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Posted in Letters to Cowshik Mookherjee

Don’t look out the windows for my kabootar

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Dear Cowshik Mookherjee,

How does Arijit Singh’s voice make all drab songs sound good? I found myself listening to and instagramming Tere Naam for fuck’s sake. His songs play hide and seek with me. I’m hiding behind my wall of unhealthy coping mechanisms and suddenly, my self sabotage helps his songs find my pseudo strong cool heart. Cheating cheating.

I cheat my self sabotage tendency too. It had been a month of peace and it needed fuel to continue. Staring out the window at 10:00 PM does things to your mind that a stress induced, caffeinated state protects you from (at least I think it does). I went ahead and did as Hozier said. Put my heart under a bus and saw what happened. It did not break, surprisingly. Even if it did, the shards of it are coming on this letter and not hurting me. If I did the same thing two years ago, which I did do a lot of times (in varied states of intoxication, some of them not alcoholic), I would have ended up with extra kilos and a bruised bank account, not to mention an overflowing trash can. But somehow, acceptance has come first this time.

I wanted you to know this part of me, one among the many parts I choose from on a daily basis. This part of growth is very alien to me, as much as the taste of an avocado (there must be avocados where you live no? How do they taste? Include that in your next account of your life apart from the fact that you miss our filter coffee trips to Open Dosa). This diversion from narrative is very David Foster Wallace of me but this is my letter and you will read it and continue to miss my dramatic presence (remember our shared dislike for Lord of The Rings? Take that! Miss me now). I have been feeling so much change in the person I am. I was afraid that I would kill it off and end up in self pity and excessive guilt island when my countless ragi plants died in the plastic boxes they grew in. Here I am, telling you that I’m fine and meaning it for once.

There’s a blue sling bag I have fallen in love with. It has the most random of designs, just big enough to fit a book, my kindle, a bottle of water, my wallet and scooty keys. It stays and slaps the side of my hip when I walk. With that and my blue and pink scarf that C bought for me in Jaipur, I might just pull off the stereotypical pseudo journalist look. If you want to see me in that, you’ll have to tell me more stories of that 40 year old lab mate of yours who came to university after spending a good decade as a cab driver. I’ll send you a picture as soon as your letter (as directed) hits the black granite compound rock outside my house.

The light bulbs in my room still work. I hope your letter comes before they need to be changed.

Things have been calm at my end. I sleep longer but at 3 AM, I’m awake and then I fall back to sleep again. I have been debating on convincing mom to get me a big brown teddy bear to help me sleep better. Do you think I should go back to therapy? Let me know

Forever nobody’s
Szechuan of a kind girl

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Posted in Letters to Cowshik Mookherjee

“Don’t you know an apparition is a cheap date?”

Dear Cowshik Mookherjee,

I opened my closets today and thought about unreciprocated friendships, including abandoned ones, all stuffed in one box. It sat next to the ex boyfriend woe box which I will someday open up under psychiatric supervision.

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I was sitting in a Subway, right next to the counter. They were taking garlic baguette like bread trays out of the freezer and shelving them, with almost machine like sounds, unlike the ones when Maa shelves her empty trays or removes idlis from the cooker.

“You should bring him along to the lit fest this time” (him – friend, let’s call him Samsa, yes Kafka’s cockroach).
Machine shelve, 1 tray of warm garlic bread

“Oh you don’t talk now? What happened?”
schunk, schunk, the man has increased his speed

“But he’s such a great friend”
disturbances in the schunks this time, schunk – drrdrr – schunk, final trays shelved

The man was finished with his garlic bread, I’m waiting for the smell and feeling of warmth to waft our way and give me enough distraction from the answers I did not have to the questions. Samsa gave the best kind of hugs, the ones which overflowed with sunshine, warmth and understanding. His arms would hold me in his universe for the five seconds that it lasted. Strong arms, doctors would not have had any trouble finding veins to stick the glucose needle in. Strong, tanned arms. Strong tanned arms and close lipped smiles that made every heartbreak okay because he was there with his smile. He was there.

