Mommy Dreams

Daddy,
Mommy doesn’t laugh anymore.
She doesn’t hold me in her arms
And tell me that she loves me anymore,
Her eyes don’t shine anymore.
Daddy, Mommy doesn’t smile anymore.

Now,
Mommy cries.
And when I ask her why,
There’s always
Too many onions to be cut
Too much dust to be cleaned
Too many dishes to be cooked
Too much smoke in her eyes
Too many bruises to be washed,
And too little time.
Daddy,
Mommy cries.

And Daddy,
Mommy screams.
Late into the night
When I’m in my room,
Counting sheep,
Trying to fall asleep,
Mommy screams.
Daddy,
She must be scared,
Because everyone is scared of monsters,
And the last time I checked under my bed,
The monster looked like you.
I wonder how fast the heart beats
When that monster crawls under the sheets.
Daddy,
Mommy knows,
Because late into the night,
She screams.

Daddy,
Mommy waits.
She sits on the edge of her bed,
And waits for the clock to strike quarter past eight
And for your hand, to strike her cheek.
Daddy, Mommy doesn’t fight anymore.
Every morning,
When I count on my fingers
The number of bruises that weren’t there the night before
And notice every time she winces because a muscle’s too sore,
She looks at me with blank eyes.
Daddy, Mommy doesn’t hide anymore.
Instead,
She waits.

Daddy,
There are times
When even though she’s alive,
I feel like Mommy doesn’t live anymore.
Like she doesn’t want to breathe anymore.
But Daddy,
Mommy dreams.
Even though she has spent all her days
Trying to be a good mother and a better wife
While all she wanted to be was free,
She dreams.
And Daddy,
You should know that
Even though she’s made up of broken dreams and shattered hopes,
One day, she’ll just be.
Just be.
Daddy,
Mommy wants to be free.
So, she dreams.

Sometimes

Sometimes,
I want to
Stop breathing
For a while,
And find out
If not having oxygen
Flood my lungs
Hurts worse than
Not having you
Beside me.

Sometimes,
I want to
Break a glass,
And walk on the
Shattered pieces,
To find out
If broken glass
Hurts worse than
A broken heart.

Sometimes,
I want to
Rip open my skin
With a blade,
To find out
If I am really made of
Blood and bones,
Or just memories
Of the days
I spent with you,
And longing
For the nights
I couldn’t spend
With you.

Sometimes,
I wonder
If ‘sometimes’
Would ever come.

Letter to You

Dear you,

Burn the letters from the person who told you that apologizing is the only way to make people stay, because some people would leave even if you told them you were sorry for existing.

You built a home miles away from the ocean. It’s not your fault that you drowned. It couldn’t have been your fault.

With the right person, you could sail the ocean in a boat which has a hole at its bottom, and still not sink.

The right person would stay even if you didn’t thank them for doing so.

So, dear you, when you’re done breathing the water out of your lungs, lick the salt off your lips, and be on the lookout from your light house.

Dear you, never apologize for being yourself.

Sincerely yours,
Me

 

Love Matters

Love, like matter,
Can neither be created,
Nor destroyed.
We are born,
Filled to the brink with love,
And spend all our lives
Trying to pour it out
Into someone
Who had loved
A little too much,
And were now left
A little too empty.
Or into someone,
Who has been loved
A little too less.

Love is like matter.
Even though it can
Neither be created nor destroyed,
It can sometimes destroy us.
And at other times,
Love creates us from
The fragments of our hearts
That were too small
To be picked up
When we collected
The broken pieces
After a heartbreak,
Stiched them together
To create a new one out of it,
And put it on a display,
For a certain someone
To find it beautiful enough
To keep it under their pillow,
When they slept.

But I’ll tell you something.
In the end,
It doesn’t matter
Whether love is like matter,
Or not.
Love matters.

Disaster Management

It’s funny,
How we thank god
Every time people die in a calamity,
That it wasn’t us.
As if their lives somehow mattered
Slightly less than ours do.
As if even though we come home
To a lonely apartment every evening,
With no one to strip us down
And breathe in our nakedness,
They were somehow lonelier than us.

It’s funny,
How the numbers
On the headlines next morning,
Cease to be just numbers
The moment we realize that
The list of the people
Who will never breathe again
Contains the name of the person
We shared our first kiss with.

