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“What I Remember (22)” – Nayana Nair

Was it 5 years ago, or 6
that we all sat together
looking at the bright beginning
of another series of setbacks
that we were becoming.
The coldness of the wood,
the ruffle of papers, the moment before
we learned to truly hate ourselves.

I miss that.

As we stood waiting in line
for something to take away
everything we were just beginning to see,
I remember thinking,
“I wish I could spend my youth here.
In this moment, with these people.
I am nothing to them, they are nothing to me.
But we are good for each other.
This can never be made again.”
At that moment I knew
they will make my heart ache
for a long time.

In the years that followed
I saw them,
the people who carried the faces
of the ones
I liked enough not to love.
“What’s wrong?” I wanted to ask them
but all I could do was smile
and let my smile tell them
“I will see you for what you were.
At least that I can do for you.
The beauty of your innocence and hope
I will remember it forever.”

“Let Me Wait” – Nayana Nair

As you smile
and tell me all the words
that make you look happy,
I can only wait for you.
I can only wait till you decide to
you let me know your tears,
your worries,
like you have let me know your love.

But meanwhile, I won’t knock incessantly
on the doors of your heart,
I won’t try to knock down your walls
because there are things that I am struggling
to share with you as well.
I know the pain of hiding.
and I won’t add to this pain
that is wearing you out.

So dear,
do not feel guilty,
do not try too hard.
I will follow you for this life,
even if you give me only half of your heart.

“Aunt” – Nayana Nair

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“Yes, I do have plans for my future my dear aunt.”
I say, after I see her put her cup down and look at me
with sympathy and resentment.
“How can we not worry.
It is your future we are talking about.”

Actually, I never had these conversation,
at least not with my aunt.
I never had such an aunt to bother me.
But there are relatives and other faces
that I am hiding under the name of a non-existent aunt.
Sometimes it is me who is hiding under that name instead.

I am handed down spare maps
that I am supposed to study and follow.
Mark my route and choose someone
who could help me get up in the morning
even if it out of hatred.
I am sure it will be hatred
because I have seen no one one who has sorted their life
to wake up feeling that they have done it right.

My bitterness might make me seem like
a remainder of uneasy and uncomfortable families,
but it is not so.
There are just too many non-existent aunts in our house
who thinks we could have done better, chosen better,
lived better-
if only we could get our act together
and stopped acting like the world owes us some kind of happiness.

This constant re-evaluation of life
and its result coming out as failure every time
makes everything we live with
and everyone we choose as a mistake.
What is this “better” that doesn’t let us live?

“Where I Stop” – Nayana Nair

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Every few days
I feel the urge to get out
of this house that feels so full of myself.
Guilt of a comfortable life
forces me out,
so I take a stroll
through supermarket.
I wish I said that I went to a park
but I didn’t.
But I do remember going there once or twice.
Or was it a whole month of healthy choices
and healthy promises
that I knew I would never follow through.
The morning was sweet, and air was nice
and I felt a happiness I had never known.
They were probably the lightest hours
that I ever lived.
In short,
it was too much for me to take.
In short
it lured me to a different life
and asked me to change.
And that is where I stop
in front of racks of cookies
and chips,
in front of billing counter,
if front of calories I have no hunger for.
Knowing that I won’t change,
but hoping that I do.

“In the Image of” – Nayana Nair

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I am not talking about
enhancing my likability here.
But just to be taken seriously
I need to like certain things,
I need to act certain way.
I need to fill forms
whenever I meet someone new,
whenever I meet them again.

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Am I capable? Am I an intellectual (of the right kind)?
Am I still childish?
Am I still unable to follow the conversation
that is not spoken in the language I follow?
Am I still reluctant to give up on all the things
that are no longer relevant.
Am I now ready to listen and only listen
to take in
the version of a world that is more widely accepted.
Am I finally aligned with the opinions, interests
and common hatred that bonds us?
Have I grown weak and weary
of the silence that I am put through?
Have I realized what I could do, whom all I can befriend
if I break myself in image of my oppressor?

“The Cold Returns” – Nayana

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The steps I walk
and the fate I follow
all run into faces that somehow
already know all the reason to despise me.
Why is it that walking in these shadows
calms my heart and brings it pain
at the same time.
Is this how life is to be lived?
I myself this all the time.
For if not for my own voice,
there won’t be any answers returning to me
from this world that seems more far away
when I look for answers,
than when I look for places hide.

But I look at the moon today with a new eyes.
I find I am no longer alone,
when you look back everytime you leave.
I find I am no longer alone,
when left to myself, I have someone else to think of.
I no longer need assurances and promises
from this life, if only you walk this earth
with a smile and a lighter heart.
The cold returns to my heart again,
freezing your memories forever in me,
and I smile.
I am no longer alone,
nor are you.

“Lead me to the same place” – Nayana Nair

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The laments shimmer in the borrowed beauty
of words someone else made.
The pattern my words dance in
were laid out by someone else.
They lead me to the same place
where they have led the people before me-
not to change or relief.
I don’t think anyone whose steps I am following
was looking for that either.
But only for a way to look at pain
and see the beauty of the heart that endures it.
Not to find answers or reasons,
but the assurance that life can be lived
even without that.

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