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“Flowers used to bloom here” – Nayana Nair

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There is a wall of flowers before her.
She looks at it as if they are a softer kind of firework,
a firework in reverse,
the colors leaving the petals, crawling deep into itself,
leaving the color of the inevitable sad ending
that Nature always ends up falling for,
after a series of boys who lied to her about a forever
in their mellow green kisses.

A lesson on subtraction
for a girl trying to learn
about the reasons and the ways
a void like hers is created.

“Have a Good Day” – Nayana Nair

I was sat down and told repeatedly everyday
that though the world belongs to all of us,
sometimes it is better
to step back,
to only take up the space we need.
I misunderstood it to be a lesson in humility,
wanting less, and sacrifice,
but I realize now that it was not so.
I was told to stop before I anger someone,
before someone got jealous,
or before they saw the weakness of my gender.

As I stand on the balcony at midnight
and hear drunk shady men shouting, cursing, and stumbling,
as they make their way to their broken homes,
I remind myself
this is what I am supposed to fled,
a person who is allowed to loose their mind,
a person who will always have excuse to hurt.
This what everyone wanted me to become,
someone who is proficient at spotting dangers,
who can conjure up the worst possible scenarios
when they hear another’s footsteps on deserted streets,
and see the worst possible demons in the face of men.

These days I often hear people say
that the new meaning of a powerful woman is
the one who walks into misfortune willingly,
before she is stalked and defeated by it.
Is this the only alternative to what I am living?

I wish that when I walked past a stranger on streets
I could smile and wish them a good day,
without having to fear being misunderstood,
without the echoes of ‘she asked for it’ in my mind.

“Act Better” – Nayana Nair

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I have turned my face
from every confrontation
that I cannot tolerate.
I have stuck to my thoughts
and my denials.
I continue to agree with people
whom I find agreeable
and people who can help me think
that I am thinking right.
I have not learnt much in life.
And even when I realize my dubious nature,
I am not sure whether my efforts to improve
actually improve me
or are they just lessons to act better, pretend better,
to keep my immaturity bottled up.
But I do not mind such an arrangement
even if it is frustrating,
if only I could cushion this world
from the hatred I am capable of.

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