Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z - Zahra

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I see your condescending look 
When you see I'm still childless at thirty
I see the pity in your eyes 
When you are quick to judge 

I may decide to have a child or I may not
I may be fighting my own battles 
Or I may be childless by choice 
But your opinion is the last thing I need

Next time you ply me with details of your offspring
Please know that I'm only being polite 
When I listen to things that I can't relate to 
That makes me want to stifle a yawn or two

Sure, it's a miracle of life that you created 
That doesn't mean I have to agree 
Rather than creating miniature versions of you
Make them better, best versions 

Give them the freedom to think 
Of their own without imposing your thoughts
Guide them, but don't stifle 
What does she know, she's not a mother 

I can almost hear you think 
Well, it doesn't matter, does it?
Just like how I never asked for your opinion, 
Yet you still gave me yours

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y - Yasmin

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Her hands are wrinkled and gnarled. There are more streaks of white than grey in what's left of her thin hair. She walks with a slight stoop, a result of too long hours spent bent over the kitchen floor. 

Each day, she waits, for a glimpse of a loved one. Every day she wakes up in hope, never giving up no matter how many days pass by alone in the old age home where she spends with other people her age. People who are discarded casually after use, when looking after them becomes a burden for the children that they love more their life. She does not hold any resentment in her heart, she knows they will come. 

For me, she is beauty; she is strength. She is a warrior, a mother, a grandmother. She is the universe. For me, she is love. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

X - Xenia

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The day you made me yours, I gave you everything. Body and soul. I never held back. Love, illogical, stupid, can't-live-without-you love, did that to me. My grey world was suddenly pink. The flowers smelled a little sweeter, the rain drops on my windowpane told me stories, my words turned into art. 

And when you left, a part of me went missing too. I searched for it everywhere; in the scent of your clothes that you left behind, inside your tea mug, on the couch that still carried the imprint of your body, the books that still bore your handwriting.  

It was only later that I realized that what you robbed me of. It was innocence. I would never trust again. And even when I discovered love a second and even third time, the ghost of your betrayal held me back. All it took was years of tear stained pillows and months of therapy and a bunch of friends that I now call family to feel a little bit like my old self again. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

W - Wren

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my words roaming freely no italics no punctuation no rules in this game what an eye sore you are thinking yes I can feel it but just this once let me be unconventional what I have been scared of surprisingly it feels good to be raw I don't know if I will ever attempt this again just like how some things in life must not be experienced twice it always loses charm the second time you see just like how some books must never be attempted a second time the magic you felt coursing through your veins is maybe a distant memory but one that refuses to fade in a world that follows rules to the dozen let me break free for now at least and in this moment I feel invincible I feel free

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V - Vaidehi

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I want to print out the words you have sent me. And allow my fingers to roam freely over them, the way I will never be able to do on your body. I want to feel the ridges and callouses, the indentations and mystery on them, discover it all for myself. For this is probably all I will ever have. Your words on a page. 

But no, I can't even risk that. What if someone sees those words and realize it's all you? That it has always been you. I mustn't. Like so many of secrets that are floating in this world, rocking in coffins, some rotting, shattering like bones, ours too must die a painful death. You have never been one to take risks, playing it safe, not once letting your mask slip. 

Calculated moves. 

We belong in different worlds, hoping to cross over the boundaries seems to me like wishing for the moon when I was a little girl. Our love is forbidden, after all. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Monday, April 25, 2016

U - Udipta

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Instagram followers - 2,384, Twitter followers - 4,982, Facebook page likes - 20,438. 

Likes and comments in hundreds. Thousands of wishes on her birthday, virtual hugs and kisses. Tap, tap. Moral support for each of her status updates, ego boost for her profile pictures. 

Yet when she lay in the hospital bed, physically hurt and mentally bruised, not one of them turned up except for the couple of people who were not even active on social media. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

T - Tara

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Flitting in the corners of my mind 
In the spaces between your fingers 
Memory glides in, filling in that empty space
A bygone era, good times and bad 

Teaching me something, always 
Yet it's the ghost of the ones gone sour
That haunt me still, keeping me awake
In crowded rooms and on starless nights 

The slimy wet memory that 
Makes you break out in a cold sweat
Or the smile of an old friend 
Lighting you up from inside 

Broken glasses, stained fingers 
Swollen lips, secret letters 
That swing in the corner of our park
Where we used to sit, holding hands 

Let me go back once more 
Experience it all over again 
Even those tears that were spilt 
Just to feel your hands 
Trace those salt tracks on my cheeks...

