“Towards that lesser life” – Nayana Nair

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Once I was told
by my own shattering image
that I would learn to laugh at this moment.

It was not a pleasant sentence to hear.

It reminded me of all the sentences
that are manufactured in the factories of peace.
you will forget this bruise.
you will forget those words.
you will forget this love.
you will forget this face.
forgetting is what you really want.
far away from every “here” is the place you want to be.

It reminded me of all the meaningless words that were born
everyday in the mouths of strangers –
words that awkwardly held me not knowing who I am
or why I must be consoled
but convinced something in me should be put to sleep
before it learnt to cry in the audible ranges of pain.

There are too many words in this place.
Too little heart.
There are too many people who look like they have known pains
that I might never have.
But they are the same ones who want to bury things
that are only broken.
So I am going to run
towards every “here” out there,
towards that lesser life filled with loss.
A life where things that are lost are allowed to matter.

“Someday. I believed, someday you would…” – Nayana Nair

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Because I realized I had a bit more time
than what I had estimated,
I put down my newly purchased book
on “beautiful ends that have changed the color of sky
for a few minutes, if not more”.

I called back home
and told the stranger on phone my name,
so they would not mistake me for a hope that has come alive.
That is not how ends should be put in place.

But even then, even after taking such precautions
I couldn’t help but speak like their father who never looked them in eyes,
like their friend who walked away and never stopped, never returned,
like the silence of the night when they told me
I must make up for all the wrongs that still burns their heart.

I just wanted to tell them one true thing about me
one real thing they could hold in their mind, in the place of me.
But I held the phone tightly in my hands
and said the words that matter in this world- every word that is not about me.

For those who are always melting into themselves (unlike me)
that is probably the only right I could do.
Unlike me, who is just a ball of fur, all ‘I’s standing against the wind.
Unlike me, whose aches look like bubblegum and Sunday dress worn wrong.
I don’t like me. I wanted to say those words.
But they are already the first words in every chapter on ends.
They would end up knowing anyway.

I heard them utter a replacement of “love you”
and just nodded along as if they could see me.
They probably could, their love was unreasonable like that,
just like my love.
I ended the call and started at the last sentence I wanted to finish-
“Someday. I believed, someday you would…”
There were so many ways to end that sentence. Choose one ailment.
Choose one person to become and suffer as.
Give them one reason for the life suffering they are to begin.

I saw them sitting on an old sofa, watching the repeat telecast
of shows that make no sense. This time I felt they were waiting for me.
I felt they wanted my chaos. They wanted my hundred storms sitting beside them
to feel safe, to feel at ease.
I felt they would know I have come back for them
and maybe for a second would want to hold me as theirs, as a thanks.

“Someday. I believed, someday you would see me as a human who loved you too much.
I wanted to be much more than that. But the only answer that eases the knots in me
is your face untouched by tears of my name.”

Today it seems there would be no beautiful ends.
Only ugly continuation. Only you and me sitting and waiting
for this show to make sense.

“A beautiful day to finally write your name” – Nayana Nair

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On the broken lines of bold white,
on the burning roads far away from home
I knelt down
in the heap of my skirt made of fairy dust
and disappointments of all kinds.

I found a pretty crack
with space enough to be something of its own
and with a style that you’d agree with.
With my fingertips already crying red
I wrote you name
in the best writing I could.

Your name that couldn’t fit
beside mine, or the scorecards with better marks,
or a business card that was not a part of scam,
or with a number that could for once be reached,
or the nameplate that you kept losing
in the sleepy playgrounds of our eyes.

We missed you.

We missed you.
in the conversations
where we thought only of you
and yet couldn’t speak of you.
We thought of you
always with an ache,
always with a heart that wanted more of you
while wanting to forget the little that we had.

I wrote your name
and ran my fingers over them again.
A kid knelt down beside me
offering me a smile as he took in
a pain he couldn’t understand.
Today, of all days, I was not allowed to smile.

I walked away wondering
if he knew you,
if he now lives in your name,
if he knows someone who wrote like me,
who wrote words that will fit nowhere but here.
Your name could be anybody else’s.
You could have lived like everyone else
and yet…

“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

“Wedding Photos” – Nayana Nair

It was like magic
running the highlighter, the bright crayon
over the sepia hands of her.
She didn’t complain or cry
as we ruined another photograph of hers,
as we tried to hide the evidence
of her failed love, our failing life.

We cut her out, moved her away
from the one who looked like us.
We placed her side of story, her half of heart
in the albums.
Albums that felt lighter
now that the responsibility
to remember only the good, its difficulty
was no longer our business.

We shredded few faces of his,
few others we drowned in ink.
His face was the reason we couldn’t look at ourselves,
the reasons of all the hurting words
we learned so fast.

After we ruined everything for good
we stared at each other,
and saw the tears we should’t be having in us.
This wasn’t how magic is supposed to feel.
Why?
Why was there no thrill, no relief in what we had done?
Isn’t it our turn to be free from the one who left?

“The eyes of my mother” – Nayana Nair

I planted the idea of a happy family,
a happy tomorrow,
into the eyes of my mother
with breaking tips of my pencils
against her granite eye lashes.

I told her the story about the boy
who is ever so sad
because his parents didn’t care enough,
who weeps on his empty birthdays,
who weeps into my heart.
I tell her I am not so fine myself.
Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly,
cause she didn’t stop
her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.

I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being
from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind.
I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look
with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”

She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long,
a bit too tenderly
as if letting me know, telling me
“Look, this is how I look when I am alive.
Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet
even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”

And I stood there for a long time,
slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t.
I stood there for a long time,
till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy
as he held me, letting me cry into him
for the hundredth time.

“My grief has my face” – Nayana Nair

My grief has my face.
My grief has only questions in her eyes-
questions that require me to cry
and accept the cruel face of the love I have got.
My grief instead gets my silent embrace,
my refusal to choose better, for her sake or mine.
My grief has my face
and my heart that only knows defeat
and only in defeat has found comfort of love that cannot live in me.

“the knot in my heart is one year old now” – Nayana Nair

a library of all my roles
stands in the middle of my heart.
i have placed your face as the title of
this poem that i am going to drown.
i lie on the beautiful lake of love
and press my ears, waiting
to hear your last breath in my world.

“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)

“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.