Take care. Work hard. Keep ur head high. Stay scheduled. Learn. Keep sane. Take breaks. Say the right polite things. Grow. You can.
The ring of laughter. The gleam of joy. I want to laugh heartedly. I want to forget my environs and roar with laughter. I want every inch of my body to stimulate with happiness. Like the spirit of gaiety has taken over me. Like I have been proclaimed the empress of a kingdom. Like a can of nitrous oxide has exploded.
I want to laugh with friends. I want to share the splits with a humans. Not before a dead screen. I want to participate in the ridicule and in the hilarity of it. I want to create humour.
I want to laugh. Laugh like I would at seventeen. With no care. With no responsibilities. I wish I could meet you and together we would spend the evening with our stomachs hurting and our eyes moistening. Let’s laugh together. Let’s laugh again.
You love me and salvage me in your arms
But I’m not in love, I wonder how,
How I measure my words I tell you,
How I feign sentiments even when I don’t feel a thing.
How you’re riding me on a emotional roller coaster,
How I have linked my worth to your moods and compliments,
How I have changed my likes to fit your preferences.
How you balance your multiple relations with the world, while I stay fixated at one.
How I think of you when i wake up, i think of you when i go to sleep,
And everytime in between,
How you’ve soaked up my youth and vivacity.
How you have left me distracted and detached,
How you make everything without you sad.
You love me, you caress me when I’m crying,
You embrace me even when I am in denial.
But I don’t want your friendship, I don’t need your love.
I want to be mine, even if it leaves me forlorn.
I want to smile on my own terms,
I want to be take guard of my own tears and my pains.
Therefore please shed off your spell and rein in your charms,
Love me no more and return me to my heart.
I grew up in the hill town. Life was quiet . There was a flux of number of visitors. We caught up with the trends of the world. Yet life was peaceful. The air was fresh, the water still pristine. It was easy to make acquaintances. Sometimes it was awkward to be found with a friend, by a neighbour.
I loved my home. I woke up before dawn. And every day I watched the cloud burn red, then orange and later yellow. The sun rose. It swept me off my feet. I was in love with the sun. I thought it was divine.
And then the rest of the day was beautiful. School and friends. Lunch and zero lessons. Tests and orchestra.
I loved the greenry. There was a meadow on the hill opposite my hill. I would see it coloured in spring, deep green in summer, brown in autumn and white with snow in winter.
And I left the town. I moved out. I was seeking a professional course.
And now life was fast. It was concrete. There were hives of people. The streets were littered with plates and spoons of last evening. The dogs would bark the entire night.
There were no friends. I talked to no one.
There was no tree. The sun neither rose nor set. The air was noxious. The pigeon was urban.
It took me five to six months till I could not bear it anymore. I had a breakdown. I needed air. I needed a tree. A genuine smile. A still moment. I wanted to stop and feel proud. But the city only set goals like mirage. Therefore I left the city and I came back. I came to a place with a modest salary. But I realised over weeks that a little money was enough to survive in the hill. I soon got back my sanity.
“Where can I sit and have soup or tea?”
“There’s a line of them. Ask for directions.”
“You come along?”
My eyes got more intent. Eyebrows did their part.
“I’ll pay you. Show me tea.”
The hustle at the beach was louder after evacuees gathered around the town. There were twin blasts at Alubja. Grand bloody blasts through the heart of the crowd. I presumed business with my guitar and my bowl would not be mean this evening. Declining his benevolence wouldn’t be kicking my stomach. But he was insisting. I imagined he would hold me by hair and drag me around town if I didn’t volunteer.
“I have the last word on the commission”, I narrowed my eyebrows.
He motioned towards the market.
He ordered three glassful tea. Five bowls of hot soup. And forced me to drink too. It wouldn’t be partaking of my money, I pointed.”Hags, beggars what’s your family like?”, he snorted.
To the ordinary school-maniacs and society-leeches pride was at stake. We rag-pickers don’t slight at these. The hereditary rag-pickers might, I caution you. But not the diligent self-made ones. We have perspired so much to get here that outside chatter, the material world is plastic only to be picked up after it’s soiled.
“Death struck Alubja. That was one bastion of the Kanis they most consolidated. Fortified, some say. That’s a game-changer.”
“What do you know about game?”
“I was a soldier, big man. I had a bullet whizzed right above my forehead. Precision of a militant, big man. Precision of an inch. The bullet speed made by hair move, but couldn’t get me.”
“How many were your scores?”
“Two, big man. Me and my neighbour from the hole. I scored on alive lives not dead.”
“Which sect are you?”
“None. The bullet was from a Haith. Now the star favours the Haith. Get the star studded right through your brow to proclaim a Haith. Else a Haith will kill every Kani that dare him to halt.”
“So you damped the star?”
“The star damped the star. The rubber factory was the battleground. We factory workers wear no rosary. We are sophisticated professionals. The Haith with all hatred shot at another because the another knew no clever words to prove her allegiance amidst the noise and the rubble.”
He would loosen out a laugh.
“My faith shot at me. What profit is such faith? ”
“You look like an evacuee yourself. Not from these parts“,he had been observant.
“The beach is our mother.”
“South. What prompted this long trip?”
“Family moved in.”
“No Southerners move in here. This is predominantly Haith Province and you are Gere. Two months from now, Geres stormed into armament factory of the Haiths and you were working for the enemy.”
“You’re a radical.”
“Tea.” I prepared to stand.
