Wait

Wait
For as long as you live and love you shall not perish even as you wait
Wait
For the right time and for the right things
When they come what might be left
Is the essence of what you are
Still alive
A bit stronger
Concentrated
Still beautiful
Wait
Live
For if what you wait with is meaningful enough
There is no turning away
Wait
Live

A gardener’s note

I tried to grow the basil twig and the lemongrass stalk here
Forgot that it’s a different city
Full of salty humid air
Things don’t grow here as well, as easily, especially flowers
I miss the terraces of uru
Where I grew as much as my plants
Where things can be resurrected easily
Bombay, why do you test me so
Why do you want me to watch more things die as I attempt to see them bloom
Take me back the air of the hills and mountains and valleys
Ocean is dear
But the flowers bloom not near it

Light

Light
Borrowed, made, given, taken
Fueled by the mind and the heart and some things unknown
When we are confronted with it
When we see a light so bright
Do we squint and look away
Or do we let it expose our dark corners
To submit to light
Is to not to be enslaved by our own self
To submit to light
Is to win back the mind and the heart and some things unknown

Homemaking

It’s home that we get back to for survival. It’s home that the virus brought under the spotlight – “stay home, stay safe” is still the motto of current times for many parts of the world. For some people such as the millions of migrant workers in India, there was no other option but to detach themselves from a production system where they were mere cogs in the machine. They had to go back where they are more of humans, in an environment where they were maybe less poor, less hungry, and part of a larger family. They were seeking safety not from the virus but from the exploitative system that left them with nothing else to fall back on but home. For some of my friends, like people who have made up a verb to live a responsible life- adulting, for them going back home meant change in jobs to be able to stay with family and find value in being there to help, to weather the storm together. For some, the lockdown was the final push to go where they knew they had to be. For some, staying home alone meant staying with self, more than ever. They had to make do with creating home out of their own mind and skin, with intermittent pangs of craving for another voice, another touch, another taste, another story.

All who stayed home, went home, or made a home, and are doing so even now have one thing in common- a compromised capacity of survival due to years of routine of continuously trying to produce something without actually being home. Without much nurturing of our homes so that they can continue supporting our lives even in times of uncertainty and risk, we gave more even when we earned more. Rather, we gained and saved money, maybe gained some status or achievement, but not as much of love and care. Love, care, reflection happened, but as a secondary to the primary of maintaining a routine to stay running in the larger system. Detachment from our own selves – alienation, thrived. Maybe it was needed to continue being a part of the world.

We didn’t realise that it was a crisis of homemaking. We hadn’t done enough “home-work” and were thrown into a difficult test which required long term solutions that last longer than the lockdowns. Sometimes, it’s when we are on a shaky ground that we grow the roots stronger, it’s when we are pushed in the dark that we lean towards light. Now we stand, with our roots exposed, trying to find a footing that does not depend on the outside world as much. Here we are, trying to grow roots from the safety of our fragile homes, wishing that they stay strong and weather the storm with walls made of bonds sealed with love. Here we are, making a space within us and around us where we not just survive but grow and reproduce parts of ourselves. Here we are, homemakers in making.

 

Restore

We open multiple tabs
Compartments within the window of our head space
One on that minister who
One about that research on
One to book my show
One on that man who
One to listen to the new Eminem song
One to respond to that email
One with that poem by
Tabs waiting, ready to fill
OUR head space
Slowing its opening up
Freezing
Numb to clicks
Of our own

Smoke

Smoke, on the roads, in our lungs
In our eyes, in our country
Smoke, filling our minds
Suffocatingly poisonous
The smoke of values being burned down
One after other
Using the fuel of votes
Aye, they say
To further burning
Using the spark of religion
Aye, they say
Come what may
We watch
Every day
As we turn to ashes
Seething
With deep red gashes
Into the very core
The innards of our constitution
Lay open
Spilling on the floor
As some rejoice
We despise
With fury, with rage
That floats in hot air
Turning into smoke
Blackening our days
Yet, we stand
Together, next to each other
Our lungs filtering the rage
With kolams, and songs
And slogans and prayers
We try to face the wrongs
We face the slayers
To filter the smoke
That’s blackening our days

Us, and whatnot.

Us,

Full of imperfections

Too old, too tall, too emotional

Whatnot

Us,

Full of contradictions

Wanting a support

Wanting to be independent

Full of hope

Full of pain

And whatnot

Us,

Full of potential

Full of present

We want to do, act, read, write

Whatnot

Us,

With our own burdens

With burdens for others too

With burdens of others

And whatnot

Us,

Wanting to feel liberated

Made to be fake

Things like that

And whatnot

It’s about us,

Or is it about them?

Someone,

Makes us feel liberated

We are not always ourselves

Confounded by social interactions

Someone,

Makes us mask ourselves

Someone,

Doesn’t even care

Sometimes,

The liberator and the subjugator are the same

And whatnot.

That sucks.

But then,

If we are increasingly not us,

With someone,

Stop.

Think.

Be aware.

Be alarmed.

Sometimes,

It’s about them.

But essentially,

It’s about how much we lose ourselves,

It is about us.

Us,

When we change

When we don’t want to change

It’s us,

Who need us the most

Not whatnot.

 

 

 

 

It rained

Rain fell,
With big droplets, hitting hard against the skin,
The skin that had tried unsuccessfully hiding from it,
Rain fell,
Washing away things off of it,
Lethargy, stagnant frustration, salty residues of sweat, even hints of malice,
They slid off, bit by bit,
The lips, they got a faint grin, the face got lit,
The water clinged to the body, through the wet shirt,
Washing away not just the dirt,
Seeping in, diluting the thick warm blood
Making it thin enough to flow once again in the remote corners and deep dark depths of the self, it formed a flood,
Washing away internal inertia,
Rain fell and bounced off of open palms,
Ricocheting into the air,
Rain fell, making puddles that shimmered in light,
Rain fell, on the head, like beating of a distant drum,
Trickle of water, through the hair, over the face, sliding off the neck, it caught a momentum,
Moving the body, moving the mind,
The best thing? It stayed,
Even after drying up, even under a roof, even when home,
Rain stayed, within the body, within the brain,
Making it unafraid, making a claim,
For the right to stand, a bit in the rain.

A bird thrives in the anthropocene

Today morning as I lay in bed
With pain in the body and a heavy head
It was a bird that sang
Loud above the hustle of the morning
Among the whoosh and the clang
A loud bulbul that held my attention and pulled me
Pulled me out of the translucent window curtain
Pulled me into the world outside
Making me certain
Making me notice
That a bird thrives in the anthropocene
That a non-human can control how I feel
I felt some zeal
Lighter in the head and fresher in the body
I stand up, no more prostrate
Telling myself to rejuvenate
Because a bulbul sang
Among the whoosh and the clang
A bird thrives in the anthropocene