Of Stray Leaves and Crumpled Pages

I should say your name.

But then again, what’s in a name? Right? Wrong.

When all is said and done, the sound of a name, the stray odour of a forgotten love story, the quiver in a pair of lips as the past thwarts in between, the littlest things begin to matter. You become a miniaturist.

So, hello Old Love,

I have come to your doorstep. I have some words to say. And perhaps I shouldn’t call you ‘love’, when the story I started was left unfinished. For a minute there, I want to take my pen, draw a line in between a page, make a border between you and me, and write the reasons why we remained unfinished.

For a minute, I want to do the ordinary thing. Because ordinariness is safe. Because predictability is home.

But when you a have a stark-white page that peers into your soul, sometimes, just sometimes, you want to do something extraordinary.

And so you scribble. You cut, you write, you bleed, you melt, and then, you become words. There is no red pen in the corner of my page anymore. I won’t correct my words. I won’t look back and see the mistakes I have made. After all, I never did that for you.

So let the words hold flaws. For even love, as beautiful as it often is, is flawed. I used to see that beauty. Now, I just remind myself to smile again.

There are the nights though, deep into the bosom of darkness, when I let myself fall a little more than I would let myself in the transparency of daytime.

When I would curl up in my bed, my pillow in my arms, and I would close my eyes. And I would see you. I would see us. Perhaps you and I would smile. Do the most ordinary things, sit for a breakfast, or I would throw a stray piece of paper at you, with its undiscovered trove of words inside. In my fantasies, there is always daylight. And maybe that is enough to make me remember that I have drifted a little further off from reality.

I would bleed tears after, or words instead. I have come to love the words more now. You see, when dawn cracks into the night, light filtering into my room, I like to be reminded it was never a dream.

Seasons change me the most, though.

Summer colours, the yellows and the oranges, the purple hues in the dying hearts of sunsets at riversides, and the slows kisses in winter, azure and purple playing with one another, until the sky itself becomes a confused infinity of grey. It is beautiful, oh so, beautiful, that it almost breaks my heart.

I lose my track often, as I do now. I write to you, and instead I lose myself in the montages of unmade memories. It is a new habit I have developed, to love things that are incomplete, unmade, forgotten, abandoned. Fallen leaves, crushed flowers, crumpled papers, broken quill nibs, I find a strange love for them, growing each day inside of me.

And in loving them, I, too, fall into pieces, brokenness and halfhearted remembrance lingering as effigies.


There should be an end here. According to the laws of words, I should scribble lies with ‘yours lovingly’ or ‘yours forever’. But I am mine, only mine. I collect all these fallen pieces of me, stick them with glue and watch them break away again. But there are still all mine.

So until I find some of me to share with you, in fantasy or in reality,



Of Lipsticks and Whores

I wear my red stain on the lips, and you fear me. I am a trollop, a harlot and a whore.

I wipe that red stain off my lips, and you crave to control me. I am an innocent, untouched, still fresh.

How easy, is it not? To change from woman to woman from the colour of her lips.

As easy as it is hide under my sari, my burkha, my salwar.

You see, I am covered.

I am covered so that your eyes don’t ravage my skin, bury beneath my bones as they tear through my flesh.

I am covered, I am decent. I did not entice you to rape me. I am saved.

After all, you are the victim, I, your criminal.

And god forbid if I lusted!

If I craved sex, if I wanted to be touched.

Isssssh! Chee, chee! Are you a harlot? Some penny-greedy whore?

Oh no, my lord, I am no whore. I simply am lustful.

Don’t you know that is the devil speaking through you?

Oh, yes. Always the devil. The moment that cursed thing in between my legs gets moist, I am touched by the devil.

Oh, must I be cursed to such fate? That when I close my eyes, when my fingers seek pleasure, I find myself in the proximity to the devil, craving fantasies, craving something more.

I am just the devil’s whore.

I stand on court today, screaming at you.

Screaming until my throat is raw and my eyes bleed blood,

I stand across you, judge, jury and executioner, and I am two women at once.

The one with the lipstick who victimized you.

