“Photographs of Unmade Bed” – Nayana Nair

#1
Today I am fixated on the the houses far ahead, the colors on those countless walls that are yet to be carried away by the winds. Today I am fixated on the wrong choice of shoes, the red sore blooming on the fingers of my feet. Today I am filling my eyes with all that I refuse to see otherwise. I like days like these. They give me the proof of life outside of me, proof that I am part of this world. Days like these let me know that even if there is nowhere I particularly have to go, my feet are sore from walking and the roads are bit weathered. So it must mean something. Slowly I am changing the world, just as the world is changing me. So it must mean something. These are the days I realize that I do not just look at the world, but kiss the world while hating it in my heart. That world doesn’t just disown me, but it keeps looking at my childhood photographs when no one is looking. It all must mean something.

#2
My bed sinks a bit more everyday. It feels as if every day I am carrying, dragging another new person into my uncomfortable sleep, to my messy life. There is no blood, or signs of resistance, so it must a deal of mutual benefit. I hope so. I wake with only my skin, with only my dry eyes. So again it must have been someone I mistook as you. Someone who knows how to keep their end of promise, someone who doesn’t look back at the weight they are leaving behind in my new scented sheets. With you there was warmth and suffocation and never-ending want to be something more. With you there were eyes that stared at me as if I am a road you are forced to walk on. With you there were things I couldn’t be and shouldn’t be. Without you, there is me and my imagination that draws you body full of life on the photographs taken of unmade med and undecided mind. What do I want really?

#3
The one love? The truest kind? The rarest kind? The kind that is made of eternities? The kind that is hellbent on making that big change? I sort of had that. “I had that love” would be my answer, only when I am asked to keep my answer short, which I am often asked.
In the answers of 500-1000 word limit, in the answer where 10 marks are at stake, in the answers only you would have asked – I wanted my only love to be true somehow, no matter what it took. Do you know what that means? It means there are hazy days, holding lies close to heart, illusion that I fed with my own blood that make appearance in this answer. The answer involves knowing everything that is wrong, knowing everything that shouldn’t be, knowing the end that I won’t have. The answer involves cutting short my words, even when there is no need to, even when you are here and you are listening. The answer is pretend that was true, the tears that I didn’t hate as much as I should, the person I liked a bit more than I should have. Always wondering if love would feel like love if it was not me and you standing on both of its end.

#4
There is soaring in the skies. There is running away to the ends of earth. There are, of course, moons, and sun, and stars for taking. There is a wish list for every age we failed to love properly. There are your past loves, there are my past pains to talk about till late night. There are things to eat and relish and complain and things we will never make the way we should, things we will throw away even though they turned out well. There are stories we will make up because we can, because they are fun. There are stories that will tell thousand times even though we won’t be believed. There are night we see only each other, there are nights we realize the pain of not being loved. There are permutations and combinations that I was always poor calculating, that you were never interested in. There is a day like this where we have nothing in our pockets to count on, no possibility, no scenario that could bring us and place us together in this life. This is the only day that I didn’t want to arrive at.

#5
You are only as dangerous as much as I let you be. If I let you be a mistake, you are just a humiliating past to be erased. If I let you be the friend that should have remained a friend, you are just a human among thousand others, a human I dealt with with immature idea of carpe diem, with a stupidity I once called honesty. If I let you be the reason of my happiness, you become the reason I should never smile again. If I let you be the incarnation of all that destroys, you become the plague in my heart that will not end till I die, till I give myself up. The more I let you be within the scope of my life, the more I regret letting you in. I never try to think of you as someone I associated the word love with. That word lets you become my breaking heart, my lungs devoid anything capable of giving life, my mind slowing down and stuck at the worst part of my life.
So when I think of you, I think of you as the result of taking the idea of selflessness, of selfishness, of wanting to be part of this world, of taking “it all must mean something” a bit too far.
Because irrespective of what you might have been for me. Now you are only as dangerous, as important as I let you be.

“I want you to see the world” – Nayana Nair

i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.

i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,

till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean

till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.

though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.

“the darkness that she sings for me” – Nayana Nair

i am in love
with the woman who sings and
becomes the background
of my every night.

i like to listen to her voice
as she takes my every second
keeps it out of my reach,
teaches me some really suspicious ways
to keep myself safe from the her demons.

she glows in the darkness that she sews
only for me,
for me to hold her hand the way
she will never be held,
the way i will never be held.

i hate to cry,
i have cried for a long time
for people who called me their option
when i was out of earshot
my tears are cheap, now all they do
is make me feel equally cheap
but the tears i shed for her life are beautiful
the tears i shed for her (who feels like me)
stops me from taking pills i don’t need.

another lover of hers sat opposite me few days ago.
she looked so much like her.
it made me wonder if i looked like her as well.
i wonder she knows her lovers are running amok
in the world that she paints with her pain.
i wonder if she knows that we are catching all her fears,
staying away from guys who speak like her ex,
staying away from the patterns she has pointed out.

i wonder if she knows
that we tell strangers “she sings well, she writes well”
when we want say
“she made me embrace the woman in me
that i have been trying to kill for a long long time.
she stood in my moonlight
counting all the daggers that make her bleed every day,
the same daggers that i fear to acknowledge,
telling me about the exact number of days it takes to collapse again,
about the face, her heart, and her womb that are for anyone’s taking,
about her rage, her mind, and her will that she was allowed to keep.
how she wanted to give up last night.
how giving up can become a concept of life every easily
but she didn’t want that,
because she didn’t want to be
the sad pathetic corpse of the woman
that the world said she would eventually be.”

i am in love with the woman
who wants me to be more than a silent background.

“Creature of Claw” – Nayana Nair

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife.

