locked in.

The past few weeks have made me think about causality, and more importantly, the continuity of time. I have been spending sweaty and unsettling nights by the corner of my bed with my feet almost touching the picture above it that I painted in the summer of last year, when the colours looked brighter, and my paintbrush flew seamlessly, albeit distortedly, but pleasantly nevertheless. I do not consider myself aware enough to discuss philosophy. I would rather want to talk in metaphors and similes about a time that is softly draining our emotional balance into an overused and dented aluminium canister, that usually stood by the soiled dishes, that held the final remains of a pale green, once turquoise dishwashing soap in a bourgeois Indian household. The lights at my home, should I sit down to immerse in the mossy eeries of my thought train, have begun to diffuse across the room like a sand dune that was birthed by wind to subdue a mere stone, like a ghost that had no bodily form and that plunged over a sleeping child in one wave. This veils my vision and suffocates my intuition as the pungent smell from a leather bag store inadvertently enters the already stuffed-to-the-zipper handbags with crumpled newspaper. But doesn’t all that suffocation scream “NEW!” nevertheless?

It is not like I did not try. I have opened my windows at all times, I have only worn skirts and pyjamas, I have sung and meditated and painted and written and read and laughed and watched and thought. I had, to say the least, slouched over an old plastic chair and tried to reach out to that version of myself that was slightly less wilted, but I wondered if I should let that be, since the unpicked daisies from a lone tree in my backyard mirrored my sagging chin and drooping eyelids. The spark of a dreadful summer begins to dawn on my temples as I step out 5 meters from the main doors to fill my lungs with air. Was it clean? I do not know. Was it fresh? The scent of sap from the trees around me lingered, so I must be breathing what they have exhaled. Must be fresh. At this point, I make a prayer. Atleast I can still breathe well if I wanted to. Atleast I do not have to travel thousands of kilometres by foot to make a daily wage (and not be able to, indefinitely), or fight for a loosely tied packet of pale tamarind rice from stranger hands and faces emerging masked from grey vans with cameras shuttering at my destitute like a teenage male wasp prying over an ant hole to prove itself to its male counterparts. Atleast I was privileged enough to feel thankful for being loved and loved enough to miss someone dear.

The homeliness of an afternoon ray of light across the silver mesh and the brown windows that wind and rainwater over the years have bloated them to the extent that they never fully close, as though symbolising the constant need for an interaction of the inside of the house with its immediate outside, brings me to wishfully think of the countless medical personnel that could not have this mundane luxury right now. It makes me think about the world and what it has come to, what feels the sudden pullover at a tall grass field for a whiff of the dew at sunrise but eventually too pulled into the maze so as to never be able to get out, what feels like a majestic eagle just before scooping up a snake has travelled back in time and dropped off at its nest as a trembling eaglet and is vulnerable to getting gobbled up by the snake at any moment. The quickest retreat to this seems to be a snap back from a nightmare, a reflex from an electric shock, or snipping a stitch on my dress made too dense to show the flowing frill.

There is a pair of wall hangings that are rightfully hung to the either side of the door, and every time the wind sways them ever so slightly, there are a million reflections and all those images, I capture with the clasp of my palms, for those were my world at home. That was the travel I could afford. Those were the worlds that were clean and just, and they hung at the very door to the room I slept in.

A labyrinth that is love

The cookie jar that held my savings
In sinuous cylinders, placed high up
On the shelves I have to reach
Only with the aid from a high-chair,
Is now kept on the table beside my cat
Who seems fascinated by my whimsical earrings,
Made from shards of my old window-
I am quite crafty-
Reflecting on the jar, is my
Turbid face
Waiting to be washed off of the grease,
Of the dirt from the dramatics of war
And the stains from the char
Of love, of love, of love.
I beseeched every ounce of my sordid veins
To match the color of my blush,
To be the ruddy irridesence of my front door,
Outside which sit roses addressed to me
Every Sunday morning,
And they would still be blue

Every Sunday morning I wake up to the chirps of newborn rays,
Bring in the roses,
Juice the oranges,
And whisk out a tune or two
That I imagine to be the the song of my rendezvous
I lapse onto the recliner
Like the 80-year-old that my soul is,
With a cigarette for lollipop,
An ashtray for a flower vase.
So here I sit and contemplate:
What is it that makes me any affable?
Is it the scarves I sew for myself?
Or is it the books that replace the clothes in my wardrobe?
Is it my aching feet from all the
Toddles along the street in my hat with
My purse and my cat?
In search of a artist
Of flowers and entwines
Who often grunts at my sight
For the roses I buy
Every Saturday night to decorate my doorstep?

Image credits to respective owners.

Looking back at the future

20 lifetimes ago, I have fathomed myself into being

That girl who knew not that the world

Would come upside down

When you hang onto it.

I have suppressed my fear then of emerging triumphant,

Suppressed it so much that my clothes have wrinkled

Like the dead flower I use for a bookmark

Or as a reminder of the day I had the power

To kill a flower to keep its beauty-

It did not last a day.