How do I get over friendships that are still there? How do I care for a plant that decided to walk into the heavy, needle rains and die in my garden? Samsa does not smile at me anymore unless I nudge him into awareness about my existence in the form of a meme, a mutually likeable feminist article, some song I felt my bones sing with me. Somehow it becomes difficult to tell people things, more so with Samsa. Telling things to him was almost second nature, I could be washing the plates, tawas and ladles, while my mouth told him everything the same way a song follows the trails in your head without you knowing that it has already made its way out of your mouth. His hugs have been cautious, a father warning his kids not to touch the keys on his computer. How do I get over the want for Samsa’s presence when he’s there yet not as much as part of my venn diagram as I wished him to be.

Should I pick friendships up and stick them in my scrap book so they remain real? Or should they become the plastic covers and straws littered on my memory’s highway, never cleaned, but never seen unless I look closely enough?

Mundane classes for three days from tomorrow, C. Is the other continent treating your hair alright? Did you cut your tresses off? Do they flow and jump over the contours of your shoulder?

I need you to be the smart one and take over my crown. Give me my answers and I’ll grudgingly give you your marks okay?

Forever nobody’s
Szechuan of a kind girl

Posted in Letters to Cowshik Mookherjee

Where you lead, I will follow

Dear Cowshik Mookherjee,

I had stuck to a healthy sleeping schedule. Crashing into bed at 11 meant I slept at 12. There have been nights when I had let go of writing something down that I felt particularly strongly about, I’d postpone it and the idea would fly into the air and morph with it into the river of thoughts I would never step into again. But today. I have to wake up in five hours but I’m listening to old Kannada songs and writing a letter to an imagined real being aka you.

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A really old acquaintance of mine, back when law school and corporate black suits were still a dream, I’d ran into her. I saw her Instagram post announcing her engagement and the most mushiest feeling hit me. I don’t remember smiling so much in the past year about anyone getting into a serious commitment. It was the thought of two people finding a slightly happy corner in this crap shack of a world (yes I know, you think so too, that’s why we don’t end up in a lot of debate about you coming back to the country). The feeling was very happy just like the one I feel when I see my parents live together even after all these years of opposing mindsets
Mom – “DO NOT SWITCH OFF THE LIGHTS IN THE PRAYER ROOM”
Dad – “it takes up a lot of power for a bunch of stones”
And mom continues watching Sankara and they decide that it was time to pull my leg about how I only bathe for five minutes (I don’t, I take longer) and we all laugh (at me). Twenty one years into life, I sit on the couch between them and we share a bag of potato chips. We laugh more often now, unrestrained ones, you don’t find veins popping out in those laughs, like they did five years ago till this year. The picture looks less grim and we go back to doing our things.

I guess I’m going to give myself up to my writing whims from now on. I’ve felt this battle go on for too long and I’m going to stop asking why I have nothing to write about. Because I do. I have shit tonnes, truck loads. They might all end up in the dustbin but I’m going to write them down anyway.

Back to acquaintance’s post. I remembered this one song – Manase baduku ninagaagi. The lyrics go something like

My love,
This life is for you, this longing is for you
If my love was false, then isn’t this whole world a lie?

The lyrics get beautiful with each line and I remembered the bitter person I became when I saw people getting into commitments like these. I felt her disappear with every line of this song I sang out loud into the silent void that my layout had become.

It’s been a long time. Bangalore is still the bathroom where clouds come to pee. Not much has changed except, in an alternate universe, the next tragic comic is my life featuring some puppet master crying out of laughter at this soppy piece of a hit movie. You can see my face frantically cross over into panic when I realise my book got wet in the rain.

I had another Cosmo last saturday, it was more red than pink. or was it the dim lights? You’ve got to tell me how these dusky bar settings work

Forever nobody’s
Szechuan of a kind girl

Posted in Letters to Cowshik Mookherjee

Where the skies are blue

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Dear Cowshik Mookherjee,

I’ve always taken the time to look at the blue blue skies that our ‘Luru offers and it’s been a canvas for trees. The trees have found a way to grab our attention and began drawing on any surface of the skies that they can reach. Their branches grow in ways our fingers can’t bend into.

