Words can be deceptive

​It’s been a while. Been quite some time since I haven’t choked on food or lemonade that’s too chilled for my teeth. Since I wrote to you and you wrote back. Since I laughed, and you said something beautiful. 
It’s been a while. Long time since I remember not worrying. Since I liked going to class. Since I wasn’t brooding over something trivial most of the time. Since I’d been home.
It’s been a while. Very, very long since breathing didn’t seem like an exercise. Since being alone and lonely were two different things. Since thinking of you rushed a pulse by a beat. Since I hadn’t felt guilty.
It’s been a while since I’ve cried thinking of things that make me sad. Or planning what to do next. Feeling sorry for all couldn’t be done, undone. 
It’s been a while since I completed sentences, managed to reach the end of what I began. Been quite some time since I admired smoke rings. Been extravagantly long since I slept to music. Been some handful of days since I’m tired.
It’s been a while and I haven’t been able to write, you know?



All my life I was taught to walk by the lines,

Walk in a straight line to prove you aren’t drunk,

Form lines to walk into a classroom,

Draw lines on a graph paper and name them like they’re art,

But even geometry won’t tell you,

Curves are bended lines too,

That a line disrupted isn’t broken,

It’s two new lines,

That rail lines are parallel lines but they look like they intersect too.

But there are some lines I like too,

Like lines from a song that reminds me of home,

Or the kind of lines that redefine symmetry.

Geographical lines around border areas aren’t as half bad as they seem,

trust me, lines of starving people in front of public water supplies are worse,

The lines will stop, and soon.

The lines will begin at the end,

And we’ll leave traces along the crooked ends,

Hoping at least someone notices heterogeneity.

Picture credits-Najiba Yasmin (@ajeebnajeeb on Instagram)


January taught me it’s okay to spare hours talking to people you love even if you have an exam the next day, that stressing and de-stressing are two sides of the same coin, and that motivation is as intrinsic as ever, and that reinforcements are much more than they seem to be.

February taught me it’s only so normal to be excited about your birthday, even if it lasts for just 24 hours. It’s okay when your heart beats a little faster around some people and it’s okay if you’re not prepared for the worst sometimes.
March taught me to test myself. To chill, and panic at the same time. To love some subjects a little more than the others. To appreciate wind and storms between a Boards exam. To prioritizing between friends and family and friends who become family.
April taught me to be free. To breathe, to make memories and click whole loads of pictures. To cherish the taste of roadside chowmein and loving people immensely, unconditionally. To learning from life. To giving back all that I’ve been blessed with.
May taught me to lose sleep. To jump at joy at friends’ success. To being treated as a celebrity to realise that marks are just numbers and sometimes you get luckier than the rest.
June taught me that nothing in this world is easy. That vanity and pride can bring you down to the bottom. To learn, unlearn and relearn. To accept things the way they are. And to hope.
July taught me summer vacations in school were the best. And that growing up kinda sucks. It taught me to make new friends in a classroom where everyone was different. To be satisfied with food that I’d never tasted before.
August taught me to explore. To visit the lanes of the big city, to stay away from home and not be homesick, to roaming around with new people and to smile at the ones who seldom smile back.
September taught me to battle sleeplessness. To learn, learn and learn. To appreciate poetry and art more than anything else. To budgeting and spending. To behave in overwhelming situations and embrace surprises. To know the anticipation of coming home.
October taught me to make friends in 4 days and keep them for life. To feel ecstatic without narcotic drugs. To knowing the difference between being alive and living. To being home, and leaving it behind.
November taught me to find home in people more than in places. To laugh till you’re drained out, and to take risks. To visit dainty places but not keep your heart there. To feeling rich and being poor.
December taught me exams, no matter how grown up we are, are scary. To juggle hours between sleep, studies and cheap thrills. To being happy despite everything. To treating yourself and your loved ones, at the stake of anything. To reconsider relationships. To let loose.

