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“Cheap Literature” – Nayana Nair

Don’t ask which part of me
are easier to love.

I have tried so hard
to become someone who cannot be be loved
without effort or tears.

My faith in love,
my faith in those who love
or it’s absence
is not so difficult to explain.

Clue: Every pop song that leaves you in shambles.
Clue: The books that you call cheap literature.
Clue: The lovers who want to get to the happy ending fast, so they can think about and focus on more important stuff.
Clue: The sappy feelings that you are not interested in.

Those who first talk of my skin and my volume when they talk of love.
(I mean you.)
Those who think that my view of the world, and how the world views me
is just a phase that won’t hopefully be their burden for life.
(I mean you.)
Those who tell me about my selfishness, my unreasonable fears, my unstable suspicious tiring mind over lunch as they run their blade over every bit of exposed skin of mine. Those who are satisfied when I don’t even wince as I bleed, just the way I have been trained.
(I mean you.)
You have made this whole process
more difficult than it should be.

Don’t ask me the easy way.
I might just begin to hate you for that question.

“Wrong Way” – Nayana Nair

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They forgot to teach me
the most basic thing-
to know which side I should take
to keep a check on papers, to see sense
when someone tells me what is politically right
and to agree when they tell me that identity is everything
not only mine, but of all those who live on same piece of land as me.
They forgot to tell me to fight and argue
in the name of and for the sake of people
who didn’t care about the fight,
who were fine living the way they did.
I ended up believing
that I could just exist without belonging to any shore
and maybe make my own
and pray that no one joins me
and turn my life into something to live by.

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How could they have overlooked this ,
didn’t they foresee how I would sit awkwardly
midst strangers and have nothing to say
about how the world was run.
Would they consider me silly,
would they think that I am shallow
if I was thinking about the fictional character from a story
and his conflicts?
Would they judge me if the story in question was not about
wars, rivalry or mid-life crisis
but one of romantic ones with cheesy lines
that everyone seems to detest?
They should have told me to memorize lines from papers
and opinion columns
and pass it as my own,
when I was not interested to form opinions
on topics that seemed to be of grave importance to others.
I should know better than to write poems on love and sadness
when people are dying around me.
But I don’t.

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I think I may have been brought up the wrong way
and there is nothing I can do about it now.
But I am not even sure whether
I want to fix the things
that I asked to feel ashamed of.

“Preference” – Nayana Nair

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What I find sad about people
is that they do not know how to value something
without looking down on everything else.
What irritates me more
that this attitude is celebrated in a way
that makes everyone want to adopt it
just to look like a person with strong opinion.
Fortunately, I do not have any strong opinion
when I say this-
All the things we couldn’t understand,
the books and text we once mugged up
and find no use in life right now,
were not necessarily useless.
People whom we didn’t get along with
were not necessarily bad.
Everything need not appeal to my sensibilities.
I do not have to mock dreams and interests of others
in order to pursue mine.
I would hate a world
set to match the preference of only one
even if it is my own.

“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?

Abstraction

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“It is terrible to destroy a person’s picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.”

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