Until We Meet

 

I wish you find me at the library, sitting, skimming through pages of a novel that I will never know the end of, or maybe at a slam poetry open mic night when my brimming inferiority complex spills and splashes out of my body language and sentence formation a little too obviously. We could take the train back home and talk until the sound of “agla station Dwarka sector-21 hai” fights its way through our potentially infinite conversation and screams how I have a home that is not in the eyes of the stranger sitting next to me in public transport. Maybe I will take you there so you can continue your story in my balcony, only to pause at sunrise so you can fall in love with the way I love the sun.

I could love you on your sad days. We could drive out of the city to spend the night somewhere you can actually see the stars, so if you have to cry at least the sky will be full of bokeh in your blurry vision. I might as well play your favourite music and then stop at the petrol pump store to buy those new chips and condoms we have been planning on trying out for so long and come out with dreams of cooking that fancy meal together, and two bags full of ingredients that will never see the kitchen counter, or for that matter, the light of the day. I would do all of this only to watch you finally smile at the sunrise in our balcony so I could fall in love with how you love the sun.

I hope you would recognize the aspiration in my eyes every time we pass that Fabindia store and I hope you take me to that nukkad chai stall for a 7 rupees tea date to remind me that happiness doesn’t always exist in the overpriced linen that elite magazines feature. We could walk on poorly maintained footpaths and laugh until the dust and the noise of our busy city gets forgotten amidst stories of work gossip and tales of all types of Uber drivers. We could eye a stranger’s dog together and plan to get one when we’re both retired and only have our garden, art, and blood pressure to look after. My fingers could find yours in overcrowded streets, art exhibitions, ticket counters for sports matches, at the bottom of empty popcorn tubs, and during sunsets when we fall in love with the sun and each other all over again.

I’m glad I haven’t found you yet, because until then you can be whoever I want you to be, but don’t worry, I am a writer – I do not mind the would haves or could haves existing only in folded pages in a library book I forgot to return.

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40 days we have been apart and you are back – back to water dying of stagnancy, plants dying because they have not been watered, a dining table polka dotted for millimetres thick dust and a few mugs and plates that appear to be stationary since the beginning of time, water bottles you should not be drinking from, and a kitchen counter full of packaged food wrappers. You are back to a daughter who didn’t bother calling you before you took off even while knowing you fear flight, and to a husband who hasn’t kept his phone aside ever since you have arrived. My father and I have never stored water in pots, we have never tried to give life to green, we don’t eat on a dining table, we never drank from water bottles, we have always been fixing our own food, I don’t call anyone, and he has never been able to keep his phone off.

It is the way it has always been, the house just lacks parts of you in reminiscence that has a pungent stink, because dear Ma,

the three of us have never been family, and so we never learnt to make a home for anyone but our own selves.

Greatness

It is 46 minutes past 9, I’ve just woken up, and

The miniscule embrace of dry clothes on a clothesline, wild for gentle breeze

sweeps me with the 14th thought of “will I ever be able to make it big”

In the past 48 hours, and then I go brush my teeth.

 

Moments of self doubt probably wriggle up my sleeves

When I collect them a centimeter from my elbows

Before detangling all hushed out, dilemmatic, emotion

With double ply tissue paper and a blank word document,

And whisper sweet nothings in my ears in the few minutes I spend in

Only subtle existence – “You’re nothing, my darling, and nothing you will always be”.

I accept it for meditation.

 

Questions have choruses when they escape from amidst the polishing

Of Jupiter Red luxury cars, fluttering of the fancy paper of

Wedding cards with pastel aesthetic, and the jerk of a double breasted blazer

On a crisp white shirt, until I sing along but only in deranged melody,

And the opera plays in my head in concentric circles.

 

I read affinity displayed for me in little gestures, and it occurs to me that

When even time is a construct of human imagination,

What makes you think your love for me isn’t?

 

But then little thoughts make me laugh and in the bitter aches

Of lacked oxygen, I realize that there is no Big in the universe, just a splendid

Amount of Biggers, and sometimes,

Being just Big is big enough.

Wilted

Uproot me every once in a while

and wash me of the ground that I carry between my toes.

De-thorn me of my thoughts thought out loud because they hurt,

and dethrone me in the process,

put me in a vase; watch me die.

 

Petal by petal, leaf by leaf, I expose you to my idiosyncrasies,

witness me curl my fingers as I rip apart every sweater,

with my hair becoming static from the constant stripping of all

warmth I ever gave to myself, until all I carry is faded pollen

thoughts that crumble onto the mahogany of your table

and then brush them into a dustpan and throw them into the

basement of your psyche, amidst haunting

temptations to love me (I’m dying, we all are).

Do not deceive me by watering me, we both know you’re

only drowning my corpse, and if you do, sink me during dawn

in your bathtub, with all my thorns – I wish to revel in your blood,

in your agony,

in the fact that something stings you after

I prove the concept of mortality.

 

Watch me wear the colour of dead roses on my lips;

beautiful flowers were never meant to live.

Unfelt

I was sitting on a bench in a closed classroom,

and you were asking me why I do not look people in the eye;

I tried to divert you from the topic because I didn’t

have the profoundly inky explanation you were hoping to hear,

I simply didn’t know, and I know you didn’t care for simplicity.

Before time knew it, you were telling me how you don’t feel, and I

was blind and deaf to the concept, and too many questions

were spinning inside of me like a continuum of blizzards

until certain sentences barely had words and some had

14 question marks, but by then you had already pushed me

against the wall and the vowels, and consonants, and punctuation

marks slowly balanced themselves on the top of my floating ribs

as if I were a snow globe.

 

The next evening, the second and last day of us,

you suggested we run barefoot on grass reeking of concoctions

churned by setting suns and birdsongs to soothe the 7 types of pain

I felt in my feet from walking in shoes

that weren’t meant for me. And we did, with you pointing

out 4 goalposts with your arm half exposed under a clumsily

rolled up shirt sleeve, with me looking for the lipstick stains

on your collar that had mysteriously disappeared, with us, two

strangers, spending an evening made of yellowed-out pages of

a Mills and Boon, until it was time for us to never talk again.

 

In every remembrance of our 48 hour rendezvous

I would ponder how one couldn’t feel until exactly

365 days after us

I began tearing into people’s souls through their eyelashes,

and dancing them into scratched vinyls of Presley,

 

with my heart only being an audience

of only an abandoned stage

with only a spotlight illuminating

only particles of dust.

 

Undiffered

I lost you years ago.

Then why do I find you every day?

Everything that we knew, together, has changed. Everything we touched, everything we saw, everything we learnt – it has all changed. The television we saw films on, and the films themselves, the walls that witnessed our fondest memories, the water in which we first learnt how to swim, and the swings in our garden, nothing is the same anymore. And yet, nothing is different either.

The huge, bulky television became a sleek screen, but it serves the same purpose.

The films almost look real now, but they’re just as magical.

The walls got painted over and over, but they are still walls.

The water does change from time to time, but the sound of splashes remains unvaried.

The swings did get evicted, but only to be replaced with better ones, more fun ones.

Nothing has changed, it has all only evolved, and love, these are the kind of differences that can be cast into similarities.

I know I haven’t known you in years, but I have known the concept of you all along, and the concepts – they never change.

You will always remain the sea green in a sea of blue and I will always remain the purple in all the shades of pink.

And that’s how I find you, every single day of every single week, for the past eight years, and I know that when you find me, it will all be different, it will all be the same, and it will all be better.