I see myself in the clouds today:
How, with the darkness of my sorrow,
I shroud the sunshine of everyone’s joy;
How the anguished lightning fills my eyes,
Moments before I thunder out in rage,
Throwing a pall of tantrums to hide
The deluge of tears that escape anyhow.
I see myself in the clouds today:
I can no longer point out when
We start feeling truly lonely.
Is it when we start wearing emoticons
On our faces, as easily as makeup
And break-up with the face which reeks
For weeks, with the emotions of truth that leak out?
Is it when we measure out our friends
In the trends of green dots on chat-boxes,
Feeding the paradoxes of human contact
That impacts us through pokes and thumbs-ups on walls?
Is it when we pay more attention
To the mention of our name on some page
That says “You’re awesome”, when in real,
We don’t feel the same warmth that the sound of it gives us?
We can no longer tag the moment
that is more potent than the company
and cacophony of green dots popping
and dropping their way into our lives.
Those carefree laughs shared on swings,
Now lost in pings, cannot be replaced
By glee-faced yellow circles staring into our eyes.
Are “we” now only truly together
To weather the winter of distance,
this instance, from within our silos of solitude?
“Never corner your enemy – he will fight back.
Always give him a chance to run, so you can slash his back open.”
They always came with the setting sun,
With the winds filling their turbaned masks,
Howling the herald of a troubled night,
For the travellers never meant good news.
“Is it true that you can steal portraits from nature as well?”
She did not immediately acknowledge the question, but continued to stare intently at the raindrops breaking off the window sill. I had the unsettling feeling that she could see something that I was clearly missing. I followed her gaze, resting my eyes on the very edge of the window. The rain was breaking into a hundred different miniscule rubies and sapphires where it touched the concrete, shining in the light borrowed from the low flame of the hurricane lamp. Indeed, there seemed to be a fatalistic beauty in it all, with just a sheen of hope to delude the unsuspecting daydreamer.
Untruth, once said, is a burden:
On my mind that must keep track
Lest it should lose itself wandering
In the wilderness of imagination;
On my heart that must beat louder
To drown the cry of conscience
Till it chooses to speak no more;
On my eyes that must keep open
Against the weight of shame
That pulls them to the ground;
And on my truth that had to be hidden
Because it was not good enough.
You asked me today
What I would write about you if I ever did.
If I could paint you, you would know.
I wish my words could paint your mind
As the oil colours the canvas of cloth.
I wish you could see what I see.I see a rising sun,Red with shyness,
Trying to hold back her brightness,
Embarrassed that the world can see her.
I see this rising sun,
Aware of her potential for brilliance
When she ascends the young firmament of receding stars.
But she is afraid of doing so. Not so early. Not now.
She does not show that she likes
When people appreciate her beauty.
She enjoys it and becomes redder.
And her redness, the innocence of her reservedness
Spreads slowly across the wet canvas of the sky behind her;
Clouds, dark and ominous, start getting silver linings.The things that were scary, are now in better light.
She does this without knowing it.
She feels that by lighting up the sky,
She has somehow exposed others around her as well:
Exposed to the eyes of people
The eyes that criticise beauty as much as they condone it.
But she also knows deep down that it is her destiny
To rise one day to the zenith of this firmament
And once there, resign herself to full brilliance.
Resign herself is what she thinks of it.
Pride is what she needs.
She bows her head and hides her face,
Hoping the darkness of her hair is cover enough.
She does not know that when those eyes open
And stare directly into the eyes of mortals,
It is no less beautiful than a sunrise
For they are too brilliant to look directly into.
And poets, unlike painters, can only draw
Inspiration from nature.
They lack the vision of originality.
And so they have to reduce a picture
To a metaphor, an imperfect parallel. A glimpse.
I am incapable of painting better than this.
“Can I have a look at your work?”
For a long time now, I have dreaded that question. For me, my writing is private. It is not meant for those who do not know the context and so I choose very carefully who sees my words. And yet, if you know me well, you would know that I have tried in the past to overcome this dread, that this page that you see today is not my first blog. I have, in the past, started and abandoned three of them. Each of these blogs has a story of its own and each has quite an independent share of my writings on it. I will not migrate my work from there, though. They belong there, crystallised in the amber of time. But I will tell their stories here. (more…)
I know not why she wrote it there
In a script that no one read anymore.
I know not why she got it there
And still forgot what it meant to her.
I know not why I liked that line
And thought of the truth that lay in it.
I know not why I read the sign
And decided tonight to stay with it.
“Not all of me will die” it said;
Not all of you will live either.
I know not why I fill the blanks
And fear that Death will meet her,
Not today or the day after
But one day, the nomad will come.
I know not why “Ozymandias”
Is what I fear I’ll hear him hum.
I have just read a research paper that
Extolls the virtue of keeping messy tables.
It said messy tables helped exercise the muscles
That we exercise for thinking outside the box
So that they could have the strength to push
Against the weight of heavier lids to smaller boxes
Made to stand the test of time, trapping young minds
Inside the garbage bin of institutional problem solving.
I feel vindicated, moving my eyes from over
The brightly lit screen of my desktop
To the slightly sick scene of my desk top.
I see books that speak of the academic rigours,
I see among them, my favourite action figures,
In their full height they stand on used soda cans
And watch over the latest novel that lies facedown,
Marking the last page that forced me to frown
Before I could go on with it.
I see pens and markers, keys to lockers,
Unwashed coffee mugs, that talk of long nights
And longer talks with people long dead,
Talking through the longhand letters they penned
Despite the stronghand of their betters telling them otherwise.
I drink some water and wink some sleep out of my eyes,
Before I see loose paper, crumpled inside the fists of frustration,
Waiting to be straightened out at least once
Before the blackhole of the refuse bin consumes it forever,
Eating away the little sparks of light that managed to escape
From behind the edges of the writers’ block.
Originally shared with a dorm-mate in the Summer of 2014
For a short time in my life, I thought
Dying meant going to America.
With every death in the family,
They would tell me exactly that:
Mamu has gone to America,
Or Nani has gone to America.
And they won’t be with us anymore.
Of course, I also overheard people
Talking about them being “dead”.
In my mind, it was not a confusion:
Dying meant going to America.
But I also observed sometimes,
Going to America was a sad thing.
They did not have telephones there.
And once you entered that place,
You could not come back.
Yet somehow, everyone ended up going there.
I asked about it to my mother, who only smiled
The way she smiles when she looks
At her brother’s garlanded photo
And told me I would not understand it now.
Originally shared with a friend in the Summer of 2014