“Painting Summer” – Nayana Nair

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As my teacher with broken voice
dictated another question on radius and heights
and the mountains where no snow, no season, no name sticks;
I turned another page and wrote the name of an emperor
who died even though he believed he won’t.
I smiled and tried to correct the very very wrong spelling
of a national political party that my friend wrote. It doesn’t matter she said,
when I couldn’t figure out what was exactly wrong with it.
At lunch, she leaned against the wrong window,
the one with fresh coat of blue paint,
and told me a joke which she memorized
only to remember it wrong.
I again gave her the laugh that meant nothing in particular.
But I knew she loved it when I reacted like this-
as if she is forcing a laughter out of my silent sombre heart,
as if she is wining over me all my resistance.
But I was nothing like that.
I was nothing like she thought me to be.
My heart was already open. She was already inside me-
writing melodies with her soft steps beside me,
painting summer sun over every window I looked out of.
But these are things that need no telling,
there are my treasures I won’t allow her to take back,
these are the answer she will never realize.
I hand in another assignment, another answer sheet
that looks too little like me, that raises the eyebrows of people
who realize they couldn’t teach me a thing right.
I walk back to my seat wondering
if my shirt is tainted red with my love
like her back is filled with butterflies of blue.

“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.

“Melody Unknown”- Nayana Nair

Its hard to breathe, its hard to see,

With these tears in my eyes,

I can barely move, I can barely stand,

On this pile of misery and lies.

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Bubbles of happiness I see below,

From this pile that stands tall,

I want to be there, not here,

But my heart can’t bear another fall.

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Still haunted by the memory of last fall,

That I took to chase my dreams,

Everything was just as it is now,

The same happy bubbles below, through which sunshine gleams.

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Alone and Deserted, on this desolate pile,

Amidst this hopelessness I gear a new tone,

A tune, a melody, that whispers hope to my heart,

An encouragement it filled, that melody unknown.

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So here I stand, to take a leap to escape,

rather than a leap of faith,

A desperate effort to escape ,

my worries, my life and my fate.

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I know not whether I’ll reach that happiness,

those gleaming bubbles of joy I see.

what I know is even if I land on another pile,

I’ll never leave this joy, that melody instilled in me.