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.
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.
Flip flip flop flop, flip and a flop- The flip-flops on the floor went on quite a toss Nothing unusual just a pair lying upside down on the floor As I stare at them trying to decode where all have they been Appears a friend rushing, she slaps her own face- A reflex to deviate the quarrel that shall follow I smirk at the peace bearer for missing out on her lessons in science.
The diva in me stood awake one night Before dinner I proceed to paint my nails pretty from pale Cutting them in the right shape- I dare not compromise on the tiny streak of glamour Click! I cut them off- Appears my mother horrified, she banters about the disrespect- A fear masked in the name of disobedience I pity the tradition for not evolving with time.
Are you afraid of them too? I asked my grandmother looking at the cat that just passed by She stood in silence for a while As I noticed the color black Appear her words calling the creature demonic- Waiting to escape the years of bad luck I sympathize with the feline for the misconstructed symbolism.
I share the day’s details with a man of wisdom Seeking logic behind actions Too proud as the one being rational Bragging about the mind boggling progressions Appears the thought I shouldn’t have let out- “I am not superstitious, touchwood”.
Alas! I can’t paint a soiree With Victorian costumes and gestures that speak of grandiose The year being twenty-twenty-one, It’s just four people; and three screens. Living in time zones with different days and nights Measuring distance in kilometers- and also miles Each day they try to stay together Haha- to no surprise failing miserably. But tonight it is special The siblings laugh at their usual banters- For they have learnt to put away the dullness quite adroitly, The mother asks them to come back home just like each day- Not for too long; may be just a visit till new memories are created for her to hold on But tonight it’s the father who imparts new and the unknown He sheds a tear of joy And reveals that he stands tall with pride, acknowledging the two kids who try to now be adults May be, it is the empty glass of whiskey beside the vacant dinner table The two children: unaware, awkward and shy- Gleam for a moment with joy- untill they return to their usual banters and frivolous complaints The year being twenty-twenty-one It’s just four people; and three screens- And a million emotions that timidly scream.
Victim of gadgets and networks Funny, how we think of flowers, trees and birds chirping- A foliage from mountains and waves from unknown seas drift right across the bittersweet memory lane Days pass by- A few with new learnings A few with breath afresh A few with just breaths.
Meaning or none; Feelings or some Time- it doesn’t cease From bud- to flower- to withered remnants all lost in blink of an eye We try to heal from “wounds of actions” Only to find ourselves etched with “scars of experience” Creations once brimming with youth Narrations now by voices forever tired A medley of gallantry: no, I am not certain A hum of survival: a lullaby before I say the final goodbye.
Have you ever been in memories? No, not in love- that in itself is a bitter ball game But in memories of someone not for a day or two- Somehow, managing to take heed for an eternity Not the same forever A picture- new and vivid being painted each time One morning, a flicker of the first kiss Another night, all the reasons why you walked away An evening filled with contemplation of who’s, what’s and why’s A noon in remembrance of all promises made with fingers crossed and heart set free A dusk of those absurd fairy lights with giggles and laughter A dawn of tears when we couldn’t stand each other. Do you ever stop by in someone’s dream? In nightmares hurting them; A little more dramatic than reality, In day dreams- as stories that were never lived. Do you know? Do you realise? Somehow I wish they weren’t just mine.
Wasn’t a morning, neither a night It was just a noon- a time nobody cares to write with pride That is when I met him Rather a glance while he was at rest. A beggar, a thief or just another vagrant- Simply I do not know. I saw a man that just ‘another afternoon’- A man sleeping on the road, The penchant for pain was obvious Hence, I stood there in awe and wonder No alcohol, just a dirty pillow beneath his dreams An ugly torn quilt atoning the crimes of that winter wind. I looked and looked; It was more than a while Tucked in during the day time A tiny wound let his head hurt Did anyone sing him a lullaby? Did anyone, anyone kiss him good night? When ire of his destiny started knocking at the door of my empathy- That is when I decide to get past
I saw the man Now a chilly night He still was tucked in, sleeping sound I stepped towards him That is when derision mocked life He still was at rest, but now in peace .
After years of dodging; every occasion with a more bitter excuse Finally came a day when somehow the visit just couldn’t be refused From far away, that house in village stood still and tall Now haunted with lifelessness On inside did it suddenly grow small? Or was it the memory of it that brimmed with grandeur? The windows creak The walls reek Spiders smile weaving a trap of nostalgia The garden once full of roses and lemons is now musty; Haunted by emptiness somehow braved through my grandmother’s beliefs- Evident by the statue of Shiva I remembered since I could remember; Survived lessons from my cousins teaching me to play games- While I stood there being timid, young and shy.
Monkeys in the yard My aunt’s smirky remarks Talking to uncles altogether a hurdle- I knew I never would fit in there, Now affirmed. Yet the lullaby from past lingered longer Singing to me of a wish why did I let go so easy- So early at an age so tender! Alas! Now it is too late to return Only reminscence, what hath been done cannot be undone.