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Blue is the Warmest Colour

Floating-Jordan-Dead-Sea

In school, it was made compulsory, where we had two classes a week. I was deeply conscious of my jiggles and wiggles, and I dreaded donning the suit. It didn’t necessarily have to be Monday for me to feel the blues.

But try as I might, the water kept coming back for me. I’m quite absent-minded, and had this uncanny knack for landing plop! In the middle of puddles even though I had so carefully avoided them in my head. The water bridged this dissonance between my imagination and the harsh reality. But sometimes, it came to my rescue. I was socially awkward for the longest time, and when I wanted to cancel a date, all I did was take one look at the sky above, and imagine that the clouds looked like stones being angrily rubbed against each other to start a fire. Only of course, it wouldn’t be fire, but torrential rain. That my predictions almost never came true is another matter. I had succeeded in wriggling out of my commitment.

I made up my mind to live only in sunny places when I grew up. I remember when I was little, I spread out the moth-eaten map that belonged to my grandfather in front of me, and traced my fingers along the places where the sun never set. Thailand. India. Libya. Perhaps Spain. In those moments, I imagined myself a traveller walking across hot sands and sipping cool drinks, and a warm flood washed over me.

But before I could grow up and chase the sun, I still had school to complete. In the 12th grade, my class teacher announced that she would be taking us on a surprise trip somewhere. I groaned. I was always trepid about surprises. “Just make sure you carry lots of sunscreen.” She had said, and my soul soared. We were going to a sunny place! For the first time in my entire life, I was excited about a school trip.

But when we reached, I felt betrayed. The sunscreen was to guard us against the sun…at the beach! I was so upset; it looked like the sun in my face had already set. I sat on the sand, under the shade of an umbrella and looked mutinously at all my classmates who were playing Frisbee, or swimming. No amount of coaxing would make me so much as dip my feet in the water. I sighed and took out my pen and paper, to vent out my angst in pretentious poetry.

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any worse, the wind swooped down on me like a bird and pecked the papers out of my hand. I let out a small shriek and chased after it, unmindful of where my feet where headed. The ocean wrapped around me like a net, and arrested my fall. For a while I choked and gasped, arms flailing, but eventually I began to bob like an apple in a bucket. In fact, my calm was reinstated in a bit, and the water was surprisingly not so cold. My fear melted into the warm giant blue puddle.

My papers were lost, but the poetry remained. If the world was my oyster, then I was glad I was a creature of the sea.

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Lava

lava

They are afraid of you, and they will never admit it.

Sometimes you’re ablaze, because the sun has temporarily set to rise again in your eyes. Other times they’ll shake their heads in perplexity, you will blink and all that will be left is a dull, incandescent glow.

Lovers pour their hearts out to you in pretentious poetry and plastic roses. Even the chocolates they feed you taste like margarine, not butter. Their kisses feel sticky, like cello tape-how else will they shut you up? You see, people dismiss things they don’t understand.

Before you sleep, they will remind you that pillows are for smothering your thoughts, your ideas, dreams…and feelings, what are they?

But you won’t die a soft, feathery death.

You’re tired of only standing by the edge of the pool. You muster up enough courage to do a cannonball. You’re tired of skirting the edges, so you hit bullseye. You’re done with being a molehill because really, you’re a mountain, a volcano, poised to erupt. And when you do, the doubts will be set adrift amidst the lava, and you will feel content because you finally woke up and decided to wear your passion on your sleeve. You will remind yourself daily that no matter what, you will never roll up those sleeves.

But people will still complain.

That you always set things on fire.

 

Via Daily Prompt: Adrift

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Before you send this to voicemail…

tele

Hello.

Everyday, I hear a million conversations. Many of them are unspoken.

I consider it a painful privilege.

I often dwell on all the calls that never went through-calls that were disconnected even before I began to ring. Calls intended to convey emotions that somehow got lost in transit.

Some people pick me up and don’t say anything. They vacillate between sighs and silence. Between sigh-lence. They finger my little black cable listlessly. I curl around their fingers imperceptibly, to offer solace in the best way I can.

Then there are those who pick me up to rehearse what they want to say. Deaths. Breakups. Unwanted pregnancies. But they never get around to making the call. They leave me behind with the weight of their untold secrets.

But I’ve enjoyed a fair share of happy conversations. Promotions. Marriages. Birthdays. Listening to their squeals of pleasure, I produce a burst of static, unable to control my own excitement. But I take care not to cause too much disturbance and ruin the moment. There is only so much we can do as inanimate objects to partake in moments of joy.

I remember no names. Only sentiments.

If you were to take me apart one day, you’d see a vault of thoughts. Perhaps you’d find some of yours too.

And so I sit, for time to come, replaying conversations that don’t belong to me.

You always speak into me, through me. But someday, will you pick me up to just…speak to me?

 

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Patchwork Quilt

Chennai_train_station.jpg
Chennai, a city in South India

The day has come for you to leave the comfort of home and move to a new city. As you fly alone for the first time, you examine the contents of a plastic pouch in front of you. Aside from a magazine and a safety manual, you find a paper bag that would come handy if you felt airsick. But none gave you a paper bag that read “In case you feel homesick.”

As you look out the window, you recall what someone wise once said, “Every place has its own vibe. Listen to what it has got to say to you.”

And so you do.

Chennai. A seamless blend of the old and new. The modern and ancient. Traditional yet avant-garde. An electric, no, eclectic city that you cannot wait to explore.

On the first day, you take the bus to work. Even at 7 am, it is crowded. Seats that can only accommodate two squeeze four. Sweat patches create map-like patterns on mens’ shirts, and you wonder what destinations await them. Your mind rotates faster than the wheels of the bus.

