“What I Remember (29)” – Nayana Nair

At a bus stand in front of mall (that I have never been to)
I learnt how to wait and how to live with disappointments
without making a big deal of it.

In the bracket of an hour, I grew smaller than I ever thought I could be.
“this is what love does to you, this is what love does to all of us”, all the voices in me lied.
I was again weary of the love that I had chosen and the person I had trusted
(“again” – the word that showed me the real reason why it would never work out).

I stood beside strangers on the crowded bus stand, awkwardly crying.
I counted these not-so-scary strangers who were trying to become one skin.
I pretended that I hated to be rained on as much as they did.
I pretended that I didn’t mind their warmth, that my suspicious mind was not at work again.

Hours went by, empty roads faithfully stayed empty.
I became more aware of the boundaries of my body
I became aware of the person who would never come looking for me,
who would look at the three hour long rain and still won’t wonder what happened to me.

We all stood there,
pretending to be the only human
in the group of zombies who had taken over a bus stand out of boredom,
who stared at the wide road, the darkness beyond, and the emptiness behind
as if their eyes were made to witness only this moment.
I closed my eyes and hummed something, anything
that could drown the presence of everyone
who knew the sound of my breaking heart now.

At a bus stand, that could protect no one,
we all dreamt of the worst- of the submerged road,
a rain that will never stop, the cold that would take us down for days,
children forever waiting, of the lightning we could hear but not see

of a love painlessly ending and a heart that shamelessly survived.

“Living some sort of life” – Nayana Nair

His face lit up
with the death of every colorful explosion in the sky.
He hates this sky on other days
(among other things).
Today he loves it, this darkness,
this crowd, even me.
(Maybe not me,
but it doesn’t mean anything to me now.

But in moments like this
I am reminded of the “me” who would have wanted his love
or at least be part of the world that can be loved.
The ‘past me’ shakes off my hand
and stands there looking at him
as if he is her sky,

but only finds the signs of deaths
that have nothing spectacular about them.
I stand there
looking at my sadness, his sadness
breathing the air and living some sort of life
for once.)

He stands there looking at the sky
through my silence, through my awe,
awe at his simple happiness.
(How long has it been
since he has loved anything with his
breaking heart.)

He stands there looking at the sky
even when curtain of stars resurface,
even when the screams of children dissolve.
He stands there abandoned by the world
and yet happy.
(I stand there abandoned by him,
by myself
and yet happy)

“piano” – Nayana Nair

years from now
i hope my living room
has a space for a lovely piano.
i hope my fingers
would play something beautiful on it.
that here i would smile
and not know of the passing time.
that i would learn to love my walls
as much as the world that stands on the other side.
as my child misses me, cries for me,
tries to keep me alive when i am not,
i hope she feels this music she can’t hear,
i hope she sees the future i couldn’t finish living,
i hope she knows
that my warmth is more than my skin
and my blood running under it.

“Half-Hearted” – Nayana Nair

And every morning I hear wind, I hear birds,
I hear children play around in me.
I am filling myself
with everything that reminds me of what I really am.
I let my heart do what it wants,
my heart wants no part in this remaking of me.
It starts it’s days praying for your return
and goes to sleep, thankful that you won’t.

“Precious” – Nayana Nair

A pane breaks
somewhere far away.
Everyone precious to me
stays there-
this place called ‘far away’.
So these things I must record,
these things I must remember

“it could have been a stranger”,
I try to reason.
But it is of no avail.
I am afraid that the life broken just now,
must be too close to me
for my heart to bleed so,
for my hands to go limp.

The nights I read every book
on ‘how to hide this incurable pain from my family’,
they flash in front of my eyes.
That is all I see
when I dial their number and they don’t pick up.
That is all I see
when they pick the call
and tell me that they can never be ‘not fine’.
That is all I see
when I see holes in their stories,
when I see a new hole in their smile every morning.

“Rainbows and Reflection” – Nayana Nair

I always thought
that I could be happy,
really happy,
forever happy,
if only I could make myself love happiness.

Though I approached this strange kid,
though I pretended to be good
and as holy as humans can be,
I had nothing to say this ever smiling child.
All the standard stories
I had prepared for this heavy chore
of presenting myself to this world,
were not for her ears.

I could never make myself fill her head with such darkness.
Why should she know of the categories of suffering and where I fit,
about the worth that every person has to earn.
This kid looked at rainbow and reflections with marvel,
prayed before every meal, believed in every story told.
There was nothing I could say to her.
I could not make her see me, befriend me, understand me
without changing her into me.

Only my love for this happiness
stands in my way
of the heaven I have dreamt in futile.

“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.

“Estranged” – Nayana Nair

when you slipped into my arms
and tried to tell me stories
in your broken language,
when you got all your numbers wrong,
when you touched my face
with your tiny hands,
i almost forgot
that you are not mine.

i shouldn’t have.

“What I Remember(8)”- Nayana Nair

when i see my past pain in your tears

now come here,
come inside
and cry how much ever you want.
we don’t want the neighbors to know
how much worse we are doing than them.
trust me dear,
it does no one good
if you go around with these puffed eyes
and cracking voice.

you know, these days
it is not wise to act out frustrations
you never know who is idle enough to observe us
and label us as another example
of a failed generation,
a disappointment,
write an article on
how luxury has spoiled these children,
that we are just a bunch of aimless attention seeking
humans who refuse to grow up,
that we are weak to indulge in something so petty.
they will hand you the list of people who are doing worse
(i have plenty of those stuffed in drawers,
just in case if you are curious to know what it says)

i know nothing is right
but it will be.
we will make it right
but till then
do not wait for kindness,
do not expect understanding.
if you get them be grateful,
but don’t wait for someone to come and pick you up.
we will make through this
not because we are strong enough to face all this
but because this is not the first time
our lives are wrecked by these unacknowledged pains.
like always we will break ourselves
and grow smaller in our attempts to grow up.

“Keeping Distance” – Nayana Nair

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All my sketches of you
are living in a hopeless state of
growing hunger, growing questions.
I hear them talking to each other,
asking your whereabouts.
I have grown to become
a mother of many children
abandoned by her man.
Children who are forced to share a life with me
while struggling to keep a distance from my breaking heart.
Asking each other questions that they want to ask me.
I wish they would just ask me
“where is he?” “did he forget his way to us?”
“did he forget you? us?”

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A saner me could have told them
“he probably forgot the person he was
people tend to do that life
but he cannot forget himself without erasing us
maybe we were no better that the life
that he had forgotten before us
or maybe it became worse with us
whatever he was suffering from.”

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But the saner me
is also fading into the sea of past.
I fear for these innocent memories
that do not get to choose,
that do not have any say,
staring in silence at me
hoping I continue to love them
knowing that I probably won’t.