I pluck another flower of kindness
to appease the one who won’t even smile for me.
He looks at it and tells me the tested foolproof ways
to kill this useless plant that grows in me
and cracks his shield.

He tells me he will love me more
if I will cut his skin
instead of making him look as bad as he is,
if I struggle a bit to get back at him
rather than struggle to know him like this.

He says
“i would like us to be peas of the same pod,
i would like us to be the insects with same appetite,
i would like you so so much more,
if you would help me rule this world
that doesn’t listen to me. if you could speak
the same words as i do, words dipped in careless anger
rather than the ones served with pity.
don’t tell me the danger of my dagger
by slicing away your skin. you feel more like an enemy now.
the more you bleed to make me suffer,
to make me give up, the farther you get
from the person i could love.”

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife
to stop him from cutting his own heart.
This will hurt him, he knows,
eventually if not now.
Yet he is becoming a creature of claw with a paper skin,
he is growing a dream
from the horrors he has only read.
The unnatural pauses on his lips,
the look of helplessness in his eyes
makes me wonder if he even knows how to stop.

“What I Remember (21)” – Nayana Nair

I prod and push the glass slowly, carefully
to the edge of the table,
where your glass stands.
At the edge where you place your suitcase,
where you always tie your laces once again
just to be sure.

That is the place you tell me to love
when you think I might lend something of me
to keep such place alive,
to keep you warm while you keep the door open
like the way the you like them to be.

This is the place you tell me to forget
when the color of my skin doesn’t match the color of your new sky,
when your new birds keep singing songs
of ‘soulmates’ with better specification
when it becomes your new caller tune,
when you think of the best version of your life.
You think of that too often, quite loudly
for me to really forget anything.

This is all I remember of you:

i never thought you were weak enough to need anyone or anything.”
i thought you were wise enough, i thought you were better than your gender.
call me. meet me. i am feeling down.
call me. meet me. listen to me, no one else does. only you have ever cared.
call me. meet me. i want us to end.
you are too much for me. you are too little in the eyes of anyone in this world.
you are so close to having my fickle demanding unfair love, why do you ruin everything by being yourself.
i would have loved you for 2 more years, if you were not messed up.

When I think of the glasses, of my life, of everything
that I dangerously left at the edges
just to be your equal, just to make sense of you-
I am glad I have claimed back my madness
instead of trying to understand yours.
I am glad I do not have to live my life
compensating for your weakness, calling it love.

“Reply Button” – Nayana Nair

This where my moment of collapse,
where my undoing starts.
Me, sitting in front of something that I used to love,
something that used to carry a part of me.
Me, in front of bookshelves,
looking at the list of movies that broke open my heart,
moving my hands over the quotes
that I took pains to scribble
on everything I own,
half-hiding behind the high dining tables,
not really eating,
not really listening,
making cracks on my glass skin
with the fork that has forgotten how food feels,
hesitating to touch that reply button,
hesitating to hold his hand.
“i am empty, i can’t find in myself the will
to love anything in this world”, I want to say.
But it would be so unfair
to break another’s heart, only because I have lost mine.
But won’t it be equally unfair
to give someone hope with my meaningless smiles.

“I hate this convenience” – Nayana Nair

Everyday I dislike my love
for you a little bit more.
All this talk about convenience,
about being of use to each other
should not be called love.
If I love you because you understand me
then it is not you who I love
but anyone who can understands me.

“i am comfortable with you” “you make me feel special”
“you can heal me” “i like spending time with you”
“you listen to me” “you treat me well”
“you are beautiful” (how you look pleases my eyes and my heart)

My liking you
seems more about me than about you.
I am disappointed by how I love only for myself.
Why aren’t you?

“What I Remember (11)” – Nayana Nair

beauty may be only skin deep
but lack of it goes deeper than that.
so deep
that you end up learning to want things
that you wouldn’t otherwise even think about.
i wish i could remember every face
that was surprised to know
that i am okay with looking older than i am,
surprised that i do not want to exorcise fats
especially when i have got so much of it.
every morning i wake up
they hover over me like faceless shadows
with black markers, drawing over my body
showing me all that is wrong,
giving me tips so that i can become easy to look at,
hiding their superficiality under the wraps of concern,
whispering how thick-skinned i am when i don’t listen
and wondering what is wrong with the ones who love me.
it made me wonder
that maybe going under the knife
wouldn’t be as bad as being smeared black by markers.
that maybe i am supposed to love myself
only after the world approves of the ‘me’ that i want to love.
i would have understood if they cared,
if they actually meant good,
but they don’t
because they know nothing more than my name
and they say my name only with heart-breaking adjectives and assumptions.
i want to say they are wrong,
but i have suffered their gaze for so long
that sometimes i end up sharing their hatred of me, of what they see.
there are days that i obsess over a passing comment.
there are days i beat up myself for being like this.
i starve and fail,
i try to get over their words and fail,
i try to hate myself and fail.
i want to say it doesn’t matter
but it does
because i am tiring myself out
by trying to see something good in me,
by apologizing to myself,
by trying to save my heart
while they burn my body in the woods.

“No Other Choice” – Nayana Nair

When I held your hands,
you told me I am calculating.

When I listened to your worries
you told me that it is because
I have no other choice,
because I have no one else anyway.

When I cried
you told me I am manipulating.

When I speak of my feelings for you,
you tell me that I am afraid of loneliness,
of dying alone.
That a person like me can never love anyone.

I wish I could say that it is all in your mind,
that I am not evil as you speak.
I want to say that my love for you is true,
that I am not all that bad.

But as you said
I have no one,
no one to tell me that
I am only as bad as everyone else is,
no one to tell me that
I can still be loved.

I have only you
and now to love you
I have to learn
to hate myself first.

“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.

***