Balcony blues 

The light of now isn’t the light that sweeps clean, the remnants of night from the farthest and the darkest corner of your room. No, the light of now, waiting behind the tallest apartment building, morning but barely, awaits the west side of the sky, to try its luck again. 
It escapes, sometimes, filtered, in patches, and pastes itself on my marble floor. What can I do? I am as helpless as you. I tread upon it, dipping my foot in a puddle of morning, and forget about it just as soon as it complains.
It’s time now, it is now waiting, the west windows of my home are painted red in their veins. It again slips through gaps between buildings, snaking its way through gullies, because the night is chasing, and it must hurry. Gasping, stumbling and reddening, it alights on my walls, breathing.
It changes colours, and dies a content death, fading into the fresh paint of my wall. No traces left, but a moist eye here and there, looking out of balconies, mourning.

Cistern Dreams 

Lying in the cistern of an afternoon, I extend my hand to the faucet, turn it. Pink, frothy water comes gushing out of it, like blood mixed with candy floss and settles at my feet, warm and consoling. Slowly, it fills the cistern, till the water comes over my chest. I drift into sleep.

In my sleep, I am nestled like chiffon at a woman’s waist. I imagine his voice, like sugar left to caramelise, that refuses to. How long has it been since I’ve turned to take a good look at prison that holds this voice for me? It’s eyes, like windows that opened to a camera badly focused, bright. It’s nose, proud and protruding and it’s lips from whence emanated the sound. In my sleep, I encircle the thick neck and stand on my toes, putting my own two lips to his’s, making a soft chirping sound.
The cistern overflows and I turn off the faucet. The water has grown cold and transparent. I step out, shivering and naked, I curl up into a ball under a blanket and text.

My Name is Sacred.

I turn when someone calls my name and I do not stop and think about it. My mother must have spent a year, thinking about it.

My mother had a different name before she got married to my father, before she became a Muslim. She had the name of the Hindu goddess of prosperity. Now, her Arabic name means “Beautiful”. One night, while watching a particularly old movie with her on the laptop, lying beside her, I asked her, “ How do you even turn, when someone calls you by your new name?”. She was used to this name for twenty one years now.

 “I am used to it now”, she said

“But, what’s your name?”, I asked her

“Internally, I start when I hear my old name. It’s a little shock, a little jolt, I am alert, and I turn. But, no one calls me by that now. So, I know it’s not for Me.”, she said

I was about to say something when I realized she wasn’t ever asked this very vital question. I knew she would like to continue. She didn’t and that saddened me more than anything else. My convert of a mother, doesn’t talk much about herself.

My first identity was my name. To that, lot of other identities added and their hold of me was fickle and slight. They slid off, as I grew older. The one identity which stayed, like one’s scent, was my name.

Noise.

What worries me? Hmm let’s see. People succumbing worries me. 

People succumbing, weak kneed, slack jawed, limp faced. Your fall has no purpose, no where to end, to reason to begin. You fall, because it’s fun to fall. Because it’s easy to fall. Beacause if you fall, you do not have to answer your conscience. Your conscience will see you falling into the yawning abyss, it will try finding reason in your eyes. But, you are mad. Madness knows no reason. So though, you are looking at the bluest sky of the year, your  conscience only finds cloudy black pools staring back at it. 
It mutters a distasteful scorn and returns. You are still falling. 

You are now alone, falling. How long has it been? A year? Two? A day? A second? Do you still remember to count? It’s just you and me now. You can be honest. What is being honest? Hello! Yes, you dozed off. No, it’s okay. I think so  too. It must have been all your lifetime. 
Relax. We will be at this for a while. Your conscience is now dead. Yes, it was a quiet funeral. Your mother was the gravest mourner. Get it? Haha. Sigh. 

So, it’s just you and me. How does it feel to finally meet me? You cannot hide your face forever. I am not that bad. There, that wasn’t too hard was it? Oh you are crying!

Mirrors have the toughest life man. Tch. 

* The sound of bones breaking, a devastating scream and the lost sound of a broken mirror* 

Sleep soirees, no sorries

When I sleep and when I wake up couldn’t have been more indifferent to each other. No matter when sleep decides to grace my prickling conscience, my alarm will go off at 5 sharp and somehow, my body doesn’t revolt then. It suddenly, gets a jolt of never before found motivation and is on a power drive. Brush, tablet, brush hair, check hair, re do hair, chuck hair, grab keys, purse and shoes and off I go, to walk in the chilly monsoon mornings, headfirst, brain freeze.

Did you see that? You saw what it did?

It didn’t care and laughed that sly, raspy laugh of an aristocrat to another.
Does sleep care? Hardly. It’s too cold to be sleeping with the windows open and not cold enough to be thankful for Windows and doors, the time is neither so late that the leftover bits of guilt put me to forced sleep nor so early that I do not worry about it, the sounds are not quiet enough to put me in an involuntary state of mourning, nor are they loud enough to elicit an artless expression of disgust. The night isn’t going anywhere, it’s hanging but not quite dead.

