Your Room

Day#9 of IntrotoPoetry

Prompt: Landscape

Device: Apostrophe

I think of your room sometimes

The penthouse on the fourth floor.

I loved the balcony and the huge windows

You always covered them up though.

I liked the darkness also, and the lamp light

That threw shadows all around the room, and your face.

.

It was a kind room. Especially on that evening we lay

My hands tracing lines on your wall and pulling at your poster

You talking on and on. I listened, feeling happy

That we were friends. That we could talk, again.

.

Now when I think of you, I think of your room

And imagine you to be kind, like the soft lights

That kissed both of us, as we lay in a world of our own.

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First Impressions

Day#3 of IntrotoPoetry

Prompt: Friend

Form: Acrostic

I’ve used both the prompt and form, and yet, this poem was very very easy to write. 

 

A story reached me before I met her; our

Neighbour and her roommate told it to us

I laughed at the first impression she gave:

The image of her trying to break a rod

Had left her roommate stunned, to say the least.

And now, when I think of all the contradictions

She is made up of; I go back to this image of her –

Rod in one hand, knife in another, relentless

Ever busy to work, to fix things

Ever ready to love.

The Day My Friend Cried

Writing 101: Unlock the Mind

This post is written in context of the flood that is ravaging Jammu and Kashmir, India currently. This is a personal account of a friend’s grief. If you can contribute towards the cause, please do.

I saw her cry for the first time. The person whom I thought was the strongest in the world. The person who goes through more in a year than what I have gone through throughout my life. She cried in my arms. As her sobs travelled up her body, I felt so inadequate trying to contain her sorrow in my arms. But I couldn’t let go.

Her parents hadn’t called her in five days. She didn’t know where her sister was, or half of her relatives. Were they alive and stuck? Had they been rescued by the army? Or, was it…too late? She didn’t know. Being away from it all made it harder. It was her land that was drowning, her people that were isolated. And all she could do was cry in my inadequate arms, trying to contain the sorrow within her. There was nothing she could do. Helplessness is the most painful emotion. It compounds grief and kills fleeting moments of relief. She was helpless because she was away. She was alone because she wasn’t there.

She scans the news every day. When I sit next to her in class, I see her refresh her screen every now and then. Her eyes are constantly drawn towards the unresponsive phone, as if staring at it would make it ring. For the first time, I see that the allure of Literature has failed to seduce her. As our teacher talks about Eliot’s existentialism and Hemingway’s sparse writing style, her mind roams, refusing to be captivated by words which she’d hung on to eagerly, earlier.

I do not know how to comfort her. I hug her as tightly as I can, trying to contain the sorrow, letting her know that she’s not alone. But when she looks at me and says, “What will I go back to? Everything will have changed. When the hard earth which I can feel on my palm begins to slip away from my grasp, what is home anymore?”

I cannot answer her.

The Constants

Some things remain with you, after everything else disappears

The comforting harmony of the night, the cold which hugs you tight.

When you try to remember, you hear laughter and picture bright lights

Was there really no pain then, or is this how you choose to picture it?

But now, what haunts you is the eerie conversations between silences

The forced smiles, the glances you indulge in before pretending not to see.

 

Things you thought were constant collapse so quickly, 

They replace you with one-dimensional memories of you

And when they see you, they see a memory they chose to preserve,

Gradually, even that shadow of you fades away, and you see

Their eyes, blinking to fit you into an image you outgrew years ago.

 

They become speeding cars, making your heart thud for just a moment

Before they soar past you, leaving you on the street kissed by dim lamps.

In the end, that is what you remember: the soft light which shone bravely

After all the other lights were put out, the gentle breeze fanning your tears.

 

They fade away soon, and you force yourself to stop caring

Loneliness is sticky like honey; its taste clings to your mouth,

You gaze at the sleeping sky, the grass peering longingly above

And you remember the constants, everything that stayed with you,

While you were too busy running after sun beams and mirages.

