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EcstasyAndFear

Words can be deceptive

hot chocolate//#napowrimo

an almost random friend told me today that he doesn’t eat his dinner
until he sees the moon in the night sky
because he made a pact with his best friend that no matter wherever they are,
they would always eat dinner together,
the moon their signal to eat.
he thought i’d be freaked out with the information,
but it warmed my heart in a way only hot chocolate can,
on a Christmas eve,
and although winter never felt like my season,
i kind of miss it now,
for all the warmth that was never there,
could be blamed on the weather.
a friend told me how she’d suppressed things for so long now,
she couldn’t let things out, even if she wanted to.
it made me so sad,
that given so many apparent social platforms,
we still struggle so much when it comes to expression.
stay with people who feel like sunshine,
who kiss you in the middle of the road in broad daylight,
and make you feel rebellious in a way only they can.
the other day, i was so disturbed i couldn’t even breathe properly,
and in a car where i couldn’t put the windows down,
i listened to our song,
pretending it didn’t feel magical,
like it didn’t help me calm down,
even if only a little.
later that night,
we held each other through the night,
waking up sweating in the heat,
but having found comfort in places we often forget to look in.
so these days, when you ask me,
if i reached home safely,
i don’t know what to say,
i don’t know which home you’re talking about,
which one is here to stay.

Photograph by Nishant Baruah

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The week

Wednesday is three pegs of whiskey, neat,
Because it gets you just the right amount of drunk to wake you up for office tomorrow on time,
While Monday, Monday is definitely a hangover you’re fighting for atleast half of the day.
If the days of the week were people,
I believe Friday and Saturday would be twins,
One half-nerd, but likes to dance to Bryan Adams when no one is watching,
The other waking up to Rodehouse Blues
And getting no sleep, at all.
Thursday is like my lover who hasn’t perfected the art of lovemaking, yet,
It’s clumsy, messy,
Sometimes in distress,
But he’s here, and he’s learning,
how I like to be kissed, carressed or sometimes,
How I despise human touch completely.
Tuesday is a sunny afternoon with three cans of chilled beer,
Sneaked in skilfully from the hawk eyes of your mother,
It is the cheapest cigarette you could afford after all that money you’d spent on beer,
It is like midlife crisis,
Only, to you, you feel it came too soon.
You don’t know any other way to drive your anxiety away,
So when the rest of the world is barbecuing their lunch,
you take a long, long nap,
On a bright, warm Sunday.

Third prompt for Airplane poetry movement’s 100-poems challenge- Begin and end your poem with the words “I promise”//

I promise,
I’ll remove my make up,
And take care of my skin,
Follow a strict skincare routine,
Drink more water,
Get more sleep,
Get rid of my dark circles,
And if I can’t,
I’ll conceal them well,
I’ll paint my lips purple,
Let them speak what my voice couldn’t,
Dye my hair grey,
Look older,
Smarter,
More matured (?)
Maybe people will start to see me as someone new,
But I promise,
I promise I won’t break down,
Even if my bones are breaking under the pain
I’m not able to express,
I won’t trade my laughter,
For men,
Who jump from one pair of lips to the other,
Like we’re service lanes,
Or,
Google maps showing them which roads to avoid
Due to heavy congestion.
But most of all,
I’ll try to heal,
I’ll nurse my wounds,
Put antiseptic on them,
Love the butterflies,
And the winter sun,
But most of all,
I’ll love this body,
This mind of mine,
And all of me,
I promise.

Photograph by Rajdeep Kataki

Mirror to me

There’s a little girl, on the other side,

She fell from a swing when she was five,

And from her bicycle when she was nine,

So she thought to herself that falling is the only way people

Learn to be more careful,

So when she fell in love,

And fell out of it,

And fell apart,

And fell down the stairs one night drunk,

She didn’t complain,

Because to her, she was learning.

She heard Phil Kaye say that if you repeat something too many times,

It loses its meaning,

So she stands in front of me,

Repeating words trying to lose their meaning,

Until she can’t find the difference between them anymore.

“Failure, failure, failure”, she says to herself,

Looking down at her heavy feet,

Until failure starts feeling like a word less, feeling more.

Maybe Phil Kaye isn’t right anymore.

She combs her hair, but forgets to tie them,

Paints her eyes, cheeks, lips, but forgets to love them,

Makes me want to be a human,

So I could hug her, and tell her

Sometimes, you could stand still and learn your lessons,

Without falling to the ground.

