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“What I Remember (12)” – Nayana Nair

hailstones.
that’s what i remember.
when the stones fell
onto the already breaking roofs of our class,
the girl who sat three rows ahead
stopped reading.
everyone who was busy day dreaming,
who had shut their ears to every useless fact that we come to learn,
knew how to listen to this,
to this violence that could hurt but won’t.

i sat there listening,
wondering if my skin would also be able bear
what this tin sheet roof can,
if my classmates would look at me
understand their violence that could break me but hasn’t yet.

maybe it was our silence,
maybe it was the teachers glare
that made it stop,
made the loud shrieking rain to end.
and when she left
the stones had already turned into dripping water.
the kids wanting to forget
the trauma of being silenced,
of having their dreams interrupted,
of being reminded of their helplessness
recited incidents that didn’t happen,
tried to laugh a little louder than usual,
made another joke at the expense of someone like me
and so my only memory of hailstone
was also reduced to the din of students (who never liked me).

i closed my books and pretended to be asleep
while everyone ate and talked to their friends.
i waited for everyone to leave
so I could eat alone
without being ashamed for being left alone.
“hailstones”.
i said the word aloud in that empty classroom.
i had one more words now
to describe these kids who scared me by their meanness,
who made me like the prospect of loneliness.

“One Despair” – Nayana Nair

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Even though I fed myself so many lies and called them dreams,
but I guess I still cannot call them lies.
Because though stupid,
the innocence that once made me believe
in all kinds of kind future
and made me think that I won’t have to choose just one
or get the one I choose-
that innocence will always remain the most beautiful thing I had.
But I also cannot hold me blameless
since all the space that my imagined future had taken,
the void I created by my own hands
by feeding myself hope made of smoke,
soon became another me, always asking me questions,
questions I am too scared and ashamed to answer.
I betray myself one second
and next second I am my own savior.
I get fooled and disenchanted too easily.
If it was only one despair that ate me from within
it would still have been more tolerable.
I would still have been able to fool myself
for a bit more longer,
and feel this pain a little less.

“Wrong Way” – Nayana Nair

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They forgot to teach me
the most basic thing-
to know which side I should take
to keep a check on papers, to see sense
when someone tells me what is politically right
and to agree when they tell me that identity is everything
not only mine, but of all those who live on same piece of land as me.
They forgot to tell me to fight and argue
in the name of and for the sake of people
who didn’t care about the fight,
who were fine living the way they did.
I ended up believing
that I could just exist without belonging to any shore
and maybe make my own
and pray that no one joins me
and turn my life into something to live by.

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How could they have overlooked this ,
didn’t they foresee how I would sit awkwardly
midst strangers and have nothing to say
about how the world was run.
Would they consider me silly,
would they think that I am shallow
if I was thinking about the fictional character from a story
and his conflicts?
Would they judge me if the story in question was not about
wars, rivalry or mid-life crisis
but one of romantic ones with cheesy lines
that everyone seems to detest?
They should have told me to memorize lines from papers
and opinion columns
and pass it as my own,
when I was not interested to form opinions
on topics that seemed to be of grave importance to others.
I should know better than to write poems on love and sadness
when people are dying around me.
But I don’t.

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I think I may have been brought up the wrong way
and there is nothing I can do about it now.
But I am not even sure whether
I want to fix the things
that I asked to feel ashamed of.

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