Great magic and hope hides
in bookstores. See
not the ones in malls.
But ones with personality.
The ones with creaking shelves,
and cracks of light seeping in.
With romantic corners of old classics
for sneaky couples to hide in.
The ones that tell a story,
or if you are lucky many stories.
Stores that you prefer
to even your home that is cosy.
The ones that fill you
with a great desire,
to sit down and scribble
till you collapse tired.
Stores full of potential
I hope to own one, though
a library it must be.
Stores isolate many, here
Not a soul will be turned away,
poor or rich, straight or gay,
but they must read and write, everyday.
It sounds like a dream,
maybe it will never come true,
till then, we could all just visit
stores and libraries,
to fill us with immense hope.
Thunder and lightning
raw and clear,
my dark shadows
to the top;
frightful, it was.
hiding from their fear.
I stared at the
steep road ahead.
Skeptical and decisive.
Definite and unsure.
I know not
what awaits me,
on such a haunted,
So, I left fear and
fear of failure,
at the bottom itself,
and walked on.
Hint from: Magpie Tales: 188
The problem of language
We speak Tamil at home. My mom, dad, sisters can read Tamil; they are all fluent. My mom still prefers writing in Tamil. Mom prefers reading in Tamil as well. I can manage without major mistakes on most days. I repeat, most days.
We speak Telugu at office. We have trainings in Telugu. We translate extensively into Telugu. All our meetings and discussions are in Telugu. I can speak in Telugu. Though my accent and dialect is mocked mercilessly by my colleagues, I still manage to speak. I can read a line in ten minutes. Yes, I am very slow.
With friends, auto men, bus drivers and shop keepers, Hindu suffices. The Hindi I know is mostly Hyderabadi. As much as I argue with others, my Hindi is just above average. I can read and write, thanks to the Hindi I learnt in school.
I think in English. I read in English. I write in English. I dream in English. Yet English is not my mother tongue. I converse fluently in English and switch to it when any other language gives me trouble. But I wouldn’t claim to have a superb grasp over it.
Despite knowing four languages, I struggle to call any one of these languages my own. But the struggle also lies in an aspiration for some form of perfection in one of these languages. Which is probably a long road, scattered with learning.
Some moments in life I feel like I am reliving a previous occurrence. Over and over again. Not in beautiful relish of the moment. But in sheer agony that the same moment has presented itself again. And nothing seems to have changed. My reaction, my thoughts around it, my emotions. All crumpled up in a similar fashion come pouring out. It isn’t a joy to analyse it later to choose what to change. For clearly, I have learnt little from the previous moment. But the familiarity of those wounds, the recollection of those memories, the recognition of the repetition, make it frustrating and revealing. I wonder what attracts these moments to me. Or what compels me towards them. Whose power is greater?
We were in love. But we weren’t the only ones. Everyone was in love with the idea of us too. We kept getting advice on ‘How to make it work?’ He loathed advice; such advice ticked him off further. So he resisted listening. He asked me to dismiss it too. But I told him that it wasn’t so easy. We weren’t the only ones in it. He glared at me and marched out of rooms. The audacity that I include others in our somewhat private, somewhat public love affair! But it was the filthy truth. They, men, women and children, were involved. Not just without our consent but without our knowledge. They judged when we fought; they argued on why we fought. They watched our love grow, too. They gossiped about the bedroom secrets. So when our love affair ended abruptly, like mine so often do, they continued to be a part of it. As unwelcome, unwanted guests.
It wasn’t just our relationship. What happened in that relationship wasn’t even the same for both of us. The others drew their conclusions, made their assumptions and retained their side of the story. A story that wasn’t enriched with what happened behind closed doors and within our minds. It was a popular tale that they wished to spread from willing ear to unwilling ear.
So, I wasn’t wrong when I had included them in it. For their version would be the one remembered despite his resistance and my submission.