I hate the rains, C. Over the years, it took my curly hair becoming a soggy mess, number of my books that have grown old and wrinkled and cancelled plans to make me realise that I’m a privileged hypocrite city dweller who loves aesthetic rains. I love rains when I sit on the entrance of my house with my precious leisure time to enjoy the way rains lash out and angry dance in front of me. A part of me says that I should be apologetic about it. But I’m not.

My friend asked me to switch off the lights once I’m done reading. I finished the book that was pending for a long time and switched off the lights to continue reading a new one on my Kindle. I stare into the silhouette created by her yellow curtains and I value her presence in my life. I wish my life was populated with women like and unlike her. I can fill all the times I’ve had a good time with men in a gunny bags and it won’t be as fulfilling and wholesome as the time I spend with one of my women friend log (people).

I’ll keep this letter short because all this feel good mush is spreading in my body and is making me sleepy

Here’s to more pink cosmos and a hope of seeing you instead of my horrid running nightmares

 

Forever nobody’s,

Szechuan of a kind girl

Posted in Letters to Cowshik Mookherjee

Have I told you lately

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Dear Cowshik Mookherjee,

I’ve been keeping secrets again. Remember? Oh wait. You never saw me hold secrets did you. I have peaked the art of secret keeping by doing this – I kept secret the fact that I keep secrets. I mean, I do not look like the secret keeping type at all. I wear a smile bigger than what my lips can hold, laugh at jokes, let my eyes shine, glow and twinkle like Wordsworth’s Daffodils when I’m talking. My hands and wrists have lives of their own. When I’m asked about the men I’ve dated, I add a funny anecdote to at least five or six of them before mock-crying over my ‘mistakes’.  My unconscious keeps secrets from me, I keep secrets from everyone else. That does not mean I’m some rubix cube you should solve and gain the satisfaction of ‘figuring’ me out. All parts of me are glad that you and I did not get down to de-tangling each other’s earphone messes of lives. I find myself giving different versions of myself to my friends. I like each one of them so when you decide to take yourself away from the world of constant presence of contact, I won’t end up with an intense desire to snip-snip a part of myself away from your existence.

Back to my secrets. I’ve forgotten how to enjoy friendships. The difficulty level in the friends and other human relationships game has been the same but changed strategies every time. I got past the approaching person, not scaring them away stage. I’ve flawlessly bharatanatyam-ed my way through the listening and empathy providing shoulders stages. After all these, I find myself stranded in this island where I crave solitude so much that I’m barely remembered by anyone except if it’s for work purposes. The plus side of this is that I’ve become comfortable with my thoughts and being, without having my head constantly put me down. I remind myself that I have graduated to being a mild disappointment. But I find it hard to break the net shreds and plastic waste that has accumulated in the communicating channels between all the people I love and cherish.

I, however, discovered that I crave the company of my women friends so much that it resembles Murakami’s love for stories that turned to a sickness. I never got to the end of the book of his to know whether it was good or not. I don’t think I know it myself.

It’s not too cold here. I still like Lee Fu noodles from the same Chinese place a kilometer too far away from my house for home delivery.

Let the air carry your whispers of all the things about the city you live in until you figure out its postal system.

Until then

Forever nobody’s,
Szechuan of a kind of girl

 

Posted in Letters to Cowshik Mookherjee

“I’ll call you by mine”

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Note – The seasons have had a mind of their own and the only constant thing is my friend’s absence. This is going to be series of letters to a person I’ve imagined more and known less. I’ll call this person a pun of his own creation.

Dear Cowshik Mookherjee,

After stalling for months, I managed to watch Call Me By Your Name. I keep going back to the tiny parts of this movie that puzzle fit themselves and resulted in the marvel that was this movie. The man in the movie tells that we all would be emotionally bankrupt by the time we’re 30 because with every attempt at connecting with someone, we allow ourselves to be involved less and less. I don’t want to be emotionally bankrupt, C. Time seems to go by and I caught bits and pieces of it by watching this movie. Let us talk some more about this after you watch it as well.