Chandni Chowk in the Rain

Chandni Chowk. Famous for its Mughal architecture, for its crowded streets, for hot tandoori chicken, mutton kebabs and sweets, for the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, for the sheer intensity of the people you bump into…Chandni Chowk was where we decided to spend a free Friday morning and afternoon. We travelled by the metro, but being snobbish English students, we decided that asking for directions or visiting the Red Fort would be too touristy on our parts, when we were, we like to believe, Delhiites by now. So, instead of asking an experienced rickshaw driver to take us somewhere, we decided to walk in some random direction. We were confident that it was an impossibility to be truly lost in the midst of such a crowd.

ImageOur efforts led us to Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara. Having never been to a gurudwara. we were excited to get in. We had vague notions that entry required us to cover our heads and remove our shoes, but for the most part, we were lost. We looked around us, and watched many devoted Sikhs walking with their eyes fixed to the steps leading to the gurudwara. Finally, we found a counter to drop our shoes, and climbed up the stairs, A man standing on the side with a basket of glittering scarfs offered us one each to cover our heads. Once we were in, the sound of Punjabi music filled the air. None of us could figure out the words. but the devotion it carried sounded so alluring that we stayed silent the entire time we were inside,  We sat on the carpeted floor, and looked around at the imposing pillars, the intricately designed ceiling, the unblinking singers and a golden structure in front of us. We had no idea what anything was called, nor what to do other than gape foolishly. Around us, people were flocking in in large numbers, bowing on the ground, praying fervently, meditating close-eyed, and singing along softly. We felt left out, as if they knew some divine secret we didn’t, as if the songs that were being sung conveyed some magic we couldn’t understand, as if their faith made them look beyond the sheer beauty of the gurudwara into a place which transcended worldly beauty, as if they could comprehend the voice of God and we were deaf to it. We were awestruck by the magnanimity of the faith of those around us. As we descended the stairs and returned the scarfs, the man smiled at us gratefully, as if we’d made his day by visiting the gurudwara. When we went to collect our shoes, the lady who gave it to us reverently touched it with her forehead, making us feel almost ashamed for our absolute inability to understand the godly purpose of the actions of everyone around us.

By the time we left, it was raining. As a Keralite, I regard Delhi rains with contemptuous disregard, or at the most, with suspicious disdain. How these Delhiites call a few drops of water which are randomly sprinkled on to the earth ‘rain’ is much beyond me. For me, rain had to be accompanied by thunder and lightning, heavy winds and continuous shower to earn its title. But today, even I had to concede that it was raining and wasn’t just drizzling like usual. We didn’t have umbrellas, so we decided to face the rain with just our whining voices as protection. Whatever Chandni Chowk may be otherwise, in the rain. there’s just one word to define it: “messy”. The streets get flooded, ugly puddles form right in the most unlikely places, ruthless rickshaw drivers race one another to splash waters on defenseless pedestrians and you just end up getting really slimy.

ImageStill unrelenting to visit the Red Fort, we conceded that the Jama Masjid was worth our time, since it was, technically, a mosque, and not a tourist spot. Technically. jama Masjid was a place I loved to visit, for the simple exhilaration I get when I realize how tiny I am. The massive, dull red structure takes my breath away every single time. We walked in barefoot, to find the place flooded till our ankles. We waded through, exploring every corner, remarking how beautiful Indian architecture used to be, and feeling the coolness of the stones with our feet and palms. We also got a peek at a manuscript of the Quran which was 1,400 years old and a footprint of the Prophet etched in stone before the old man closed displaying these closed up his tiny cubicle and went for lunch.

We roamed around the streets after we came out. Careful not to step on cow dung, we watched with fascinated revulsion as meat vendors sold lamb brain, thick slabs of fat, wet, live hens and even a lamb’s head on the sideways. The smell of freshly baked rusk, the heat of the oil used to fry jalebis, the softness of the milk sweets, the white thickness of freshly made lassi, the mouth watering scent of tandoori chicken; all combined with our cold selves and wet shoes soon made us hungry. Sooner than we thought, we turned around and rushed into a restaurant.

