Soft Block

Poem #8: NaPoWriMo 2018

Well, at least, the good news is
that the Internet never forgets.

Long after you and I
block each other with such vigour
that all traces of our being
are wiped out from each other—
this Internet will remember.

In some forgotten, cached, corner,
where dust accumulates slowly—
because both who had the key,
decided to throw it away—

all our words of love and sin,
of joy, of disagreements,
of sorrow and secrets,—
will remain etched, archived.

At least someone will remember
whilst both of us pretend to forget.
At least someone will safeguard
the sweet nothings we came to detest.




When I was fourteen, I had newly discovered that my heart was capable of doing multiple things apart from pumping blood and storing cholesterol — it was also capable of magically racing like a royal horse each time someone spoke to me. On one such adolescent night, as I lay next to my cousin, almost as if she could hear my racing heart — and I don’t blame her for the thumping was loud enough to march a parade on — she said to me, “just never let him know how crazy you are about him”.

Years passed, I grew, the someone kept changing, and yet, on some nights, as I lay awake, I feel I haven’t moved much from that adolescent night when that piece of advice was offered to me as some sort of sorority legacy. I forgot to ask my sister, but I never forget to ask myself — why shouldn’t I tell him?

And is it even possible not to?

When just hearing someone’s name lights your face with a smile so powerful that it could power a whole country, there is little chance of, well, hiding your admiration. How do I stop myself from subconsciously twirling my hair or biting my lip? How do I tame my wild pulse that beats so fast one would think it wishes to tear out of my flesh to meet someone in person? How do I revert my playlist back to existentialist songs when suddenly the world seems to have more meaning and colour?

Most importantly, do I really have to?

This small frame of mine is compact, like a suitcase. Alongside my anxiety, issues, fat, and countless musings, I carry with myself seamless love that I try to contain in a pouch, loosely tied with hasty knots. But every once in a while, a certain someone makes their way through and unties those knots with their slender fingers and piercing gaze. Before I know it, my admiration is set loose and it infects the world around me with brighter colours and invincibility. The background noises in my life — the honking, the barking of dogs, the clock ticking, the fan moving — are all replaced with… imaginary violins. Tears and giggles both seem ready at the back of my throat, waiting to pour at the slightest triggers.

Is it humanly possible to hide such craziness?

For most bit, I do not wish to. I want to be available at beck and call. I want to take my net and catch all the stars in the sky and place them on my tongue, hoping to offer him an entire universe when he finally kisses me. I want to tidy myself and be a better person, I want to sing in my broken, smitten voice, and I want to walk on oceans if that is what it takes to be with him.

How do I hide a love so great that I would steal and borrow love from everyone else too, just in case mine fell a little short of filling his wistful heart with joy?

Why do I hide a love so great?

I want to turn over, softly shake my sister, and ask her why. I forget that now I only sleep next to loose ends.

An Ode To Melons

Poem #7: NaPoWriMo 2018

Visit my childhood home
and ask for summer things
that I liked when I was small
it will laugh longingly,
show you many fruits,
but not melonsnot at all.

Like children do, I did
running after shinier,
juicier, brighter, pleasures;
melons smelled like home,
grandparents, afternoons,—

quite unlike mango-like treasures.

Yet somehow they lived on;
each summer, after summer,
sneakily making their way—
like the mundane routine
that you love so dearly
but never well enough to say.

So as I declare my love
my tongue rolls unfamiliarly—
and yet the words taste of home;
as if they had waited so long,
in some corner of my mouth—
just, that I had not known.


“The Unseen” by Lara Zankoul (2013)

Poem #5: NaPoWriMo 2018


with caresses and sighs
we built this—decaying—love;
one that was created to fit
the grave we slowly dug.

forgetting they ever kissed,
our lips part in scorn—
bitter, consumed, we bury
a love we could not mourn.


The Mirror of Erised

Poem #3: NaPoWriMo 2018
Prompt: “what would the Mirror of Erised show you?”