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Friday, April 22, 2016

S - Sasha

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Sasha took a deep drag from the cigarette dangling on her fingertips, inhaling it in, feeling the smoke fill her lungs. Though she called herself the occasional smoker, the need to burn through a packet per day had turned into the norm. 

She liked to blame it on the stress that was eating her up. The constantly criticizing boss at work. The back stabbing friend. The ex who still gave her nightmares. So many reasons. One more toxic than the other. It was funny how it was easier to blame others than own it up herself. 

Life sucked for her, that was how she felt. There would always be one thing or the other going on and she would feel the tingle start to creep up on her and her fingers would involuntarily reach for the pack that she kept on her work desk. 

She raised enough eyebrows as it is with the bold colors she wore and her don't-care attitude. But this time, today, she knew was different. This time, she would try genuinely, for herself. Sometimes, the only person that would stick by your side through it all is yourself. And sometimes, that was enough. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R - Reva

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I sit down to write and my mind is completely blank. Writer's block, a lazy excuse I read somewhere. So many things I want to say and yet I'm unable to capture the beauty of it the way I want. That's when I think of you. And my words flow...

Your skin smooth like silk, your lips warm and inviting, your arms that crush me against the length of your body. I can write a whole book on the way you make me feel and still find it incomplete. Or maybe I should write a saga on our story. 

There are things I wish to tell you in person, things that I want to say aloud as I look into your eyes. But as always, the words refuse to leave my mouth, getting stuck somewhere in between my throat that I swallow it in haste. 

Would I ever be able to tell you how much you mean to me? Will I ever have the courage to do so? Or will I be labelled as a freak of nature for daring to love you? Just because I'm a woman like you?

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q - Qurbani

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Have you heard the sound of a heart breaking? It's as silent as the first drop of rain on your cheeks. It's as soft as the morning dew under your bare feet when you step outside at dawn, while rest of the world is asleep. 

Heart aches, heart breaks. Does it all feel and sound the same? Is it the sound of melancholy when you sit alone watching the rain pour down? Or is it the deafening silence that replaces the presence of a loved one?

For me, it was the sound of my front door banging shut when you left. It's tremors were felt when I saw you go back to her, the one who broke your heart. It reverberated through my entire body like a physical ache. I knew right at the beginning I could never replace her, but I was there for you, it was the least I could do.

You wanted more, you always did, I was never enough. For you, I was just a friend. You can break my heart all you want, you know I will always welcome you back home when you need me. But tell me one thing, a temporary fixture, was that all I was? A place to linger, but never stay? 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P - Pournami

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Medical or Engineering? 
What would you prefer? 
These were the only options that I was given
What about the arts? 

That's where my passion lies
You can't make a living out of a hobby 
I was admonished, get a proper degree 
Forced to take up a field I had no interest in 

I slogged away for years 
I graduated, got a well paying job 
Worked promptly from 9 to 5
Doing seemingly satisfying work 

But at night I took out my brushes 
And I turned to my passion 
To create, to breathe, to live 
And tried not to notice
 That twinge of regret I felt otherwise...

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Monday, April 18, 2016

O - Ophelia

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Things went from bad to worse over a period of few months. True, they had known each other for a long time but tying the knot meant taking on more responsibilities. It meant sharing not just the good things, but the bad stuff as well. 

The blame game started soon after. Egos grew bigger, till they touched the sky. Coming back down to earth seemed almost like an impossible feat. Bank accounts doubled, tripled and the size of their hearts grew smaller and smaller. So small that it was difficult to even find place for the love that they shared initially. 

Until one day, she grew fed up with all the fighting and whispered those magic words, one that neither of them had bothered to utter since the day they had started living together. 

"I'm sorry", Ophelia whispered. 

Maybe it didn't solve all of their problems. Maybe all it did was buy them a little more time. Or maybe, just maybe, they learned to take the first steps together in forgiving each other in a long journey.

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

N - Natasha

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Look into my eyes when you talk to me 
Keep your phone away, so will I 
Let't talk about things that matter for a change 
Not just the bills to be paid or the outstanding EMI 

Let's go on an impromptu trip 
For old time's sake, couple of clothes and faith
And let's escape reality 
Let's forget there are chores to be done 

And travel to a place where the earth meets the sky
Where the sea has endless waves sweeping us away 
And stay in a cosy place that has no wi-fi 
At night we will read by the fireplace 

Listen to all those albums that we have 
But have been too busy to hear all this while
Those long hikes that we thought we outgrew 
Can we try it one more time?

