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.

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Decay

Lara-Zankoul-The-Unseen-2013
“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

Translate

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?

Moon

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

1/7

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.

2/7

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.

3/7

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.

4/7

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.

5/7

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.

6/7

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.

7/7

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.

 

Me Too?

In October 2017, “Me Too” spread as a trending hashtag on social media to denounce sexual harassment and assault. Millions of people came forward with their experiences using this hashtag, highlighting the banality, commonality, and extent of sexual assault.

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when you are constantly asked;
“but did you?”
“are you sure?”
“maybe you imagined it?”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when you are told consistently
that it is not just you —
“it happens to everyone”
“learn to deal with it”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
and say,
“I don’t want your pity or apology”
“I don’t want you to fix me”
in the same breath?

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
after a lifetime of gaslighting yourself;
“it is all in my head”
“it didn’t happen…
surely not?”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when words are nothing
but a rearrangement of the alphabet,
a sequence of phonetics,
that offer no closure?

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
and do you, unlike me,
still have that courage,
when you sit alone,
all by yourself?

How do you, if at all,
gather the courage to say
“me too!”
when your memory
no longer remembers —
only the body does?

The Boy Who Lived

Warning: This post may be triggering. It speaks of suicide, death, and depression. Also, it may not make a lot of sense — this post neither has a point nor a conclusion. I have no message to give out. These are loose ends that, I hope, one day I will learn how to tie. Until then, this is in loving memory of the boy who lived.

Everything was different one year ago. When this is taken out of context, one would say that that is how years roll by; that things rarely stay the same. That time snatches and gives, that time flows and never halts. And yet… and yet…

Death changes us. Some label this change as trauma while others label it as disillusionment. The essence remains that it changes us — it shakes us. We lost you one year ago and although I had expected time to considerably slow down, it is startling how quickly we are back to this calendar date.

~ 10/08 ~

You impacted my life greatly; both when you were with us and when you weren’t. Your presence was tangible — it was impossible to miss you. You were everywhere. You were loved and celebrated. And then you were gone, just like that, and your absence became equally tangible — it was, and is, impossible not to miss you. You are everywhere. You are loved… and celebrated.

For me, life completely changed one year ago. The people around me changed; relationships and power dynamics changed. At points I found myself in places where I thought I could catch a glimpse, a faint glimpse, of how you may have felt — I went through depression, through intolerable days, overwhelming emotions, and all throughout, I thought of you. Had you felt the same way?

So many questions continue to remain unanswered for me. In one year I have seen the lines between right and wrong quickly blur. Grey has become the predominant colour, and emotion — morality being grey, the sky being grey, the emptiness being grey. You have had an unprecedented ideological impact on me; I view the world much, much different now. For the first time, the change that I have gone through as a person is visible; almost like I can reach into my insides and touch the growth.

We were never what they would call ‘close’ — for me, you were a mentor. I saw you as someone that inspired me. Your faith in me and my capabilities was astonishing. You were the sunshine and when you left, the light went out of our lives and there was darkness everywhere. It was impossible to believe that someone, who was so dearly loved, so dearly cherished, found nothing worth holding onto. It scared me, it continues to scare me. As I replay memories, I tightly try to hold onto whatever little I have of you — hoping to bottle it all up and cork it before all these memories become hazy moments that I struggle to recall.

After your death, I saw hundreds of people from all across the country coming forward and talking about you. I saw them grieve; the grief of your loss united people who knew you little and loved you a lot, alike. I saw you on national news, in court proceedings, and in heartbroken messages. The night I heard about your death, I wept and thought that this would be a silent grief I will learn to come to terms with alone. However, what followed was much beyond my grasp — it was out of control. People chanted your name, they protested, there was anger, and there was endless pain. The chants continue to haunt me to this day. They are loud as ever. The anger, the pain, and the small victories we won for you in the last one year are loud as ever.

I have met lots of people in my life, Sushant, and they have touched me. You, however, have impacted me in ways more than you could have comprehended. Your presence was a guiding force and your absence is a void that I have embraced. Your absence reminds me, every day, of the inadequacies in my existence. In your decision, I have found my strength and my weakness. In your choice, I have found questions and answers. You are a light that I keep in my heart — a light that I resort to when I see mine extinguishing.

So thank you, and sorry. I am sorry that there were words left unsaid. I am sorry that I decided to wait for your response on WhatsApp, one that never came. I am sorry that I did not rush to you and tell you that you are loved and everything but a failure. I am sorry that I never built the bridges that would give me the opportunity of doing so.

But thank you, thank you for being both, the reason I found myself devastated and the remedy that helped me embrace my brokenness. Thank you for teaching me about death, and in that manner, about life. Thank you for the laughter and the guidance. Thank you for being a memory that I have carefully folded and leafed in an old book that I like to pick out every now and then. Thank you… for being who you were.

The boy who lived.

One year has passed by, and I thought of you every day.