It’s funny
How we stop shedding tears
After four and a half days,
And go on with our lives.
As if we know that
Even though we
Will always come home
With empty hearts
To emptier apartments,
There will always be someone,
Who is lonelier than us.

Defeated

A grey morning.

She sat cross-legged on her bed, hoping that no one would push open the door to her room, hoping that no one would come and ask her how she was feeling. She was tired. She was tired of people asking the same questions again and again, tired of seeing strangers come and go, their faces lined with nothing but despair and hopelessness. At times, she felt like she had caught a glint of hope in someone’s eyes as they hastily muttered some words, words that didn’t make sense to her anymore. And she saw that glint vanish as they noticed the blank look on her face. She was tired of not being able to remember what hope meant

She had always been able to convince herself into not giving up. She had always been a strong woman. But now, she was finding not giving up harder than ever before. The day before, she had witnessed a thirty-year-old man, who insisted on calling her Maa, break down into tears while sitting on the edge of her bed. His face had seemed familiar enough, only she couldn’t remember where she had seen him. She had felt something break inside her as she saw the grown up man cry like a little child who has just lost his most precious possession. She wondered if hope was what people felt before they had sat through the pain of feeling their insides snap into two.

No one did come that day. The doors remained closed except for the two times when the maid came in with her meals. The maid never asked her how she was feeling, and she was really glad about that. She didn’t need to look for answers that she would never find, unless she was asked questions. And a closed door saved her all the pain. She slept peacefully that night.

Another grey morning.

She stepped out of the bed, and walked to the dressing table. She stood in front of the mirror, and saw a stranger staring back. Alzheimer’s had finally defeated her.

Of Theorems And Us

It’s almost funny that I had no idea that one is supposed to fall out of love with someone when they are asked to, until she asked me the same last night, and disconnected the phone immediately after.

I have called her forty-nine times after that, but not once has she picked up. I didn’t call her the fiftieth time because forty-nine is the square of seven, and seven is her favorite number. She loves numbers. The odd ones, especially.

What if I tell her seven times that what she thinks is wrong? Would that change her mind? No, I guess. Also, I could only tell her that if she picked up the phone, which she won’t.

Her mom is a mathematician. Perhaps that’s where her love for Mathematics comes from. She loves saying that she learnt counting while she was still in the womb.

I remember the first time I visited her place with Maa. I was in fourth grade, and so was she. They had just shifted to our locality, and Maa thought it was her responsibility to visit their place and welcome them. She had dragged along a very reluctant me with her. I didn’t know what to think about the girl I met there.

She didn’t look very different from the girls in my school, but the ones in my school never talked about math. Most of them dreaded the subject.

The first and the only question she asked me was if I knew about BODMAS. You should have seen the look on her face when I said that I haven’t even heard the word! I believe that’s when I fell in love with her.

It’s not impossible to fall in love in the fourth grade, is it?

Five years later, when she told me that triangles were her favourite shapes, especially right-angled ones, because they were so perfect, I told her that maybe we were the two sides that formed the right angle, and our love was the hypotenuse that connected the two sides, holding them in place. The love made sure that the sides couldn’t move away from each other, because the Pythagoras theorem won’t be true if they did, and theorems are meant to be true.

Well, there is no use thinking about those memories anymore, is there? With that saddening thought in my mind, I dial her number for the fiftieth time.

It’s only when the ringing stops, and I hear her whisper my name in an unsure voice that I realize that in the end, numbers don’t really matter, love does. Theorems don’t really matter, we do.

Just There

I had never met him before I told him that I loved him, had never heard his voice, but I had imagined how he would sound whispering “I love you too.” I had imagined a slight tint of red spreading over his cheeks as he would try to stop himself from grinning like an idiot, and release the Microphone button on WhatsApp. I had imagined how he would nervously wait for the ticks on the voice note to turn blue. I had imagined, and fallen in love.

The reason I fell for him, was because he was there. He was there when I wanted to share a picture of my favourite dish, there when I needed someone to read the last piece of poetry that I had written, there when I wanted to share the stupidest joke I had ever heard, and there, when I was too sad to close my eyes at night. He was just there, like being beside me meant the world to him. It has been quite a few months since we confessed our love for each other, and we haven’t met yet, but I cannot recall a single moment when he wasn’t right there by my side.

