history

a reckless abandon. a careless fall. levitation. meditation. a light-footed walk to your street. every step forward erases the past. there are no resolutions, like there were none before. we still walk barefoot on treacherous territories of conflict of interests. you still do not let me decide which movie to watch. you still do not like when I fiddle with fire in your kitchen, while I hate the way you trespass on my treasured troves of truth. still bleeding on those cuts and cracks. mom doesn’t ask anymore. we have become warriors of sorts only because we can walk with secrets now.

as a kid, i once had a favourite pair of socks which did not belong to me but my cousin whom I visited every summer. i wouldn’t say i stole them. i just felt they belonged to me so i took them. there was nothing extra-ordinary or theatrical about them. they were pink; a shade darker than soft, fresh, moistened pink roses, with some incomprehensible thread work sprinkled like water here and there. they had begun to fade on the heels; the elastic had also begun to give way. i don’t remember what happened to them in the end, but the reason they were my most preferable piece of clothing was that they grew on me , like unwanted creepers. i hated how i needed them. i hated how i could not like any other pair of socks for a while- the lemon-green ones, the carmine ones, the ones with net borders and frills. i hated how the plain blue socks my mother got me, which i began to decently like, could still never make my feet look the way the pink ones did. i hated how a stupid pair of socks could revel in its full grown human subjectivity. i still hate how recklessly i mother.

in the yellow line of women’s metro coach abound jahangir puri, amidst silent women, women gossiping about their better-halves, haves and have-nots, women struggling to turn a page of Economic Times without disturbing the cosmic balance,  i watch myself through the glass. spreading over the tunnel walls like old pickle jam on toast (swoosh-swoosh!). two swift strokes.

i go to the university one person, and come back another. there is always something changed. something snapped. something enlightened. something apprehended. something made slower. something made faster. something new, something dying. i can barely carry myself whole through a single day.  and then there is the walk through your street.

i cover it in a minute and 54 seconds precise. not only because it stinks like a horse lying dead on his own horseshit, but perhaps because i am so sure of where to go.  and then i suppose we over-wore each other like the socks. we began to get undone at the heels. our colour began to come off. we ran out of positions. to watch movies. we ran out of lives to give away. the tea stall outside the astha kunj park across an ugly building in nehru place was the last of one hundred and twenty places and things that pirouette in my head when I take notes on Raymond Williams in the class.

you cannot possibly read a book over and over again; at least not in the same way. i suppose two people exhaust each other after a while. we just drag along old interpretations with a haggard man’s heart. walk into each others lives with a blind man’s precision. old buildings thunder with the footsteps of nostalgia at night. after a long day of braving the wreckage of time.

But,
breathe into my hands
so my fingers can exhale
in yours and when you
curl away from me to
make way for departures,
you find yourself caught in my spiderwebs.

do the stones we keep
on our hearts, make
stones of our heart?
I suppose not.
our hearts explode
like a river from a glacier,
mocking these trivialities.

 

 

 

 

 

nature’s outlaw

Knives hurt less, you were a double-edged sword.

i took down all the clocks, i wrecked the windows,
i drank off the icicles guesting on the thatched roof of my shanty heart,
i walked backwards, i slept upside down, I ate my own words,
so we could love.
you gave me signs, you were nature’s outlaw.
you were the marauding storm, pregnant with homesickness,
you carried desire and death. I should have stayed inside.
you came back again,

offered an apology, more desire and more death,
brought remains from your ravages so we could rebuild;
you promised that this time you’ll ransack at night
without noise,
you pleaded I won’t know of it at all;
you tucked your head inside my belly
and hung lose on my spine,
you cried,
‘I am sorry,
I can’t help it’.

you perched on the sickly marbled portico,
and gaily spread all your loot before a garden weeded with flowers,
I couldn’t choose what you’d use
this time.

you promised it won’t be like last time,
it won’t be exactly like last time. you laughed
and raised your fists, ‘these are big boys now’.
i believed you,

you don’t walk the same street twice.
so you entered from the back door
and this time, you made blue marks on my flesh
because you had learnt my maps so well.

and struck at the right places for not forgiving you
even when you apologised. you called me weak, ungrateful.
you stripped my skin like I was a snake and my skin could be stripped,
and dragged it on the streets for you could not afford to walk without me.
you had to carry something that belonged to me.
I have marred your life, even as you plundered mine.
snakes know how to grow new skins,
but which ever you street you go, the trail of my blood follows you.

even when you apologised.

First, they loot,
and then call us poor.

 

 

Paper boats

//don’t be a paper boat,

paper boats tend to take in
more water than is allowed
by principles of physics,
so they drown on the insides
first, before they can tell themselves
dry up, honey, dry up,
there’s a lighthouse to reach,
there’s a lifejacket there,
there’s a harbour waiting.
don’t be a storm,
storms are known to have killed a lot of paper boats.

you could be water,
that doesn’t kill those who know how to stay afloat.

you could be the lighthouse,
that doesn’t care if its light reaches those who don’t deserve it.

know
that the opposite of fragile is strong, not cruelty.

know
that the fire you used to burn your bridges
can burn you, or light your way.

Every time you

tell your daughter
to say yes
to that she wants
to say no to,
you teach her
to confuse
her no with your yes,
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up
and forgets to say no
to all the things
she should’ve,

-From a bad daughter.

(because rupi kaur got me thinking. Also read her original poem from which this one is inspired.)

tyranny of pictures

I think that even while one may say that a picture embodies many layers of meanings open to varying interpretations, I think it is the word that rightly spills over its full stops and breaks;  it is the word that expands through its frames; it is the word that always trolls in the park with its friends clashing and rioting, quietly, pensively, meditatively; it is a word that comes to our rescue when we see a picture, and wish to tell someone how much we like it; and it breaks my heart how our words are shrinking. How we cannot just go on and on and on; how we are saying sorry too often to others and ourselves for having talked more than ‘required’, and how our backspace key gets pressed more often when we type; how hour long cultural seminars and debates at literary events at colleges like Ramjas are violently pressed together from both sides and crushed to two lines of rhyming slogans, as if those placards could explain our hurt, our anger, and teach us what we could have learned by attending the debates and discussions that could not take place.
And now WhatsApp will not allow me to ‘write’ my state of mind.

Such is cruelty.

Bring back my words.