Tiny little somethings start playing tiny little somethings with my eyes and I get the hint of , just the bare whiff of delicious sleep.Overjoyed, I close my eyes and lay, still, afraid to disturb the Royal, revered oncoming of the sleep, my stillness is my prayer. I close my eyes harder, awwwww yes, there it is, almost there, I can even foresee a generous spell of good dreams for the night…..

Something must have gone wrong. My Sleep refuses to cross the threshold of temptation and step into this bleak world of reality where, I have to wake up early in the morning tomorrow. Told you, doesn’t care.

It reminds me of all the poets I know. Obsessed with character, obsessed with the play, obsessed with how their own letters curve and crawl but never quite sure when asked ” Yeah, that’s fine. What next?”

My sleep was that poet. It was vain and stupid and completely blind to tomorrow morning, where I will face the world alone, with half functionality ,zero chill and 100 percent snap.

Are you happy now? Moron.

The drunk drinks harder.

Two cups of diluted decoction, two long breaks, two times I felt the urge to look out of the window for a long long time and by the end of it, I was grabbing the keys off the table and making a run for the stairs. The day was over early and there were still a few minutes of twilight I could catch, filtered blue and big through my dusty windscreen.

Dusty, dotted and neglected, my windshield still did a great job at filtering the blue. I stopped at a red light and saw  stray bits of cloud making a slow, reluctant retreat, like the last ones to leave a funeral. The dots and the dust bothered me. It spoke of a drunkard.

The durnkard

She earned odd notes of 50s and 100s, she sometimes pushed him back, she at times, hit at him with all her might, she sometimes cried it out. All this I see in the short walk from the car door to the lift. Sometimes she stood adamant, arms crossed in front of my mother, she absolutely needed five thousand rupees to pay her bills and the drunkard woke up each day, cleaned all the cars in the parking lot, lazed, and the odd 50s and 100s broke down to just bouts of guileless drunken slumber, that I sometimes spied beyond oily curtains, barely hiding anything from view.

The she, is my watchman’s lawfully wedded and bedded wife and the he, is the drunk watchman.  The spots on my windshield  turn green around the edges and off I go, as the blue runs deeper into itself, I climb the flyover, still mulling about the drunk.

When I finally park the car in the parking lot, I stare at the dots and dust. He hasn’t been cleaning the car for three days now. He never misses a day.

I haven’t even seen his wife around for three days now, I haven’t seen his children.

Later, I come to know, I might never see one of his children again. His son is in the hospital battling fatal burns, that burnt as deep as his breathing vitals. Each breath must hurt, I think as I exhale, feeling privileged.

I try not to imagine the pain, as I stare at the ceiling, my mother is still talking. Does it matter?

Will it really matter if someone pointed out that there wasn’t anything to tie together between the boy’s burns and the father’s habit? Dots and dust on my windshield speak of a drunkard, who might never hear a kind word again.

How do you fight two battles at once? The loss and the lost.

The next day, I clean the dots and the dust myself, as the dots browned, they sang of the kid’s slow demise and I didn’t have the strength to pray for a half burnt life of nine years.

 

 

Dotted lines. 

Surgery, hospital scent, blinding lights

Shut your eyes, real real tight 

Cold cold metal against warm throbbing life

Bite your lips hard, it’s a scalpel not a knife 
Dotted lines run the length of you

They shift, as they cut, what a hard thing to do 

Years later, still on the table, you are reduced.

Still the lines shift, oblivious to you.
Why get on the table 

Why lay stark naked 

Why let the dotted lines desecrate what’s sacred 

They’ll shift, you’ll lay wide awake 

Dreading the scalpel each time; but perfection is at stake  

So, you shut your eyes real real tight

Bite your lips hard

And let the scalpel in plain sight

Cut you, as the lines shift, it’s a perfect postcard. 

Waiting the lifetime out.

He doesn’t sleep

He sits up straight, each night

Night after night after night

I fear night

 

All night, he doesn’t sleep

Doesn’t let me sleep

To pass the time, to watch me weep

He’ll break my heart, in short sweeps

While I break his ego, letting the hurt seep

But he doesn’t sleep

And doesn’t let me sleep

 

“It hurts here, here and here”, he says

All night, every night, he lays

I nod and let myself wait

This lifetime out.

Left

We are women you leave behind

We are left at windows, staring out for ages

We are left at doorsteps, counting remaining pages

We are left crossing out dates on the calendar

We are left mumbling names, out of character

We are left flipping pages in the dead of the night.

We are left singing broken bits of songs, till morning light

We are left building a fortress around ourselves

We are left wavering between screams and yells

We are left piecing together fragments of time

We are left contemplating punishment without crime

We are left in dignity and respect

We are left in agony, to build air castles erect

We are left where life and love become one and the same

We are left freezing frames

We are left to wait

And we are never left.

 

 

 

 

Dead Dreams

Crushed dreams make sad bodies

Their vacant eyes sing haunting maladies

Floating dead in stagnant, forgotten waters

Whispering, “They shot us”.

 

Each time wind blows, a sudden redeemer

It stirs the bodies, the reek floats

And reaches the dreamer

In slow tears, delivering the blow

 

Such is the nature

Of crushed dreams

They’ll find their dreamer, by all means

Till they drag him to the earth, fire and the sea

And then shall they finally, cease to be.