And at the end, this year taught me that happiness doesn’t always come at a cost, and sometimes it doesn’t take anything to find joy in the little things. That sometimes, a simple act can be so liberating and that you don’t always need to think twice.
And most importantly, to love.

​I was fifteen when the thought of dying first came to me. I don’t remember why, but I’m pretty sure it was due to some petty issue but life hadn’t seemed worse before and dying felt like the only possible option.

For those who don’t know the difference between death and dying, let me tell you, death is peaceful, serene, dying, the exact opposite. It takes you closer and away from death at the same time. And no, whoever told you this, it isn’t true. Dying is surely not an art.

And if you look at all the terrible little deaths that you’ve already had, you’ll agree too. Between body shaming and flattening your tummy, remember you died more than once? Did it feel like art? Definitely not.

Remember when he touched your skin but never your bones, when all your insides were shrinking by his caresses, I hope you remember dying then, and as you read this, dying now. It isn’t art, I swear.

Remember all those times six tequila shots made you do things you won’t remember later, remember how vulnerable you got, it’s funny how you find life sometimes when you’re almost dying, how you’re slowly dying but you don’t die.

Don’t find art in things that are not. Don’t find beauty in misery. There’s nothing beautiful about the crooked lines on your wrist or the bags under your eyes. That’s torture, that’s dying.

And one of these days, I hope you find art in living, too.

Open letters that (almost never) matter

​This is a letter to all those guys/men you wish you’d dated and the others you wish you didn’t. This is to those people who made you fall in and out of love.

This is to that guy, 8 years older, who made you understand what crushing on someone feels like. To days when you thought you’d be the happiest if you married him, and actually convinced yourself that you could get rid of your phobia of dogs, that love is strong enough than a phobia and what not. Turns out your phobia is still strong, stronger than all men you’ve ever crushed on.

This is to that guy, who made you feel loved. Who spooned like you wished your skin was cutlery, who made the veins in your neck flinch, whose voice you heard in your sleep. To the guy who said he loved you, and didn’t mean it. To the guy you said you love him, and meant every bit of it. But love, you were just young and what did you know about love?

This is to that guy, who loved you so much it was suffocating. To the guy obsessed with you, to the guy you wish you could have loved, to the one with love so superfluous it gives you a guilt trip every time you think of it. To the guy who told the world about you, and still, you weren’t happy. Maybe you’ve been looking in all the wrong places all this while, you know?

This is to that guy, you liked at first sight. To the long messages you wrote him, to blurry images of a possible future. To the one who respected you, but never really bothered about you. To the one who mistreated you, only to come back later and apologise. To something that could’ve bloomed, but your feelings were crushed long before they could grow.

This is to that guy, who you reserve the softest of corners of your heart. The guy who irritates you and cheers you up at the same time, the one who does nothing and you blush, the guy who smiles and deep inside, you smile a little more. You know you’re happy when you’re around him. Everyone sees it, but he doesn’t. But you don’t care, he’s one of your best friends and you’d never want to lose him. Doesn’t matter if there’s no romantic relationship, does it?

This is to the guy you met on Tinder, and refused to go out with him, insecure about yourself, apprehensive of the first kiss of your life. To the guy you flirt regularly, to the guy you could actually have a thing with, to the guy you met at a fest and found attractive. But things never worked out and I won’t tell you some random bullshit like your soulmate is waiting for you and if it has to happen, it will.

I won’t tell you anything, but to every guy who came even remotely close to your imagination of romanticism, thank him. Thank him for making you, you. Because it doesn’t matter if you have a lover or not, there’s always going to be love around. And what if not a partner, you’ve got stories, don’t you?

Thank them, and thank yourself. You’re amazing, just the way you are.

