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mother prostitute suicides

they tell me

love is a pretty sight, darling.

like sunshine pressed on

coloured glass,

raining rainbows into my soul

that lies on a soiled mattress,

tattered and ugly

like the girl atop it;

they tell me

happiness is a carousel, darling.

a lullaby of laughter

that shirks the soul,

tracing patterns across it

like they did

across my skin;

some men and some more,

some were feathered caresses

of faceless lovers

and some, the fading purple

leftovers of monsters;

my body was

a battleground

sprayed with purple stars

that died long ago

forming a constellation

enveloping my soul

lying dead in

the rainbow rainlight

within the ugly girl;

they told me,

sacrifices pay off, darling.

that I’d smile and laugh

and fly with wings

and only the wind

and nothing else

would touch me

in an embrace;

they told me lies, darling.

pretty lies, hidden behind pretty smiles

spewed by pretty mouths

that have never been kissed

by the pretty sight of love;

so I took the sharp silver, darling.

and carved on my skin,

my very own

constellations laced in red

that begun in pain

and ended in symphony;

they told me

love was as pretty

as a songbird, darling,

and it was as pretty

as the constellation

embellishing my curves;

my my, what a pretty sight, twas darling.

in the rainbow rain,

her soul looked polished

and the angels sang

an ethereal melody

and the battlefield

transformed, darling;

the purple of the men

drowned in the red of her demons.

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Your Grey Embrace

​Dear love,

Insomnia and a slice of inspiration that descended on me as I aimlessly watched my ceiling fan rotate, has provoked me to write this down. So I looked for a pen and my mind held thoughts of a rainy evening spent on the uncomfortable seats of a bus stop: The first time you eased into the idea of lighting a cigarette in my presence. You tilted your head back and blew a thin stream of smoke. And I gazed at you and wondered, does it make you happy?


Despite the popular strand of thought, the first thing I think of when I see you pull out your cigarette is not of the day you sit me down and inform me in a grave tone that you have lung cancer. Definitley not the first thing I think of. But I won’t lie to you; it scares me that someday, I might lose you to the grey smoke you exhale.

But that is not the first thought that haunts me as I register the look of satisfaction on your face. 


I think, are you truly happy? 

If you are, then I am stumped because I do want you to be happy just not in a slowly self-destructive way. And I know you think at times that I will never understand and that I judge too quickly but do believe me when I say I try hard not to. There have been moments in my days, where I try to walk around with my tiny feet in your large shoes. Remaining in your shoes is difficult but I know that it is important. It is important to try and understand why you need the grey embrace of smoke.
I understand that maybe you have found a happy place for yourself amidst your grey smoke particles and I understand that it is difficult to tear yourself away from them. You may have gone to them on one of your bad days, when you were desperate for another’s shoulder to leave your burden on, but there were none around. You probably found a friend in the tiny roll and collapsed into his grey embrace. And he probably showed you the inward path to joy. You probably stumbled upon your friend in white by accident and thought you could flirt a little or have a fling with him. You probably thought you needed to befriend him because it was expected of you from the rest of your brotherhood.

But for whatever probable reason you acquainted with him, he seems to make you happy now or at least serves as your familiar pillar. But you probably have your days of misgivings too; where you question what you do. Your days of having to tell a new person about your friend in white and having to watch the judgement and pity flit right beneath their eyes. Your days of having to justify it to friends like me. 


So I want to make things a little better for you. Or I hope I can.

I won’t remind you of your duties to people; you have them to do that for you and also because living for other people and holding back for them is pointless and tiring. But I will take up the stance of a neutral third person and say, if this is how you truly want to lead your life, if this is how you truly want to keep yourself happy, do it. For yourself. Shun all thought of what is expected of you and think of only what you owe to yourself.

And I promise you, love, that I will not be disappointed with any answer of yours. I will always be there to grab you in an embrace when the grey ones fade or grow thicker.

Love,

Your friend outside the grey.

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The Whispers

One. Two. Three. Four.

Are you running?

Then, count!

One. Two. Three. Four.

One. You saw a boy with purple eyes

and he offered you a gold coin in return

For a story.

Two, three birds flew in the sky, their feathers colourless and

you shot them down without a gun in your hand.

Three, there was a train. And it screamed.

Screamed of blood and bullet shots.

And you ran along with it.

Four. There was a well. It swirled golden with ambrosia

and told you to come closer.


Two. Metal and Mouth.

A hole, inside which a soul-sucking metal nestles.

A trigger, and a light touch of a finger rests on it.

Poised.

A forehead. Yours. Yearns to be kissed by metal.


Three. Now you scream too.

You run. You scream.

The train has stopped at a station and you get on.

Bruised. Shivering. Forlorn.


Four. You want to dip your feet. They function no more.

Hard years they ran through.

Fast and frenzied as a deer being hunted, at first.

Then, paced and calculating like a panther in the shadows.


One. You told him a story of Four.

A politician and his wife.

A ballerina of three feet.

And a dreamer with a yellow satchel.

His purple eyes smiled. His fingers brushed yours and your palm held four gold coins instead.


Two. His fingers relaxed on the trigger.

The metal kiss never happened.

