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.

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The Happy Charm

NaPoWriMo Day#3: Write a charm – a simple rhyming poem, in the style of a recipe-slash-nursery rhyme. It could be a charm against warts, or against traffic tickets. It could be a charm to bring love, or to bring free pizzas from your local radio station

I SUCK at rhyming, so here’s a crappy, cheesy, corny poem:

A gentle wind to chase away your blues

The joy in your eyes reflecting all kinds of hues.

Our feet sinking in the messy sand

As we walk hand-in-hand.

My happiness charm is easy,

Though it may sound cheesy

All I need is you

To make me feel new.

Paradise Lost and Some Thoughts

Paradise Lost and Some Thoughts

A week long holiday. The college is almost empty.

Books in hand, I step out

To enjoy the last smiling breezes of spring

Before it is cruelly extinguished

By the summer sun.

 

Under the cafe tree I sit,

My head trying to concentrate

On Satan’s seduction of Eve in Paradise Lost.

But the debate of good and evil

Seemed so hard to believe 

In a world coloured with

Different, brilliant shades of grey.

 

I close my book.

The question of Free Will

Seemed distant as I watch

Dry leaves being tossed around

By the wind.

 

Adam and Eve’s folly seems distant,

Yet their loss familiar. 

Could I trace back my mistakes

To the day Eve’s hand reached for that fruit?

Or was it just in me, to be so imperfect?

 

I close my eyes,

And the questions suddenly stop.

Everything becomes clear suddenly:

I am here, this moment is mine,

I feel happy, it may not last, but it exists now.

I will enjoy this moment, I can cry tomorrow. 

Tiny Pieces

Tiny Pieces

After everything,

I decided to say 

Goodbye to you.

 

It felt as if a great wind

Was blowing in the spaces

You occupied, but I didn’t rush

To fill them, letting tiny things

Accumulate, till I could feel 

Complete again.

 

I took the leap

I said goodbye,

Some days I wonder

How I would feel

If I was still that full.

 

But then I listen to the wind

Inside my emptiness,

Its force gentler now

As I’m being filled

By tiny pieces from everywhere

Occupying the spaces you left,

And I feel happy for

The emptiness within me.

This Night

We lay on the moist grass

A soft wind blew. The cold

Had taken leave, summer

Had not yet stomped in.

It was the beautiful in-between season

When tiny flowers unabashedly coloured

And the nights were cloaked in a cooling hug.

 

The black trees swayed gently above us

The stars seemed so close and the sky so near

That it seemed they’d fall on us any moment.

 

But all I could see was your tender smile

And the shadows of leaves softly touching your face

As the sky shone softly in your eyes,

I realized I could always see this night

In you. 

Beneath the Coconut Trees

Beneath the Coconut Trees

When you’re away from home, what person, thing, or place do you miss the most?

The sunlight striking the water rushing towards me

The slender leaves of the neem tree swaying lightly

The breeze whispering gently about spectacular sunsets

The ugly white house in the middle of all this beauty.

 

In the water always flowing gently to meet me,

I lost myself again and again, in every wave.

With the blue sky peering behind the coconuts,

I gaze up, my mind neither happy nor sad

Just alive, just there, just at home. 

 

A Rainy Night

Days of fatigue, nights of sweat

Struggling to move day by day

The parched earth, the bare sky

Lethargy enveloping every being

My heart as black as the sun.

 

For days, I’ve been feeling dry

Like a riverbed sucked of its life

My head forced down by the dizziness

Of looking up into a merciless sky

Even my tears seemed reluctant to flow

So that sorrow ended up choking me inside.

 

But tonight, a cool breeze knocked at my window

Surprising me, stirring me from my numbness

I watched as it brushed the trees, and

Playfully tugged the corners of my mouth

I let the tears flow freely, as I smiled to see

How God made it rain for me.