I'm in my very early teens when a classmate walks up and looking at my black painted nails she says, "It's a bad women's trait." The elder brother she looks up to has told her that girls who wear black paint aren't virgins and so, my heart sinks. Not at the ridiculousness of it, not at the tragedy of my character being defined by a colour but at the possibility of people seeing me as "impure". I do not paint my nails black after that.
I'm 15 now about to choose the stream I'd like to study further when an elder tells me there's no point in dreaming what's beyond your reach. I clench my fists and immediately bite my tongue so it wouldn't talk back.
I'm 16 and my english teacher tells the class that she should not find the word "rape" in our answer scripts for it's too crude. So we write modesty outraged, instead.
I'm 17 and I discover my lip shade is too loud and the depth of my neckline decides whether or not I'm "asking for it". I've worn my lipstick like written apologies ever since.
I'm 18 when the person beside me slips his hand up my waist and I sit there holding my breath too stunned to react. I run towards father to complain but the aunts hold me back. "Boys will be boys", they say "would you ruin the family relation over something like that?" So I clench my fist, bite my tongue and zip it up, once again.
Until I'm 19 and it repeats. Same audacity, same insolence with a different face. But I can't take it again so I turn to the world this time. I write poems to pour it all out. But along with the open arms come the raised eyebrows. "Not all men!" they scream. And I cower back not knowing when did I ever say all men.
I slowly turn back as I watch the world quarrel amongst itself. When did the narrative become all about who to blame and who not to blame? Where did my trauma get lost? Why do I have to explain and beg for audience's discretion? Is the audience that naive? Or does it prefer living in denial?
So I stop writing "those" kind of poems thinking I'll return when I have the right kind of poem.
I'm past 20 now and I still do not know what the right kind of poem looks like. I do not know how unafraid I've come to be or how far I'm yet to go but I do know that I do not bite my tongue anymore. I might not throw fists but never again would I clench them just to swallow the poison. I would not explain being a feminist with the disclaimer "I do not hate men" everytime, just so you approve. I would not beg for what's right.
My demands are not requests but they are willing to wait for you to understand that they're anything but unreasonable. For you to realise that there are millions like me and our defiance is not an act of aggression but a cry for consideration. And until that happens, I'll glide the lipstick on my lips like the pen I put my signature with. And I'll wear my nails black better than the distaste you wear on your face at the sight of it.
On the 7th session of our weekly appointments my therapist managed to make out a 9 letter word amongst the seemingly incoherent mess the meekness of my voice used to present her with.
N I G H T M A R E
Her desperation to help and frustration over the zero outcomes of past trials latched onto it like a starving kid on a piece of bread. Dissection of the problem right to its core was initiated. When the cause couldn't be identified, she worked her way to the next best thing at her disposal. The solutions. By the time we were done, I had with me, a list of mindfulness exercises, some colorful pills and a handbook of nightmares. As I perused through the index page of the thin, fancy book there were various headers typed elegantly in italics which were supposed to lead me to my answer. "How to spot the causes?" "What physical reactions might follow?" "How to reduce the nightmares?" "What to do if you can't reduce them?" And so on. I read till the end and then set the book aside utterly unsurprised at my disappointment. There was no answer. "What to do when you wake from one?" last header had stated.
The manual didn't tell me what to do when you wake into one. They never do.
Stop building bridges for people who only keep burning them down. Stop bleeding for vampires with unquenchable thirst. Stop jumping off cliffs for those who would neither be your wings to fly nor catch you at the end of the fall. With all that magic, all that love within you, don't you dare walk through fire again just to thaw a frozen heart. You're a pheonix, darling. Risen from ashes over and over again. You contain an entire cosmos within you. So the next time you let the wolves howl at you, make sure they treat you like the fucking moon.
My heartbreaks taught me that the times when I'd be at the offering end of pain will be the times that'll keep me up at certain 2:00 ams. They taught me that when fingers are pointed at you it's better to be silent than deeming someone's pain small and insignificant. They taught me that people aren't monsters but that won't keep them from driving satisfaction out of hurting you when they crave it. That the modern era has coined fancy excuses to hide behind and feel better about their wrongdoings. They've reduced love to definitions of chemistries and possibilities and whatnot. They taught me that anguish never turns you cold. And those who say it does are merely using it as a cover-up.
