Horton Hears a Who! by Usri Basistha

I have been thinking of starting a blog for some time, where ‘some’ is actually a lot in real-time, like three years, maybe. ‘Thinking’ being the operative word in the preceding sentence, just add a tiny prefix before it: ‘over’. So I have been over-thinking about starting a blog, and then having cold hands (yes, that is possible) on feeling the occasional shove from the limited few inside my ‘sanctum sanctorum’ to actually start.

So I will just type. One sentence at a time, trailing my thoughts without trying to bend them to my will. Okay, just so you know, that was a bad joke, I have zero self-restraint, no concept of will power. So, I will just write notwithstanding the constant background noise, of feeling apologetic, of feeling that with each sentence I disinterest you, the reader.

Ummm… so, as I was saying, over thinking is my staple state of mind, though it was not so from the beginning. The beginning — that is when I learnt to remember, when I was three or four, maybe — was different though. So to begin with, I was a daydreamer, a dedicated one at that. From being the saviour to being the saved, I could dream the shit out of everything. Which follows that I had no understanding of time and space — in other words, what is generally called ‘reality’ — or perhaps a warped image of it at the best. Like in the old times, where we could take a selfie and then warp our faces into not looking like our faces. What fun that used to be, the ‘insect’ and ‘alien’ warps were my all-time favourites.

Of course, when my elders asked me, as is their bewildering habit to ask children such profound questions,

— “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I dutifully replied in equally confusing terms, at three, I wanted to be un-constipated and disown that horrendous yellow potty seat; by five, I was a tad more sorted and proudly declared my ambition to be a scientist; at seven, I wanted to explore outer space, so an astronaut; at nine, I wanted to journey to the centre of the earth, so a geologist; at eleven, I wanted to never marry; at thirteen, I wanted to top the class again; at fifteen, I wanted to be a paediatric-cardiac surgeon, for a brief span of time, till I realised that would involve a lot of maths and chemistry too, besides biology; at seventeen, I wanted to be a journalist, because I had the naïve idea that it only involved words; at nineteen, all I wanted was to be left alone; somewhere in between, I also toyed with the ideas of being a teacher, a veterinary doctor, an astrologer, an astronomer, but unfortunately they didn’t stick.

Since the age of five, or maybe earlier, I learned to lie, or if you will, make up stories. It was a survival skill I developed, to keep my beautiful realm of I-am-free-from-being-anything, safe from external threats. Thus, my version of reality thrived, like a new world, lush, odorous with the heavy scent of spring and full of bizarre, primeval creatures. Of course, it matured over the years, sequestering me in its fantastical, non-linear alleys, whenever real-time got too ‘real’ for comfort.

I mean, I was convinced at some point of my life (read, early teens) that I could be a superhero-saint, that is, a saint for you who is also a super-hero, or the other way round. Nevermind the details of imagined destiny, what is of relevance is, the fact that I had a hyper-active imagination; where I evolved from being a snake-woman (naagin), to a demi-god (my father being Krishna, and my grandmother being Durga), to a treasure-hunter, to a prime target on a hit-list of my own creation, to a descendent of a sacred but secret clan of warriors, to a witch waiting for my letter from Hogwarts, and then ultimately, a superhero-saint.

Thereafter, my inner world got infested with malware, maybe because I went mainstream and got addicted to pornographic fiction, or because I put up a poster of Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter on my walls. Random voices began tearing through the seams of my well-watered horizon,

— “No! You can’t fly…”,

— “What shit?! You are not here to save the world”,

and the most lethal of them all,

— “You are perfectly normal”.

So after years and years, of service, my system crashed, and had to be formatted hurriedly. My reveries were reset, to be mostly about ‘love’ now, about being the damsel in distress. Certainly, a knight in shining armour was a good bargain, in lieu of my old junk, wasn’t it?

However, the only thing that was certain was nothing. I was ripped through the very middle, into a million specks of glitter dust. Doubt, my arch-enemy, reared its ugly head out of my navel. I forgot who I was, if I ever was at all. There began an arduous, tedious pilgrimage to collect all the scattered parts, to glue them together. Somewhere around this stage of crisis, Over-thinking became my loyal servant. Today, I can say, except the rare slip to an old habit, I never day-dream. I’m too full of mistakes and experiences, for the basic amount of innocence needed to purchase reveries. Instead, the protracted voyage has made me an ace thinker. I can think of everything and nothing, all at once. And I can move away from my short-term adult goals, in such a lyrical movement of intellectual pretence that I can hardly recall where I started from. Like now… excuse me a minute, I’ll quickly scroll upstairs.

A blog, I was thinking of a blog, I was thinking of starting one of my own, I was thinking of how to start a blog of my own, I was thinking of what a blog of mine could be about, I was thinking about what the first post would look like. And guess what, for all the beauty in my chaotic mind, I’ve got a few key things figured out.

  • It has to be anonymous, I must take up a nom de plume (don’t worry, I can’t pronounce it right), an effective pen name — because it gives me the creeps, to think that in this age of open source information, were my cloak of anonymity, ever to blow off, I’ll be pulverised to dust, like a vampire doused in sunlight;
  • It has to be about something I like — though it gets a tad muddy here, because my brain suffers from a low attention span issue, and sincerely believes the world would be benefited by being enlightened of its exact expanse of convolutions;
  • It has to be consistent — because I cannot endure another loose end, so I have to be careful, not to set myself unrealistic goals; like those times my vacations would be preceded by long to-do lists, where the very same lists would escape and refuse to return until the last day of the vacation; and,
  • It has to be honest — because otherwise, there would be no point, no motivation, no concrete end to all those journals I wrote, since age twelve, no end to my great epiphany — that fiction can be found in what I perceive as reality; no healing in the process of this blog, because healing is what I am trying to get at after sieving through every layer of my difficult atmosphere. It exhausts me, to be honest, this sieving, so it must be purposeful, or else, I will have to host yet another party for self-pity.

The good news my dear readers is, I finally know, this is what my first blog post looks like. I attach great significance to it, because as I mentioned, I am undertaking a mission, to heal myself, to not give up. And I cannot begin to express my gratitude to anyone who has read this far, for I cannot do this alone. I know, it is unfair, to be so self-indulgent, and not hint at what is to come. Well, it can be about any of the following things, and forgive me my vagueness:

# Mental Health

# Cinema

# Literature

# Art

# Poetry

# Travel

# Philosophy

# Love

# Sexuality

# Nostalgia

# Nightmares

# Eventually, a continuous attempt at self-knowledge, through all of the above.

I hope to post on any of these at least twice a week. Thank you again, for coming this far with me. I hope to heal, and I hope to reach out, if you are hurting too, or simply make you aware, that I am here. And Horton still has it in him, to hear a Who!

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Usri Basistha

Usri Basistha is 27 and a former journalist with Tehelka magazine, currently a poet, blogger and doodler. She has done a rather broad range of things beginning with cinema, books, nature, travel, photography, comic strips, history, dinosaurs going all the way to outer space. Follow her on Twitter at borderlinebee.