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“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.

“Whale Songs” – Nayana Nair

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My house on hills and it’s silence
are always occupied in a duel
with the wartime echoes from far away lands,
with the agonizing voices of reality.
Even if I surround my house with
the greenest trees,
place cool streams around.
Even if I cloud my windows
with curtains of smoke.
Even if I barter with life,
even if I am ready to embrace
loneliness for the sake of peace.
In my dreams, filled with whale songs,
there are sorrows
of lives I have cut off myself from.
But I am not someone
who can save people from themselves.
I have no choice to burn
the letters,
the newspapers,
to keep myself warm and alive.

“Endless Screech” – Nayana Nair

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It has been long since
I saw your face for what it was.
Now the ends of your lips droops
and your words stings and
your action have become
the endless screech of a madman.
I didn’t want to spare my words
to remind you of your change.
I didn’t want to forgive you for the nights
there was nothing but your shout and your anger
bouncing around in my head
and in this house.
I want you to know how badly
you have ruined yourself.
But you are not there in that body
and I am playing pretend of a family
with the whatever has been left behind.

“Walking Home” – Nayana Nair

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The street is lined with houses
that have forgotten how to breathe anything
but neglect.
There are broken windows
through which I see hopeful eyes staring and crying
trapped in homes that
reek of wait that yields more wait.
The street is lined with trees that never grew.
The roads cling to the snow that never melts.
We all have learned how to go deaf to cries of help
(that’s what growing up means?)
and walk home to our own tragedies-
some we suffer, some we create
and some we never stop.

“Mistaken” – Nayana Nair

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Surely
there were others as well
who were standing beside me till now,
who loved me, at least liked me.
Surely I am mistaken
that I am abandoned.
There were several houses that fell silent
as my legs lingered on their doorsteps.
There was a sigh of relief as I left.
A sigh
muffled by my own will to ‘not hear’.
As I went far from them,
their memories and promises
became louder in my head.

Surely I was mistaken.

“Other ‘Almost’s” – Nayana Nair

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Sometimes you find me the words
that I am too tired to look for.
And place it in my hand
with such careful touch,
that I feel I could almost cry.
And that too will be added
to the list of other ‘almost’s
that my life has lived through.
These moments become a house
standing at the shore of my simple wants.
I find myself thinking,
“This could be my home.
I can bear life here.
I can even get used to it.”
I am glad that I have such a place
to think about,
to look back.
Even if my feets don’t agree
to what my heart wants.

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