I want to tell her,

the next time she colours her hair purple,

Or sharpens too many knives,

She’d have too many crayons to colour on paper,

And someone who holds her every time

She feels like she’s falling.//

Photograph by Risaal Shaan

The fisherman’s daughter

Twelve years ago, when I was in college, young and jubilant, and with my love for fishing, I used to go the sea often. At first with friends, and later when what started as a hobby began to feel like an addiction, mostly alone. On one of those days, I encountered the fisherman’s daughter, the one who lived closest to the sea, like its waves are the only home his boat has ever known.
I don’t remember her face much, except, she always tied her hair up, in a bun, and once we got talking, I’d often tell her to let it down. She’d look the other way, and shake her head in disapproval. It was one of the many fears she harboured. It felt strange to me that among the fear of your house being drowned away, and not having enough to eat, she could fear of not being beautiful enough. But there are a few things, I’d never understand.
She wasn’t one of those extraordinarily mesmerising country girls that remind you of Heidi, and reading about her won’t make you think about Irish girls in a fair, but I remembered her for a long, long time, maybe because on most days, she was my only companion.
We talked a lot, but never about ourselves. Even though I know her father had weak knees and how she thought dictatorship could actually have been better, I never learnt what she liked to eat, or who she thought of every night when she went to sleep.
She taught me folk songs that she learnt from her mother, and made me taste the fish chutney that her grandmother passed onto her, but amidst these, she laughed at me, especially when I talked in the only language we both could understand, for I spent half of my life until then in an English boarding school, and she’d studied in a vernacular one.
The language we conversed in wasn’t her first language, but it was supposedly mine, but she still said it better. And every time she laughed at my accent, it felt like a slap on my self-assumed superiority.
Eventually, my dad got transferred and we moved to a city. I found a new love, a new addiction. Over time, I almost forgot about her. Maybe she got married, maybe she died early, I’ll never know.
Last night, she came in my dream. Hair let down, roses in her hand. Looked at me for a moment, smiled. It looked like she was going somewhere, like she was in a hurry.
I’ve been thinking about her a lot since then. She still remains my favourite teacher. I, however, do not remember her name.//

Photograph by Risaal Shaan

Family

Tom Odell for the lonely nights,

Old Eagles harmonies for the nights we spent playing charades,

That’s how our house always looked-

Like a constant low key gig was going on,

With Nani’s Goan prawn curry dominating all other odours in the neighborhood.

It’s been long since Papa has gone fishing,

And I miss the smell of the sea on his hands.

Ma is a little forgetful these days,

And calories aren’t the only thing she burns,

Sometimes it’s the rice for lunch too.

The violin Uncle James gifted me when I was six,

It’s stacked away somewhere,

Between my old toys in the basement,

After all, it used to be my favorite toy once.

The children of the house have grown up,

The elders have grown out,

And I’m still trying to figure out what’s worse,

Dada’s volatile anger at the dinner table,

Or Dadu forgetting to unlock the gate Everytime he’s back from his morning walk.

I’m usually the most silent one,

Sometimes humming to the songs I grew up with,

And sometimes playing my own in my head.//

Photograph by Risaal Shaan

The way we milennials love

P for Paranoia. P for Pepperoni.

Both requirements for a late supper.

On good days, my insomnia takes a walk, reads the newspaper,

And on the worst of them, gulps down sleeping pills like candies.
We don’t hold hands anymore,

But we let our fingers talk when our mouths won’t.

We can’t distinguish breaths anymore,

Perhaps we’re all dying a little,

And last I heard, all corpses smell the same.
Perfect by Ed Sheeran plays on, but we don’t dance to it,

Because our lives are more Gloomy Sunday than It’s a Beautiful Day,

Or so we believe.

So we brood,

And make pancakes at home on Sundays

When we should be running through the empty streets.
We can’t stand romance,

But romanticise heartbreak.

Sexts over letters.

Although love, and loving comes to us as easily

as tan lines after a Greek vacation.
We fall out of love as easily

As we fall into it.

We’re the milennials and our love stories

Resemble the saddest of poems.//

Photograph by Risaal Shaan

Weird kisser(s)

I’ve kissed two (and a half) men in my life,

And that’s pretty surprising for someone with as many romantic adventures as mine,

But that’s okay.

I remember how men taste like I remember phone numbers of the people who matter,

By heart.

The half-kiss happened when we both were drunk, and his breath was warmer than

All the fire that they use to light cigarettes.

I didn’t (couldn’t) kiss back, so I wouldn’t call it the best of my experiences.

This other time, I met a guy who would kiss less, bite my upper lip more, so much

That it had started to swell.

It was unpleasant, but I was being a good guest, so I pretended it was fine.

Maybe some people like destruction,

And call it love.

But then I met someone, one day,

He laughed when I didn’t know how to kiss him back,

And I swear, tasting the laughter of someone on your lips

Makes you happier than all the wealth in the world combined.

He taught me to love,

And how weird kisses could get weirder,

And you’d still like them.//

Photograph by Risaal Shaan

Time Lapse

23:00
Home has a new address now. We click pictures in rooms that look like suites that can be turned into houses by pulling the curtain a little, my friend teaches me how.

00:50

Half of us have passed out, the other half either drinking outside, taking in the Diwali air, or looking for people they wish hadn’t left. Amidst flirting and anxiety attacks and everything in between, we survive.

02:16

The house is quiet, except for an occasional laugh from an old anecdote, the familiarity of having spent too much time together seeps in, and stays. We don’t sleep yet.

03:35

The guitar is in the right hands, and the night has just started. The room is filled with happy kids singing (almost) sad songs. So, we sing along.

04:23

The music doesn’t stop, not even for a minute. I know, this is going to be my happy place for a long, long time. The room is dark, but our hearts are lit with the brightest lights.

05:15

Back home, the sun would’ve risen. We read about meteor showers and regret staying in the city, for city skies are too hazy for our eyes to spot anything we want to.

06:04

We’re still singing. Drunk voice notes and genuine feelings make an extraordinary combination, beautiful. We’ve sung the same song thrice, and we’re still not bored.

07:17

Some of us go back to our beds, some of us have other homes to go back to. The music plays in our heads, we’re still humming. We disperse, wishing the night has gone slower, wishing we’d live longer, the exact same way.

We see sunlight outside our windows, and know it’s going to be a very good morning.

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