My words will hurt more than the loss The story I would narrate will speak more than I ever did to you No matter the pain you brought upon me No matter how evil of you I speak I pray for you to never be my muse.
Hidden beside the glory of being remembered eternally There lies the misery of truth too bitter for you to taste Your words left more scars upon my skin and beneath I fear- so much chaos I cannot contain Neither the excitement nor the joy Neither the agony nor the fears.
Sure, with utter delight I would paint your pictures in colour But wait for the colour as it eventually disappears Do you dare to witness the hullabaloo reek? Do you dare to see yourself step down from the pedestal within my heart and thoughts? Do you dare to see my attempts to heal by blotching my paper- Sometimes with ink, sometimes with colour, but mostly in tears? Do you dare to be drawn in an attempt to be buried in the graveyard of memories? I thought so- In honor of the good times we shared long ago, I pray for you to never be my muse.
Through years of learning and madmen humming I grew up listening to music that was a bliss, With years of taste and daunting intellect I felt the force of tunes could bind people together- Sometimes in name of attraction, mostly claiming it to be a forever.
With years of experience and a few heartbreaks- a little over one or two I was entrapped in realisations of lyrics being cursed Not the rhythm, or the melody Sheer words sent by a lover- Deciphered as his eternal feelings Too late to be reciprocated only to learn that eternity here was short lived.
Oh! That one song from him And the another from one before They speak of clear intentions- A baritone saying My Love Will Never Die And the one was it righteously named Ruin My Life? Alas! these and Johnny Cash smugly sitting in a candidly curated playlist Reminding me of lovers from past A few more minutes of shattering a heart- And hours and may be days of reliving the moments of chaos that follows a severe loss.
From one playlist, the songs might seep and merge into others May be I’ll become numb to these tunes May be I’ll sing the words out loud like they were my own jam But I’ll not erase the face that appears before my eyes- Only learn to silently smile as if the torments were tamed.
Slightly grazing my hair- oh it was sunny That day it felt a tidbit funny Something didn’t come across as right What was it- I couldn’t put a finger on quite. May be those were my shoes that felt itchy To solve the riddle, an unsettling puzzle- I moved ahead and took a walk I was meeting with answers but wasn’t sure of veracity In a quest to seek affirmation I made a decision, may be with a tinge of bizarre- I walked further to try on shoes that belonged to others.
The first shoe was warm from misery of a lost lover The second seeped agony from unexplainable deeds The third harboured chaos from qualms of kin, I could feel the sadness for one and for all But- with an ick ’cause of my own thoughts Thoughts- afflicted by experiences of past. What do I do?
I stepped back in my own shoes Alas! Now were they drenched with ideas Ideas that might have not been mine Reeking of stories I never lived, only attempted to empathize. Alas! Now it’s all blurry And my head running haywire with no decision to make- Without considering a bit too much. What could I do? I was living the curse of empathy.
He is tall but used to be taller Weighed down by responsibilities, shrunken with age His ego has now ebbed away as he brims with pride- Ah! Those grand children and their glories he cannot stop talking about or may be try and hide.
Done with his fair share of responsibilities Still anxious to make his children and grandchildren succeed He wishes to see their next conquest and subtly even great grand children. Passing on the tradition from one generation to another- He aims to keep the lineage pure But embraces the changing times with a clear scoff. Stubborn just as am I, we know he is kind He is made of experience and days that were a little too harsh.
In turn of events life played the inevitable turncoat- Left him alone with people he loved Each day he silently sheds a tear- As his wife who rested her head on his chest now rests in peace. He is strong but used to be stronger Calmness harboured by him- I hope it never reaches stillness Now he scolds a little less and hugs a little longer My Grandpa’s hugs are now warmer.
Recently I had a chance to collaborate with Smriti Gautam on a project with subject that we share a mutual interest for- women and the overpowering emotions.