But three shots did.

Three birds died: a politician, his wife and a ballerina.

Their feathers did not have colour. Or life.

Guilt was all there was. You could have saved them.

The metal kiss was never meant for you.

Just like the kiss from the purple-eyed boy.

Who pulled the trigger.


Three. Each compartment holds a memory.

You walk through them all; some lit with sunlight, some with mild piano music.

But you take a seat only at the last carriage.

You watch: a boy with purple eyes barges into the room.

There was a gun, one long gleam of silver crafted to kill.

Three shots.

one, Daddy with his cigarette smoke breath.

two, Mummy with her dimpled smiles.

three, the ballerina with her red pigtails.


Four. The well beckons to you now.

You slide a toe in and the feeling is of heaven.

The abyss felt comforting and promised to heal.

Jump.

Jump. One. Two. Three. Four.

Jump.

Why?

one, the story you told your purple-eyed boy, died.

two, your family did too.

three, that day, at seventeen, three coins you earned for the story were spent.

four, you are a woman of twenty six, who hallucinates.


JUMP.

The abyss IS promising.

Jump.

You shall no longer hear the train thudding along or

The three shots.

Jump.

You can be a dreamer again.

Reunited with her family.

Jump.

And you will immerse yourself into an oblivion with no purple eyes.


You Jump.


A nurse finds you.

She screams,

Just like you did when your family left you,

At the facility, in tears, unable to help you.

For you see, darling,

The Shadows are Whisperers and I am so sorry that you heard them and saw them.

It cannot be changed.

But, the next day,

The headlines read:

“The Schizophrenic Suicides.”

the sound of moving on. 

when our bones break

i do not hear your screams,

i hear only the laughter of a lazy afternoon,

trickling in through the pain,

comforting me

keeping the tears away;

 

Away was someplace i ran to,

for i was too small in loving.

too small for your big hands

and bigger heart.

too small to look up at the stars, at you

without hurting my neck.

too small to fit into a love so big that

i ran away

rather than dip a toe

into that enormous emotion.

 

it wasn’t a duet we sang, was it?

we sang of breaking hearts,

we begun the first chords

and all we wanted

was to change the track

when our song

was only halfway done.

halfway was all we ever had,

it was our best deal

and we took it;

 

so when our bones broke,

we didn’t hear the screaming,

the crying

for the rest of the song.

darling,

we could never have written it down,

never have imagined it,

never found the tunes for it;

 

when our bones broke,

when we both jumped off this

high tower of love,

we only laughed:

 

liberated. out of a love that never was. singing an incomplete song.

 

when our bones broke,

we woke up on the concrete

and learnt to sing

a new song,

with another heart.

the warcry of cowards 

no,

we writers aren’t a brave lot.

courage does not sit well on our shoulders.

they were only meant

to bear

the weight of words

about four syllables heavy;

 

no,

we cannot be brave,

we cannot act or stab or cry or run—

 

—actually.

strike that.

we CAN run.

 

we run and run to a place we reserve

for the shades of our minds

and let our pens do our fighting,

let our pens do our crying,

stabbing,

acting.

 

no,

our title does not lie amongst the brave.

it lies amongst the runners:

the cowards in the mobs.

 

no,

do not glorify us,

we are only

the soldiers who chose to fight this war with ink,

for blood repulses us,

it brings in fear;

for after all

we are only cowards crouching behind a pen, aren’t we?

 

yes,

we writers are not a brave lot.

 

but, 

aren’t you too?

definition: death of a mother. 

“what is it like? losing a mother?”

 

~ it’s okay.

 

it’s like a thousand little needles

on your skin,

drawing blood and screams

from a thousand different parts of you

that you didn’t even know existed.

 

it is like the horrific idea

of never feeling the warmest of hugs

or the tiniest of kisses

brimming with a love

unique to the laws

of maternity.

 

it’s like all the memories

you didn’t know were locked up,

presented to you

on a golden platter,

drenched in your tears and blood.

 

it is like eating dinner in your room,

separately,

to avoid the vacant chair at the table

and the portrait of a dead woman hanging

on the wall,

laughing like your mother would.

 

it is like eating food

that does not sit well on your tongue

because it tastes like home no longer;

it tastes of difference,

a meal

cooked by a broken man

for his broken daughters.

 

it’s like seeing death everywhere

with your two eyes,

all the little things

in nooks and crannies

that were invisible before,

knowing that they held

the potential to ruin

a home forever.

 

it is like feeling the needles everyday and getting used to them,

everyday;

it is like never feeling the warmth everyday and making do with that of others,

eyeryday;

it is like sifting through the memories everyday

and washing the blood and tears off your hands,

everyday;

it is learning to sit at the table everyday,

forcing the food down your throat everyday and watching these little possibilities everyday

and doing nothing about it,

every

single

day.

 

losing a mother is like all that.
but,

 

it’s okay.

 

– 25th August, 2017 / 26 days without you.

