“To fight is to stir. To be valiant is to stand. “ As I grow larger, I feel emptier. My heart pumps through the pattering of feet fused against my four walls. They pull away like an exhale. They grant me oxygen through those pair of ten human toes, pressing against my cold interior. I feel every creak of the bed, every whispered lie, every curve of a smile, every spittle from screaming mouths. What am I? My bones are bleached white. They comprise the myriad assault of steely blue anger, greying resignation, searing green happiness and the subtle yellow of satisfaction. I feel nothing nought for the people that live within me. They are my salvation, the burning flesh of emotion reincarnated and plastered against all crevices of my inner skin. I would have been no lesser than the objects these people surround themselves to feel more full, more human. What am I? My gaze is shrouded by a shade of grey. I feel the goodness of these humans, echoed in every shared meal, every shared laugh, every shared heart. Yet I feel the flittering, portentous shadows of their rage, their envy, their sorrow. I like them better. They seem more flawed, more human that way. I was created by the expanse of their brains. I was built from timber and steel by grit from their muscled hands. I was given birth by the tiniest touch of the human sole against mine. What am I? I wish I could tell them how foolish they are, destroying their love by standing so still, so long. Look at them, these humans that share blood. All of their gazes twisted in pain, hurt, sorrow- the triple onslaught piercing my humanity- their hearts sliding down their sleeves and shattering onto the ground. They yell as if their feelings could be heard. They stand in the same spot for hours as if everything could change. They grab, throw, hurl their violent tempers around as if the pain would finally stop. They are double edged razors, clashing against each other in immense agony, hoping to be burnt and melded whole. I have lived longer than their eldest, and yet no one feels my silent reverberations. Then… What am I?
One of them obviously is neglecting this blog.
dear honourable sir,
would you kindly excuse me
deflecting your rays of apathy
and judgement because not
only are you erroneous i hold
another girl’s hand because it is
if i had kissed a boy’s neck instead
and –hadn’t whispered
sweet nothings that would have
travelled down to his ribcage and
nestled there quietly for a long time
sir i think it is absolutely alright
to play with her toes and dangle
trust in the air and love so freely
so openly that
clutched fingers should mean more
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."
Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot
sin(e) We are slanted vertices, our gradient always constant. sin (ninety) Our directions opposites, we converge in an instant. sin (ninety) is Infinity this equation’s observation, We solve for our final declaration: sin (ninety) is one.
The loneliness hits and it’s pretty much like a condition, but you suck in your stomach and you move on because there’s a future where people don’t resent you and true love’s waiting and it’s so bright it burns the edge of your eyeballs.
Even In Real Life, There Were Screens Between Us
“Never. Not once?” I stare at her incredulously, my back thrust against the surface. She stared at me uncertainly, hands primly positioned on her lap, beyond arm’s reach.
“You’ve never felt the need?” I stared at her indexes, so soft and warm they burned my knee when they ghosted across a day ago, when she pleaded that she’ll give up her secrecy, some day.
I clenched my jaw. “Never felt the need to hold someone’s hand randomly? Or perhaps talk to them into the wee hours of the night?” Lying straight down on the bed and closing one’s eyes and just listening, relishing the sound of a person speaking with you, for you. It wasn’t romantic, wasn’t sexual. It was just basic need. The need for human connection. It cannot be quantified, it cannot be replicated in any virtual setting.
I didn’t get this girl. How can one be so reserved? My best of friends certainly aren’t. We can’t get enough of each other every day. We talk, we laugh, we sometimes hold hands if we’re lonely and we certainly love each other.
Doesn’t she get it? The longing is bursting the insides of my chest. Its burning an unforgivable, agonizing trail down my chest, plunging straight to my gut. I just want to hold her hand.
Is that so wrong?
“I’m sorry,” She whispered, looking straight down, through the plastered walls and through the screens, through the throng of people undeniably watching us hungrily, wanting more, more more- She pressed the button next to me:
“You’re not real to me.”
