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“Have a Good Day” – Nayana Nair

I was sat down and told repeatedly everyday
that though the world belongs to all of us,
sometimes it is better
to step back,
to only take up the space we need.
I misunderstood it to be a lesson in humility,
wanting less, and sacrifice,
but I realize now that it was not so.
I was told to stop before I anger someone,
before someone got jealous,
or before they saw the weakness of my gender.

As I stand on the balcony at midnight
and hear drunk shady men shouting, cursing, and stumbling,
as they make their way to their broken homes,
I remind myself
this is what I am supposed to fled,
a person who is allowed to loose their mind,
a person who will always have excuse to hurt.
This what everyone wanted me to become,
someone who is proficient at spotting dangers,
who can conjure up the worst possible scenarios
when they hear another’s footsteps on deserted streets,
and see the worst possible demons in the face of men.

These days I often hear people say
that the new meaning of a powerful woman is
the one who walks into misfortune willingly,
before she is stalked and defeated by it.
Is this the only alternative to what I am living?

I wish that when I walked past a stranger on streets
I could smile and wish them a good day,
without having to fear being misunderstood,
without the echoes of ‘she asked for it’ in my mind.

“Driving Towards Chaos” – Nayana Nair

m on dyke in fog P1150232 (1)

Now that we are past the point to be bothered
and entertained with petty things,
and have moved on to greater ambitions
or heavier slogans.
The more dense our propaganda become,
the more we argue over the future we envision
for people who we assume to be clueless
about the perils that live among them-
I start having doubts
and maybe this is where my unravelling starts.
At the face of doubts
that have nothing to do with what I do
or how world works,
but the suspicion that maybe I am as clueless
as anyone else.
And maybe our enthusiasm for a better world
is what is driving it towards chaos.
What if the our judgement is clouded by the same
but stronger demons
that we want to exorcise from this world.
What if we are driving around in dense fog
and not even realizing it.
Or have we decided to go for it anyway
and count the casualties only when our heads clears.

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