Sunshine.

I trace serenity on your back,
As sunshine peeks from your folds
Looking like utopia, like a long lost lover
Returning after months of farewell
Bouncing around the corners of your curves

Sunlight smells like a promise of a reunion to me,
For moments we will lose each other
It’s the trail I leave behind my long leaps,
That spreads in the air and attracts flowers to bloom

Sunlight walks slowly along the line of your mouth,
Timid, wary of the way your mouth turns downwards sometimes
It looks like a mother sometimes, chiding you for the laundry you did not do

Sunlight is silver more than golden sometimes,
But I guess people call that moonlight these days

I trace serenity on your back, and I look at you and I think
People must talk about you when they say sun-kissed

Here’s to you.

Love can get repetitive. There’s only so many times you can tell me you love me before I start to lose faith in the words. There’s only so many times I can tell you you taste like forevers before the taste gets washed off. There’s only so much love we can share before it runs dry. Which is probably why my previous love story ran ended: it ran out of love.

But two months into this miracle of a love and you still smell like safety and taste like warmth. It is important to point this out to you because warmth always ends first. Conversations get chilly and love loses its capacity to console. Maybe it’s because you are cold and you know it, but somehow you make me feel the warmth still. And something about your cautious self deprecation tells me you’ll do everything to make me feel the warmth tomorrow and day after as well.

I looked at you with an eye full of stars, and starts. Two months later and I still do. It’s a big change, for me and for you because I have been broken before and you have always been indifferent and how is it that a romantic like me got stuck with someone like you? It’s a big change because you don’t know forevers and I believe in them. You don’t know priorities but you are one. You don’t understand love and yet you say you love me.

Two months doesn’t feel like a big deal to a lot of people because it is a baby step. But baby steps are the hardest. To not fall down when you are still holding onto the fingers of your previous relationship before it suddenly snatches itself away from you, is hard. To not fall down when you still haven’t grasped the idea of walking is hard. To not fall down when you are still curling your fingers around the new feeling of balance is hard. But we are walking and yes we tumbled, more times than I’d like to count, we regained balance and walked ahead. We are still walking ahead.

Two months is important because two months into my last relationship (because it wasn’t a love) I got to know the toxicity of it all. I never told you this, but now I am. Two months into this love, and I don’t feel anything but happiness and warmth and acceptance pouring out of you. Two months is important because your reality so far is what I wished it would be.
But yes, love can get repetitive, because there is only so many synonyms for love that you can call me with. There’s only so many versions of me I can hand over to you. There’s only so many things we can talk about. But love can also be a normal, because we always find a way to extend the ‘only so many’. It all depends on how you see it.

Here’s to a happy two, and hopefully a happy three if you can still accept me with all whines and smiles.
Yours,
Plum.

Grey.

Disclaimer: No, the piece has nothing to do with Fifty Shades Darker trailer.

So, there has been a lot of hype about the letter that Amitabh Bachchan released for his granddaughters, Aradhya and Navya. The hype hasn’t been about the fact that he did so, but about the fact that the move was a publicity gimmick for his movie ‘PINK’ and the letter was misogynistic.

Let’s get this straight; let’s talk about Bachchan’s mentality. He was progressive in the fact that his daughter-in-law was actually a couple years older than his son, which, in the Indian context, remains to be a great deal. But then this was overshadowed by his regressive ideals when he first got Aishwarya Rai Bachchan married to a tree to rectify her mangalika dosh. Oh and also, she gets to keep her maiden name as well, no matter how much the society normally would look down upon it (trust me, I’ve seen people narrow their eyes so much they become the size of their mindsets each time they hear Sharma ji ki beti has kept her maiden name as well.

Now, let’s talk about the letter. Bachchan yet again presents a paradox, while being progressive in allowing his granddaughters freedom of choice, but limiting that freedom to the matters of marriage (you can get married to whoever you want).

What do these two incidents suggest? Not only about Bachchan, but about society in general?