​Laugh laugh laugh till you’re drained out, after all you’re a mass of energy and light and sparks. You’re like the lyrics of a Coldplay classic, call it magic, call it true.
If I ever met you, I’d probably tell you how my dark circles have gone darker and how my attempt at studying is disrupted by Ferrero Rochers and taxed pepsi cans. Sometimes, I feel like Zomato is my best friend, only it isn’t.
Third car in the fifth minute across the vegetable seller who calls his cart home, and he doesn’t budge, it’s his beauty sleep after all, oh on that note, aren’t we dying for Beauty and the Beast, we all are a little beauty and a little beast, but let’s leave that for another time.
The other day, my friend and I were in a cab, taking the city in, admiring it like it was someone else’s mistress, when we crossed two brightly lit over-the-ground metro stations; felt like our car was racing with the metro, and I swear I haven’t felt happier in a long time. Someone favourite had wisely said that no drug dealer could cut a deal sweeter than laughter.
Binging on boredom has become a ritual now, so tedious that I don’t even mind now. But despite everything, I’d like to believe that good things happen and good people happen and you’re going to be rewarded in some way or the other. Be it in complimentary meals or cancelled classes, I promise you, you are.
So the next time you order food, I hope you get a bottle of Coke free.

​He’s here, yet you’re not afraid. The room isn’t well-lit, he is rolling a joint, and you’re trying to fall asleep. 
He’s sitting next to you, playing songs on his phone, fiddling with the keys, an occasional smile, a random beep from a text, and that’s all. And you’re lying next to him, eyes closed, breathing.
There’s something very plain, very regular about him. He’s not the kind that terrifies you, urges you, he’s not even the kind that soothes you, he’s the kind that just is.
In the way the smoke fails to form rings out of his lips, in the way his eyes droop faster than his trail of thoughts, in the ways he’s still a kid, in the fights, in the food often shared, there’s something about him that teaches you something about yourself.
He’s just another kind, not the one you’d ever write poetry on. But he’ll be there, doing absolutely nothing, and you’ll learn. You’ll learn to believe. To accept. To let go. To breathe. You’ll learn to lip sync to songs you don’t quite like, to binge on series and laugh your arse off, to forget for a while how self pity felt like.
You’ll learn how to be naked in a stranger’s room and not be watched. And perhaps, one of these days, you’ll learn to trust again too.

Open letters that (maybe) matter


I don’t know your name, for I haven’t met you, talked to you, known you. But this letter, it is for you.

You, on the other side of the screen, and other side of the border.

This is to tell you that we’re alike, so alike that Khan Chacha’s kebabs taste the same on both sides.

This is to tell you that you’re beautiful, that you have amazing minarets, and interesting Snapchat stories.

This is to tell you we respect you, that hate was never an option and that love wins in the end.

This is to tell you I’ve heard so much about your country and its people, I wish we knew each other, I wish we were friends.

This is to tell you that if we ever meet, I know there is going to be an overflow of warmth around us.

This is to tell you we like your daily soaps as much as you do, and we like our action heroes as much as you do.

This is to tell you that we’re sorry, for everything we’ve done and haven’t, but should’ve.

This is to tell you that at the end of the day, we want peace as much as you do.

Love from the other side.

​You, you think you’re made of stardust?

You’re just like everyone else, made of flesh and bones and sinew.
And, and a few million stories.
Like, how the maid’s voice irritates you to no extent.

Like how you almost always choose butterscotch over chocolate.

Like how you can’t stop admiring your own handwriting.
You’re made of blood cells and T cells and what not,

But of words and swords and paper and pepper too.

Of lowlying love affairs and interracial sex,

Of girl crushes and boys who didn’t move beyond the friendzone you stepped in by mistake,

Of senseless conversations on rainy nights,

Of Gmail drafts and screenshots yet to be deleted.
I’d give you a long list of things you’re made up of and not, but honey, will I justify your being? Will we ever make sense? Will you ever cease to be?
You’re not made of stardust, you are stardust. Magic, miracles and everything else that the world half believes in. You’re the city, breathing in and out. You’re the architect of a hundred invisible castles in motion. 
This is going nowhere. I should stop. Stop, but why? Go, but where? Go home, go to sleep, go away. 
Tick tock, tick tock, the sky is almost clear. Honey, do you see the stars now? Go, look at yourself, look well. 
You’re not made of stars and stardust. You’re the entire fucking sky.

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