“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you can’t possibly love.

“When will I ever learn to see a human as a human, nothing more, nothing less” – Nayana Nair

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A boy covered in white fur,
and a silent dear pet
made of breaking human skin-
they stand together at my horizon.
They float together,
they move into the melting sun.
They melt and become one with
everything I have lost.
They color everything I am yet to lose.

I call out to them
but only wrong names,
only these wretched wrong names
come out of my cursed bleeding mouth.
I call out the names they don’t understand.
No one gets the broken syllables
they stand for in my heart.
“come back my innocence, come back my truth”,
but they won’t hear.
Those words mean nothing to them.
That’s how things should be,
even if it doesn’t make me glad.

My view and my ideas of them are bound to me,
everything false sticks to my skin.
They can’t chase them
out there.
What a thing to be thankful for!
They won’t learn more reasons to hate me.
Reasons I deserve to be hated for.
My own hate is enough for me.
What a contentment have I laughably found now!

“Half of my Winters” – Nayana Nair

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I wanted to play this winter song
on the brightest day of spring.
Maybe at least in that way
I will be able to mourn for something
that I should have been happy to leave behind.
But the snowflakes in me
drift into the world
and become butterflies of someone else’s heart.
All my songs now belong to sun,
they belong to scent of summer fruits,
they fall as unpredicted rain
on the windows I closed just in time.
Anyway, I had to learn this sooner or later.
How can I keep believing in my own feelings,
on the things that were supposed to never change, never melt
after losing half of my winters to the green winds of change.
As I place all my “old dreams that don’t suit the new me”
away from my reach,
I wonder if the only way to save the dignity of my old sincerity
is to lock it way from my own skeptical, mocking eyes?

“Winter on my cheek” – Nayana Nair

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He lived in the cracks
of the window I could never close.
The sun and the wind, the winter on my cheeks
were all him.
It was a reminder of the mornings
when he held the hands of his softer feelings,
when he silently took the path to brokenness
and named that day after me.
It was the reminder of his kiss
that would make me look away, make me look awkward,
make me do everything almost wrong but with innocence-
everything that made him smile.
I would step on his shadow
and before I apologized, he would step on mine.
He would call it dancing
cause there was no better word for that.
I would smile back forgetting myself

It was a beautiful word.
It was a moment that answered the question
that I never knew how to ask.

“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.”

“When they get to know” – Nayana Nair

There was this one girl
who was too bright.
I liked her a lot.
She was a little more loud, little more caring,
laughed a little more longer.
As if that ‘little more’ was her essence,
was a rule she couldn’t break.
I liked how I could see
what she was without that ‘little more’,
that all of them would never know her like me.
I wonder at what point they will get to know,
that she is drifting away.
Would they would find her too plain,
once she stopped trying?
Would they also feel betrayed?
By then, would they have learnt
all the cruel words
that can break her,
words that she already knows.
I hope not.
I hope they are too young
to recognize the masks they see
or the masks they wear.

“Save Yourself” – Nayana Nair

when i looked into you
i saw all the stories,
all the words, all the songs,
all the things that make love appear
more noble than it is.

*

and though i wanted to mock it,
to ridicule your hopes,
to tell you sad tragic tales
that would make break your heart,
make you see clearer.
but I couldn’t.

*

so, take your innocence with you.
keep it close to yourself,
for as long as possible.
try to live the life
that we all have failed to live.

“Rainbows and Reflection” – Nayana Nair

I always thought
that I could be happy,
really happy,
forever happy,
if only I could make myself love happiness.

Though I approached this strange kid,
though I pretended to be good
and as holy as humans can be,
I had nothing to say this ever smiling child.
All the standard stories
I had prepared for this heavy chore
of presenting myself to this world,
were not for her ears.

I could never make myself fill her head with such darkness.
Why should she know of the categories of suffering and where I fit,
about the worth that every person has to earn.
This kid looked at rainbow and reflections with marvel,
prayed before every meal, believed in every story told.
There was nothing I could say to her.
I could not make her see me, befriend me, understand me
without changing her into me.

Only my love for this happiness
stands in my way
of the heaven I have dreamt in futile.

“What I Remember (14)” – Nayana Nair

LOVE IS …

hiding my smile when you walk towards me
talking your name, just because i can
(just to make sure that i can).
feeling like a child when you call my name back.
interrupting the meaningful silence
with pointless debates,
pretending to sulk, acting cute,
being happy to act like idiots for once.
wasting away time,
walking towards nowhere
because that is what we do.

painting each other again
till we get it right.
loving in every way possible.
trying to become the love
that cannot be forgotten.
sweet words, sad past,
family tree in red ink,
lost friends, lost innocence
fill our time.
reliving the past that we suffered alone
in each other’s presence.
finding meaning in destiny,
agreeing with god’s plan,
begging for a day more
of this, this happiness
that fills us with dread and hope
of being understood.

waking at midnight,
hiding my body that you have killed for the day.
waking at noon,
looking for you, giving you second chances.
getting back only one word reply-
‘hi’,’ok’, ‘hmmm’, ‘lol’,’k’, ‘bye’.
waking up again and again.
going to sleep again and again.
murmuring your bitter name in my sleep
with tears i won’t remember.

silence – avoiding uncomfortable topics
silence – avoiding fights
silence – nursing wounded ego
silence – planning revenge (or something of that sort)
silence – being handed the list of shortcomings
silence – being handed ultimatums
silence – having nothing to talk
silence – feeling lonely
silence – ‘love’ has left the chat

waiting at cafes
that sell drinks which taste
like the mass-produced dreams
that make your heart burn
and everything with chocolate
as a cheap therapy,
as they play breakup songs on repeat
to normalize the pain of every kind.

“One Despair” – Nayana Nair

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Even though I fed myself so many lies and called them dreams,
but I guess I still cannot call them lies.
Because though stupid,
the innocence that once made me believe
in all kinds of kind future
and made me think that I won’t have to choose just one
or get the one I choose-
that innocence will always remain the most beautiful thing I had.
But I also cannot hold me blameless
since all the space that my imagined future had taken,
the void I created by my own hands
by feeding myself hope made of smoke,
soon became another me, always asking me questions,
questions I am too scared and ashamed to answer.
I betray myself one second
and next second I am my own savior.
I get fooled and disenchanted too easily.
If it was only one despair that ate me from within
it would still have been more tolerable.
I would still have been able to fool myself
for a bit more longer,
and feel this pain a little less.