And with a flicker, I faded away.
5D TV! Come and experience the magical diorama that breaks your heart and reassembles it in five minutes! No trying, no living!
You confuse me. At your exterior, you present a bland, expressionless feature of a typical teenage girl. You are everything but. Your intellect and gifted sleight of hands has sent me reeling into slight envy and sizeable admiration, I really do wish I could get to know you better.
Oh, the envy is huge. You have no idea how much it is there, to see a girl my age and in the same school undeniably doing better at something that I was supposed to be the best in. It’s like a royal throne being snatched away, and since I know you so little the resentment will hang in there till I –inevitably- let go and see the true good in the individual that you are.
Hope that day comes soon.
I fear telling you anything that might burst your already colossal ego.
My friend, you make going for Debate worth it. You make your single-minded determination and effort, and your blinding obliviousness to almost everything around you is both infuriating and adorable.
Oh, but the logic that frames and balances your mind is boggling, to an overly impulsive and irrational being like me. We are complete opposites, you and I, but we learn so much from each other and at least we’re the best of friends.
It’s the small things that make up our friendship: chocolates; dreams; lawyering schemes; chuckles over our friends’ harebrained mannerisms; your cluelessness over slightly perverted things and transport systems; ranting over our annoying but admirable coach.
You know very well what your flaws are and it is my deepest hope, my best for you to turn your weaknesses into strengths and clichés be damned, reach your dreams because you deserve to be a kickass and brilliant lawyer and you deserve to have a brighter future and you deserve to be happy.
Sometimes I really do hesitate to speak about how I feel about you, good or bad because I have no idea how you’ll react. Your face is like Pandora’s box, hope nestled closely within but I’m as naïve and foolish as Pandora herself in the way that I handle you, if ever she has the chance again.
Like now, whether this might have a lasting impact on you. That you really will understand that you mean a lot to me, debate or not. But then I remember your smirks and the comfortable silences we almost always lapse into and my hesitation dies away.
Because I know you always skip my writing from the beginning and to the end:
You’re not so bad.
Hi there. I barely know you, I just realized. I don’t know you well as the others might but it’s alright, because you’re this big, bright individual whose optimism clearly chases the dreariness of the day and sometimes your naiveté might be the most endearing trait.
Those days in Tamil class would have been slightly more miserable without a familiar face like you that at least tried to talk to me and ask me about my day. Thank you for that. Debate also might have been a bit less silly without you and your kangaroo eggs. Thank you for that. You also are open and trusting, kind and you never once asked to be thanked so….
All in all, thank you.
It’s surprising that you know very little of what I think of you. You have to know. Of course you do, deep down somewhere. I mean, it’s in every inflection and every tone of my voice, whether exasperated affection or disbelief at your boldness sometimes, whether it’s something unbelievably stupid that you’ve said or stepped up to do. You have to know.
You’re pretty. That’s all that entered my mind when I came up to you in that basketball court because I really wanted to be friends with someone like you. Sometimes it really does reflect on the shallowness of a society like this, where anyone who is remotely good looking is favored upon by everyone, but it’s true. Everyone likes you at first because you’re so compelling to look at.
After that, the friendship is make it or break it, no matter. Must I list out your flaws? Must I list out the perfections? We’re friends and I’m eternally grateful for that fact. You’re such a good friend and I’ve told you this, I’m so afraid that you might walk away that I’m hanging on to every last second.
You know why I’m so insecure? You have so many others to fall back on. You have your primary school friends and this friend and that friend all devoted to you and sometimes I feel like a stick in the mud, truly. Me? I just have the few people on this list and a bit more outside. Doesn’t matter if you don’t feel the same way, but I just don’t understand how one person can have such a huge, huge support system and still help out others the way you do for me.