Take a plunge and try doing things
We have been putting off for a long time 
Ice-cream cones at midnight 
Books that have been piling on our shelves

Try not to think too much 
And let's do this one last time
For you, for me, for us
For what we once were...

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Friday, April 15, 2016

M - Mikaela

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You have 10 new notifications. 

The message popped up on her phone screen first thing in the morning. A few likes and comments on her recent picture. After checking and replying to it, she scrolled through her home page and it was soon filled with updates from the various people on her friends list. An old classmate had gotten married and she proudly showed off her marriage pictures. She clicked a like. They had hardly exchanged two words since connecting on social media, but wouldn't it be rude not to even like the picture?

She scrolled down again. A colleague had given birth and the update showed a beaming mother with her hands around a tiny bundle. Again, a like. Scrolling down, more happy pictures. She felt the familiar sense of dissatisfaction creeping upon her. What was she even doing with her life when all around her people seemed to be living their dream lives? She hated herself for thinking the way she did. 

She went to the settings tab on her profile and clicked on the deactivate profile option. Confirm deactivation of account? 

Was she sure? No, she wasn't sure. Social media had helped her in connecting with some of her good friends and keeping in touch with them, it had also given her a voice when she wanted to be heard. But more often than not, her voice got drowned in millions of others and it turned into a disturbing noise, nothing more. She clicked on no and went back to the home screen on her phone and uninstalled the little blue icon there. She was done. And now, maybe she can carry on. Or she could at least try. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L - Lana

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Doe-like eyes, flawless skin
I was envied for all this and more
I was content, the way I was
Till the day he came along

Told me he loved me
And wouldn't take no for an answer
How dare I spurn his love!
And so he decided to teach me a lesson

I was walking by unsuspecting
When he sprung upon me from a street corner
Throwing what felt like molten lava on my face
A tiny vial of acid was all it took

Sweet revenge for him, a loss of life for me
A life that was blissfully unaware
Of the curve-ball that it was to throw my way
My skin melted, my face and body disfigured

I contemplated ending my wretched life
Where people stared at my face
For all the reasons that I did not want
Pity in their eyes, thanking their stars it's not them

My nemesis walked away free
But it took me many years to break the shackles
Surgery, skin grafts and years of darkness
Was all it took to rebuild my life from scratch

Today, I have started to dream again
Of a life that will be filled with more kindness
One where I may even have a family
He may have poured acid on my skin
But my dreams still remain untarnished..

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K - Kiara

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I scribble few lines in my notebook. Scratch out the words that look so out of place in those pages soon after. When it comes to you, I seem to run out of words. How do I describe the way you make me feel? I can write that your smile reminds me of summer rain or that your hands traces maps on mine or the way your skin tastes like sea breeze. But nothing I write will do justice to the way you make me feel. What is a writer to do when this happens? 

You had asked me long back what it was about you that I fell in love with. Today, my darling, I can say that you are the only one that I could never capture perfectly on paper. It's the first time that the ink from my pen failed to match the images imprinted inside my head. And somehow, it doesn't bother me one bit. You remain locked up inside me, my very own secret. A writer's selfishness or a lover's possessiveness? Maybe a bit of both...

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J - Jaanvi

Legs spreadeagled, hands tied 
They violate my body with each thrust they make
My tears and snot fall onto my face 
The sack over my head makes me thankful 
That I don't have to see their faces 

In between I black out and this is preferable
Though when I gain consciousness 
It is a burning fire that I feel in between my legs
My body tattered, my soul bruised 
Death would be a warm welcome if it came knocking

But no, they are not done with me 
One by one they take their turns
Mutilating, degrading me bit by bit 
I give up screaming after a while 
My cries only seem to add to their pleasure 

Left to their mercy, they relish the power they have 
On me and my body; whimpering cries 
I soil my clothes and my body is filled with grit and blood
Theirs or mine?
I close my eyes and think of happier times 

A bickering sister, a loving father, a warm mother 
Seemingly so detached now 
The names may change 
But my story remains the same 
Tell me, is it foolish of me to think there is hope for me at all?

P.S. I just finished reading this and I'm beyond disturbed still. May the faceless and nameless Jaanvis in our life get justice. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Monday, April 11, 2016

I - Iman

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A throbbing head. Not even half the day was through and already it was making it impossible to concentrate on anything. A couple of phone calls to be made, the bookmark sticking out from in between the pages of the book lying on the bedside table waiting to be read, a new recipe written down hastily to be tried out but she couldn't find it in her do any of those. 