I have a frightening relationship with this time of the day. Somehow, nights have made me talk to all parts of myself and all the different shades of my person have talked as well. In the time I’ve spent being scared of nights and falling in love with the texture of its non-being, I’m in the love-with-nights phase now. I’ve managed to get a spacious room with lavender walls. The windows are almost as tall as I am and yet, the world is small from where I can see it. So, I open the windows and I listen. Every sound that comes into my circle of recognition becomes an invitation to be one with them. The chirping insect does only timely calls now, only when it senses that a night like this should not be as quiet as it is. Every night, I hear an electric chimney hum to life at around this time – a wild animal stirring, the sound of Bangalore stirring into life at this corner of the world. I wake up and fall asleep with Bangalore simultaneously.

The nights have also become dear to me because in my silent, dirty and peaceful room, I stop acknowledging the existence of everyone, including myself. It’s a dark pit and I fall inside, hoping that I’ll fall back into a slightly less hurtful world.

I’ve been doing well and thinking about the nights a little too much. Maybe the scatter brain of mine will arrange all the seeds properly so you can see the message from wherever you are

Forever nobody’s,
Szechuan of a kind girl (get it, get it, your pun only)

Posted in Review, Stories

Pachinko and its spider leg branched stories

I decided to do something that dad had ingrained in me to never ever do – buy a book at a literature festival. “Peak consumerism, I tell you”, he’d say, pointing his palm at the imaginary consumerism entity in front of him, giving it a warning to change itself or run away. I made some calculations in my head of how much it might cost me if I got it on Amazon and how much it will cost me now. Surprisingly the student money spending brain and consumerism joined hands this time and I found myself clutching this annoyingly pretty book and walking towards the cash counter. I could not stop staring at it and a week ago, I began reading it.

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If Cisneros’ “House on Mango Street” and Marquez’s “One hundred years of solitude” had a baby, it would be Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko. It does not give the Mango Street vignettes that are like tiny pieces of Poppins that melt in my dry mouth on a summer day; nor does it frustrate me and yet stuff me with stories that I will ponder over; even after the book makes me want to throw it on the wall for making me remember those names and generations of people. Pachinko is the story of a Korean family right from the 1910s till the 1990s, a story of four generations. It begins with the story of Hoonie, a club footed boy living in a fishing village, Yeongdo in Busan, Korea. From there, the story goes on to tell stories of migration, identity crisis, children born, children dying and a loss of something to go back to and call a home.

Pachinko is just like most of its main characters – a good school student who gets straight As and is mostly quiet and thoughtful. Min Jin Lee took me on a trip to two countries that I knew nothing about. The very day I finished my book, my friend told me something and I said, that’s very common, nee? (Korean version of ‘no?’ dialect used for confirming something). In another few days if I got a chance, I’d scream Uh-muh! when I see the petrol prices rise. I learnt what a hanbok looked like, that it comes in varying colours, how both them and I love rice, that bones could be used to make soup, that I’d call the flower-selling women ajumma (local businesswoman) who shout, haggle and sell their things in a market.

hanbok
 a hanbok (source – pinterest)

Throughout, the story is tightly weaved with history, protocols, past ghosts, the culture there and many other things it could not escape from. I did not want to know what happened next as much as I wanted to know more about the culture of the places and how the characters molded themselves to these and reacted to them. The way each character thought and processed their situations, added their own shiny strings to the story cloth and as they stood out, they held up the history and the stories with them.

I used to hate studying history. But being a topper meant I had to tackle this one too. The day before the social science final exam, I’d take a deep breath and tell myself, history is just a bunch of stories no? But after reading the first line of what happened at the Battle of Panipat, I would be thinking of all the books I’d read once the exams were over. My mind would jump back to the history textbook in front of me and then think of when I should start re-reading Famous Five.