Finally, we ended up going to the Red Fort too, admitting that a trip to Chandni Chowk wouldn’t be complete without that. By the time we got back- wet, muddy and happy- we were already in love with Old Delhi; even the most hideous parts of it: the dirty streets, the perennial crowd and the unceasing, dirty rain. We felt like we belonged, lost in the middle of it all.

Image

Sometimes

Sometimes you feel very lonely, even though you’re not alone

Sometimes mere words pierce your heart deeper than daggers

Sometimes you cry without even knowing why

Sometimes you wish you could just curl up and die.

 

Sometimes it’s your loved ones that hurt you the most

Sometimes you find the hostility of dear ones more terrible than the taunts of your enemies

Sometimes your friends can be your worst foes

Sometimes you realize that all you have is yourself.

 

Sometimes people accuse you of things you’ve never done

Sometimes you just can’t defend yourself against these lies however much you try

Sometimes you doubt your own integrity even if you’ve done nothing wrong

Sometimes you feel like giving up, and never trying again.

 

Sometimes you don’t feel like waking up to face a horrible reality

Sometimes even your sleep is broken and haunting

Sometimes you feel the sun burning you, and the rain drenching you

Sometimes you feel more dead than alive.

 

Sometimes you try to swim but end up drowning

Sometimes you scream but no sound comes out

Sometimes you try to breathe but end up suffocating

Sometimes you feel crushed and powerless.

 

Sometimes the soothing power if nature doesn’t work on you

Sometimes your favourite songs don’t give you a high

Sometimes you ignore the wind trying to play with you

Sometimes everything that offered you comfort, no longer holds any meaning.

 

Sometimes you look around but find not a soul

Sometimes you call out but don’t get a reply

Sometimes your smile is greeted with cold stares’

Sometimes you find being with yourself is better than being with anyone else.

 

Sometimes you realize that happiness is just an illusion

Sometimes you find that people you thought would be there aren’t here

Sometimes you know that blood relationships just don’t exist

Sometimes you search for love, but can’t find it anywhere.

 

Sometimes eyes that were once filled with love look icy cold

Sometimes voices that comforted curse you

Sometimes people who laughed with you laugh at you

Sometimes people who loved you just don’t, anymore.

 

Sometimes you try to lift your head but just can’t

Sometimes you try to walk but end up falling

Sometimes you try to wake up but can’t open your eyes

Sometimes the world around you just doesn’t stop spinning.

 

Sometimes you find silence more musical than voices

Sometimes you find darkness more comfortable than daylight

Sometimes you find the cold warmer than the bright sun

Sometimes hands that once held yours feel cold

 

Sometimes arms that were wrapped around you strangle you

Sometimes lips that showered you with kisses twist with wrath

Sometimes the healing power of a touch just ends up destructing.

 

Sometimes you feel very lonely, even though you’re not alone

Sometimes mere words pierce your heart deeper than daggers

Sometimes you cry without even knowing why

Sometimes you wish you could just curl up and die

The Nine of Us

NaPoWriMo Day#27

 

The last two months before exams

When we stayed awake at night sipping

Sweet, hot, black coffee and laughing

About the stupid clueless guys in class,

Staring at the clear night sky, sneaking

Up to the terrace and lying on the roof,

All the while knowing that we had to study,

And yet, always ending up talking and laughing.

 

Those days, we thought this would last forever

The last day came, we hugged and kissed

Promised to keep in touch, though we were

All going different ways.

 

Sometimes I wonder whether

We were stupid enough to believe

That things would always be

Just the way we wanted it to be.

 

Now, I cherish the rare moments

When I hear from the eight of you.

Sometimes I wonder whether it was

A mistake that all of you went ahead

And changed so drastically that

I almost didn’t recognize you, while

I still remained the same, hoping

You’d remember those days

Before we went different ways,

And became different people.