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“some sort of attachment, if not love” – Nayana Nair

A new announcer has replaced the old one.
The one with the shrill voice
is too tired or too sad to continue, I guess.
This new one, she sounds more like my type.
She seems like the one who will define my types.
I am so thankful she is not the one who tells me to go back to sleep
when I am crying at 3 without knowing why.
So thankful that this deserted night, this cold concrete,
her cold instructions, her reminder to wait patiently
reminds me that this is also a day I will forget
if I do not do anything.
I am so thankful that I cannot confess my laughable weakness to her.
If I wait as she tells me to
my life will come swooping in and take me somewhere else-
a new place where I will hate everyone again
for not speaking the way I like, for loving me wrong,
for not accompanying me on the empty train stations
when I try to run away from all that I have built,
from all that I have tried to call my new beginning.

“Stack of Books from Strangers” – Nayana Nair

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Now everything tastes like my oft-repeated past.
This bitter turn of events
has brought new meaning to my pain that I didn’t ask for.
This morning I even look like someone who needs help.

I guess I may have looked that way for a long time
in everyone’s eyes but mine.
In my eyes, I was doing better,
good enough to be not noticed and singled out.

I smiled enough to keep people from seeing
all the mess I carried in me.
But lately, strangers hand me books
to keep my sad mind busy.

Books that tell me
that it is not too late, that one at a time
I can make something out of the soil that won’t leave my skin,
the soil that I am buried under.

I want to believe in this nonsense more than anyone can imagine.
But my heart is not the same now
as it was years ago.
It no longer believes the words that feel good and hurt later.

“What I Remember(4)” – Nayana Nair

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I tell myself that I have nothing worth saying and that no one wants to listen.
I know this because I have tried to speak my mind
and in best cases I have been told that my mind is not that right,
that the experience that I speak from doesn’t exist for them,
so they will unanimously refuse to acknowledge my narrative.
Or they will smile at me and look down at me.
But I am not their adorable kid who had got her alphabets mixed up.
I am a person equal to them,
and my level of ignorance is equal to them
even if it is not about same things.

***

I am a person equal to them.
I am a person equal to them
I am a person equal to them…
I have to keep repeating it
or else I might just forget.
Maybe I have already started to forget
because these days I speak in small sentences, waiting for affirmative nods.
I find myself reading everything that they will approve of.
I find myself voicing what they want to hear.
I see myself calling myself stupid before they call me one.
I see myself nod understandingly at everything I disagree with.
I hear the arguments inside me against the favorite opinions of everyone
and they stay inside me,
and everyone is happy.

***

“You are too young to know better, to know reality.
You are too girlish to see the world for what it is.
You are too sentimental to speak logically.”
I know the wall of judgement I will run into
if I let myself speak.

***

So you may actually want to listen
and you might not be like others.
But I can’t bring myself to speak about what matters to me.
Cause either I will be wounded at my weakest spot
or I will end up hating you just for being like everyone else
when you ridicule me, interrupt me to correct me
and try to tell me what I should be feeling instead.
I won’t give you a chance
because I can’t take chances with our friendship.
I won’t speak up
because I don’t want to feel more inferior than I already do.

***

“Nothing can be greater” – Nayana Nair

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The story that sleeps in me
it never talks of you or me.
I wait till it speaks,
till it sees.
I wait till I no longer have to convince myself
that “yours” is all I want to be.
But the story that repeats itself
tells me not to bother
with saying things I do not mean.
There is a sun in the sky
that is smaller than the hunger in my heart
and nothing can be greater than the my need to be seen.
and that all the eyes that fall on my lonesome drooping figure
will wander when I start to bloom, when I start to speak.
The story that sleeps in me
sings about how everyone leaves.

“Given” – Nayana Nair

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Even if I moved
there were lot of things that
remained a constant in my life.
All that mattered to me
was always with me,
so I don’t think I ever had to cope with downside
of being move all the time.
I have not built up towers of defenses against others
and even if I have,
it is not something new or peculiar.
Everyone I met,
everyone who lived like me
carried their fear,
the indifference to their own fear,
and their refusal to feel all that should hurt
as the most normal thing ever.
I think we all grew up to be not so broken
as people would have expected.
If nothing else
we maybe suffered as much as any child
but learnt how to separate what we feel from what we are.
When suffering is the norm,
when loneliness is a given condition of life
then they can no longer be excuse
for what we do or what we become.

“The Better That We Want”- Nayana Nair

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Once we are done with the ritual of tea,
as I leave the room with his cup and mine,
I leave behind my shadow with him.
That is his favorite part of his evening
and he is all too happy to talk to a quieter me.
He feels my shadow is somehow better than me.
He finds it more understanding
and more similar to the feminine company
he always wanted in his life.
Someone who knows how to listen,
and who knows when not to think.
Someone who would look up to his words
with the certainty of truth
and would be the first one to realize his specialness.
I can understand where he comes from,
it is tiring to impress everyone all the time
fearing when we will falter, when we will fall in their eyes.
I can understand, even when I don’t want to,
for even I have wished for the same things
that only an imbalance of power or naivety of a lover
can give me.

“Clueless” – Nayana Nair

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If I was to resent that everyone I met,
everywhere I went,
everyone
took something from me,
yanked it out of my consciousness,
moved within my mind
with dirty shoes and clumsy hand,
and left me clueless of who I am.

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Then I would also have to thank this world
for all the things
that poured into me
that came to me on its own.
That shielded me, distracted me,
even saved from
my own expectation that would never have been met.

“To Remember” – Nayana Nair

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And that was the worst-
to remember when everyone else forgot.

“The Little Blood I Have” – Nayana Nair

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I looked up at the confused giants
and puzzled at their ugly voices
and deformed faces,
how they hold onto stones and branches
how they hold onto papers,
and threw each other off cliffs.
But what made me sadder was
that no one who was thrown off those cliffs ever died.
They just keep coming back
looking a bit different, speaking more funnier
and acting more mean
and throwing each others down again.
No one ever died here.
Everyone lived and everyone wanted all this to end
but no one wished it more than me.
I was made to believe that the little blood I have in me
is their doing, is their gift.
I wonder how much time it would take
to empty myself from the traces of this violence
and memories of people I grew up calling my family.

“More Boxes” – Nayana Nair

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Everyday I buy more boxes and more trunks,
to stow away the harmless opinions and stories of mine
that have never left my mouth,
and have never known
how the cold air of this world feels like.
They are better off not knowing
how they are going to be broken and crushed
till nothing of them is left.
Let them die in the voiceless trunks.
At least a corpse of what they were
and the soul of what they lost
shall be locked in the same walls.
That’s the only kindness I am capable of delievering-
to spare them the purity of meaning
and dignity of thought
that was never put to question
and never put to shame
by this world
that to everyone does the same.

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