Duration: 2020- ongoing

Medium: Slideshow with original score (3 minutes, 33 seconds)

When I was a child, my mother would crudely say, “You are a tiny matchstick, which can set the whole house on fire!”

There is a deliberate action - picking out a matchstick and striking it - that it takes to light a fire. Light a candle, a cigarette, or a home, matchsticks by themselves cannot spark a fire, but seek a certain friction. Ironically, in my home, this friction has manifested as conflict, abuse and violence; resulting in a chaos that spares nobody. Inhabiting this space, I have felt my body living in a state of perpetual fear and shock, resonating with paranoia and short-circuiting the neurological wiring of my brain. Shortness of breath, increased heart rate, self-harm, unhealthy dependencies, to eventual delirium. These flammable spaces reveal the dark memories which are embedded so deep, it takes wilful work to shake them off. It is impossible to identify the root cause, as this format of family dates back a few generations. Generations that knew no better. My family household is a political system which I struggle to align with, making me feel like a misfit. Born 40 years after them, and growing up in a cosmopolitan culture further increased the gap between them and me. I am different. My thoughts are different. I am constantly seeking a sense of belonging outside of kin. I refuse to be chiselled a certain way and this resistance has remained within me like heavy baggage. Although listed as an upper class cis-het Brahmin male, I have had a stunted growth in both personal and professional domains of my life, driven by anger, pain, and basic survival.

Nurturing my relationship with Billokitto, my cat, has been my only source of comfort, strength, and motivation. Third year in the making - upon returning from Pondicherry to Bangalore city to reconcile with and support my ageing parents - this work is my journal that decodes my helpless relationship with trauma, family, home. I am sharing these fragments of personal anecdotes as a stride for comfort.

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