People aren’t black and white, they aren’t all progressive or all misogynistic. They are grey. Each person lives in a grey space, a space where the spheres of black and white intersect. We can try to be progressive, yes, we are getting there, but our idea of progress is conditioned by years of spoon feeding of patriarchal ideas that refuse to leave our heads. We have been raised to think in a certain way, and our notions of freedom are tied within the framework of that certain way itself.

Coming back to the Bachchan scenario, I’m not defending him, but I maybe am. For someone who was raised with a faith in kundli, a mangalika dosh might have been a big deal, and even with his attempts to be progressive, he might have just given up in order to not take any chances. Faith is a deeply engraved concept, after all. And his idea of freedom of choice is clearly restricted by the traditional notion of girls have to get married. We can’t term that as his backwardness. We can, though, term that as his inability to break out of the grey space he lives in, but then, each one of us is unable to do so.

Another factor to consider is his family. We don’t know, nor can we guess, what goes on inside the Bachchan house. We don’t know what his mother and father taught him, and what all decisions reflect them, rather than him.

The letter might just be a publicity gimmick, but it might also have been a genuine letter. But since everyone is dissecting the letter, I also decided to try my hand at it.

The movie PINK itself, despite being a feminist movie, has some problematic elements, like the male saviour complex, the ignorance of the urinal torture Tapsee’s character had to go through when a guy peed inside her, and weird and unexplained behaviour of Bachchan’s character. The movie itself, therefore, is in a grey space.

The world, neither the people nor their artistic representations, are largely grey in their essence. Why is that we judge a popular figure for that grey tint, and not our next door neighbour? Why is grey suddenly the new black?

Dear Brown-Eyed Monster

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

 

We were 12, and you knew every callous etched onto my palms

You had read every crevice of my body

You knew I was lost, and you knew you could find me.

 

We were 12, and I was glad you knew.

 

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

 

We were 14, and you used to calm me in the most unnerving way

With your tongue down my throat, choking

And your hands everywhere my own never were.

 

We were 14, and I had a thing for suffocation.

 

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

 

We were 16, and you smoked swirls of claustrophobia into me

I was a line at the back of your hand,

And you had grown up studying my frayed ends.

 

We were 16, and I didn’t want to be a frayed thread anymore.

 

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

We are 18, and you can still pull me apart at the seams

I can still hear you in a crowd, and I still shake

You still just shout, and I still just whisper.

 

We are 18, and I wish.

 

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

 

I wish you didn’t know.

I wish you couldn’t trace my tear marks from that time I cried.

I wish you couldn’t read me like your accountancy notes.

I wish you hadn’t met me.

 

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

 

I know you can still trace the ghost of my curves,

But I wish you couldn’t.

I know you know that I have changed,

But I wish you didn’t.

 

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

 

I know the soft crudeness of your touch,

But I wish I didn’t.

I know you haven’t changed,

But I wish I didn’t.

 

 

Dear brown-eyed monster,

 

Help me out just this once.

Help me to unlearn.

unlove.

unhurt.

 

Do me a favour.

Please just unlearn.

unlove.

unhurt.

 

Unlearn me, so that I can unlearn the toxins.

Unlove me, so that I can unlove our smiles.

Unhurt me, so that I can unhurt myself.

 

 

I know you know me, but I wish you didn’t know.

Peculiarity.

The pigeons hooted in my welcome, as I stepped

Out on the streets of the semi-urban life for the first time

It was peculiar, to say the least, just at the periphery of Delhi

Yet miles away from it, stuck somewhere in the past

I was living the town life, from behind the tinted window of my moving car

There were rows of tea stalls, and automobile repair shops

The roads were lined not with pavements, but fruit vendors

Who splashed their fruits under the scorching sun, taking all the heat themselves

