poetry

August – weddings

It’s halfway through 2019. But you left your heart somewhere in late 90s, early 2000s, when you didn’t know how things worked.
Standing in the middle of a segregated wedding where women laugh a second too openly, and walk around a bit too comfortably, there are things you love and things you hate. Things that have long become contradictions. Old wedding songs that you’ve seen your cousins dance to all your life are playing again. You smile, because it has so much baggage–of cousin weddings, of accidentally plopping one of your feet in the mud in a dark street full of strangers, of little children you became friends with until they left one day and of forgotten memories that rush through when old Bollywood wedding songs play in the background.
You’re back in the city where your heart has always been, even though they don’t take care of it anymore. You hate it for the streets that have become narrower, the winds that have calmed down; but as you drive around the empty roads past midnight when even the farthest places in the city fall 5 minutes away like you’ve always known them to be, your heart comes back to its place.

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You’re back in the city with all your old friends and memories and you don’t want to admit it but it’s painful. Painful that you have to grow up, painful that you have to leave one day, painful that everything eventually comes back to leaving people and places and songs and happiness that you grew up with. So when you look at your friend, donned in red and gold, her parents both happy and sad in the midst of dancing women and fireworks and confetti and songs in your mother-tongue that make you want to dance and laugh, even though you don’t know all the lyrics; you want the time to stop ticking. Because it’s been too much; you’ve grown too old and too scared. ‘Scattered’ is the word that now scares you. Scattered homes, scattered friends, scattered places where you left pieces of your heart. So you try to collect all the memories of things you have loved about this city. It’s not the same city that you once grew up in, but it has the footprints of everything you’ve been through.
(Picture courtesy: OMG moods)

Moths

In the strange land

When lights were out,

It could have been butterflies

in the stomach,

But all I felt was

the need of night moths

that light up the place

even just by a tiny bit,

so that I could find myself.

Letters to her (1)

“You are the dreams you chase, the things that keep you awake.

You are the mountains you have climbed and the waters you have dived.

You are the playlists that you listen to, always skipping some songs, while putting others on repeat.

You are the wild car rides, speeding tickets and narrow escapes, those that brought you closer to life and close to end.

You are the karaoke nights and clumsy slumber parties and singing at the top of your voices on the radio with your friends; you are ugly gifts and pranks and arguments and later amends.

You are the stars in the sky that make you think of falling in love and seas and clouds and unicorns all at the same time; you are texts and chats and phone calls after rough patches telling them you’d be fine.

You are the tears of happiness and sighs of pain, you my dear are the first dance of monsoon rains.

You are all the books, the songs, the movies you own, you are the nostalgia of your sweet childhood gone.

You are your first love, the pure glee that it brought, the nervousness, and later the courage that it taught.
You are the shine in your eyes, the curves of your lips, the crooked collarbone of yours that you secretly adore; you are all the beautiful nights chasing after the moon and so much more.
So dont you dare believe them when they tell you they want better, for you my love know what they are missing on later.”

Hopeless patterns

There was a pattern,

always a pattern

In the books read, recent playlists played,

Colors of weather and unwritten letters,

Badly scribbled notes under the mattress of the bed.

There was a pattern in the first said words of that broken conversation—if only you knew

Those tucked away pictures hidden from the world,

And tickets that were never used to fly 7000 miles away.

There was a shameless pattern in all the words unsaid, all the endeavors to make you break away

In the first days when seasons changed—the leaves falling off or turning green,

There were patterns in the first fall of snow and my perfect summer dream,

There were patterns in the waves of the ocean that connected lands in between.

There were perfect patterns in the winds that blew; signs if only you knew.

But oh well, never mind

Why did it matter?

When our minds were always a mess, a hopeless clatter.

 

Microsecond

 

You know that part of the second, when a sight of long lost someone reminds you of a memory buried deep in the past, a glimpse from the future, a lovely combination of things said and done, of things that might have been said but thought better of them—all those feelings in one part of the second. The feeling of loving and being loved, the feeling of being needed and needing someone and the force of attraction that stretches that one part of the second—slows it down, repeats those conversations, makes you smile and cry and hates you for feeling so much. That one part of a second—when it becomes more than a lifetime of living.

 

Oh Chicago

Oh Chicago, do you see?
You hold my heart
And it kills me.
For when birds fly, you give them the sanctuary
For the ones who’ve lost love, you give them the heart to flee.
But for me, there’s a special grudge,
For how much I await you, you turn away,
you shelter your breed.
The more I miss my love
The more you attract them to thee.
You call them, you kiss them, you engulf them in glee.
And and I, a person of shattered spirits, have nothing to offer, nowhere to retreat.
Oh Chicago, do you see?
How my love is lost in your city?

Flight

Violins.
A play in reversal.
The last tea.
Sunshine dripping through the windows.
Clinking of spoons and tea cups.
Violins.
Jacket hugging the chair–picked up,
Footsteps on the wooden floor.
Footsteps following the footsteps.
Violins.
Last day, last night.
Last dance in a quick time lapse,
Violins – bringing back the last 10 years.
Dropped tea cups
Screams and cries
on the thirtieth floor
at 12 am,
blinded by the lights of the skyline.
Violins, hugs and sobs.

Violins

embraces, trembling waves, goodbyes.
Violins
Flights late at night.
Violins,
Farewells,
and never ending sighs.

Violins

Footsteps in another land.

Violins
Nostalgia, pain and frights.

Redundant

Dang.
It happened yet again.
How many times
after you really understand?
Manipulated, exploited–excruciating pain,
for you they all turned out to be games.
In a land with no beaches,
Mountains I heard and yes, trees with leeches.
‘It’s just a statement’–but times changed.
And so did the seasons.
When temperatures dropped below
I only had cold dry winds that blew,
taking me away from us, from me and you.
The city no longer existed – the memories, laughs or the trees,
Nor did the bling that connected it with you.
And then the chains, the winters came-
the new year that brought you.

You blame me for knowing.
But how would I know?
Oh yes, the hints. The cues,
that shit.
The needles kept pricking,
and the time kept ticking
Until one day
I lost my friend–I lost you.
Only the climax was,
I was this close to changing you.

Small Places

I like small places. Places with low ceilings, faded rugs, round coffee tables, colored cushions and early morning rays of sun through open windows. Where you could sit at a corner, detached from the world and yet feel connected to everyone in the crowded room who is here to have breakfast, drink coffee, or read a book. Where you could meet your friends or the person you love and show them the secrets this world holds through that window from where the sun shines. Where you could listen to everyone’s voices and whispers and could tell the language they speak—of love, goodness and beauty—but not be able to tell what they might be thinking. Where you could marvel at the people and the life that exists outside that small coffee shop, like a silent movie, without judging their motives unlike those of big places and high ceilings.

Big places with high ceilings and glass floors and high tables make me anxious. They hold mysteries and secrets people are not sure to reveal. Big places give refuge to high pitched laughter which doesn’t reach the eye and to people who are more concerned about what purpose you bring them than whether you would like to have tea or coffee—they wouldn’t care if you like to have both. It’s difficult to gauge their feelings. So I choose small places with big hearts. Small places with memories of seeing each other the first time. Small places and dog-eared books. And paragraphs you’ve read a hundred times and still cannot get over them.

Small places and Sunday mornings and Friday nights, when you have all the time in the world to discuss with them, how time flies and why days change.

Small places where no one cares whether the wooden table is newly polished or why the rug still has coffee stains.

I choose small places because they make me realize of the connection I have with the things that are still alive, and with people who still believe in the magic of faith, truth, love and beauty.