I admire your faith. Your inherent ability to believe in a higher entity and most importantly, people around you and you genuinely care for them and wish for their wellness. I admire your strength, perseverance and every single good thing that others have praised you about.
I might have it wrong but hey, this is the way I think about you.
We didn’t get off to a good start this year but little did I know you’re this sensitive, thoughtful, considerate friend I’d have today.
You probably might not know this: but you are not selfish, you’re probably one of the most selfless people I have met. Sure, you’ve made me irate several times during the course of our friendship, but the way you fret over your family or your responsibilities truly reflect on the depth of which you truly care about others, and that’s a lot.
You’ve hurt me and I’ve hurt you through this year, and somehow we still manage to walk to the bus stop from school frequently and talk aimlessly about life, family, friends, gossip. Sometimes you’re a lot like me, and that surprises me, when you prioritize and plan your future next year, for example.
We’re two people who have somehow grown comfortable around each other and never really had the need to speak up about the problems we might have with others or with each other because it will dissolve over the course of time and I admire- I truly admire, your ability to forgive.
You’re beautiful in every way I can think about, the way that you rejoice in the happiness of others, the way your whole face lights up when speaking about your loved ones, the way you genuinely cannot reduce your tone from anything less from joy and don’t ever forget it.
See you on the other side.
I am Pariah, and my name is Rakim.
My mother told me she named me after the rainbow, because she said she saw a rainbow through the heavy monsoon a day after I was born. She said it was a miracle and luck; much like me. Fortune, was not how I had lived my life in. I am a condemned, an untouchable, outside the rigid discipline of the caste system that was settled into the subconscious, something that seemed natural to the typical Indian as much as breathing.
I did not know why God did not treat me equally as others. It was considered a sin to let my shadow to fall upon other, higher castes than I. I was permitted to drink water drawn from the only permitted wells that my sisters and mothers drew upon. The priest threw leftovers, after a hard day of toiling at sea, at my feet as if I was no better than a half-bred stray. My masters flayed my brother to death because he was accused of stealing a kid goat. I knew the basket-weaver’s son was the thief, I saw him sneaking out at midnight. Nobody believed me; instead the village elder starved me for two days for speaking out to them.
In those two days I was sick with delirium, muttering prayers for God, stomach clenching in acidic agony and my mind numb. I am God’s servant, I repeated to myself like a mantra I heard occasionally in the Temple, I am God’s servant, and I shall endure everything He tests me. I am God’s servant.
I was God’s servant.
But God almost never came. Through my hazed vision and dry-retching, God came. With my senses more painfully acute than ever, God came through the form of meat. I tore it with a vengeance of an animal, the soured juice dripping down my chin.
But with each passing day, I begin to doubt God more. The priests preach about the justness of Him and His equaled shared love to all his subjects, that he grants them a better life if they have done well in their previous life. Did God think I had served him unsatisfactorily in my previous life? How was I to know?
And was this the same God that allowed my brother to be killed? The very same that allowed me to almost die of starvation? That allowed the whole of society to shun me and my family, for a previous and almost-forgotten mistake? Was this the same just and forgiving God?
I do not know. I tell you, with years of hardship and perseverance, I am still not convinced I shall reincarnate into a Brahmin in my next life. I tell you, while inscribing pictures onto the muddy grime of my quarters, that I simply do not know.
Wake up, do the dishes, wake up the children, cook the food, get ready for work.
The alarm beeps incessantly but she is already awake. In the dead darkness, there was no hurry, no time that needed to be hastened. They can be luxuriously squandered. Her husband snored loud, billowing breaths that likened a mixi-blender, his jaw jutting out and exposing his mouth. She rested her eyelids, at last holding something, albeit temporarily, she was in pursuit of her whole life. Peace. Emitting a sigh so weary it shuddered in her bones, she scratched her thighs and thin calves before hobbling off to work.
No bird will call yet.
Wake up, do the dishes, wake up the children, cook the food, get ready for work.