A Bit Like Love

I hit the loop button too often.
They say, you can play songs on shuffle too
You know, to discover something new
For a change
Why the same song
Over and over again

I’ve read The God of Small Things
Nearly forty seven times by now
Yet every time Ammu promises to Velutha
Naaley, tomorrow, I know I’ll return again
I laugh
Despite every other book
Why the same pages
Over and over again

I visit the same cafe
Every two weeks
If possible, the same table
The same old sandwich
The same mundane mojito
They laugh,
There are other places too, you know
Try something new
Why the same place
Over and over again

I never answered
But oh, the irony of monotony!
The security in the routine
The desire to keep going back
This unquenched feeling
This is all I have

A bit like love
A lot like home
Coming back each day
To the same sandpaper hands
To the same little nothings you say.
Seven grand continents
One hundred and ninety five funny countries,
But for every next breath
For every next song
For every dimly lit cafe
For every day of my life
For as long as I can
You, on loop,
Over and over again.

Beginnings

IMG_20181022_170813_BokehI laugh at you when you ask,
“Isn’t it a bit weird for a year to end on a Monday?
Like an ending performing a waltz with a beginning?”
I tell you, maybe it’s always been that way.
Because beginnings are a bit unexpected,
Beginnings are kind of subtle.
Beginnings sound a lot like
Your mother’s voice on the phone,
When you are nine hundred miles
Away from home.
Beginnings sound a lot like your first laughter
After you’ve been crying for seventy two hours.
Beginnings are like the Mondays on which
A year of three hundred and sixty five days ends,
Beginnings are the days you wake up to
Despite having wished you wouldn’t have to.
Beginnings are like picking that half read book
After four years
And starting it all over again.
Beginnings are like the new favourite song
For which you stop humming the previous one.
Beginnings are like walking away,
Like breaking away,
Like no longer waiting for an old lover
To walk in through that door.
Beginnings, I tell you, are at times
As tragic as endings;
And sometimes, even more.

Unsaid

She could’ve added melody to your discordant notes

And could’ve been the song that takes you home.

She could’ve been your certainty

When all else went astray,

Been the creased photograph

to fill your empty frame.

But so much has remained unsaid for so long-

Time sent a gust of wind,

Yet the flame of fondness was never doused.

Only your words have learned

to hold on effortlessly

To the corners of your mouth.

Anwesha

17/9/2018

Freedom

IMG_20180815_125228_927

There’s freedom in the air,
There are anthems, there are flags-
Hearts drunk with patriotism,
Some voluntary, some imposed “nationalism”

And yet, somewhere in the back of my mind,
There’s the 11 year old girl who starved to her death,
There are Akhlaqs, there are Junaids,
There are Dabholkars, there are Pansares.
There’s a young man who,
While bleeding to his death,
Had to scream out his ethnicity-
Hoping somehow it could have his life spared.
Because after all, the language you speak,
Or the food you eat,
Or the faith you believe in,
Gives them the license to kill.

And while freedom wafted in the air,
And numerous flags smiled proudly down my street,
I kept wondering who is and who isn’t free.

Repose

IMG_20180622_211016_271I saw you in a quiet corner,
Away from the music, away from the laughter.
I walked up to you and asked
If it was Nietzsche on your mind,
For that’s the you I had known all along-
All nihilistic and dry.
But to my surprise, “A bit of Neruda,” was your reply.
I asked, “So, tonight you can write the saddest lines?
And I knew you could, when you looked away and smiled.
And there, away from the music, away from the laughter,
I found my repose, a calming shelter.
Let me have the burden of pretentious happiness off my shoulders,
I won’t let my reality lean on lies any longer.
Tonight I need no wisdom.
I need no reason for my being.
Let me just look into your eyes
And find a moment’s peace,
For, love, this world is a bit too loud for me.

Hate

 

IMG_20180608_165241Hate- it was walking on the street where I lived,
Burning down houses, lynching the lives out of innocent beings.
Hate- I watched it from my window,
Insane, illogical, defying reason, killing hope.
I watched its mad dance from my window,
But my walls, you see, were strong so I had no fear.
We did talk about it on the dinner table,
Over exotic dishes, over imported wine,
And our doors were strong, so why fear?
Little did we care, who killed whom,
Neither cared to understand humans were dying,
Humans made of the same chemicals as us.
But little did we know,
Hate- it percolates through the sturdiest of walls,
Hate- it trembles beneath the bones of the friendliest ones,
So, before we knew, hate seeped in through our sturdy door,
For a while we thought what could it possibly do to us,
We, who only watched silently as it set things ablaze,
Who never stepped out of our houses, or asked it to stop,
Why then would it harm us, as innocent as we are?
But hate, you see, knew no reason.
Hate- it didn’t care about our past or our future,
Hate doesn’t want to know where you’re from or where you’re heading.
Hate- it’s on a killing spree, and there’s no escape.
I’m crying now, I’m begging, pleading, in the tongue of my own,
But hate- it’s deaf, I should’ve known.
I’m suffocating in its fumes now, my house is ablaze.
And very soon my ashes will merge with the others’,
The ones I never tried to save.

NEVER LOVED HER AT ALL

Have you ever tried to walk into that part of her
Where smiles don’t reach
And from where tears don’t fall?
That corner where strangers are remembered,
Kindness is treasured
And broken pieces are painfully gathered?
Have you loved the infant inside the adult?
The insomniac inside the Kohl-stained eyes?
Did her fears ever make you tremble a little?
And her struggles make you struggle a little?
Did you ever spend a sleepless night
Reminiscing that broken smile?
If her imperfections never defined perfection for you,
Then maybe, just maybe
You never loved her at all.