And the one without whom you thought the devil.

I am the precipice of two choices, dwelling between the edge of the worlds,

Asking you to see, that these desires are not more than me.

I, a woman. I, a mother. I, a sister. I, a lover. I, a wife. I, a whore.

You dress me up in so many roles!

I lose my sanity, and I yell! Who am I?

The minute you touch me without my consent, I am your criminal. I must be the whore who craved your touch, and you, kind sir, you acceded to my silent request.

You turned me into your bitch, because you see, I wore that lipstick! I must have wanted it.

And then, on the night before, when my chapped lips were no longer colored.

When I had whispered sweet nothings, closed my eyes and seen sinful images of another in my arms,

When I was a desert and a rainy afternoon in the same moment,

I must have been seduced by the devil.

I, a woman. I, a mother. I, a sister. I, a lover. I, a wife. I, whore.

I am lost in my roles!

And so I scream, I am more than my desires!

But then again, my words shall always fall upon the deafest ears.

So, take my hands. Hang me upside down and beat the devil out of me.

Leash me like the hounds, good sir! I am a danger even to myself. I have the devil in me.

Exorcise me, clean me, wash me, and if the stench still remained, then burn me.

For I have seen a thousand lives,

A whore with a red mouth, and the devil with her chapped lips, as a loveless wife and a coy mistress.

And I beg you, oh, I beg you,

Now let me be free.


Time, Would You Melt Away?

The last time I had decided to scribble nothings was on February. My mind had been constricted on the odes of poetry, on the rhythm of rhyme and the discernment of reason, none of which I could succeed in achieving.

Life decided to rattle by into a pit of chaos, and the ladder sadly became an illusion (sorry, Petyr Baelish). It has been almost four months since, and though I cannot validate my absence as some glorious tale of self-searching, I can admit that I have found myself a newer pit of chaos.

My poetry has long since abandoned me, rhyme refuses to flow though my pen anymore and instead, I have found safe haven in stories, books and the free fall of words. I have traveled, read, watched and touched the intangible world and almost, almost, found a haven of constancy in the endlessness of time.

Stories have arisen thus, some with hope, some with tragedy, but time has passed ever since. Even now, I know not what I scribble, perhaps these words mean nothing, perhaps they do. Maybe I just seek to write something after  a long while without any cause, any preconceived notions, any aim of establishing a deeper meaning. Perhaps I want to immerse in nothingness through these words. Hence they hold no meaning, no rationale, these words are nothing but chaos.

And in nothing, lies every human’s greatest enemy: Time.

In my travels, I have seen cities, cities that war with time to establish a sense of permanence, as fragile as it may be. Perhaps these cities are deluded too, who can ever hope to defeat the woes of time? But perhaps, in the conundrum of time lies the one poison that we all seek: hope.

So I visit cities with hope.

Hope that ensconces parks and cemeteries, alike. I see colors, I see a painter who paints for his three daughters, a series called Mr Rabbit Head, a rabbit-headed man who follows three balloons (his three daughters) as the darkness chases him.

And in his blue, white and red drawings when black tries to spill a little more, I find the sword to battle in my war with time. I strive alongside Mr Rabbit Head, I find my courage to grip hope a little tighter, as Mr Rabbit Head holds the three strings of those red balloons that sway in the breezes of gaiety.

You see, the human condition is a tragedy. We are all running after an intangible desire to establish coherence in the form of a legacy. And our shadow, our time, runs out beneath our feet. Perhaps our enemy almost wishes to share himself with us, but the universe stops him to. He, too, perhaps is a broken slave at the hands of infinity. And us pitiful mortals become his enemies too.

Perhaps Time is just a lonely soul sitting in some Irish hill and counting sunsets to infinity.

And so I scribble stories about him. Stories where ends and beginnings merge into one to become a pit of nothing, to become time itself and not time at all.

And after months, I find the courage to say this out loud, my own battle with a lonely Time ongoing, that I, a pitiful mortal, strives to find coherence, a hint of worth for her own legacy to make.

Until then, I scribble, I cherish, I live, and I hope.

The Indian Bibliophile