Finally, one morning I realised I needed a pet. I was lonely in my large house in Rowland, Makuchips. So I went to the pet store a few kilometres from home. I had to pick between many wonderful animals: a monitor lizard, a water snake, a dolphin, a paired rat, lobsters and a dinosaur. It was difficult at first but finally I realised a dinosaur would suit me best. The dinosaur wasn’t too big and could be walked on leash the store owner said. He was brown with a red face. After I made my decision, I was handed a list of dos and don’ts. Unfortunately, this particular dinosaur was too afraid to be left alone. He caused massive damage to furniture and inevitably dirtied all the sheets. I understood that feeling too. Though, I had managed to live alone for several months together, I had also gained a few kilos from the comfort-eating I indulged in. My fridge would never be complete without 3 jars of Nutella spread. So I decided to take him. Our personalities matched and I knew this would be fun. But the list did not prepare me for what was in store. After little thought, I named him Dino. I had loved the cartoon as a child and thought it suitable. Dino snored through the night. In order to sleep in the same room, I bought a walkman which would play me soothing classical music all night. The music drowned out his snoring till I fell asleep. Once I was asleep, just like Dino, I couldn’t be woken up by anything. For the first week to settle Dino, I took leave from work. He got used to the space in our house and began to regulate his sleeping and eating. Eventually after our mini-vacation, I took him to work. Before that, I bathed him and put a beautiful pink bow on him. My colleagues spent the entire day fussing over him and he basked in all the attention. Everyone brought their kids to work so Dino fit right in. He played in the break room with the children and scared them when he fell asleep in the corner. No one had heard snores that loud!
As Dino grew older, he grew fond of being alone as well. So he split his time between my office break room and the house. He would refuse to leave the house when he wanted to stay in. This allowed me to spend time at work without being worried about him. But too late at the office and he left me a nasty surprise at home. It was his way of punishing me for ignoring him.
It was nice to have Dino around. Even if he snored loudly.
thoughts he had.
but hurt her sentiments.
She escaped the agony;
she masked herself in the day.
But she woke up harshly every night,
when he screamed those venomous words loud.
Etheree: The poetry form, Etheree, consists of 10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
I am exhausted. Every inch of me is gripped with exhaustion. My bones feel weak. My mind feels vague and lost. Words barely form sentences even as my voice escapes from between my lips. I feel drained. I feel engulfed and consumed by an inexplicable agony. Sleep doesn’t rejuvenate my energy. I sleep well. I eat better. Everything else evades me. I watch the fan spin slowly. It lowers itself bit by bit and approaches me. Or the walls close in on me. They make a scraping sound as they come near. Perhaps a slow death awaits. Perhaps it is a joke by my sub-conscious on my mind and body. Perhaps it is nothing. Maybe the exhaustion has gotten to me. I just need to sleep for a week and forget the rest.
Come Sunday, as well
manual work in the fields
under a harsh sun persists.
A warm night
without a partner
Fly away free today.
Or let soft light seep in
the square windows
Postscript: Haiku Poetry is tough and I don’t think I managed to get it right. But Wiki How taught me how: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Haiku-Poem 🙂
I have been reading a range of books lately: Graphic novels (Embroideries by Satrapi), Poetry (Lots of Emily Dickinson), Fiction (Kundera) and non-fiction (Irom Sharmila, Khairlanji, Fundamentalism, Ethics in Journalism). I have also been writing quite a bit. Both on this blog and in my books. I enjoy reading a range of books. It is calming, liberating and opens my world view. It also shows me good writing. When I asked around for suggestions on ‘How to improve my writing’, I was always told, write, write, write and read better. For I do think there is no right way to write. I feel writing everyday like this and reading consistently on the side is helping me develop my writing. Of course, I do know there is a long way to go. But I couldn’t be happier that the process has been started. If each day I cannot sleep without writing in this tiny space that I call my own, I feel it is a good place to be. After all, engaging in your passions can never be bad. And I am truly passionate about both reading and writing.