After Pachinko, I realised that a bunch of stories is what makes history. The threads of history and the story are weaved so tightly like a lada (tying chord) of a petticoat that has to be ruined if you have to untie it. This, in turn, reminds us about what we forget when wars happen – the human way of looking at it, thinking of all the necessary for survival things. It makes me think of writing up my own history textbooks – ones filled with enough fiction that tell the truth. Like Neil Gaiman says, “We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things and we owe it to our readers to build them as best as we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story”. Jin Lee told me a story about a girl Sunja who had to leave home for the sake of her child, Noa who was born Korean but believed that being Japanese was better than being Korean, Yumi who believed that everything was better in America and thought of it as heaven and I saw a Japan and a Korea as different geographical people with their own personalities. It was getting to meet the two countries telling its history, without constantly wondering if they were listened to or not. Because Jin Lee made sure that we were.

What stood out for me in Pachinko was the loss of identity. When I saw a play on a Hindu family that had to leave Punjab because of the war there, it hit me that none of my immediate family members or I myself had to go through this. After Sunja left with her child in her womb, married to a priest, Baek Isak, she lost a place that she could wake up to and have the relief of a routine to fall back on. It reminded me of my own privilege of not having to go through the loss of having a place I could call home. And this is not just the physical availability of a house and roof above your head. Having a home meant I don’t have to wake up in a place that is jarring and unfamiliar, I would not have to struggle to be accepted by the people who live around me because I was ‘one of them’ and I have a routine to fall back on. Jin Lee made me realise what an immense privilege it is. What is worse is that even after having lived in Japan for almost three generations long, the Nobu family are still treated suspiciously by the Japanese.

Women in Pachinko remind you of women in your own life. They’re not glorified as martyrs. They are portrayed as women who did what they did because they could not and would not turn to someone asking, What do I do now? Reese Witherspoon points this out in one of her award acceptance speeches. Neither of them are shamed for being who they are. Jin Lee does not let the women confirm to just one aspect of their personalities. She lets them soar in any direction they take. Yangjin, who has lived for her family all her life, bursts out and tells her daughter that she disapproved everything Sunja did even when she made sure Sunja got to Japan and did not scold her for becoming pregnant when she was only 16. Sunja fits herself wherever life takes her to but as I read, I felt more of an adoration for her, being many things at once, when she was brave enough to maintain and stand her ground while selling an expensive watch to a pawn broker, loud and stood ground when she sold kimchi at the railway station for the first time. Then all of a sudden, the calm and composed, reliable Sunja, leaves everything and ventures out to find her son, with only one plan in her head. Hanako, the troubled teenager who does not exactly lead a poster child life, runs away from home, gets herself in trouble, fails at most jobs that she does, she is never once shown as having been defeated by life because of the kind of woman she was. She still cracked the same crass jokes at a point in the novel where her character would have generally been in a ‘I have learnt my lesson’ mode.

Finally, Pachinko. The gaming parlour that the Japanese associate with Korean businessmen who did ‘dirty business’ . Jin Lee took all the stories and made them revolve around this. Pachinko was how Mozasu got enough money to get a pop band for his son’s birthday party but when his son Solomon wanted to go into something else as a business option, he was suggested that he take up the Pachinko business himself. It is the symbol of the loss of identity they suffered in a foreign land, of being considered an outsider even after being born there, being reminded of the stereotype of their identity and as Roxane Gay says, having to live the most flawless life because you are representing an entire majority of people and not just yourself, indicating that you’re not privileged enough to commit a mistake.

Before you go,  I’ll leave you with this prologue page of one of the units. Thanks for the history lesson, Jin Lee.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Unfamiliar Places (Contd.)