There are days when nothing goes right and this was one of those. Lacking in inspiration and filled with exhaustion. She switched off her mobile, disconnected from the online world and went to sleep. No, there is no epiphany to this story. No out-of-the-blue realization. Sometimes all you need is a good sleep to clear your head. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H - Heera

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How is a girl like you going to survive all alone in a foreign country? Don't jump ahead and make conclusions just because of a broken heart. Even if he wasn't the one for you, it doesn't mean that you won't find a nice boy to take care of you...

Take care of her, Heera thought. Why should she wait for somebody else to take care of her? Why sit around waiting when she can go and get her dreams herself? A fresh start was what she had in mind and that's exactly what she did. Packing off and selling all her meager belongings, with just a couple of suitcases of her past life as reminder, she went off to start anew. 

Her name was a synonym for diamond and though she had often found it ironic, this time she made up her mind to shine the brightest. In letting go, she found herself. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Friday, April 8, 2016

G - Ganga

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Be careful, my Mom warned me 
I was no longer a little girl 
Nor was I yet a woman 
I could no longer wear shorts

The knee length skirts, they had to go too
No more figure hugging t-shirts 
My breasts were developing you see 
You must stay away from temptation 

I followed all these rules rigidly
Still why was I being passed lewd comments
While walking down the street?
Why the wolf whistles and cat calls?

Weekly once a month I bled and bled 
Impure, I was brandished by all 
Confused by a betraying body 
I turned around me to seek clarity

But again I was told off 
For wanting to know too much
Concentrate on your studies 
Half baked things were fed to my ears

Oh Mom, why didn't you tell me the truth 
Didn't I deserve at least that?
Why did I have to learn it the hard way?
Why did it have to be through an act of betrayal?

That it was the skinny boy that I didn't even like
Showed me what it was to be a woman
That the things he did to me 
Made me feel ashamed than desired

Why didn't you tell me that  
I would wake up screaming for weeks
Or that it would be years before I even begin to heal?
And that my body would never be the same ever again

Why didn't you tell me that there were monsters not under the bed 
But in the corners of our home and street?
Was that what the being careful in your warning meant?
Who is to blame? Is it me or is it you?

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Thursday, April 7, 2016

F - Fatima

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She gets up at 5 in the morning, makes breakfast for her two children. She wakes them up afterwards, gets them ready for school before leaving for office herself. At office, she's tied to her desk till 5 in the evening. After office, she goes for evening classes. Education is something that will never be foregone, not at any cost. That is the one thing that she insisted not just upon her kids, but on herself as well. 

By the time she reaches home, she is exhausted to the bone. Some days she gets dinner from outside. And they will be waiting for her and they eat it together, as a family. That's what families did. They stuck with each other through thick and thin, through rain and sunshine. 

Some days they would show her the things they learnt at school in the midst of which she would sometimes doze off only to wake up guiltily when one of them told her to go to bed. She is a single mother. It's not easy most of the days. But the tiny smiles that greeted her at the end of each tedious day made her feel a little less lonely. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E - Esha

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You compliment me on my smile 
A smile that touches my eyes I have been told
I carry ahead with my chores, cooking, cleaning
I go out with friends during the weekends 

I pretend to listen and sometimes I nod in response
Without fully hearing what I'm asked 
You see inside my heart is a dark place 
A tiny hole that threatens to spill into an abyss 

That hole gapes a little wider each day 
Taking a part of me with it, eating up my soul bit by bit
Some days I can pretend it doesn't exist 
And carry on my life oblivious to its presence

But the other days, that are growing at an alarming rate
It envelops me like a cold mist, a wet blanket 
It chokes me in its depths, I want to reach out 
Cry for help, the few times I dared to I was told to grow up 

Attention seeker, I was branded, It's all in your head 
I have never raised my voice again since 
I wear long sleeves, to hide the scars on my wrists 
With each slit I made I was a step closer to oblivion

They remind me of the crossroads I'm at 
The ones that I have to face inevitably sooner or later 
If the choice was in choosing to let go or to carry on
What would I choose? Did I even have a choice?

You can pour cotton wool over my ears 
Numb me for a while, get me high on antidepressants
But this feeling, it never goes away, not fully 
Until you have to learn to build your life around it

The only ones who offer me solace are the people who have been there
They are the ones who hold my hand when I sink a little deeper
Another step, another day, they remind me 
I hold on, try to stay afloat and on some days, I still smile...