Here is a glimpse of a very strong emotion- insecurity, that women face often and how they deal with it or choose to live with it.
A birth mark that looks a lil’ uncanny A beauty spot in place revealing which feels funny Scars from the everyday battle called life Etched on my skin is my story. Gazing at the color- The pensive pigments and frivolous freckles I see myself from a stranger’s eyes The eyes with a shattering voice caging me in notions of beauty Peeping at the mirror- I stand, I quiver, I introspect A narrative of glory was written only to be trapped in qualms of unfortunate desire Alas! I cover most of it- Forging a smile attempting to embrace silence of my skin.
Days, weeks, months and years pass I question who am I- I discover many talents and some experiences worth tooting Only. If only, I had the courage to stand tall with no fear of those wretched eyes and unkind voices Alas! I stand covering myself in a piece of cloth constantly feeling naked. The day I break away from the chains of being wanted The moment I learn to savour my unconventional beauty That day shall my skin recite the glorious tale of “becoming” Till then I’ll stumble upon zones beyond comfort wishing to nurture who I am.
A big thanks to Smriti Gautam and all the lovely ladies who shared a piece of themselves and their stories with us.
It is not every day that you are summoned to court as a witness for a six-year-old case but there is always a first time, and this was mine. I opened the door to a policeman amidst my work-from-home task, baffled to see him, shocked to realize why he was there, irritated to know that the summon was for the very next day, and reluctant to go because I had work to do. All these feelings were transient until he said I’d be handed over a warrant if I did not show up; that turned me into a quick decision-maker I never knew I was capable of being. I informed my friends- the complainant and witness 2 (me being the witness 1 living in Delhi) who live in Himachal and both were as unbothered as I could empathize with. My dear complainant even suggested that she will say she can’t make it because she lives in another state and I should say that I am currently out of the country. We laughed at her naivety but it was my blank passport that truly mocked me. It was then decided that I will go and test the waters, and figure out if it was time for the friends’ reunion just at an unusual place.
Six years ago while we were in Delhi during our college days, the three of us were on our way to visit some art fair or museum or crafts market, the complainant’s mobile phone was snatched by someone on a motorbike. We filed an FIR, the device was found, identified, and returned. That’s most of what I can recall from my hazy memory. Cut to 2022, I find my mother guiding me to not speak too much, be wise with my words, stick to the court decorum and I wonder how difficult a mere conversation with a judge could even be. I look around the courtroom trying really hard to relate it to the ones shown in movies and on television. From the Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix to FIR on Sab TV, I run it all in my head. With simpler furniture and less dramatic witness box, a scratchy glass wall to protect the judge, the public prosecutor and the stenographer from covid, the advocates with their cases waiting in the room instead of a supportive public as the audience, the judge simply shutting the over-smart advocate instead of the audience cheering the heroic one up, the court was different from the ones shown in movies but not any less interesting. In an attempt to compare the characters I realized that the young advocates are handsome, and the old ones are purely grumpy. This was a State vs Accused case. I got my attendance marked at the court and waited for my turn. The petitioner and the defense counsel had agreed to compound the case, but this could be done only in presence of the complainant. To compound is the equivalent of ‘fitoos’ in Hindi slang(IYKYK). However, my statement as a witness was needed. I went through my previous statement from six long years ago, memorized all I could, and was constantly reminded by my mom don’t overact up there and talk as less as possible. The accused and the defense counsel tried to be friendly with me for their benefit but I was taught well by the petitioner. However, I found my mother sympathizing with the accused and listening to his side of the story. I mean.. What! Every single person stood up when the judge left the room for a 5 minutes break. Everyone stood up when she came back. I mean.. Why! From having zero knowledge about the Indian judicial system to a little something from a real hands-on experience is what I achieved this day.
