It’s all in your head
That you’re merely overthinking
That you must at least make an effort.
They think that you chose this.
That’s not okay.
It’s bad enough that your brain
repeats the same words,
till you’re defenseless
and huddled in a corner,
yearning for a moment’s solitude
from your maddening thoughts.
But the well intentioned people
that surround you don’t understand.
That’s not okay.
They won’t understand
that sometimes breathing
is all you’re really capable of.
They won’t understand
that sometimes, even that feels pointless
and like too much effort.
They won’t understand
the emptiness that’s gnawing your insides
and eating you away,
one happy moment at a time.
We’re conditioned to think poorly
of the people fighting
the demons within their heads.
To ignore their suffering,
pretend it isn’t happening.
That’s not okay.
But perhaps they’ll understand
if you give them a suitable metaphor.
That you’re being chased by a Dementor –
and your Patronus, or theirs,
cannot cannot chase it away.
No amount of chocolate will revive you
from the havoc already wreaked.
That this absence of happiness
is not by choice.
And maybe then,
instead of badgering you…
they’ll help you practice your spells
so that in the future, you’ll be okay.
And that, is so much better than just okay.
The struggle of putting words on paper
is so very real.
It seems as if my words are choking
under the pressure of my sadness.
But every now and then
a scream pierces through the gag
and I spit out the words
because keeping them in makes me sick.
The carved silver
on your ring finger
is a mark
of our union.
And the open spaces
around the etched words
are for your hands
to find mine
in times of need.
In every fidgeting whirl,
and unconscious touch –
I hear your heart
And for each spin
the ring completes;
I whisper a blessing…
just like a prayer wheel
turning in the wind.
In every second of the touch
I am a reminder to simply be…
I saw someone wearing a ring with the chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” carved into it. The poem developed from the ring being a way of centering oneself. It was so complimentary to the intent of the chant that I could almost feel the poem writing itself. These are the words that it spoke. 🙂
Everyone says it can happen quite frequently in the first couple of months that you live away from home. It’s almost a rite of passage when you move away. I guess, even more so when you leave the country. The better part of the past two years of my life have been spent in the UK. It’s been a marvelous experience but I haven’t really missed home. Apart from an initial bout of homesickness when I first moved here in 2013, I haven’t had this incomprehensible surge of irrationality that eviscerates all logical thought. Sure, I’ve missed home and my family and friends. But I haven’t wanted to just drop everything and run home. And now, when I’ve had this persistent feeling for two days…I don’t really know how to deal with it.
Nothing’s changed. And yet, I feel completely different.
I know that a huge part of this yearning is because I’m missing out on my annual feast of literature. Every January, as a new year present and a pre-birthday celebration, my city transforms from a historical and tourist destination to a destination for art, culture, language and most crucially…literature. For five days, people with a deep-seated love for language come together under one massively overpopulated roof and celebrate everything it can possibly convey. Within the stuffily overcrowded halls, we huddle together and converse on every aspect of languages. Literature, fiction, journalism, poetry, forklore and social commentary – we have it all. It’s like we take a hiatus from our preoccupation with existence and focus on living.
My yearning for the festival isn’t blinding me to the social drama that plays out simultaneously. Nor am I forgetting the bitching, author tantrums, political drama and the constant one-upping of the program coordinators. Even with the incessant commercialization of the festival and its transformation into a page 3 carnival, the Jaipur Literature Festival is essentially a celebration of knowledge and culture. It really did feed my soul and provide me sustenance. Not being able to attend it isn’t as excruciating as not being able to spare a few hours to catch up on what’s been discussed. Perhaps I’d be less wistful if I could take a moment and just listen to the speakers. Perhaps I could even be happy with the content and ignore the joy of experiencing the event.
I guess it doesn’t say anything appreciable about me when I feel more yearning towards a literature festival than the possibility of spending time with my family. But that is a demon for another day. Today, I have to contend with this ache.
And I don’t know how to do that.
There’s this tale one of my grandmothers would often reiterate. She’d say that whenever we ask a question of life; the answer comes to us in our sleep and stays by our side till we figure it out. As a young girl who obsessed over fairy godmothers and guardian angels, I found it soothing. I embraced the idea of having a clearer line of communication with life than just hindsight. So none of this was new to me or surprising when my meditation teacher reinforced the same belief. She as well as my grandmother however, failed to inform me how annoying it could become when you don’t comprehend the message.
For a while now, there’s a song that will pop into my head completely unanounced. I could be completely immersed in whatever I’m doing and before I know it, I’m humming. I could be walking about aimlessly, and there it is; acting as my most faithful companion. There I am, talking to someone and it’s twirling around in my head. I hadn’t heard it in forever and then one day, when I wake up in the morning, it’s all I can think of. And I don’t remember having asked a question of life. So it’s akin to you seeing a big red circle around the date on the calendar and having no recollection of why you put it there. But you know it’s crucial…that’s what the red circles are for. So you think, really hard about everything that you possibly could have found urgent. And then you ask all the people who you think might have an inkling. When no answers come forth, your search becomes more frantic, less effective.
So before I became completely inefficient, I took a breath to ask for the message to come to me in another way. For life to atleast give me an additional clue. But I don’t see it coming, and I don’t know if the song will somehow abate. What I do know is that when I tell my young ones the story of how life communicates, I’m going to emphasize on how much of it feels like a puzzle. I’m going to reiterate that when you’re not completely ready for the answers you seek, they do come to you, but perhaps they’re in a language you are yet to learn to speak.
We meet everyday
even though you
can barely stomach
the taste of it.
of our friendship,
I didn’t know better
and thought you simply
did not prefer it.
Even now, when we meet,
I have a cup
and so do you.
as are you.
Photo courtesy Anamika
Boxes littered in every space
half full of fragmented memories.
All stifled in bubble-wrap
to fade away in the attic.
Halved sets of china,
incomplete sets of cutlery
One from a pair of crystal flutes
One half of a wedding portrait
One quarter of a family
One lifetime of enduring stories.
Maybe someday, the trinkets will be lost
and perhaps, the shadow on my finger will fade
But what of the broken promises?
And of the heartache that does not fade?
Inspired by the childhood game of creating boxes on an empty piece of paper. 😀 Yes! The mind does work in crazy ways. 😀