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“fairy tales” – Nayana Nair

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a broken end
with a light
(a lighter duller than me)
touches me.
someone
says the magic words,
the loathsome words
that make me the old alice.
i am made to leave
the seat, the home,
the dream, the rights
that are too big for me.
they leave me a tiny suitcases
filled with fancy dresses
made of used socks and handkerchiefs.
they are cute,
they are kind,
they have read their fairy tales right.
i have never read the right books,
so i find myself unable to thank them
or kiss their hands.
thumblina says my new belongings in glitter
i do not know what this name means
or the fate that the owner of this name is meant to find
but i have heard it is better than being an alice.
(i liked being alice more
i liked a story written for my sake.)
as i walk into the new forest,
towards hopefully my last story
or at least a story i can make my own for once,
i can’t help but think of
all the laughing men, now laughing giants
fixing my home to their liking.
i can’t help but be a bit bitter
looking at my hands that can only build for people like them.

“I let him drive” – Nayana Nair

I roll down my window
hoping for the first time
that I knew how to drive
so that I wouldn’t have a confused witness
to my impulse of moving forward by a mile
and falling down by a heartbeat.

“Is everything alright?”,
he asks me too often.
I don’t bother to calm him down by saying ‘yes’
as I was doing an hour ago.
Nothing I say can now convince him of my normality.
So I let him drive and let myself collapse.
I bury my face in my lap
and breathe better by suffocating myself a little bit more.

He hums a song that reminds me of the love
that now lives in a country I have not seen
in a life that I will always guess inaccurately
with a girl who has a serious case of klemptomania.
Last time I called the stolen one,
I was given a sorry and an address of a better therapist.

I let my ring burn my heart.
I ask the driver to leave me somewhere no one can find me
knowing he will not, he will take me home
just like he doesn’t everyday,
and he will make sure to greet me
with a kind forgetfulness the next morning.

I wish I had kept more strangers like him in my life,
someone who would worry about me.

“Born Like This” – Nayana Nair

“i was born like this”, I lie,
when I really want to say

“the normal ones, the sane ones
are surprisingly excellent at
breaking anyone without any guilt whatsoever.

i no longer have strength
to leave them, or beg them,
or handle the repercussion of wanting them.

i fear them only when i cry
though i am not exactly sure why it should be so.

the positivity, the kindness, the unity, the charity, the world peace
that they talk about
looks so beautiful when put in action
for example,
there are holes in me though i have never seen a bullet in my life
and i am not allowed to say it is their doing
“it is a result of my negative thinking and bad karma” i parrot
like i have been taught to.

this burnt skin, this distrustful heart,
the layers of clothes that are prerequisite of proving my modesty
if god-forbid i let loose an animal in someone just because i exist,
the logs of missed calls and blocked calls and blocked memories
that are the only things protecting me now.
this is how i was born.

Though absurd, it sounds like truth the more I say it.
This is how I hurt whatever is left of my heart.

“What I Remember (20)” – Nayana Nair

I am told I am not wise,
that I do not have the intellect
that could make anyone swoon over me.
I try too hard, put too much effort
to be considered worth protecting.
I rank even lower on the stats of beauty.
I know that since I have found discarded papers
written by boys-who-will-always-be-boys
who document my plummeting desirability religiously.
But since I am not the type to conform
(tsk tsk…so many vices)
I cannot help but choose to take on the role
of the bitter girl
and judge in my mind everyone
who cruelly prosecutes me in jokes and harmless fun in my absence,
but are kind enough to leave behind enough clues
for me to figure out where I must stand in this world.

It has become my habit to consider them desperate,
manipulative and not worth my time or attention.
I know now, how to look down on everyone who looks down on me.
It’s a wonderful feeling really.
To feel like a flawed monster with some control.
To be free from the want to be understood by the “cool” people.
To stop expecting for things to change.
I have enough paranoia and enough stubbornness
to last this lifetime.
I have enough reasons to hate passionately all those who hate me.
I may know too less about life,
I may underestimate the phrase “but-tomorrow-you-might-need-them”
but I cannot turn my other cheek
and I cannot let myself want to be a friends/minion of theirs.
My heart may be dissolving in my own acidic hate for this world
But at least I know I took on my own side in all my fights.
I may not expect much from world, but expect a lot from myself.
This is the bare minimum I can do
to preserve myself in this world that changes everyone in the name of fun.

“A Sadness to Replace You” – Nayana Nair

The lines are drawn.
The teams have been split.
Now I must show loyalty only to “my kind”.
Now I must learn by heart
the roads that I am not allowed to take.
Your heart probably lies on one of those roads.
That’s probably the reason, why my feet won’t walk in your direction.

What is it like to live in the better half of the world?
My limited imagination sees you as only you
and that’s why I know that I am going to be hurt badly.
A friend tells me with sadness, “staying away would be kinder love”.
He plays me a beautiful tune, a melody to replace you,
a consolation of sorts, a very poor (though thoughtful) consolation.

The sun is a quadrant setting only on my half of world,
although no one has yet tried to split this moon.
How fortunate are we to share at least this sorrow, at least the night.
On every night sky you are my hope written in neon.
Every morning, you are a dream that I force myself to forget.
But no words, no consolation can make me forget you.

“i don’t react well to kindness” – Nayana Nair

the river behind me
is filled with regret
of swallowing the sun
that she once claimed to love.
she is like me,
so i thought she’d understand.

but she holds my hands,
refuses to give me up
when i try to find out
how much I can be filled.
she fears my temperament
and the dangerous things
i incessantly wish for.

i want to tell her
that my heart is too heavy,
that her kindness is only causing me pain,
that bleeding a bit won’t kill me,
that words won’t save me.
that her embrace would only become
my next hope, my next wound.

“storm of kindness” – Nayana Nair

i refuse to go out into
the storm of kindness
where well-meaning people
drunk on the idea of charity
are running amok on streets.

they don’t know themselves
but they know my kind,
they know all the kinds of people
i might turn into
if i don’t give up and let them in.

they want to know the name of person
who broke me so well.
they want me to cry a bit
and to try saying hello first.

the seat they sit on, still has my warmth.
i still know the name of strangers i prayed for.
how easily things change.
every life had hope,
every pain could be overcome
as long as they were not mine.

“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.

“Soft Soil” – Nayana Nair

you are now
just a butterfly
in the unruly garden of my life.

you were once the laughter in our home.
your hands were once as warm as mine.
you were so many things,
the one who knew how to make everyone smile,
the one who could soothe my heart
with a kind understanding glance,
the one who never cried
(now I guess you must have cried,
knowing how you left us here like this).

they told me
you were too weak to live.
i gulped down their answer
even when i knew they were lying.
i was afraid of knowing the real reasons,
i was afraid of knowing what I had overlooked.

the soil was so soft in my hand,
the day they buried you.
i cried through my meals for days.
no one consoled me.
no one told me things will get better.
no one told me to grow up.
and something told me
i would never grow up.

“Friends Again” – Nayana Nair

I want to see you before I forget you.
I want to see if I can live without forgetting you.
If I can avoid running away,
if I can see you and not feel anything.

*

My love, my dependence on you,
my feelings-
you slept through all of it
and now you do not know
why I have changed,
do not know how to be with me.

*

Let us be friends again.
I can do that for your sake.
Now it is probably my turn to sleep,
to close my eyes on all that I feel,
all that you are to me.

*

So when I tell you how my love has ruined me
be kind to me and ask me to give up.
Teach me how to give up.
Teach me how to give you up.
And I will be kind enough
not to ever let you know
that you were the cause
of all my confusion and all my suffering.

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