I was called to the witness stand. While waiting to be attended to I started jotting down pointers for my new blog post on my phone that is when the public prosecutor yelled that I should put my phone away or it shall be seized. Wow! Nobody had handed me a ‘courtroom for dummies’ handbook. The public prosecutor asked me relevant questions and the stenographer typed my statements with incorrect spellings probably thanking the grammar check. As I contemplated the depth of questions she was putting up, she asked if I was upset about the yelling. I giggled and said no. She suddenly shushed me for giggling and said this could upset the judge. No wonder everyone else (my deemed audience) was sitting with cold expressions. The defending counsel was allowed to cross-question me once the public prosecutor made me understand that I am supposed to listen carefully, understand, and only then reply. He smashed me with questions and concluded that my friends and I never met during the stated date of the incident, in fact, according to him none of us were in Delhi. I stood there shocked and the defense counsel reminded me of men on the planet I had dated and got gaslighted by. Congratulations! Here’s a job for you unemployed fucks. Thankfully, the public prosecutor and petitioner were there to break things down to me. My job as the witness is done. The case shall be compounded only when the complainant shows up on receiving the summon or worse- warrant.
After ages of tossing and turning on wrong side of an empty bed Asking myself questions about the world, the crises and vividly my own existence I lay awake- no more; battling the torments of purposelessness I lay naked with a blanket of thoughts keeping me warm to spend a peaceful night No man beside- just tomorrow’s ordeals to make me feel alive.
As the sun rise- I shall embrace new beginnings with dawn I shall set foot for my journey- I know of directions, destination yet being anticipated. After a day’s hardwork- I’ll smile for trying The food will taste sweeter with flavors of progress I shall then sleep well- visited by dreams brimming with meaning Might be nightmares; just a little kind- For my body shall lay too dog-tired to pay any heed.
Exhausted by one, traumatized by another People are fickle yet they love each other Are we desperate, needy and alone? Wait, let’s not set that undertone.
We act fierce; irony- in the interest of life so farce But isn’t it healing when a friend sees your scars? People are annoying- with those quarrels and bickering But isn’t it cozy when a parent listens to your qualms?
People bring drama- chaos muddled in heaps But why does it hurt when a beloved weeps? We wish we had never known someone But why do we tear up to see them leave for a distant land?
Happy curious excited astonished envious, wrath fear sadness confusion jealousy Emotions too twisted to decipher Not as layered as a person Yet here we attempt to unravel each other.
In times of uncertainty My thoughts being naive- they brim with curiosity Maybe, maybe I feel and might I even understand Still- can someone answer my question in words that are clear Here again I ask- ‘ why is it that we love’?
Not one not two- there stood a queue never-ending Each one splendid with joy Holding a spot for the friend beloved- For a gathering dressed down- a little too rugged Ushering the loved ones gleaming with joy What was the occasion! I could only wonder as a passerby.
Curiosity led me to the front of the line Whilst I heard the intense remarks of a day being gracious Oh to my surprise! It was a celebration Oh to my dismay! An ill served meal was the occasion . Hungry stomachs and tired hearts were being fed But what happens to the day that comes next?
Coins scarcely managed for a day of survival Shall now be kept aside for a daughter’s dowry dragged till the law-approved age Or even better saved for a son’s education Empowering him to work at a humble position in an office barely fancy- An upgrade worth aspiring from the startling slums! With dreams being fuelled- indeed, the meal was scrumptious.
The roses on earth are colored pink, yellow and white Somehow it is always the red that them people crave- Layered and beautiful, tender yet fierce Erotically scarlet- so has he been told The cupid struck the arrow But he understands not Not blind, but colorblind- The rose he sees is not red.
Two people meeting together, At times even ‘some’ becoming one The usuals, straights, queer, extraterrestrial what not- All the glitters, butterflies, drama and hate The cupid knows what did he create But he feels not.
The magic in the air, a spell hard to get rid of Red flags decorated as dainty- A little too in love to ignore A sweet disaster worth the taste, a tempting high worth the chase The cupid sees the forbidden fruit But he desires not.