupted into peals of laughter and then realization dawned upon me.

My mind was conditioned to conform to the societal ideals of what is beautiful and what is not. ‘Fat’ did not mean ‘ugly’, ‘Thin’ did not mean ‘beautiful’.  The stigma attached to the word ‘fat’ had my extremely beautiful best friend believing nobody wanted her because she was fat. Well, she was wrong though. The day she entered medical school, she had seniors hitting at her left, right and center

I would be lying if I said I felt any better after my shameful humiliation in public. However, till I decide to gather my will power and wear my dusty shoes and slog it out, I have decided to be friends with ‘fat’ and accept it gracefully whenever it comes my way. Oh, by the way, we did win the game and I wasn’t the one sitting on the balloons.