My heartbreaks taught me that my heart will always be big enough to wish to heal all the pain that exists in this world but my hands will be too small to hold them all and so I'll have to make some choices. Make preferences and choose some over everyone else. And sometimes, the same choices will feel trapped and want to break free and it's okay to let them because it's not your fault. And even if it kills you, It's okay to let them go for they were never yours to keep.
My heartbreaks taught me that I'm allowed to love people, to kiss them where it aches and live or die for them but I'm not allowed to save them.
On days reality carves new wounds on my skin or scratches the old ones to make them bleed, my courage may look like an injured deer wallowing in it's own tears. The nights when darkness is the only ally I find amidst the betraying sniffles, my brave may look like a helpless tigress tending to the bloodstained cusps of her uprooted claws. I may scream in agony or cry out in pain. I may sob for days and even beg for mercy. And I do that expecting no consolation because no one gets to decide the expanse of my torment and how I fix what's broken.
The only question is,
once you've seen me licking my wounds, would you still consider me a warrior?
quickly lock myself inside the master bedroom and rush towards the balcony, the swimming pool wouldn't rinse away my sins; look down the edge, the surface is crawling with cops, but they can never catch a freefalling body. moments before, the leap of faith, of death — what's the use of a world where the person you love, sticks a steak knife to your back, and, every television channel either has politicians trying to rape the entire country, or, Taylor Swift singing; and, now — back to the spectacle that everyone was waiting for, the bloody backdrop, fragments of my skull, scattered on the roadway to armageddon; we take the jump.
and, soon after that, the truth distorts, dissipates, dies. ------------------------------------------------------------
Middle-aged man killed himself after falling down from the 13th floor of Ritz Carlton. An interview with his wife firmly states that he was abusive towards her, and along with that he was sleeping with multiple females. She also added that an overnight fight caused him to move out to the hotel room, even when she repeatedly insisted him to stay with her for the last weekend.
three girls, they said, but, there's only one under the sheets with me; the other two, were fairly impressed with the idea of coition inside the bathtub, both had a thing for each other, like two scissors nosing into each other's business, mutual cocaine interest — we bonded over a sickening addiction, the death will be televised; you've to die to be immortalised.
is it the time to bid farewell, or, is it the time to stay up because, these groupies go down quicker than brown liquor; trading the pressure for momentary pleasure, and, the lights flicker as the seizure settles. and, one of them spilled cranberry beer on the floor, inches away, from kicking her out of the door; maybe my head is losing its edge, as the flashbacks backfire, but, hopefully these girls act like bullet-sponges when the firepower kicks in.
the room service was set to barge in through the door; same old crying and sobbing, the groans and the wails, the howling moan that echoes through the hotel corridors; waitress hollering, and soon one of the girls, dialled on the police — good god almighty, she didn't know the person she was trying to save herself from, until her cranium was mushed with the telephone receiver; the other two, they fled the scene through the front door, now, the entire hotel crew is inside the living room; this wasn't in my suicide plan, quickly lock myself inside the master bedroom and —
seven days now, of locking myself in and, my biggest fear is getting evicted from this luxury suite, for bringing in the female musketeers in threes, every night. phonecalls that are uncalled for, only the room service knocking on my door, even the Do-Not-Disturb sticker is seemingly tearing itself apart from the seams.
remorse is engraved deep inside my torso, but, she's probably stressed over her wardrobe, thinking if that funeral suit would fit her current shape, for the friendly get-together at the divorce court. she would rather find me dead in a five-second newsflash, or, in a small newspaper column; better off with a suicide than paying the alimony and the fees, as the lawyer proceeds to pronounce me dead.
until that day, this isolation might help — sitting naked by the telephone, frightened of her lawyer making the call, for giving me the courtroom dates. is there anybody out there except the mini-bar, that is on the verge of running dry, except the hundred-inch plasma television, the six-hundred television channels with Taylor Swift singing on atleast one-third of them. each day is a firm reminder of my demented health, as the room service waitress fears that someday when she knocks on the door, there would be no-one to open it.