The wheels spurred forward, and next I saw the enchanting sight

Of makeshift tents, standing on bamboo sticks, filled to the brim

With sculptures, white and pearl, and every other colour

Spreading out till the roads

The next I arrived in the haven of gods, where the streets were traced

With temples, one after the other, all gods residing together

In more harmony than people who fight over them

Then came the houses, with incarcerated gardens and sprawling

Heaps of garbage, the stink indicating the trash from a distance

But the people didn’t seem to mind, for they laughed and joked

As they sat outside their brightly coloured houses

And the colours that would’ve clashed harshly elsewhere seemed

To co-exist in peace

The greenery was lush, almost hiding the sky, which seemed a different

Colour through the tint of the window

And when I saw the vividly coloured rickshaws, packed with people

I realized the semi-urban life was all about togetherness;

About living together, working together and travelling together

1947

The moment he left the confines of Lahore

He felt a sense of alienation

Bidding goodbye to his men and land

He felt as if he had lost everything

 

For years he struggled,

To make this land feel like home

But every time he stepped out

He came to face with unknown streets and houses

 

Partition had changed not only him

But the many people on both the sides of the wired boundary

His friends were now strangers

And he had to make friends with strangers

 

He gave up to that struggle

And today his photograph stands

As a testimony to his grief

Along with the ivory piece of cloth, resting in a corner of his old closet,

 

That one piece of cloth,

The only article that felt like home to him

Feels heavier than the weight of everything else

 

The partition snatched away everything from him

First, he left his home for his family

Then, he left his family to finally find home

 

Excerpt From A Letter That will Never Reach You.

Dated: 29th July, 2014

Hello Myra,

I feel so unequivocally hurt that this would never reach you, nor would it ever make you smile.

I still remember when you first spoke to me, the new girl. And I felt good, even if it was just a hello. It helped me blend in and escape all those eyes that followed me, hungry with curiosity.

And as I got lost in my own new friends, you somehow dissipated in the background, while remaining there somewhere.

Some days ago, I saw you. Really saw you after a long time, but it still wasn’t you.

Yes, Myra. I went to the hospital to see you. I collected that letter you addressed to me, and I cannot shake off the guilt that I may have been able to help you but I still did not.

What did you do to yourself, you stupid girl? Why was your body (it still gives me chills to refer to you as a body) so thin it appeared to me a mere framework of bones? Why were your clothes hanging loosely?

I wouldn’t want to think for how many days you must have starved yourself. I wouldn’t want to think the story behind all those marks on your body. I wouldn’t want to think your disappointment in me when you finally quit.

I wouldn’t want to think, but yet I do.

You taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life, Myra. You taught me how to initiate conversations. You taught me the art of making someone feel like they belong.

That small smile you gave me from across the room each time our gaze met is inscribed on the back of my eyelids it seems; for it is what I see each time I doze off.

I don’t know Myra. I don’t know how can I not blame myself for not reaching out to you. Each day I told myself that I would definitely talk to you tomorrow, but that tomorrow never came.

Until today, when I am talking to you but you aren’t capable of listening anymore. I’ve talked to so many things, walls and furniture, pretending them to be you. Yet the only similarity I find among those things and you, is that in the present tense, you all are lifeless.

I’m missing you, Myra. I’ll always do. It’s funny how despite being the great friend everyone tells me I am, I couldn’t love you while you were there. Its ironical how despite telling people to cherish what they have, I myself forgot the same.

Myra. The name I gave you, for I love this name just as much as I love you.  Myra. The name associated with meaning of wonder, peace and love. Myra. The name that suited you the best.

I’m sorry I forgot to show my love while you still breathed. I promise I’ll do that till I breathe.

Have fun up there, create ruckus in the clouds, and gorge down all the food available. Be yourself. Nobody can judge you anymore.

Love,

Chooza.

Dear Alien.

Dear Alien,

I thought this might as well go to you, before it gets too late. These years of your life are the most crucial ones, and I don’t want you to lose their beauty for fear of something that might or might not happen.

So listen to me, and pull out those earplugs from your ears.

