“on the questionable ways to feel alive” – Nayana Nair

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another bird breaks into light
and the someone applauds.
a fire is born in the clouds.
a wind filled with cries
flows in through windows of happy castles.
everything painful is now essential.

i sign my writing with assurances
that it is not too much, this much i can handle,
this much i can live.
i stand tall, i persist in light
with the heartiest smiles
all the time planning on the next crack
that i dream to give birth to,
the next tear that i will paint on myself…
all the while knowing there is something wrong.

something is wrong
with the way i live and the way i feel,
with the things that i see and want.
but has knowing ever helped.
knowing just makes me more reckless.
knowing makes me want to fly again
even though i know
i will be shot down by my own arrows.

“Mechanisms” – Nayana Nair

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I have a thing about ends-
I cannot do it,
it has to be done to me.
It must happen.
Things must continue
till they rot and bleed.
First in places where no one can see
and then in places where no one can look away from.
And words must be said – cruel words.
They must be said by someone, but it won’t be me.

I rush up to the jar of those colorful wrong words
and choose first, all the words
that seem like hope but they aren’t,
while purposefully leaving behind
in the hand of others only those words
that seem like rage, but it is not,
it is more of helplessness,
but I do not tell them that.
So now, in my tears they see
the new monsters that they are made of,
the monster I can’t bear to be.

Even as they become problems
that they never wanted to be,
I must remain good, I must remain kind.
I must remain the one that held on.
I must save my illusions at any cost.
I won’t give the excuse of my weakness, of my broken heart,
of the fragile thread from which my existence is suspended,
of how I am already clawed open and torn apart by life,
or how I would rather at the end of it
want someone to hate than to mourn things that died
with all the good parts of me.
Or how I have always loved everything a bit too much.
I won’t give the excuses even I cannot believe in.

I refuse to give up
with spite and with malice even
because how can I ever walk towards any goodness in world again
knowing the feeling of the dying pulse of a miracle under my hands.
I am ready to suffer. I am ready to break every heart including mine.
I am ready to paint this world with monsters and be the evil one
but I refuse to do that killing.

“Something good”- Nayana Nair

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Even when I have almost
found my head,
though I have finally
lost my madness,
the flowers, these red flowers of blood
still haven’t withered.
This heaven, that has only place for me,
hasn’t yet been burnt.
There is the earth that is yet to be found.
There is a sun that needs to forget the feeling
of being drunk on the dark.
There are walls that must be washed and washed
till they can be painted over with warmth.
So wait a bit,
I will let you in.
I will let my heart love,
once I become someone you can love.
Once I become
someone who can see love as something good.

“blue dreams and railroads” – Nayana Nair

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so my blue dream
is not even mine now.
i am just a mesh of people who hate me.
their fingers are my fingers now
poking my skin, endless railroads of red are built
with their nails that they do not even cut
before they sell me their fake love-filled eyes.
their eyes are my eyes
that wants to smash every reflective surface where i fall.
every reflective thought is just a poison.
a poison, a gossip, an untrue version of me running wild
in the minds of those who look at me.
they gossip about me
so i gossip about myself ,
whisper my secrets into the air
or better, into the ears of lovers who are chosen
especially for their talents in indifference,
vulnerability, and emotional violence.
lovers who can break me – are all that i want.
i need someone else to do this breaking for me
because i am coward who can’t move towards the end i want,
and also because my hands are busy.
i have more things to do.
i need my hands to tear my talents apart
in the name of value, tear my feelings apart
in the name of my worthlessness.
i need my hands to paint again and again.
paint indifferences on my insecurities
that come a bit too often to the surface of my skin now,
paint laugh lines on the bleeding corners of my lips,
paint dreams of love, moments of hurt, grand betrayals
on my otherwise lonely mind,
paint humans that match the shadows in me,
painting causes and assurances.
i must paint.
i must paint a reason-
a reason why i suffer so,
why this world works like how it does,
why i must break as the world breaks,
why i must break even for fixing this world.
i must paint a face
so that others don’t break at the sight of my face.
i clip my nails everyday
so that when i become someone’s ghost
when someone suffers because of me
at least my hands won’t leave them scars.

“Yellow kills happiness” – Nayana Nair

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And across this street is my old home,
the one I won’t ever visit.
This year they have painted it yellow.
How sad is that, isn’t it?
My mother hated that color.
She said that yellow kills happiness.
She said such colors convinced even a happy person,
that their smile is not enough.
Her smile, as a rule, was mostly not enough for anyone
and it made sense to me that she would hate
to compete with her wallpapers, her furniture,
her mirror, her curtains – for the sake of validating
her existence and importance.

