Posted in Verses

She Replies

This is related to my previous post, although it does not strictly follow the other. These two together capture the tumultuous emotions that swirled within me after listening to conversations surrounding a molestation allegation. Why not earlier? Why anonymous? Why not a formal complaint? Perhaps this is why. She replies.

How could I? She replies

How could I come out with tales

Of rough hands and sharp nails

That grazed places it shouldn’t.,

Of hungry glances

That licked the smile off my lips

Drank the sway off my hips

Till I lay cold and motionless.,

How could I name

When I knew that shame

Was an inheritance

Meant to adorn my body alone.

How could I, when I know

That I can remember.

That I can remember

The time when I stayed out past midnight

The day my shirt hugged my bosom

And the skirt my thighs.

That I can remember

The one time I sipped on a cocktail

Of laughter and merriment

And spewed dirty secrets.

That I can remember

The rare ride I accepted

The white lie I once told

The kiss I once stole in high school.

How could I speak out,

When I know that if I can remember all this,

So can you.

How could I, when I’d rather

Build a tattered facade

Than dare see my vices on display.

How could I,

When I’d rather make myself forget

Than make you remember.

Posted in Verses

They ask

It was quite sudden, the uproar of WhatsApp status updates from my contacts yesterday. Repetitive screen shots of four words and a hashtag – we stand with you; #respecther. Soon the matter came to light, anonymous messages on a group page had led to the unravelling of a cascade of molestation charges against a senior. I mentioned it to two friends. Both of them reverted with the same question.. why now? With the world neck-deep in the Corona virus crisis, is this a good time? And in that moment I realized, questions are all that the world ever really offers someone who comes out with an ugly truth.

.

Why now? They ask;

Why now

When the air is clear

And bright is dawn

Why now when the world

Has bigger problems of its own

Why now??

Don’t you know? They ask;

Don’t you know

That scandals are to be

Dispersed like hot pakoras,

Crispy and spicy

For all to relish,

Not moist and mouldy,

Seeped with the sweat

Of nightmares

And bloodied, having

Lain for so long

At the bottom of your heart..?

Don’t you see? They ask

Don’t you see

Our extravagant empathy

Turn to smirks in cosy corners

That the pat on your back

Was but a social stint

At being politically right;

Did you think? They ask,

Did you really think

My dear naïve child

That we have answers?

Posted in Verses

A Writer’s Regret

You sense a dream

Rising out of the smokescreen

An idea, a word

A thought unripe;

But before you can take a close look

You let go

And it melts away from view –

An icicle in the summer

A child on a railway platform

Drowning in the rush of voices in your head

Pushed and pulled by fast paced deadlines

The clamor of a red signal

The cacophony of necessities.

Till one night,

When you find yourself awake

Cradling the corpse

Of a half-forgotten dream,

A forsaken word,

A drop of sanity.

Posted in Verses

My Scars

My life is a summed total of my scars.

A round shallow ditch,

Dark brown,

That shines like a misplaced nose ring

On an otherwise uneventful face

Talks of an impatient teenage hand

That picked at a chickenpox scab

And two small uneven mounds of flesh

One on my hand,

The other on my belly,

Corroborate the story.

A smoothed patch

Of hardened skin on a knee

Acts as the reminder

Of a yellow divider on a busy bus station,

A littered ground that broke my fall

And the hands that picked me up.

Discoloured stripes

On a thumb

And a forefinger that tingles on touch

Where enthusiasm made a mark

On the amateur cook,

And dishes enjoyed proudly

With fingers wrapped in ice.

Chipped corners

On a beating heart

That caught itself on sharp words,

And a tongue that learned

That retaliation

Hardly hastens healing.

And thus goes on,

Each scar a story

And they write the book that I am.

Posted in Verses

Orange Muse

As the world flocks after butterflies, the moth rests in a corner – all of its glorious colours tucked inside a brown exterior. One with the night, hidden from sight. Quiet, and beautiful on the inside, like many among us.

.

Oh sweet orange stranger,

Won’t you come closer,

Shed that brown attire

And showcase your fire!

Oh recluse,

Dear muse,

Let’s hum the same songs

Of the stars we have long

Known,

Each, alone.

Share your dreams

Thoughts and memes

With this soul

We’ll be whole;

Parts hidden

Loves lost

Memories ridden

That cost

Us our sanity!

Our vanity!!

Oh won’t you say

Why you prefer the dark

Did you lose your way

In paths blinding and stark

Do we share the same fears,

Do we shed the same tears?

Fight the same wars

Perhaps tend the same scars??

Won’t you tell me

Oh muted symphony,

Dear beauty in flight

My friend for the night.

Posted in Verses

The Line

To love or not

To hate or not

To run or not

To stay or not

Change beckons with an empty hand,

And I falter, as I pre-meditate,

I seek to run

Break out

Of this mould of regularity

That constrains,

Chains,

Every day a known step

In a toxic vicious cycle,

And yet, run.. where?

I lie still, as the darkness

Drives in and out

Of my heart

And my head,

Clouding over all thought.

Release and relapse,

Both choke me in my skin

And I falter

In my steps,

Not knowing

Whether to run

Or stay

Where to run

Where to stay

Whether to love

Or to hate

Who to love?

Who to hate??

.

Till I falter and fall

Along the line of life and death.

Posted in Verses

Nomophobia

Perhaps nomophobia

Is not only about addiction

Or obsession;

Perhaps what defines my irresistible urge

That compulsion

To unlock and stare

At a screen that offers

No respite

Is not really about the chats

Or the calls

Downloads

Other worlds

Or the swipes left and right;

And the panic attacks not about

The fear of missing on a vital

Piece of social life

Or cyber strife

But just…

Well,

What if I say

All I care about

Is not what meets my gaze

On the glaring screen

But what does not –

What if the solace I find

In technology

Is this new paradigm,

This capacity,

Of passing people without really

Looking at them,

Smiling at them,

Yes, the little black contraption

Gives me the power

To pretend

To be like everyone else –

Self-absorbed,

Busy with many private lives

Except those lives are all

In my head,

And not the phone.

.

And so as I spy

Around the corner

Someone new yet familiar,

An old acquaintance,

A nameless face,

I pick on the phone

And walk on

Seemingly oblivious.

No awkward smiles

No lopsided glances,

No irrelevant greetings,

No small talk!

.

I sign in peace

As I clutch my phone

And hurry on –

A normal adult being.

Posted in Verses

Textbooks

I wish textbooks would sprout wings

And breathe fire

That the fine print would twirl

Waltzing their way to me

And let me hear

Not silence

But tempestuous battle cries

Invigorating the very sense of my self

From skin to bone, through flesh and blood,

So that I may glance and take it all in

With bated breath;

Words lining up, marching on

And dare not stop till the end of war..

I wish textbooks would take me far

And keep me there, keen and bright,

But alas, they pick up the hum of the night

Unbroken lullabies that bid my eyelids

To meet and never part,

As I leave to seek the dragons and battles

In my dreams.