Part 2

(First part here)

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Likeable people that won’t talk while you read at Rangashankara

Rangashankara folded its arms and looked me from head to toe before letting me in. I was uncomfortable every bench I sat at, waiting for the play to begin. I think the first play there was Loka Shakuntala. I stepped inside the room that felt alive without having anyone inside. The light-dark brown wooden stage felt like it would change into a river of wood and start flowing in front my eyes and stop with equal speed. The seat calculation done, I sat in the third row and till date that has been my permanent place. Rangashankara and I became friends. Every time I went there, I would go on my own and read along with the oblivious and philosophy teacher like smiling Rangashankara. If I’m sitting somewhere else, then it must be because its benches have accepted me so much that I forgot about the queue line to get in and continued reading.

The Humming Tree was what me looking back at my 20s in my 30s would look like. Wild and tamed, light and dark, colourful and black – so much of a paradox that I never felt like I belonged there but I did not feel compelled to belong as well. It would flick its final cigarette butt and move on in its lengthy, ripped jeans to the next command of its head, regardless of the time or the generation it entertains.

*

One Sunday evening, I went to a one person play – My home at the intersection by Abhishek Thapar. As usual I expected it to be in a very theatre like place – lots of yellow light, wide hallways, shiny tiles that reflect better than a mirror, potential skating rink grounds in case the theatre closes down. When I looked up from the Google Maps on my phone, I was in a replica of a South Bangalore residential area. Trees everywhere, Mysore style houses, paint with dragon skin surfaces, children playing on the streets. I called Untitled Space, the theatre place, twice to confirm that the play was happening on the second floor of a faded green two story duplex house that was expecting Anant nag to walk out and go to work.

There were no hallways. In the tiny space on the compound of the house on the ground floor, a woman checked our online reservations and gave us our tickets, while her daughter completed her maths homework. You could hear the Kannada dhaarawahis (tv series), the blare blare sound when there’s a clash between the mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law because she dropped the curry vessel. There was room to walk to the stairs, which did not easily let us in. We had to go one behind the other and it took me back to when I would play hide and seek with Sahana and she would, being thin as she was, run through these tiny gulli like pathways before I could push away all the obstacles in my way and reach her. The stairs were narrow and as I climbed upstairs, praying for more space and reached another tiny balcony.

We were all squished in like textbooks in the almost torn bag of a high school kid. While I was thinking of how I had to double check that this place was actually Untitled Space, we all breathed because we were allowed inside the hall on the second floor. Being as the day was, another unexpected hit like a dodge ball. There was no stage. It was one big hall where the stage could be the entire hall. This saved my head from a lot of seating anxiety. The play deserved a post of its own. I’ve been closely following Untitled Space so that I don’t miss out on getting to go to Mysore in Bangalore house once again.

*

I sit in the second row of the three rows in the semi-circle of Rangasthala and realise that being tall was not always long legs and cabinet reaching postures. It was also being fit into step-like seats my college must have trained by now to sit on now, but still leg cramps don’t go. I’m watching my sixth or seventh play. It ends and I sit there for a few milliseconds before I uncramp my legs and walk up to my actor friend. I look around the chaos in the theatre was barely there. In the middle of people making their way towards the exit, I smiled back at the theatre. Breathe in. Breathe out. The fishes and other creatures went back to the earth’s water bodies. A new place stands in another spot in the city and I’m the one doing the waiting now.

Posted in Uncategorized

The purple house

The place I call home
Will have walls of purple
Purple of every emotion,
Ice cream bucket emptying sadness
Joy that flies out of my head
And sits with the stars
Of dull boredom that makes me stare
right through surfaces and yet see nothing
My home will be the purple house

The purple house will have a lot of Windows
which takes in the smiles of the sun and
note it in its neverending grocery list of colours and qualities

The purple house will be out of the way
It will not be something you pass through and think of swerving in and saying hello because it’s on. the. way.
It will be surrounded by trees, it’ll be far enough from cars that honk even on no honk Mondays
That shout to say that they’re shouting and not much else
But the purple house will be close enough to hear hesitations in footsteps entering or leaving places, or just stopping, stopping the friction episode with the ground and stopping to watch the wind and lives move by