The woman who stole our lives years later – I heard her
telling my mother
that “she was an insecure woman, that she was bound to lose”.
As if she, who paints this house now
with horrible colors every year, knew what loss is.
My mother – she liked browns and greys and greens.
She grew life out of her blood.
She loved dearly and irrationally-
whenever she sat still
and saw at us smiling and playing,
she would break into tears.
We loved her more dearly for that.

She loved that house
and the man that owns it.
She hated herself a bit too much.
She tried not to
but saving her was a work she had to do by herself
-a tiring chore, no one wanted to be part of.
She brought us the most beautiful yellow frocks one day
and looked at us, trying to love something impossible through us.
She looked at us hoping that her love for one thing
could make her bear her hate for another.
Like a fool, she believed
that her trying would mean something to this world.

“Paintings of springs and fault lines. Sketches of lost mothers.” – Nayana Nair

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She sings.
An echo, a heartbreak maybe,
something piercing, something invisible,
something not ours-
this is all that we are allowed feel
(as long as we want to feel).

She is everywhere.
She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight
of water and floating globes of life and
drowning boats and oil.
She is everywhere.

Yet her voice outlines every step we take.
Every dying step is a step lost to her name.
Running away is beautiful in this city.
The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies,
painted on every stone, every wall,
doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world
we crushed by our hands,
doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.

All our journeys branch from her heart.
We sit huddled with our feet in water,
with our hands over fires dying out
and talk of her. Always her.

“Home of Blindness” – Nayana Nair

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I have to sing
and keep singing,
have to keep begging people to dance within my heart,
within the confines of these bricks,
with the parts of me that can’t die
and parts of me that I wish I still was.
I have to keep inventing reasons and occasions
I have to paint every meaning within me
in the boldest loudest colors.

Because the moment it all stops
I will hear the shouts again.
There is no silence in this world.
Outside, everyday
the fearful children of a fearless god
shout his name again and again.
Asking for reason, for rain,
for roses carrying their name.

I also once stood there, in the dark corridors,
on burning roads
asking god to love only me,
to hold my hand, to save me alone.
It is a very dark road,
the one we take to find
the light that will only belong to us.

And there is only this home of blindness
far away from all the crying and ceaseless hoping
where I can use these eyes of mine
for something more than holding and spilling tears,
where I get to sing for the god within the song.
I worship these walls that hold me in my place.
I worship all of your laughs, all the steps the never stop.

But I am still afraid
because tears still come easy to me,
because even this borrowed light whispers the name of one
who I still hope to reach.
The one who should exist somewhere outside these walls.
But I can only be here in this world of his
if I don’t run to him all the time.
I can be his, without falling short or falling apart,
only if I substitute what he has made for what he is.

“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 somber heart,
as if she is winning 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.

“Hand-painted walls” – Nayana Nair

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The answer to your question-
the truth you always ask and wonder about
is there
somewhere inside me.
But inside me are many other things
that I have not been able to find till now.
And I would have probably invited you in
and asked you to help me a bit
if you were not better than me in every sense.
Just saying this makes me feel so cheap.
It makes me the person I am always trying to hide
and inside me things are a bigger mess.
There is a river of hatred and an ocean of guilt,
the walls of past that I paint over and over
but things just keep looking worse.
And though you hope to find a sky of love there,
though you hope to find a true love or a true end,
I would rather not be loved for the possibility of who I can be,
I would rather not be looked at closely,
or loved a bit more than I deserve.
And what I deserve is a piece of cake
that keeps getting smaller and smaller every day;
a cake I dare not eat, or even want .
I am afraid in my shrinking world,
there is no place for you
or anything called truth.

“Sitting in dark” – Nayana Nair

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I come in the dark hours of my mood
and switch on the lights of empty cubicles.
49 switches
and yet nothing works on me.

I walk past
the empty seats
seats that belong to people
I see everyday,
I smile to everyday,
who have never seen my smile in reality.

For few hours
I can be happy again.
I am free
to be alone,
to be miserable,
to be able to curse myself
but not being confused by the presence
of these people,
who are there for me
but not only for me,
but for everyone.
And not always,
but only when it suits them.

It is better that I am alone
because I don’t know
how to be thankful to them
without being bitter,

how to voice out the emptiness that flows into me
every moment I spend with them
and not feel hatred for the kind of person my words paint me to be,

how to wait for them with eager heart
when their kind words only remind me of monsters

that force their way into my life.

It is better that I am alone
It would have been better
if I could wear these feelings with ease,
without waiting for something to change.