funny how the same four walls
sweet and sour counters
and signs written in terrible english
can cause two people to make
two different journeys
back in time
childhoods and barely adulthoods
where things in singular become
things in plural
I had to stand on my toes to peek
over the counters
reaching for the bhakar vadi and khandwi
that would come to me anyway
I never have to stand on my toes nowadays
Except to stand in front of teli gali
in front of pallavi hotel and modern stores
and that medical store dude who gave
mum discounts because she spoke
in gujarati (it seemed)
that random podar p-22 bus
lakshmi vilas bank and seth doctor
visanji school and the milk
running from the strays
and to look straight down that road
into and above the traffic
the concrete and the memory
to catch a glimpse of something
i’ve shared with people I’ve never met
are they doing the same?
thanks for the vada pav.
I have woken up dead
with your tears still
melting my ice
more times than I care to remember
When it comes to killing myself
I’m a bit of an expert
I’ve casually toyed with the ghost
of my twitching body
as if it were play dough.
And then there are the paper-cuts
scratches and wounds I watch fester.
All these scars have left me feeling
alive, because death doesn’t hurt.
I guess I am a bitter man.
I will kill myself just to
see you cry.
This isn’t about me.
This is about the things I’ll never be.
This is about the things I’ll never know.
Your dream tears have sustained me for too long.
I write to explain myself to me.
But here I am, run out of time
run out of excuses.
Like my dreams, this paper stretches on,
the ink won’t run dry.
Here I am,
prince of my own kingdom
master of my own doom
stuck in a dream
between sunrises and sunsets.
Each one of you
Is some percent void and some percent light
And forever the two poles are at war
Your soul is the general of both armies
And your consciousness is the only buffer.
You are biased, aren’t you?
Some days the void wins.
Some days the light prevails.
Only you can stop the void from consuming your consciousness
Only you can stop the light from bleaching away your mind.
Only you can maintain that crucial equilibrium
Only you can preserve yourself in peace.
Not a hundred bad days can take this from me
This moment of euphoria. Unhindered gaiety.
The kind of laughter that hurts your tummy.
After a while, you don’t even need a reason.
Your mind can make you laugh at anything.
‘Tis a fleeting moment, frozen forever in time
Etched in my memory like a quaint carving
And although so many memories blur and fade
This remains crystal clear, and recurs readily
Filling the daily monotones with hues of respite.
Not a hundred bad days, a million mistakes,
No kind of hurt, and no amount of pain
Can take the beauty of this moment away.
So many layers of smiles, laughter
Laughter that reaches your eyes
And stays there like an imprint
Your very own brand of sarcasm
Ready wit, and non stop puns.
And underneath layers and layers
Is a scared little boy crying.
Who thinks himself worthless
Who would never show his hurt
Unless it is masked as a joke.
So the world will laugh. Only laugh.
Like your life is a joke. It’s not.
It is a cage, within a cage, within a cage.
This imprisonment is multilayered
Each layer is so dramatic. So exhausting.
There was that dream once of being free.
Now it remains an abstract concept.
Everytime there is the feeling of freedom,
The nagging notion of impending doom
Accompanies it like silence before storms.
Maybe when or if these bonds ever break
I will miss the shackles for ol’ times sake.
And I flow like a stream
In imperfect sinusoidal waves
Crashing against you. You’re static.
You’re always there. Reliable.
And I flow, and flow. On and on.
And you’re still there. The same.
You’re an artwork of my dynamics.
You’re all parts that I haven’t eroded.
You’re slowly weathering into dust.
What will I do without you?