The Mirror of Erised is an ancient mirror from the Harry Potter world that is said to show you your deepest yearnings — when one looks into the mirror, their deepest desires are reflected back at them.


i looked back at myself,
when i looked in the Mirror of Erised

a tired face, an exhausted smile,
sweaty palms, and droopy eyes —
hair that melancholy thinned,
lay uncombed on my corpulent size —
stretch marks, resembling maps,
tracing the journey of the wise —
bitten nails, chapped lips,
flabby arms and incorrect thighs —
all stood; raw, wild, content
in all their glory sans disguise —

i looked back at myself,
when i looked in the Mirror of Erised


Poem #2: NaPoWriMo 2018
Prompt: translate

I wish I could translate
for the world to see
the warmth of the language
in which you speak to me —

but how do I make a script
of the curves and lines
that only exist etched
into this flesh of mine?

How will they understand—
will I ever learn to articulate;
these whispers and sighs
into sentences that weigh?


Poem #1: NaPoWriMo 2018
Prompt: moon, secret

The news reached before you did;
you’ve taken to the stars, I’ve heard —
so many things you left behind,
but could not leave behind a word?

The curtains I have kept; untucked, open —
for I fear the room will collapse on me
and the walls will break remaining strength
so I look at the moon instead and weep.

I did not need most things you gave;
only one thing, just one, I had seeked —
you could have deprived me of any whim,

a goodbye is all I wished to keep.

I am not sure what star you have become;
all I can see amidst this grief is the moon:
shall I gather your legacy — this sorrow —
and create a stairway of these runes?

You will see me there, would not you?
I will travel halfway — halfway you could wheel:
and who knows, perhaps this moon is what
Rumi called the field where loved ones meet*.

* “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ~ Rumi.

The Elements of Universe


You sit curled up in the abyss of pain,
with your knees folded up against your chin;
you see within yourself nothing, but a void
sweat and blood trace your skin.

When did you last… pause… breathe?
Stay still, darling there are things you must believe
Listen, as I speak.


You remind me of the mountains;

your bone, your marrow, built with rock and stone;
your spirit, like the mountains; strong, bold;
you are fashioned to fiercely protect everything
that you envelop in your fold;

you are courage.


Within you I see seas and oceans;

your existence is indispensable to life;
your formless spirit, ever adaptive; lingers;
you are water; the strength that holds ships up
not water; fragile, that slips through fingers;

you are eternal.


Inside you there is fire;

your eyes burn slow; warm, passionate,
your spirit is ever-glowing, relentless, awake;
you cease existence; you ease existence;
you create and destroy; mend and break;

you are ethereal.


You contract and expand like air;

you are the slow rise and fall of a breathing chest;
your spirit sings of freedom, and wings
you are motion, commotion, peace, jest;
your presence omnipresent; your absence exscinds;

you are life.


You are seamless, like the sky;

your spirit is the warrior that watches over the world;
you are made up of stars that guide the night
you are fiercely wild, and fiercely calm;
you house both, eternal darkness and light;

you are incessant.


You have been created
with the elements of the universe;
the universe has been created
with elements of you.


This is a seven-part poem that I wrote earlier this year. When I wrote it, I did not have a lot in mind — it was just another piece of poetry that I had scribbled down on a piece of paper during a boring lecture at college.

It was not until I was faced with a great challenge this year that I realised the importance of this poem — the challenge of self-love.

Most of us have in life, at different points and for different reasons, internalised the notion that we are unlovable. Self-love is an alien concept — it is an idea that was never taught to us. The society with all its institutions has always demanded relentless productivity. It teaches us to be hard on ourselves — to push ourselves even when we are collapsing. Any form of self-love is seen as counterproductive and detrimental; it is seen as an irregularity that needs to be cured.

Amidst this madness, it becomes difficult to be able to look into the mirror and appreciate the tired, flawed face that looks back at us. It is difficult to allow people to love us — much easier to believe that everyone is out there to harm us. We stop allowing ourselves to be loved because we stop viewing ourselves as worthy of love.

We forget that we are not only a product of happiness and optimism, but also death and sorrow. Our darkness is as important a part of us as our light is — it needs to be embraced and loved, not fought and brushed aside. The only way to get up is to acknowledge that we fell down.

Although this poem did not have meaning during that lecture, it has meaning now — it is a message, a reminder, that we are a mixture of so many things, and none of them define us, even when all of them do. We may be tiny and insignificant, but we are here, and within us, a lot to be found and loved.

I hope you read this and are reminded of everything that you are capable of — most of all, love and being loved.