My abs have shrunk

Into a paper ball that they tossed

But missed the bin by inches

So here I am, at the corner of the room, crumpled and

Ready to be picked up by the ants,

When I began to cry, when I began to tear up and tear down

Into wet sticky pulp

I stuck to the walls and when I fell asleep, my tears dried up.

I fell back on the floor,

Just outside the closed door.

All I had was the millimeters of freedom

Between the floor and the base of the hard wooden door of my classroom.

A little wind, and I would be free

To fly with the autumn leaves and the spring butterflies.

All I do now,

Is wait for the wind

To take me with.


The only time I could feel reassured again was when I read a story that wasn’t mine. Reading on a bench with trees and the chirpiest of birds all around me was the biggest adventure I’ve had in my life in the past few months. The birds keep calling out; Calling out to their peers, their friends, the air, the nature, and all of us. They sing so we can sleep but also stay awake and tune in to their voices- it was like watching a 4D movie. The tamarind tree under which I sat threw tamarind fruit pods without warning and you don’t know when one will hit you, but it will at some point and I can’t avoid it. So I did not move. The sudden thuds those tiny little pods made when they hit the ground made me understand pressure, and how they were full and ripe, came to the Earth where humans would stamp on them and they would mix with the tar, almost as if they’re invisible. Very familiar concept. There were ants all over under my bench but not one stung my bottom or back, because I didn’t know of their presence until I finished my reading and sat up and looked. Or did I? It is either ignorance or lack of awareness. I think that day the story was not just the one that was in the book. It was from all around me, and it was a good story. How I can give back to nature for that can only be through feeding myself with more and more of it, until I’m able to write one.

Rosemilk with a sprinkle of heartache

my lips are pink, but not

from all the lipstick I put

and all the anger I shoot.

I’m holding a glass

much too heavy for my delicate wrists

where my bracelets still rest

and the beads form a nest

for my nerves to sit.

My pale, blue-green,

week nerves that they love to climb

and hold onto until my wrists

are more feeble than ever.

I gulp down the pink milk

and put the mug on the table

the colour dissolves into that of

my flesh,

but passes right through the hole

in my heart.

the milk is digested

the burps I made got them disgusted

my lips are sweet and my moustache, pink

that I pretend I didn’t know of, until you pointed to your own lips,

looking at me.

I wipe them off and laugh a little,

the pink from my mug

moves on to your cheeks.

The fork on your plate

is pointed at me

it is distracting me from your gaze

couldn’t you have just left it on my back,

so I can stare at you in peace?

The city is busy

and I’m finally alone

it begins to rain,

and my umbrella is with you

so, I just get wet.

The rain is as cold as the milk

and the colour is not any different.

I see pink everywhere now.

Like I am wearing a lens,

Like the roses that you gave me

have decided to churn themselves

in a mixie high above

and pour on not just you,

but me too.

Because I skip on the streets

that are slowly dying in hustle,

or of hustle;

And I smell the time

I was so much in love.

Now my rosemilk is drunk

and the rain washes my moustache.

I begin to melt.

My hair falls all over me,

my skirt crashes down and my shoulders

tumble with my shirt.

Soon enough I’m a puddle

grey and loose;

But with a clink,

Falls my heart.

Pink, and ever so rosy.


For a girl
Who does not think she’s 

The best in the room

Even when she’s the only one there-

But also doesn’t really care;

Who trips in heels 

And falls over bookshelves

Makes everyone tea 

With ginger and honey;

Has a favourite sweatshirt 

With sewed patches

From cloth of different colors;

Who nibbled on chocolate

While brushing her hair

And thinking about how she should cut it

To avoid all the work;

Would have a humor of a child

But adults would laugh at it

Even at her, but

She kind of felt that it was safe that way;

Who wouldn’t look at anything in more awe

Than at the full moon-

The thought of which brought poetry out of her,

It is not so easy to fall in love. 

But when she would,

It would be so dreamy,

Because he was the prettiest in the room

But with insecurities;

He drank coffee but 

Wouldn’t refuse tea either;

He would lie on the grass 

With a book closed on his chest

Stressing about how 

He needs to patch his sweatshirt;

Sighed as the breath of chocolate

Filled the spring-time air;

He ran his fingers through his hair

Covered in grass and seeds

Chuckling to himself at the thought of

Anyone finding him attractive,

Then quickly going back to a gloomy gaze

At the clouds which he knew would fail

To conceal the full moon that night.

If only the moon were a portal

To each other’s universe

Where they could finally meet.

To Remus Lupin.

Idea of the sketch above is not original.

Happiness, and other disabilities.


The glasses I wear are thick.

They are heavy, a little too much

For the small cartilage that allows every reek and fragrance.

But thanks to them, I can see.

What is there, and much more.

Through the corner of my eyes when light is behind me,

I see rainbow colours.

When in front of me,

You can see me side-eye you better.



When I began to draw you,

I started hating colour.

