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“What I Remember (14)” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“What I Remember (12)” – Nayana Nair

hailstones.
that’s what i remember.
when the stones fell
onto the already breaking roofs of our class,
the girl who sat three rows ahead
stopped reading.
everyone who was busy day dreaming,
who had shut their ears to every useless fact that we come to learn,
knew how to listen to this,
to this violence that could hurt but won’t.

i sat there listening,
wondering if my skin would also be able bear
what this tin sheet roof can,
if my classmates would look at me
understand their violence that could break me but hasn’t yet.

maybe it was our silence,
maybe it was the teachers glare
that made it stop,
made the loud shrieking rain to end.
and when she left
the stones had already turned into dripping water.
the kids wanting to forget
the trauma of being silenced,
of having their dreams interrupted,
of being reminded of their helplessness
recited incidents that didn’t happen,
tried to laugh a little louder than usual,
made another joke at the expense of someone like me
and so my only memory of hailstone
was also reduced to the din of students (who never liked me).

i closed my books and pretended to be asleep
while everyone ate and talked to their friends.
i waited for everyone to leave
so I could eat alone
without being ashamed for being left alone.
“hailstones”.
i said the word aloud in that empty classroom.
i had one more words now
to describe these kids who scared me by their meanness,
who made me like the prospect of loneliness.

“What I Remember(4)” – Nayana Nair

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I tell myself that I have nothing worth saying and that no one wants to listen.
I know this because I have tried to speak my mind
and in best cases I have been told that my mind is not that right,
that the experience that I speak from doesn’t exist for them,
so they will unanimously refuse to acknowledge my narrative.
Or they will smile at me and look down at me.
But I am not their adorable kid who had got her alphabets mixed up.
I am a person equal to them,
and my level of ignorance is equal to them
even if it is not about same things.

***

I am a person equal to them.
I am a person equal to them
I am a person equal to them…
I have to keep repeating it
or else I might just forget.
Maybe I have already started to forget
because these days I speak in small sentences, waiting for affirmative nods.
I find myself reading everything that they will approve of.
I find myself voicing what they want to hear.
I see myself calling myself stupid before they call me one.
I see myself nod understandingly at everything I disagree with.
I hear the arguments inside me against the favorite opinions of everyone
and they stay inside me,
and everyone is happy.

***

“You are too young to know better, to know reality.
You are too girlish to see the world for what it is.
You are too sentimental to speak logically.”
I know the wall of judgement I will run into
if I let myself speak.

***

So you may actually want to listen
and you might not be like others.
But I can’t bring myself to speak about what matters to me.
Cause either I will be wounded at my weakest spot
or I will end up hating you just for being like everyone else
when you ridicule me, interrupt me to correct me
and try to tell me what I should be feeling instead.
I won’t give you a chance
because I can’t take chances with our friendship.
I won’t speak up
because I don’t want to feel more inferior than I already do.

***

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