I believe that being there for someone is underrated. Too many people forget to be there for the loved ones, and most of the times they don’t realize exactly how much of damage they are causing. He knows. He knows that in my most desperate moments, I don’t really care whom I am talking to as long as they are there. And he is scared that there might come a time when I’ll find no one who won’t mind listening to me, and that would destroy me. So, he never leaves my side.

Like I said, we have just spent a few months together, but I know that some thirty-seven years later, when I wake up on a particularly chilly morning, he would be right beside me, with two steaming cups of coffee on a tray between us. He would just be there, like being beside me means the world to him.

A Love Letter

 

Honey,
I am like a piece of broken glass.
I want someone to pick me up,
But not you.
The moment you get too close,
The moment you wrap your calloused fingers
Around my sharp edges,
Grasping them like you were meant to,
You’ll end up bleeding.
And Honey,
Hurting you is something
I’d never want to do.
What I want is to lock you in a never-ending embrace,
And let all my warmth seep into you,
From my body, into yours.
Oh Honey,
If only I was warm.
But I am like a sheet of ice,
That burns you worse than fire does.

If I were a blank notebook,
I’d let you write in it—
Filling my pages with your words
In the ink of your favourite colour,
But I am not.
I am the notebook
That numerous people have tried to write in,
But have managed to leave only ink spots—
Huge, blank ink spots that cover all the white,
And I do not want the same blackness
To cover your fingers,
And soul.

If I could,
I would make you my destiny.
But Honey,
My destiny is to burn out like a dying star,
Swallowing everything around it.

So Honey,
This is a love letter I am writing to you,
Asking you to stay away from me,
To never look at me like you sometimes do,
To never try to mend me.
A love letter,
Asking you to stop loving me.

The Ship I Wrecked

You were the ship I sailed on.

I don’t know what a man does when he finds himself in the middle of the ocean, holding on to a wooden log for his dear life, trying to remember the swimming lessons he might have taken when he was nine. I wish I knew, because right now, I am that man. People say that closing your eyes helps to get rid of your fear, that is why you close your eyes when you are sitting on a giant wheel and it’s speeding downwards. I wish I could close my eyes too, Darling, but I can’t, because every time I do, I feel myself drowning, like I used to do in the deep blue pools that were your eyes, when we were first falling in love. Only this time, drowning doesn’t feel so good.

You were the ship I sailed on.

You were the most beautiful ship ever—a ship with masts of promises and sails of undecipherable words of love that you used to murmur in my ears, late into the night. When we started sailing, I had hoped that we’ll never see the land again, because Love, with you as the ship, only a fool would want to reach the shore. We never cared about the direction we sailed in, as long as water was all we could see.

You were the ship I sailed on.

Together, we watched the moon make love to the ocean, and heard the ocean weep on the new-moon nights when the moon was nowhere to be seen. We saw the stars shed tears from the pain of their separation. And I was so scared of losing you that I never noticed when small holes appeared in the sails.

You were the ship I sailed on.

Suddenly, the water was too much for me to bear, the ocean too deep, and the ship, far too small. Your murmurs of love were replaced by my screams of fear, and sometimes, pain. Whenever I woke up in the middle of the night to find you running your fingers through my hair, I wanted to jump in the water that surrounded us. I still didn’t want to reach the shore, but I certainly didn’t want to keep sailing either. Suddenly, I wanted the ship to sink. Yes, Love, I wanted ‘us’ to sink.

You were the ship I sailed on. You were the ship I loved. And, you were the ship I wrecked.

See, Love, sinking a ship isn’t easy, but it isn’t very difficult either. Soon, the screams of pain were changed from mine to yours as I wrapped my calloused fingers around your neck, choking you to death. You looked beautiful then, Love. Your eyes looked as deep as the day I first saw them, even though they were now glistening with fear.

You were the ship I sailed on. You were the ship I loved. And, you were the ship I wrecked. Or, were you?

Maybe I was the ship, and you were the anchor that binded me to life, the anchor that I lost. I will never know the answer, Love, for I now remember that I never took swimming lessons when I was nine. I hope that I will find you as an anchor in death too, like I had found in life. Till then, adieu, Love.