Words can be deceptive

I’ll probably move out sometime in the next couple of weeks. And you’ll probably not be satisfied with how things ended or maybe you’ll ask me for a better answer. But I won’t have one, and I can’t tell you all the reasons that force me to leave when there’s just one to stay, staring right into my eyes. You, yes you.
Every little thing in this room reminds me of you. The amateur sketch of Guevara you made when you were fourteen, your mouth organ in the corner of the bed I don’t sleep on anymore, your pictures from the Polaroid that are beginning to fade, they’re from nights when you smoked up on the terrace and no one could drag you home, I guess you saw too many stars that night, I guess you wanted to count all of them.
When I leave, I want your keychain. The one that looks like a skull, it embarrasses me so much every time you take it out of your pocket, but I want it. I want you to get rid of things I don’t like, one chain at a time. 
I want you to get rid of habits, like filter coffee on weekdays and orange juice on Sundays. On Saturdays, we order in, anything we like. I want you to remember to switch off the bathroom light every time you’re done using it. I want you to remember to pay your bills, and dispose your garbage bags. I want you to remember not to carry trash, along and within.
But most of all, I want you to remember I’m gone. I don’t want you to wake up at four in the morning, huffing for breath, holding out to me, because you can’t find your calm. I don’t want you to not be prepared for hailstorms, even when it’s not monsoon.
But if you don’t find where I kept the sugar, you can still call me. You and me, between us, things won’t change much. Fill the water bottles, hold your pillow tight, and have a good night’s sleep.
And when I’m gone, I hope you’ll still follow me on Instagram, and I’ll still follow you back.


I think all of us need that kind of light in our lives, like the kind oozing out of your eyes when you talk of opening a café in the mountains, or the kind that stretches to your lips when you cuddle your Labrador, or the kind that I see in your fingers while they play the keys. I think we need that kind of light, not too bright, just the right.

I can’t forget how your voice cracks up every time you try to match the falsetto of some Spanish artist, and how you always cover it up with a cough thinking I didn’t notice, always changing the topic when someone touches on your fear of getting attached, or how you always, always sleep with the light on.

On days when you’re away, I like to think we’re together, sipping the raindrops mixed in our chai, making Boomerang videos of the smoke out of the paper cups. I like to think we’re holding hands, when yours is slightly warmer than all the hands I’ve ever held, and how we don’t need an umbrella in the rain anymore. On days when you’re away, I like to think we’re happy.

It’s two and a half hours past midnight, we’re both awake in our homes, only one of us being written about. Assignments keep you awake, and I’ve given up on trying to sleep. I need to wake up in less than five hours but sleep seems distant and all I have for company is a John Denver song I wish I’d never heard, it makes me a little sad, you know.

You tell me I should sleep, I tell you it’s okay not to. Between the exclamation marks that I’ll never learn to use appropriately and the laugh in your voice notes, I think I feel a little of what they call love. But I see the mountains in your eyes, and I won’t lie, they seem too far from here.

It’s a long way up there, I think I’ll just let it go. Until then, we can pretend to be lovers tonight and wake up in the morning not remembering a thing.

​//eulogy for my lover(s) that didn’t reside//

Six weeks since the last draft, I decided to rewrite what I felt was the remains of you being in me. Like the way you would spoon me around, your cold fingers on my spine, your lips pressed against my neck, it’s a little funny how we never kissed, you know, you didn’t ask and I was never the asking kind. 
It’s been almost four years since I called you at midnight and you said you couldn’t talk, you said you were with someone and asked me not to call anymore. I swear I haven’t cried for anyone since. We’re still on talking terms and sometimes, just sometimes at four in the morning when I wake up from a bad, bad dream, I wish you were there. 

You told me about the ghetto you were brought up in, how your parents were illegal immigrants in a land of many, how you learnt to love basketball and math, how you admire the German way of life. I remember, you told me how the process is more important than the outcome, in the only conversation we ever had. 

You tell me you’ve changed, you’re clean now. You’ve left alcohol like you’d left home, but I don’t tell you how your words reek of dishonesty, I text back like a good friend would do, but love, I could never be a friend to you, sans regret.

I found you in the wit of some other lover, trying to fit in your shoes, but he’s still here, and you’re long gone, and I can’t, I can’t sleep tonight. Your voice plays in my head like an Amit Trivedi song that I can’t seem to get rid off. Love, I still have specimen of your handwriting in the pages of my scrap book that I left at home, you’re too terrifying to be carried along, and I can’t sleep with you in my mind.

You’re not one, you’re many. I remember you, because I write about you. I imprint you in my palms like I intend to forget the things I care about the most, only I don’t. I don’t forget things easily, you know, like how your eyes would never focus on mine, or how you would stand below my balcony on days we both would wake up late, or how easy falling out of love is. 

And love, I wouldn’t forget how you didn’t reside, but left your residue in me.

I like beginning things on random notes, so no matter how often someone tells me to clear the mess on my bed, I’d probably tell them why the Sherlock poster right on the next wall is my favourite.
Let’s meet someday, and I’ll tell you about things I like and other things I find beautiful and the thin line of difference between both. I’ll tell you that I think pregnant women look divinely beautiful and that flowers look better in a garden than in the bouquet I know you’d never gift me again.
Sometimes, I wonder if I left traces of myself in people, would the person in the mirror look hollow? I think of lovers that don’t exist, the kind who’d have let me plant flowers on their tongue, so that every time I wish to pluck a rose, I could kiss them instead. But they’re there only in my head, immaterial, like conversations that didn’t happen or like the dead cells on the mosaic floor.
It’s a little funny, how grief almost always is backed up by guilt of some kind, that in times when people around are mourning, all you can think of is the reasons how you could probably have let something not happen. But there it stays, like a piece of metal tied to your chest, dragging you down every time you try to breathe.
And just because I can’t sum a lot of things in words, I just as well might tell you, I like random endings too.

​My fears, they come in the form of men with crooked smiles and dimpled cheeks. They come in the form of a half-grown beard on a boyish face. They come to me, snatching my poor attention span, in conversations.
My fears, they come in the form of gratitude, in not knowing what to say next. They come, hounding, pounding, at my heartbeats that grow fainter, and worries that grow louder. They come in the form of people who love and let love.
My fears, they crawl up to me at the devil’s hour when I can’t fall asleep. They come at their own rhythm, and leave at their slowest pace. They come to me at 11:11 when I desperately wish to wish for something I long but I can’t.
My fears, they come to me when no one’s watching. They come to me in the form of half-eaten pretzels and tables for two half unoccupied. They come to me in the stink of stale cigarettes and in the two-thousand rupee notes I wish I had and in the people I felt I owned.
My fears, they come to me during the day, at night and mostly, mostly when I think I’m not afraid anymore.

​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.

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