I spot the body a few meters away
the body is flaccid, soft and horizontal
The body is heavy, it is soiled in the very places I haven’t looked in the mirror since years
The body is in mid-twenties, it is young but feels old
I spot traces of ink on the finger tips and traces of tears near the apex of its thighs
I don’t know what came from where
The mouth is bleeding, the tongue ravaged with bites, curiously,
all from within
I peer at the mouth under the lens and spot the last fragments of broken letters vanishing.
The body has been touched, fondled, kissed, caressed, bitten, aroused, entered, groped, grabbed, pushed, pulled and held
The body jerks and twitches
The body heaves and lunges and seizes
And then ceases
it will be winter
i will be old and grey and wrinkled
I will be near a century old but not exactly,
only near, almost touching but not quite
because that is how i’ve lived
almost touching but not quite
it will be evenfall but not night
I will look above and stare at the evening star
there will be a small burger in my hand
a small act of rebellion,
a small act of agency
and a small throwback to how I’ve lived
there will be snow and i will be the gray and black vision among it
nobody dies of a meteor shower,
i will have been told over and over
drunk on rum,
and my 18 year old self would be proud
and there i will be, waiting for the stars to fall
a little jagged, a little jaded, a lot more dented
but not broken.
we scramble like starving children,
hungry for intimacy,
kisses all mouths and tongues and hands
hoping to feed this rotten emptiness,
a little while longer
just a little while, longer.
take love, take all the love they sent your way
and replace it
with jealousy, with insecurity,
with loneliness and mind-numbing, crippling heartbreak.
and what are we left with?
a spine too weak to carry anything more than a text back,
eyebrows shaped in a frown and i-swear-its-my-face, i look angry but my smile makes homicide look cute
voices rusted with insecurity, that it takes every ounce of your existence
to form the words
“i like you”
but not broken,
we’re healing B-A-B-Y.
I’ve gotten real good with sewing needles,
I knit and sew and loop over the yarn and under the stitches,
back to looking all proper and good as new
slap on a fresh paint of coat or was it the other way round?
and who cares B-A-B-Y?
not me. never me.
i’m good as long as every breath i draw
does not make me cry out that was this supposed to be so bad?
– make small attempts at life, tenderness will flow in, I promise.
This suffering is so vague that I don’t have the strength to define it, and yet, and yet it’s so sharp. Cutting into me, like hot knife through butter. But I can only register the falling-apart, the frayed seams and the resultant doubling over.
I can’t tell you how it looks, but smells just like you. Warm and musky with the hint of arousal still lingering about in the room.
It’s heavy most days and just like that, not there any more.
Is it loss? or is it grief? or is it the realization that you were always so fleeting that I lost you the moment I stopped chasing?
a love letter
You are the fistfight in the local grocery store. Far more fun than you have any right to be, honestly.
You are the creepy mannequin at Janpath. Equal parts pretty and unsettling.
You are the blood spattered harmonica. There is a strange story behind you.
You are the substitute teachers bruise mark. Mysterious, a source of gossip perhaps?
You are distant booming laughter. Foreboding, but nice, in time
You are the barrel of antlers at the antique shop. Full of the prettiest parts of many dead things.
So there you are,
Nearly twenty-four and feeling like,
a well-thumbed book,
a few forgotten petals in a diary
a map made by an apprentice who has just learnt to hold the pen,
and the peepal* tree barely shooting through the concrete.
But that is what you are,
beautiful, sturdy and brave.
So don’t be afraid if the nib bleeds too much ink or the petals take on the pages
Or the map doesn’t have clear borders
and the peepal is too small.
It’s always been all you.
– a self portrait in words because I suck at art
*peepal – a species of fig, native to the Indian subcontinent.
Astronauts train for up to two years before they can go in space.
They take classes on medical procedures, public speaking and survival training.
In order for astronauts to get a feel for what they will be doing in space, they practice on life-sized models.
It provides 20-25 seconds of zero gravity. For this brief amount of time, astronauts feel weightless.
One part of an astronaut’s work may include moving large objects in space. It’s easy and difficult as there’s no friction and they could float and float and float.
What I’m trying to say is – maybe this is how you heal.
For your heart to go up in space it needs to be trained. Teach it the Heimlich manoeuvre and basic first aid so that it is not so fragile that it gives up at the first sign of struggle.
Take it to readings and let it learn new words and meanings so that it never gets stage fright and has to hide its love.
Ask it to lean in for kisses and reach out to friends and show up for family because it needs to practice on life-sized models. It will feel weightless and for those brief seconds it will know what it means to be alive.
It needs to learn how to move heavy objects. Take all the bruises and the scars and the jagged lines that formed with every goodbye and its-not-you-its-me and baby-i-want-you and baby-we-will-have-forever and every sweetheart and every blush that turned into dripping blood and thin it out in the empty space around it so that your heart can finally learn to float and float and float.
And finally, teach it how to wear a space suit and send it on a rocket ship and let gravity do its job so that when the time comes, it’s not afraid to fall all over again.