Don’t worry. I know it’s kind of rich coming from me, but this is what I want you to do. Don’t worry about exams, or guys, or anything at all. Just let it be. Don’t worry what people say, don’t worry who comes and goes. I am here to stay. Don’t do anything reckless in your weak moments. DON’T.

Don’t look around for love, Alien. Stop this unending quest for the ‘right one’. He will come around eventually.

I assure you, okay, that you will find a companion one day.

You will find someone to accept and balance your eccentric sense of style. You will find someone who wouldn’t give a thought to how plump you are, or how many hair you have on your body.

He will be there for you, in all those moments when I can’t be there.

He would accept and  even love the fact that you would always lick your plate after eating Maggi. He would not make a face when you laugh out loud in a public place, and he would know that it’s not a sign of your ill-manners, but one of your unabashed nature. He would get your love for food.

Most importantly, he would never tell you to tone down yourself.

He would help you sort everything out, be it your wardrobe, your playlist or your life. I am telling you, and believe me like you have done so far, that he would know your shit better than you.

He’s going to curse with you and make out with you. He’s going to love the whole of you, no conditions apply. He’s going to be proud to be seen with you. So proud it’s going to radiate from him.

Yes, you will have fights. But those fights are not going to be the end, like the earlier ones. Remember this.

You’ve grown up, Alien. You’ve come a long way from the demons of your past. Never let those stupid words get to you.

This letter stands as a lesson to me too, for me to accept that all this may someday happen to me too.

Until that day,

To round rotis and senseless conversations,

Love,

Princess Kinky.

Farewell: The Last Memory

It all started with a shriek, begging to go back home

But forced together in a classroom

Bonds were formed and friendships were forged

And as years progressed, we made a home out of this once dreaded place

 

The howls of laughter interrupting the teacher’s class

Would forever be remembered by these silent walls

Just as the corridors would forever stand witnesses

To the lunch period crowd

 

And we all would remember, the huge amounts of homework

That irked us all the same

And it would never escape our memory, how we used to procrastinate

Till the time came for the notebooks to be finally submitted

 

What would always stand out in our minds?

The zero periods when everyone was copying something off someone’s notebook

Or the history classes when we dozed off to worlds of our own

It would be a weird blend of memories, each with a unique emotion attached

 

And while we stand here to part, telling each other to never lose contact,

There is something I would like to say

To each friend I found here

 

If someday you feel that I’ve slipped through your hands,

Find me here in these hazy memories

If words don’t seem to sum me up, take out a fresh canvas and paint me again

Paint the classrooms, the bites of snacks during periods

Recount this farewell, and write a new prose with an old warmth

Close your eyes and you may be back here

Standing on this concrete ground, listening to this euphony again

Violin

 

I can imagine you moving your fingers across the strings

Trying to tame them and playing a harmonious tune

In stark contrast to the discord in your own mind

And I might be wrong in this assumption

For I only know what you wish to project

But with whatever you have faced, I cannot accept

That you aren’t a scarred soul.

 

And I can picture you playing, or maybe attempting to

Trying to find a tune that could express your sentiments

And I wonder whether what you are playing

Reflects the loss of your mother or the joy

Of the many lives you have touched.

 

You are like a violin yourself, if you know

For each time someone picks your string

You play out a tune so melodious,

It brings everyone to peace

You are a living euphony, as I see you

But not everytime, for there are moments

When a wrong chord is struck, and it makes

You irksome.

 

I want to hear you play someday,

Your harmony cutting through

My perpetual state of strife

To hear a violin between the shifting thoughts in my mind

A fleeting tune, that cannot be seized or reserved

Despite its propinquity to the strings of my life

 

And I would always regret that I couldn’t get you a violin

For it would have maybe given me chance

To find my answers in the midst of your tunes

With many others who would do the same

While remaining hidden under anonymity.

 

Happy Birthday in advance, Shamir Reuben. You are among the few that have made a difference in my life, and this stands as a testimony to my gratitude for you. I couldn’t gift you a Violin as you wanted, so this is for you.