You get off and take your seat in the office. Two hours into work, you feel a little drowsy. While stretching, you look up and notice something for the first time. The ceiling is shaped like an inverted ice tray. Instead of ice cubes, tube lights are nestled in the hollows, brilliantly lighting up the entire floor.

The days pass faster than you hoped they would. While walking back home, you see the road swelling, like a tide. You are glad you are not another fish entrapped in a net of traffic. You look down and thank your feet.

You turn the key in the lock of a house that is not yours. But still, you hear a familiar click.  Houses, given time, eventually turn to homes.

Reclining on the sofa with a cup of coffee, you run over the events of the day, and soon enough, your eyes close. Your dreams weave a patchwork quilt from your experiences, so when you fall asleep, you are warm and snug. You dream that in this new city, you will encounter a lot more stories.

That can’t wait to be told.

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Shimmer

It’s when you crossed your legs I noticed it first

…and I couldn’t get my eyes off since.

 

You were wearing ankle length black pants, and it was just a thin gold band. What looked like a million shimmering diamonds of a myriad shades, were suspended on that thread precariously. The tension I assumed this created, made me feel like I was walking a tightrope.

We were sitting in a couch at the office. I called you over to discuss the progress of our latest contract. You seemed agitated. I noticed you waved your hands a lot, but I couldn’t remember your facial expressions. That’s probably because I barely looked at your face, the moment you swung one leg over the other.

“Are you listening?” you asked brusquely, at some point.

“Hmm…” I murmured, vaguely. You and I both knew my mind was elsewhere.

You resumed your tirade, against lazy workmen and corrupt managers. My thoughts scattered, exactly when your anklet splayed a rainbow across the ceiling. The blinds were fluttering in the breeze, and one of the sun’s rays sneaked in and bounced off the diamonds. My heart stopped, and in that moment, I wished time did too.

The rest of the day went by in a haze. The only time I got some clarity was when I sat back on the same couch, and closed my eyes. When I replayed that moment over and over, the thousand sparkling tear-shaped drops on the ceiling. In my mind’s eye, I could summon a rainbow any time, without rain or shine.

Before you left, I managed to say “Nice anklet.” You looked at me quizzically, and left in a huff.

I forgot to mention, you have nice ankles too.

 

Via Daily Prompt: Opaque

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Mi-liminal

 

 

When I’m lucky to

Fall asleep

I dream this recurring theme-

I walk through a wall:

And instead of picking

Off the glass,

I pull out some words, bloody

And shiny, still

Raw.

 

I’m unable to sleep,

Neither on my back,

Nor face down and

Mother asks

Worried,

Frightened and finally

Alarmed:

“What is wrong?”

 

She offers to help-

“No!” I snap.

 

Leave my dreams

Alone with me:

They’re here to keep my insomnia

Company.

 

 

 

 

 

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Not Your Aver’egg’ Joe

egg

 

“Hey, why didn’t I get laid?” protests an egg that hasn’t found it’s way out yet.

“Ma knows a bad egg when she sees one.” snickered his brothers and sisters.

*few days later*

“Out you go,” clucked mama hen, laying the lone egg, at last. “You were becoming too heavy!” she eggsclaimed, panting. So the runt was born.

Being the tiniest, the runt was also the fastest. So mama named him ‘Runny’. He was always the last to be caught when he played ‘hatch me if you can’ with his siblings.

Runny was also quite eggcentric and really smart. His favourite board game was scramble. But he was a good ‘un. Cracked in all the right places.

Because he was really int’egg’ilant, his brothers and sisters became very jealous. So they eggscommunicated him from the family. Runny didn’t give up. If he didn’t fend for himself, he would soon become eggstinct, and he didn’t want that. So he decided to go to school.

Runny haggled a lot with the teachers. “You’re so small! You can’t possibly keep up with the lessons!” the teachers all cried out. But after a long and intense eggotiation, Runny was admitted to school.

Even at school, Runny didn’t have many friends. He wasn’t really inseggure about it, but it got him thinking about a lot of things.

Like equality, and external appearance. Runny wanted to tell people “do not judge an egg by its shell.”

He wrote several research papers on the same. Gave lengthy discourses. Slowly, people began to listen. Eventually, they even eggreed with him!

Runny was the greatest eggalitarian that ever lived.

 

 

 

 

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Chemical Reactions

Touch-me-not

In the most literal sense.

 

Go ahead and stare

Yes, yes, I swear-

Don’t avert your eyes but

Don’t fake the smiles

Either.

 

I invoke gasps-

People scurry and hurry but

What’s left of my face

To burn

With shame?

 

I still like laboratories

And all the experiments though

The one on me ended-

Quite explosively.

 

I sure wasn’t alkaline

Enough to neutralise the

Acid thrown on me.

Quite basic, really.

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Piece-Picker

 

pick-up-pieces

 

I picked up all the pieces.

 

You published a book and

I read the words

You often whispered only to me.

I looked on as our secrets

Walked out, slamming the door

Behind them.

I picked up a piece.

 

I bought front-row tickets

To your performance and

Watched you set the stage on fire.

But it was my heart

That burned.

I picked up a piece.

 

I visited your gallery,

But in your bold strokes

I sensed fear.

I picked up a piece.

 

You left me for the stage and

I followed. Only

To pick up the pieces.

 

Now I can’t find you-

On any stage,

Or gallery.

What happened to your art?

 

I picked up all the pieces

You left in your wake-

But I cannot construct you whole

Again.