Postcards to Vaikunth – 8

A conversation with morning 

mornings are the hardest, you know; apart from waking up to a reality without you, i spend them on the terrace and look toward the sky trying to talk to you, trying to tell you things which words can never do justice to;
i mull that day over and over in my head trying to remember details: like how happy i felt that morning and when i will be able to have it back,

like what the last thing you said to me was;

i cannot remember it.
and just like that, the sun dims, the birds cease their song, my heart gains a weight and all i’m left with is one broken morning stuck on repeat.

 

– 24th August, 2017 / 25 days without you. 

Postcards to Vaikunth – 7

dedicated to disappointment 

do you remember all those times i cried over petty things and you would tell me to quit it, put my chin up and face the world? well, those words did not reach my brain. because i did not follow your advice.

didn’t follow it when i saw my worst nightmare unfold in front of my very eyes and stood by doing absolutely nothing. i did not a single thing. i screamed your name over and over and cried and let you slip away even as i was holding your fingers.

it has been 23 days and i’ve tried the hardest i ever have, with every power that i possess, to banish my last image of you. because it wasn’t you. you were beautiful. but you took it away with you when you heaved those final breaths.

you took away your beauty.
but you are still beautiful to me.

you always are.
and even now, i am failing you. because i can’t ebb this pain. not one bit. and the moment your fingers slipped away from mine, Amma, and every little thing came crumbling down,

i knew. i knew in that moment that i had disappointed you.

massively.

 

i didn’t quit it.

didn’t put my chin up.

didn’t face the world.

i just stood there

and died a little.

 

– 22nd August, 2017 / 23 days without you.

Postcards to Vaikunth – 6

the grief pallette 

grief is a funny emotion, Amma.

you spend the days before it hits believing that it paints our lives in monochromatic shades,

but no; you are left with a set of color pencils wondering what shade your grief will take;

 

my grief is a different shade every day.

 

my grief looks like a rainbow on a clear day, unfathomable yet just there;

it looks like the inside of your wardrobe,

overflowing with peacock and mango motifs;

it’s the bad print photo albums that i look at

and smile

and ten minutes after, cry over;

it is the rangolis that we no longer design;

the red painted walls closing in on me as i sleep;

my grief looks like all the lights i leave on because i cannot face the dark;

it looks like this black and white colouring book that i fill with color,

that i need to fill with color. 

 

my grief carries all the shades that you showed me, Amma;

all the shades you were made of.

and today,

i chose to colour it green.

 

– 19th August, 2017 / 20 days without you.

Postcards to Vaikunth – 5

eulogy-in-progress 

on the 1st of August, 2017, a day and few hours after you left, thatha walked up to me and asked me if i’d write you an eulogy. i did not think it possible for my heart to shatter any further than it already had, but it did.

he was smiling, just like i was; for the sake of appearances, for the sake of survival. but i knew different: behind that smile, a part of him was dying; just like i was.

but, i told him i would. i couldn’t bring my lips to say anything else. 

it is now 13 rotten days since the tip of my pen touched the top left side of the paper, but it will not budge from there. all i seem to succeed in is blessing the paper with an abundance of salt water.

i can write you tomes of praise with my tears, Amma, but they will never be enough. i can never contain you within my fancy words or verses. i can never do enough. 

so for the 13th day in a row, i let my shoulders sag, i cap my pen and imagination, leaving behind a white sheet of paper dotted with wet traces of my grief.

 

– 14th August, 2017 / 15 days without you.

Postcards to Vaikunth – 4

crumpled. 

i tried to fold a saree today. i say tried because i failed. pathetically. i tried so hard but it kept evading me, almost like it knew that my fingers had no business touching it in ways only you had. to me, it was a silky piece of cloth that i could never master; but you, you knew it’s folds, the way it feels and flows. but i failed. 

i couldn’t walk out of the room and scream, “amma, i can’t fold this saree. fold it before you go to bed, okay?” i couldn’t crumple it and throw it into the wardrobe and curse this universe. i couldn’t give up.

afterall, it’s your saree, the only thing i have left of you; the only thing that smells of you.
what do i do, Amma?

why would you go before you could teach me how to fold a saree?

inga va, please.

if not for me, come and save your saree from an extremely salty bath.
please.

va.

 

– 13th August, 2017 / 14 days without you.

Postcards to Vaikunth – 3

the birth elegy 

the sky took on a shade of grey today. calm, a little windy and if we listened long enough, the wind sang a wailing ballad; it did not sound like the emptiness of death or the joy of birth; 

so why then, Amma, should my lips have to choose between singing you a song of welcome, the song of birth and the song of farewell? 

come here.

solve this irony breaking my heart. 

what do i choose?

 

– 9th August, 2017 / 10 days without you. 

Postcards to Vaikunth – 2

hide and seek 

today, i feel like I’m nine years old again, tugging at your arm, asking you to play hide and seek with me. i’ll count till fifty giving you enough time to hide.

just like always, i roam this big house looking for you in all her rooms, under the bed, in between sheets, behind doors. but you’re not there. even your scent lingers only at the edges of my imagination. 

where are you?
did I spend too much time counting? did you find the perfect hiding spot where i’d never find you?

if you did, that is unfair Amma.
and i don’t want to play this stupid game anymore.

come out.

please. 

 

– 6th August, 2017 / 7 days without you.

Postcards to Vaikunth – 1