(People are weird)
Nerves throbbing with the taps of Likes,
Breaths catching, at nameless comments
By a faceless man-woman-robot-someone-something
Saying “I’m ugly” when you can clearly see starlight
Streaming out of their mouth and raindrops in their eyes
(People are weird)
False modesty oozing through cracks
Daubed with six layers of foundation to conceal
The blood they have on their hands
Learning in biology, facts about genes and proteins
and nucleotide sequences, knotting them up
into religion and race, racing children against children
Before they have even been born
(People are weird)
Listening to podcasts about dying polar bears
While driving to work, grumbling about the heat,
The people- why are there so many people anyway?
Unable to tell air and smoke apart sitting in high-rises
That reach for the clouds, even as walruses topple off cliffs
(People are weird)
(For writing in brackets in silent tongues the things)
(They wish they had enough courage to scream out loud)
When your lips touch mine, it is much more than one shred of slowly dying skin aligned on another. More than all the metaphors every poet through the ages has dreamed up, that I will write for you tonight and every other night.
When I kiss you, I don’t hear violins- only the sound of your erratic heart thudding next to my erratic heart, against a backdrop of car horns and creaking bed springs and nosy pigeons looking for a place to fuck.
When I kiss you, we don’t smell of roses. We smell of each other’s morning breath and different varieties of caffeine. Of day-old layers of sweat mixed with perfume that you say you can now pick out in a crowd, if only I were to waltz in.
Kissing you is bewilderment and anticipation and gratitude at this moment we’ve found ourselves in. That we could lose in the next instant. That we somehow forget to worry about losing, as long as we have it right now.
Kissing you is the sum total of my deepest desires and my darkest fears- the knowledge that everything I could ever want is here, and the knowledge that life can never top this again. A state of thoughtlessness hitherto alien to someone like me. A degree of thoughtfulness I could never have unlocked without you.
Kissing you is not falling in love– it is just being.
It has been a long time since I last wrote. It is not like I haven’t considered it- several times over the past four months I have sat myself down, prepared to let the words flow. And then they have paused, unable to find themselves in alignment with the emotions pouring out.
These four months have been some of the most difficult in my life, more so because of the inertia in other sectors of my life. Turbulence gets countered if one part of life, career or relationships or anything at all, is going well. When nothing is- when you’ve never been more alone (literally) in a three BHK house on the 24th floor in an isolated offshoot of the city, those are the times when turbulence threatens to swamp you like an asthma attack.
And those are also the moments in which, if you keep enough faith, Grace reveals itself to you. Grace, a word I have been highly sceptical about, up until the previous year. The obvious interpretations of “grace” have always been manifested around me as either an intense pressure to be nice all the time, or an exaggerated belief in religion and divinity. Both of which I had been growing increasingly disillusioned with- and it was at this time that you came to me, speaking of grace. In the past 365 days, I have been swept away by what grace truly means. Embracing my innate niceness as one of my greatest strengths, to be used spontaneously to help anyone who needs it is a kind of grace I have grown into only in the light of some Otherworldly Grace I can’t begin to explain. You were an instrument in bringing me to it, it to me- for that you will always have my unspeakable gratitude.Grace has come into each action that I now perform, a consciousness so delicate that it is ingrained in every breath.
I have spent the past one hour having a conversation with my own jealousy. The prospect of feeling threatened about my Love and one particular person always has, hitherto, managed to dredge up the most jealous parts of me, and so it did a while ago as well. I stared at the picture, I cried, I laughed a little, I cried some more, I decided I cannot take this anymore, that I shall move away because that is the only course open to me, to block this pain before it starts. I got angry too, because I had just told him that this makes me insecure, and with a seeming disregard and carelessness, he had created such a situation mere minutes later. And then, perhaps as a testament to the fact that I have learnt to observe my feelings a little more instead of drifting away, I stopped and breathed.