People who speak the language in which cities and towns talk, will stumble upon the purple house
They’ll see through the smile of its bright lights, strung all over
They’ll sit and listen to its many tales because they can speak words that weave itself into the breeze
They’ll place their hands on its walls and listen to this purple house that stood up from the city that built it because it has places to be; it took a walk and thought of keeping the city in the pores of its purple walls
instead of keeping the city in me

The house will not be too far from the city though
Where else will it sneak around for stories?
Where else will it spy on the man who stops to draw trees in different months?
The house will not have black walls because shadows do their job well and I’ve heard they don’t have favourites

There will be people filling the house,
fictional ones and those who don’t know they’re part of the fictional ones;
the house will share its warmth
It’ll gather more parts of people, more stories
It’ll give some of its own parts
so they’ll never feel lonely even in an empty room

The house will have no name
I’ll walk out of it
while I carry it with me
The streets will be filled with people who see me and think of the purple house

The purple house is getting ready
to stand up again
Stories on its sleeve, lights on its walls
I saw it walk away
It walked and walked
And faded away with the moon
Without a trace or goodbye

I did not realise if the purple house was moving or was it me,
Whether this purple was many pieces of colours
Salvaged from the yard of what I was

Posted in Uncategorized

Shrinking 

Shrinking. When mom says don’t buy those clothes they might shrink when you soak them
Shrinking is fitting yourself 

into things that deny you 

the fact that you exist 
Shrinking is all those words

you’ve been waiting to say

since the other person in the party

cut it short; all those words

delete buttoned in your mouth

shattered like a thousand glass balls

before they had a chance to sparkle

It’s having a thousand things in mind which would dazzle anyone if they knew the depth of it but keeping your mouth shut because maybe, just maybe, how can anything you say be worth a person’s time
Shrinking is being both the driver

and the pedestrian in the driver’s way

It’s feeling you’re an interruption in 

your own path 
Shrinking is handing back the size 34 

jeans to the saleswoman who insisted that you would easily fit in them when it didn’t even manage to hold in the 

miracle you were 
Shrinking is having a random stranger

on the internet tell you that you should lose weight because he “cares” about your health even though you know you’ve been working out 

And know that you haven’t eaten a cheese burst pizza in years no matter how much your salad eating stomach craved for it
Shrinking is hearing your friend say the same thing.
Shrinking is watching your flawed self

climb out of you like she’s coming out of an elevator and trying to put your skin back on her because you want to hold on to that guy who thinks “you were so much fun when we first met. I don’t know how you changed”

Shrinking is being told that it’s wrong to have flaws

That it’s wrong to break from the shiny mould you’re expected to grow into 

because you’re told that’s what grown ups do
Shrinking is when you’re told that the artist you love is absolute shit

and you can’t defend them. And how could you?

when all the colours the person’s art made you feel broke the spectrum of feelings that ever existed and defined new boundaries every time
Shrinking is saying sorry too often, feeling maybe you were wrong, maybe you had no right to be wrong

maybe it’s wrong that you even talked in the first place, that you thought you had a right to think this way  
Shrinking feels safe sometimes as you don’t have to own up to anything 

Shrinking is worse than embarrassment

It’s not wanting to face the embarassment because you’re not even holding your ground on something 

Shrinking doesn’t just make you small; it erases even that tiny hope of growing when you feel small
Shrinking is that relative who comes in without informing you beforehand and leaves parts of their luggage you don’t know what to do with 
So you let it stay, you promise yourself not to let it get to you but end up crawling 

back into the frame built
It’s hard to not shrink in this world 

where even the most optimistic people watch their house plant die because of their own inability to water it 
Next time you find yourself near the inviting arms of your comfort zone frame, resist. 

Interrupt the interruption and tell your words out loud, because the worst that could happen is you’re wrong and you learn 

Walk with your head held high and find another apparel store 

Defend what you like and sometimes, don’t, because you don’t really have to 

Remember that you matter, the internet is right when it says you’re made of stardust, you’re made of those stars you tried to count when you were young
I’m sorry that someone in this world made you feel like you should apologize for being passionate about your favourite books

But you’re not that crumpled paper ball they made you to be

You’re the cloth that didn’t shrink