"hey, I'm coming back from work this weekend" .... "what do you mean, you've to be somewhere this weekend ?" ....... "wait, wha-what ? who's that other man talking besi..." ......... ........... ............
*re-dialling the phone*
(we're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service)
three days, locked inside this luxury suite; Ritz Carlton, is the better place to be, than a house that's festering sore wounds, from another man's scent. if there was anything such as love, maybe — it has turned grey, and, if there wasn't, maybe — you should have played a fair game; because, these tools come in handy, add a telephone, and you're golden : three groupies, a man who's been cheated on and a queen sized bed.
perfection at its best, the thrill of laying down with multiple females is doubled, when the heartache gives way to an extraordinary spectacle — so, here's the red carpet, walk into this affair of tragic comedy, from the pits of agonising hatred.
What do they mean, when they say I'm a women now. Does it have to do anything with the delusional flesh anonymously protruding out on my fragile body? Ofcourse, on front and back both, to create a balance. Or does it have to do something with these zits on my forehead? None of my friends at school have any on theirs. I'm unique i guess. Or they are slow? Anyways, I've been told to be elegant and 'look out'. I do not quite understand this yet but amma told me now that I redden my panties, i should conserve. So, i searched up 'how to be a women' on google. More beautiful inside than out, secure and content, kind to everyone, has compassion that acts, Has listening ears, Respectful, especially to parents, elderlies, and authorities, Diligent and responsible, Being Humble and what not. And then i came across this question, it kept catching my eye even though the women in me tried to ignore it. How can I be a good woman to a man. It's just-- strange. Isn't it. I- nevermind. Internet didn't help enough with my outgrowing curiosity for this question. So, i asked amma. I could see Amma's expressions growing cautious and how she pretended not hearing me under the sound of saas bahu sazish and extraordinary/overpowering vfx effects. Just how she liked it though. I understood what I was supposed to do. I sulked in this question in frocks and proceeded with a chunni always on my head and mangalsutra embedded on my neck.
"Amma i don't not like how he touched me. I don't not like him. I do not want to redden my, again, but feet this time. No-" These words could never come out of my red lips. I was never careful with my smile and how one should dress, supposedly like a women but, I'm a woman nevertheless, so i hide behind choli, and conserve. I hide everything behind strech marks and preserve dignity, not mine but his and his kids'. I now know, how to be a good woman to a man.
Wouldn't it be better, If all could be downhill-ed to the latter, And I could sleep-- between house loans and melting bones, Through the sound of silence which echoes Among the words on the notices I couldn't read, Because I was too busy Dreaming all along, Among the letters i do not want to read, Because I was hallucinating all along.
The moon sets repeatedly fading with every eight heartbeats, with cold glowing red through the crevices As my eyes play hide and seek with second chances. What am I supposed to do, when the barn is brimming with sheeps, night in and out, sleeplessness has constantly made me weep; a clock that breaks past midnight, and the promises that I could never keep.
I strech and groan, of the insanity which has begun to grow within. Through the fingertips towards the heart that has turned to stone To the tales I weave and then creep along the rusty nails which keep the only photograph of her hanging. To admire the old love, milking it, the only thing which doesn't let me sink.
watching myself in the mirror, it's only a broken man; but, will you be able to see your own reflection when the light's out, when it's dark outside, when you've these thoughts of suicide. you will never hear me talking about waking up in the morning, a dead man never wakes up, he tells no tales — he takes nothing, but only excedrin, excedrin, could you please help me to get to the brink of the heaven's gate; that has been keeping a good night's sleep, from me.
what's the occasion, so late at night ? why are they crowding the street outside my porch ? what's with the celebration and the loud music ? they've managed to ruin my ruined sleep. shouting kids, dancing families, and, the elderlies look like they found a new life; whilst, altogether they've gotten me closer to the knife, and the glock-19; every laughter is almost as if someone's hammering down the last nails to my coffin — excedrin, excedrin, could you please show me the way back to my nyquil.
is it me, who's losing his religion or, is it the religion that's losing me; because, my faith is as low as the serotonin in my bloodstream. paranoid, that one of these nights, insomnia might make me claw out my eyeballs; just to head back into my mother's lap — and sleep, like there's no tomorrow; but until then, there's much to face — days of sorrow, turning into nights filled with morose.