When I still coloured you, you looked so ugly.

So I tossed you off,

And it missed the window by inches.

My cat still thinks you are what i knit my sweaters with.

She’s not wrong,

But it’s summer.



Guns and rifles,

Fire and havoc.

But don’t run away,

You’re the one holding the gun.

I am safe, but you need to save yourself.

Because now that I’m not crying, what will you feed on?

My blood? But how?

You’re the one with the gun,

But I am not imprudent anymore,

I know it’s not loaded.



Sunrise, birds and a good breakfast.

Been watching you grab my toast and toss it into your mouth.

Been watching you put your dirty finger into the jam bottle and lick it.

Been watching you grin with your chocolate-stained teeth after

You stole my cupcake and made conversation with my friends.

Been watching you feast

On my thought and imagination.

And as though you weren’t full, you drank my humor too?

Been watching you slowly die after that..you ok?



“Quick, move this face!”

*moves loneliness to the corner*

“Not phase, face.

“Oh!” *Smiles*

“Hmm, something is missing.”


“Right!” *Caws and cries*




Watching horror movies with you

Is always fun.

Love the background music,

The yells, the bloodshed,

The thrill,

And how you got chased, killed, and bitten.

You won every time, but

The movies didn’t stop coming.

Loved the yells, the bloodshed, the thrill,

And loved watching myself in all those movies.

To depression, my best friend.


70 Seconds

In Freedom’s clasp.


Shuffling through radio stations,Indignantly.
Searching for music as I

Sallied along the roads of the country that did not make that music.

My feet pressed upon the brake paddle,

and I grumbled.

70 seconds of waiting.


The rays of Sun falling through a Sun-blocking glass was my inconvenience.

But I had shades on, right? In my AC car?- Yes.

Amidst my loud music and my mutters

Of cursing time, I heard a tap on my window.

I think she knocked on a lot of cars before-

her knuckles were darker than the rest of her skin colour.


The face of a young teenage girl, I saw.

Baking in the Sun, yet beaming at me.

She held up a white plastic stick-

Similar to the straw in my coffee cup placed down beside the gear-

except, much more delicate and dirtier.


To the end of the stick,

Loosely dangled a wrinkled, pale Tiranga.

8 more seconds until she mouthed-

“Five rupees madam!”

It was hard to make out if it was her request,

Or her adversity.


Her eyebrows formed a ‘V’ as she pulled them together,

To aid to her vision in the searing heat of the afternoon.

Her other hand carried a bunch of many such shabby flags.

She didn’t stop smiling. 

As I looked,

She stopped by six more cars. 

For 70 seconds, she knocked. 

Not one looked back at her. 

There were reluctant nods without eye contact. 

There was laughter inside, 
Shatter outside. 

Outside- was out of liberty. 

Green lights went off,

And the cars behind me honked in unease.

The girl dashed towards the divider as vehicles scooted as though she were invisible. 

The pale little flag on the top of my dashboard sunk lower than ever.



Blunt Nose

No curls in her hair,
A smile that could convince.

Eyes narrow, sleepy; lips dry and pale pink.

But nose- not sharp. 
Like a butter knife 

That glistens at night 

In photos clicked under the moonlight-

Reflected by her lip gloss
Her lip gloss was no longer peach

It had become coffee

From the cups she had and those she thought she did
Even if it was bad for her braces. 

She made jokes with it and laughed hard

At 19 she had braces
And a blunt nose

And no regrets. 
Because it couldn’t poke into others’ lives.


I see a newly wedded couple in front of me. 

They’re sitting way too close to each other.

The wife is resting her head on the husband’s shoulder as they watch something on their phone,

And share a laugh.

They’re holding hands- fingers interlocked. 

She’s wearing bangles- like Sarita Didi did-  from her wrists down to her elbows.

They clink against each other as she gracefully laughs.

I hope it was funny, the joke. 

Because it reminded me of Sarita Didi’s laugh. 

Sarita Didi, she first introduced herself to as to me, was my neighbour. 

And last night I heard her scream again.

It was disquieting. Maybe she had spotted a cockroach in the sink.

I don’t know if anyone else heard it. Or maybe it was hard for them to hear it over the sound of their ignorance. 

Because that scream, wouldn’t have just been for a cockroach. 

I know it because I’m not 13 anymore. 

When I was 13, Sarita didi got married. 

When the couple came to their new home for the first time,they were holding hands. 

Fingers interlocked. 

She was in a yellow silk saree with bangles on her wrist that clinkered. 

I remember because I thought she was a beauty queen. Probably a little too shy for one, but nevertheless. 

Her mehendi was as red as her blush.

But the only time Sarita didi laughed was when her son would ask her what was wrong. 

“I’ll make you aloo parathas”, she used to say and we thought the smile was real.

Every other night, there’s a scream. One single, sharp, gut-wrenching, agonizing scream. And peace.

I look at the newly wedded couple in front of me. 

I wonder if the wife is afraid of cockroaches.