“Why did you come here? The South is safer than these parts. No foreign dogs. No ruthless militants. They are actually still trading. Why?”
I was fazed. Like I didn’t know why. Like my life had no prequel, no childhood, no history, no ancestry.
Then suddenly I was racing. My heart had just been pierced. Imperilment.
“Why? ?” he emphasised.
“He wanted me monetised.”
I could see his eyes broaden.
I undid my scarf and blew hard into it. And helped the tears with the other side of the scarf. At times the same. I couldn’t see through blurred eyesight.
“People are watching rag-picker. There’re watching me.”
I let out a louder wail.
“Let me narrate you a happy story. A fairytale ending. I was at Alubja between the noise and rubble. Yesterday. I saw a pretty boy about six crying. He was Kani. I should have shot at him. But at some distance I heard his mother screaming. She yelled a same name as mine. The handsome bloodied boy had my name. So I took him to refuge and two of his brothers too.”
“And then my mother spoke to me every time I gathered a bit of sleep. So I didn’t sleep. Because she was talking to me in my dream.”
“Because I yielded my blood to save her and my brothers. That is my mission. ”
“And I saved them yesterday. So my mother told me my mission was complete”
“The commander wouldn’t accept this as score. But it’s my mother I fought for. She has released me.”
He was upwelling. It was a matter of seconds before he would detach me from my scarf.
“Water.” He left.
I waited because I couldn’t get up.
“You’re drinking yourself to death? Get out of here now.” The smelly tea-maker.
I fumbled through the glove big man had left on the table. Commission respected.
I calculated the arguments for the beach or the hole. I had hard-worked into sum to last me two weeks. But the mockery of my guitar was still lying careless on the beach sand. Them blasted refugees could burn the wood to warm themselves or strip the strings to make vessels through the Mediterranean.
There was tension and fear in the air. People were already bidding the beach bye-bye. Three hours before the sunset. Doomed are aliens. Which days in their auspices don’t trigger misery? There was panic but not as alert and intense. Crooked six string. MOVE. Did a boar sink to the waves? Did the trafficker puncture it? Now settlements were dear. Blasted refugees must have fallen short of cash. Maybe their cash had charred back in Alubja.
“Flame Izara, cloud of horror! We are damned! I can foresee another.”
It was a case of self-detonation. Down on the Loner Cliff or Lover Cliff or Lunatic Cliff. Whatever excites your imagination? Casualty was none. Or maybe one. The malefactor.
“I understand if you’re terrified. The soul of the beach wanted you alive. The beach is our beneficiary.” The drum-woman who I tried hard to sync my tones with had sat next to me this morning. There weren’t crazy drum beats this morning. She had been listening. The big man.
“Burn the house down, burn the fields too.
That’s what they heard, but not what he said.
Take the girl out and her brother and lover too,
That’s what they followed, but not what he commanded.”
I look out and never wish to return,
To this confinement, self-imposed and bitter.
I want to fly with the eagle, dance with the dolphins.
I seek to partake of the niceties of nature.
I never want pain of the brain,
It chatters without intermission, over a few subjects regular.
How do I overcome this insanity?
How do I liberate myself and set myself free?
The ghost of you doesn’t leave me,
Tell me why I’m immersed in misery
Is it wrong with how I perceive life to be?
Why can’t you take your shadow off me?
I’m at a loss to have misfortune dominate the joy,
I’m so resentful, to my restlessness I have become a toy.
I have no outlet but a poem that none will read,
Take me out of this condemnation please!
To all of you out there ever enclosed yourself due to self-censure.
It’s more of a habit than reality. It’s proven to be even genetic. Yes we choose and unconsciously delight in condemning ourself. I’m fat. I can’t make connections easy. I can’t concentrate. I am boring. I’m strange. Different ‘not-s’ overwhelm us with such impunity and commitment.
The truth though is that we are all special. We are all lovable. We are all beautiful. We are all capable. Whatever you choose to do in life, there are going to be people far better. Some are consummate, while others excel at fooling you believe they are. Yet your task is to attend to neither. Look within. See what you want. Want it with passion. See where you stand. Look at the next step. The smallest you can perceive. Take the step. Do it with belief. Do it with enjoyment. And then once you have treaded the first, take the second one just as small and precise as the first. Calm you heart. Calm your brain. Practise peace. Two appalling world wars and numerous battles as many as the stars in the sky! Do you think peace comes easy? It’s called, it’s invited. It’s hosted. Move ahead. And take pride in each step you’ve conquered. Be proud as a peacock at your efforts. Yet persistent as a mosquito. Go ahead. Farther and farther. And that is closer and closer. Closer to your dream.
The only one that stops you from your success is you. Circumstances are God’s or fate’s prerogative. I choose to only shape my reaction to them. Belief comes free and effort comes free. Set your desires on fire and your synergies. Live for your happiness but learn to take note of it too. Let the miracles, let the happiness, let the tiniest of successes prevail. Let them. You’re not being foolish. You’re learning to live.
Fade, blur and disappear,
Have mastered authority over my tears,
Am burying our story neither tragic nor unscrupulous,
But profound and overwhelming for my capacity.
You need to love me no more,
To make oblivion readier and assured.
You need to give me reason to blame,
‘Cause the depth of your love has driven me fragile.
Distance is merciless, and brutal is the onslaught of my thoughts,
Yet distance is the remedy that summons muscle.
So you stop loving me and be cruel,
So that I have strength to move on.