When you stop two things- one, feeding your anger as something righteous and two, berating your anger for even existing, you will find that you reach a far more comfortable middle ground. I simply sat down, cried and said- okay, you got angry and hurt and afraid. Then I asked myself- why? It turns out what my subconscious has been doing is bringing in a set of factors that have honestly never mattered whenever Love and I have been together. The factors of the public image of our relationship, and the possibility of him being dissatisfied with me and going to the other person for a far more fulfilling experience, being the primary ones. These are factors that don’t even apply to him- they are the baggage of my previous relationships and interactions. This man has never left me feeling vulnerable in public, because what we have is by virtue of its natural self very private, unique to the two of us- we barely ever have/require words to explain it. This man does not move from person to person being dissatisfied, he is aware enough to know that satisfaction or contentment is purely internal. So basically, my jealousy feels that it has been late in coming, because it was taken unawares the previous times, and is now asserting itself with a vengeance in a place where it is no longer required.
So I had this hour long conversation, that I can ill-afford in practical terms because I have to get up early, but that was nonetheless very necessary. Because I have been so worried at the prospect of pain, given the pain I have drawn into myself in the past, I haven’t stopped to notice that it is getting better. That I can now move out of such situations easier and not because I am faux-cheering myself up, but because I know that these are momentary ripples. And what stays eventually and always is the water, not the ripples. What stays is the love, if you can manage to trust it.
Manto writes of how, in moments of crippling self-doubt, his wife would tell him to stop thinking so much and simply put ink to paper. Curiously, the first part of that statement is what my Ideal Reader often says to me as well. It is true that if you let the pen run faster than the tangled web of your own thoughts unraveling, then you might sometimes, come across a written insight that you know nothing of, a window into a part of yourself you have hitherto artfully covered up with old rags and newspapers, and a bucket turned upside down for weight.
Writing is a dangerous game because it dismantles every notion of control, one line at a time. If you think you are taking a poem this way or that, deciding the fate of a character. completing and sequencing thoughts and logic, then you probably haven’t been writing long enough. Every seeming choice is but a ‘seeming choice’, even the last minute replacement of one name by another, the drop of a word, the inclusion of another. Becoming a writer is perhaps the easier part. What is more complex is trying to reverse- engineer your formula, to figure out whether it was the weather, or the astronomical alignment of celestial bodies, the shade of ink,perhaps- what gave you a masterpiece on July 24th, 2015 that you could not replicate on October 10th, the following year? As such, can you ever truly know if you shall continue to be a writer?
All you can do, is write, right now.
Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast, the Red Queen tells Alice. Sometimes, when I am having an anxiety attack, I like counting them down on my fingers until I can breathe again.
One, our doppelgangers exist in parallel universes, and time runs slowly enough in one of them for there to be a me that still exists without knowing what you taste like.
Two, the touch of your fingers on my skin is not an anesthetic but a thread looping in and out to make sure I will never be quite that frayed again.
Three, millions of books exist, and hundreds more are being written even as I type, and yet none holds the story we have in our souls.
Four, the touch of your fingers is the red thread, but I am the one stitching, every moment, every day.
Five, our doppelgangers exist in parallel universes, and time has sped ahead enough for a me that exists in knowledge that the last time I tasted you, was the last.
Six, in this moment, I am breathing.
Several years ago, I read a French phrase that struck me rather hard. In place of I miss you, the French say, Tu me manques, which translates to a literal You are missing from me. Even until the beginning of this year, if you were to ask me how I miss you, I would perhaps say it echoes the very nature of this phrase, like a wrenching cramp somewhere inside me, reminding me very distinctly of what is not there. But I think it has been changing, very gradually, with you and me, with us as we evolve.
You are so firmly in me, everywhere- you’ve already become the parallel mental voice, the voice of calm, of humour, of the one that reminds me that sometimes a breath is all it takes to start fixing things. The one that gently chides when I sometimes start on my downward spiral of self-hatred, and tugs gently at the part of me that knows that I am much more than a sum of my worst mistakes. You are here, never really gone anymore, even in distance and silence.
Tu es en moi, mon cher amour.