Middle Ground

And there you were, somewhere between reality and dreams,

Where the lines blur and the sea meets the sky,

An ethereal blue, all around, for as far as the eyes can see.

 

We fell in love, somewhere between midnight and morning,

Most of what we had, oscillated like a pendulum,

Taking in its wake the full spectrum of feelings.

 

Either we were word pairs or the pieces of an incomplete puzzle,

Middle ground never existed,

Now here you are, once again.

 

I don’t know what to term you,

Love or like? Friends or lovers?

For the longest time I decided to not name you,

Back into familiar warm corners.

 

Beyond being branded into boxes,

Like torrential rains during summer,

Confusing meteorologists, labels and conventions, all alike.

 

Visible mess,

Infallible guess,

Incomplete address,

Nonetheless.

 

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A handful of sunsets

Curtains close, last call, dwindling crowds,

A dipping sun at the end of the day takes count,

Number of hearts broken, smiles stolen, dreams frozen.

We settle scores, sometimes with paper, others, with ourselves.

As we flip through the pages of life,

Some chapters close, characters exit, doors shut.

They say it takes 7 years to replace every cell in your body,

As I stare into the mirror, I still find your fingertips on my skin, its faint impression,

A long sigh, trapped and lost when you bury your head and kiss the birthmark above my collarbone.

I take a part of you, of whatever remains in my heart,

Through cities, people, crowded trains, sun kissed seas, abandoned park benches.

Wondering if there can ever be an end to you, to what you mean, to who I am when I’m with you,

I’m here, still in search of my own sunset.

Let Me Go

Let Me Go

Love as much mends, breaks.

Breaks hearts, habits, fills cracks, and creates more, hurricane of happiness and cyclone of sadness.

We could sit and fight on whose fault it was that things ended,

Mine, Yours or Circumstances?

 

Let Me Go

For I have learnt many a lesson, broken trust, shards of glass that still manage to hurt,

And so I have learnt to breathe, again. To take one day at a time.

That time will never heal wounds, you learn to live with the pain,

Until it becomes a part of you, nestled right under your skin.

 

Let Me Go

And despite what has happened, I still love you,

Some part of me, in some corner of my heart.

But in a different way, one I can’t explain.

You see, love can’t just be stopped,

Like energy, it can neither be created nor destroyed, all it does is take another form.

 

Let Me Go

I feel like I’m not the same person I knew a year ago,

All changed, yet the same,

Like one day I woke up and remembered you, us as two people in a separate lifetime.

 

Let Me Go

Sleepless nights, tear stained pillows and cheeks,

All in 23 years, I have cried maybe a handful times, such was my strength.

This time something broke, and here I was alone, grappling in a flood of emotions,

On the surface, to this day no matter how bad the pain, I manage a smile.

It’s strange that I miss the sound of my laugh, that loud carefree one.

 

Let Me Go

Funny thing sadness is, it makes you kinder,

Capable of listening to others, truly listening to their problems.

Forces you to feel, unlock that Pandora’s Box,

Enough of being an escape artist, it coaxes.

 

Let Me Go

With you some part of me got lost, broke, withered and died,

Even after the lies, indifference, hurt,

Maybe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Home

Home.

Sometimes it is the pungent smell of mustard oil wafting from the kitchen, the loud debates with Pa over politics and tennis, Ma’s countless advice on life and hilarious imitation of her students.

At other times it is the yellow taxis and trams, rolls and phuchkas, handis of roshogullas, addas on politics and the fast paced life over countless cups of chai and radhaballavi, something that my sweet intolerant taste buds never took much fascination towards.

The arrival of durga puja, the ceremonious cleaning of the house, hurried shopping trips, the sound of dhaak wifting through, Ma’s big beautiful kohl rimmed eyes, and the white saris with the red borders.

The red granite floors, cement staircases, handpulled rishkas, Grandma’s stories about giants, fairies and princesses, Grandpa’s loud shushing while we giggled when Mahabharata aired on television, the cold wind from the Ganga tickling our dangling feet on the terrace, the heavenly smell of mangoes and litchis straight from the farms and the unmistakable stench of cow dung.

It is also the mouth-watering smell of biryani, the irani chai and south Indian style strong coffee, the lush green and wide roads, the temples with gopurams, women with gajra adorning their braided hair and the unmistakable Hyderabadi Hindi.

But now, all that home reminds me is of the conversations that we had, of how I took back something from them, be it advice or chide. The blue bean bag, over sweet coffee, carefree loud laughter, incessant debates, the little library, Buddha wall paintings, the black lantern, the dim light lamp, the shock emitting washing machine that trapped me in the bathroom for an hour, the movies that we watched on the projector, the blanket that doubled up as curtains when I felt vampirish, the red kurta in which I would prance around all the time, the comforting dal chawal,  the bear hugs, the ice creams that would be kept ready when I was in a bad mood and wanted to vent and that feeling of happiness of being with you, of owning a little part of you in return for a part of mine, the one that gave me butterflies, made me blush and the skip in my walk.

Home is not a place but a feeling, except for the fact that I have lost mine. Now all that it is, is a part of my memory.

Yesterday, after many nights, I cried. Not because I was sad but because I felt lost, like the child who couldn’t find her way back home.

Sleep

A tired body and droopy eyes,

Aching muscles and a pounding head,

Travelling amidst other soulless bodies,

A fluffy bed being the only fantasy in mind.

Relaxing in the not so comfortable seat of the bus,

And slowly slipping into deep sleep.

Until the loud honking and traffic outside served as a rude shock,

The image of the soft bed with a dozen pillows, now reduced to a mirage.

Out of the blue, someone calls out his name,

She clutched her bag tighter and gave a wry smile,

Tonight I will fall asleep with you in my heart, she thought.