P.S. Though I have written this in the form of poetry, that hole, depression is real. Compassion can go a long way to help someone. May the Eshas in our midst find courage and hope despite it all. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D - Delilah

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I see your eyes on me when I step into a room 
Criticizing, gazing shamelessly at my curves
I was the one who hid behind shapeless clothes
To hide that extra roll of fat or two 

I'm the one that was made of fun of in school 
The pathetic fat girl who had no friends 
Jeers that I took on silently for I was ashamed
I was disgusted at the body that was bestowed on me

Not fair, I came home and cried silently 
You will never know the long hours I spent
Sticking a finger up my throat to get rid of it all
The guilt I felt each time I gave into temptation

That double burger and crisps that I binged on
The more I ate, the more stressed I got 
Until it started all over again 
I was just another sad statistic

I was just another girl who was measured 
In terms of her Body Mass Index alone 
The fact that I wrote poetry or was fascinated with literature 
None of it mattered, neither did it count 

Until one day I realized that pleasing others
Was not my priority, I was more than that 
I was more than just a figure on a tipping scale
I was a woman, big and proud 

I no longer hide behind unflattering clothes
I revel in my body and all that it has to offer 
My wide hips, my love handles, I love it all 
I still turn heads when I walk into a room 

But it's my confidence that gets talked of 
And my ability to weave words out of the blue 
I smile because they don't even see half of me 
And neither do I plan to show too

I'm a plus sized woman and proud of it 
I see women with svelte curves and the perfect hair
But would I swap places with them? With their tiny hearts?
I would rather be the woman I am with a bigger heart still...

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Monday, April 4, 2016

C - Chandana

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Pa, you have taught me to be strong
You have never stopped me from reaching for my dreams
Ma, you have taught me that being gentle is a virtue too
You gave me hope when I was stuck in a bleak world

But today I see you haggling over dowry 
The price of my freedom for a happy marriage
I see my worth being measured in sovereigns of gold 
And the market value of property to my name

It seems oddly like tallying of a balance sheet 
You see me as an asset, but in their eyes
I'm nothing but a liability, unless I come decked in jewels
But even then what after I turn into an overused commodity?

My looks, my dreams, my values seems to mean so little today
When I stand in front of those so called prospective grooms
Appraising me head to toe, dissecting me with their eyes
My thoughts shrivel up and curl inside with each word they say 

Isn't marriage supposed to be a relationship? 
One based on mutual trust and respect? 
Or is it simply another business arrangement?
You have both taught me it is so much more

Today, please don't be frantic, for fear of my passing years
For the ticking of my biological clock 
I would rather remain as just the daughter that you both love
Than as the trophy wife who was negotiated on a whim 

Someday maybe I will find someone 
Someone who will not be bothered by your bank balance 
Or whether I have mastered the art of making perfect rotis 
So that even afterwards, I can continue to be who I am today 

Without my dreams turning into dust 
Without hopes being crushed 
Where I will be looked at with respect and love
And not just as a bejeweled garish clown or fool...

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

Saturday, April 2, 2016

B - Bhairavi

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The first time I saw her, I hardly gave her a second glance. There was nothing special about her, other than the fact that she was older than the rest of the girls. Not that I looked closely at any of them, I was too nervous. As days passed, so did my brazenness. I was a respected office going man by morning but by night you would find me frequenting that shady street. Or more particularly, that house on the corner which was filled with men only at nights. 

Why did I go there? I was not desperate for sex. In fact, I could easily go out on dates and find myself a good girlfriend if I wanted. But I didn't want companionship, neither did I want to open up to another woman. Not after her. Not after Bhairavi. 

Bhairavi. Love of my life. If the tales are to be believed and if there is only one soul mate for each of us, then she was mine. I had loved her for a long time and she had loved me back too. But when it came down to the matter of spending the rest of our lives together, practicalities got in. Pleasing the society was the norm and who were we to rebel? We let each other go. 

The regrets started creeping in slowly. A slip of tongue by a friend. Bhairavi was expecting. She had given birth. A photograph of a proud husband with his arms around her and their child. Her looking back adoringly at him. Then came the rage. Directed towards her, at myself, at life. And finally after many years, came the acceptance. And then, of course, these night visits. 

The woman didn't look like my Bhairavi. In fact, she was the opposite. Where Bhairavi was soft spoken and of gentle demeanor, this one had a crass mouth, wide hips and wild hair. It was later that I found out that she was a mother too. The night I paid for her, I asked her to hold me in her arms. I traced the silver stretch marks on her belly. Like bolts of lightning. She seemed taken back, but said nothing. I didn't want sex from her. I just wanted to be held. And maybe those memories of long back may decide to pay me a visit. 

"Don't you at least want to know my name?" she asked me finally, looking bewildered.  

"Bhairavi..." I whispered in her ears before crushing my face inside her hair. 

Linking this post to the A to Z Challenge

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