Changing Colour

Day#2 Prompt: Today, I’d like you to write a poem inspired by, or in the form of, a recipe! It can be a recipe for something real, like your grandmother’s lemon chiffon cake, or for something imaginary, like a love potion or a spell.

 

 

The  cold creamy paneer

Greedily licks up the fiery red

Gravy frothing above a blue

Orange yellow violet flame,

And flushes into a shy yellow.

It burns away the paleness,

Excitedly.

.

Your tender earlobes

Blush into a weeping pink

Salt leaves your eyes

But you smile blazing rainbow

The silver needle has left its mark,

Willingly.

Cliche

This poem is a cliche,

Like all small revelations are.

.

Today I learned

You can love

And not be together.

.

It was nice to talk.

It is always nice to hear your voice,

Even though it hurts now.

.

Today, we smiled, and it felt good

These tiny steps we take

To navigate the terrains we leaped over.

And I learned to appreciate another shade of

All that matters is love.

.

Today, I knew I would love you, always

And that we would not be together

And that was okay. Today I smiled

I hope you did too.

A New Year

Day#8 of IntrotoPoetry

Prompt: Pleasure

Device: Anaphora

 

On a wintry morning, she wakes

Regretfully leaving behind layers of heavy quilts

And the welcoming, warm limbs of her sleeping roommates.

 

On a wintry morning, she turns the tap

The water is merciless in its icy gush

Her fingers turn numb as she gazes at the fog outside.

 

On a wintry morning, she changes

Goosebumps immediately cover her

An inadequate blanket against trembling skin.

 

On a wintry morning, she sips

The coffee shares its heat with her.

Dressed now, she’s ready to leave.

 

On a wintry morning, she lingers

The most peaceful of smiles tracing her face

This year, this January, her happiness surprises her.

A Little Extra Salt

Day#7 of IntrotoPoetry

Prompt: Flavour

 

My mother always said,  “a little extra salt means the dish is made with a lot of love.”

When I come home, your gaze is so unbearable

My eyes fill with salt.

Away, now, in this cold city,

I lick a bit of salt off my finger

In the middle of cooking, and I

Think of you, in your kitchen,

Tapping a little gravy off the spoon

Into your palm, and smiling..

 

 

A Place Called Home

There is a place called home

In a country marooned by still backwaters

And a gentle wind waltzing with trees

Under the eyes of burning sunsets.

.

The flavours of this land strike you

With its colour and music,

Wherever you look, the bustle is endless.

Move with the crowd, and turn right

To reach home in a country which rose out of water.

.

In this grey and smoky world

I sometimes forget the way home.

The colours and music seem lost

As I drown in rivers, failing

To find my way back.

.

I do not know when I will find my way again

To the place called home

In a country half drowned in lakes –

Only the dream of what awaits me there

Reminds me to turn right, always.

Crazy Women

Why do we so easily call a woman crazy?

Maybe I am writing this in the aftermath of watching The Hours, and recollecting Mrs. Dalloway and the brilliant, depressed and suicidal Virginia Woolf, which led me to remember Sylvia Plath as well. Maybe I am crazy too, for letting dead strangers and books affect me so much, yet again. But that my mental condition need not diminish the question: why do we so easily call a woman crazy?

Is it because all we see are images of happy women everywhere? Women with straight set teeth and shining hair laugh as they ride a bike, eat a mango, apply face wash, buy a bathroom cleaner, use a new brand of pads – why are the women on billboards and TVs so happy? What is so exciting about a masala powder, so painless about menstruation, so exhilarating about an air freshener that the woman smiles without pausing?

Is it because women are supposed to forget themselves, all the time? Women are the ones who balance career and kids, a woman nurses her husband when she is sick, patiently finds a solution while those around her lose their heads. A woman is always a hero, but one that disappears. She is essential in the background, in the margins, as a shadow in the lives of others. She is supposed to see this position as a privilege; her life of service is happiness because she makes others happy.

So, when is a woman called crazy? When she isn’t happy. When she realizes being selfless isn’t being complete, isn’t love.

And why is this woman called crazy? Why should her unhappiness, her anger be quelled immediately? Because this woman is dangerous. So, her actions are termed irrational, her feelings hysterical, her words emotional. What is wrong with irrationality? What is wrong with hysteria? Why deny emotions? What is life without all this?

What is life if I am not the crazy woman, at least once in a while?

Let me crazy, for a while. It might be reckless, but I am happy. I can almost taste life.

I can never access the genius of Woolf or Plath. But let me have a taste of their madness, oh let me revel in insanity for a while.

Home

When you are away from home, there is this unshakable feeling of being exiled. Everything feels makeshift, temporary, like an adjustment until something permanent takes its place.

I’ve been living in a flat for the past year (The one year anniversary passed by, unnoticed, as all dates tend to do in a mind that just can’t hold on to numbers). In many ways, it feels like home. I love drinking tea on the terrace steps every evening, when a slight wind blows faithfully, never failing to bring all my hair to my face. Sometimes, we go up to our terrace much after midnight, and have our deepest conversations. I feel relieved when I return from somewhere, and it feels like I am coming back “home”.

But this is temporary. The clothes hanger that dangles from a wall, collapsing from holding too much weight, the paint that scrapes from the ceiling every time it rains, the windows that don’t shut properly, the stove which stands on three legs – these don’t faze me.I am convinced this is temporary. This home is mine, for now. Next year, there will be another name on that lease.

I think of words a lot. Sunset, chocolate, love, pain, biriyani, loneliness, trees, stars – these are some of my favourites. Then I develop images around them, and watch them all pass me by, as I sit still, like a passenger in a train.. .

With the word ‘home’, the breeze immediately begins blowing. Sometimes there is a slight drizzle, sometimes not. Everything is a lush green. The guava and sapota trees are there, though they’ve been cut years ago. The neem is taller, though still slender. And the water… I can’t see the river bed, there are no plastic bags. It’s a rush of waves. I can hear wind-chimes in the distance. Then Amma places her plump, soft hands on me. As usual, they feel heavy and light at the same time. I sink into her touch. Appa is there. His smile shows teeth just like mine.  I smile back, and his eyes shine. The scene seems to last forever, like a badly directed Hindi movie. Except, even in my fantasy, the wind gets hair in my eyes.

This is my picture of home. My sisters aren’t there. Maybe it’s because now they’re exiled too, just like me.