“I cannot tell the difference”- Nayana Nair

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“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood.
All its season are holograms of perfect world,
the illusions of rain and snow and sun,
the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin.
The technician of this a weary magic
lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart.
He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see.
He invents new people, new details.
Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost
in his war against me, all that I intend to forget.
Sometime they are what I failed to realize,
people I didn’t get to love.
Most days I can’t tell the difference
between the words I have forgotten
and the ones I will never hear
again.
This town
has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean
stuck on its wall.
There cars and houses and roads and rivers
owned by people who will never die.
They all gather on my birthday
in the cemetery of one grave.
They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets,
with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep
and look into the eyes that will never look at me.
They smile knowing something I will never know.

“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

“The eyes of my mother” – Nayana Nair

I planted the idea of a happy family,
a happy tomorrow,
into the eyes of my mother
with breaking tips of my pencils
against her granite eye lashes.

I told her the story about the boy
who is ever so sad
because his parents didn’t care enough,
who weeps on his empty birthdays,
who weeps into my heart.
I tell her I am not so fine myself.
Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly,
cause she didn’t stop
her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.

I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being
from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind.
I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look
with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”

She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long,
a bit too tenderly
as if letting me know, telling me
“Look, this is how I look when I am alive.
Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet
even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”

And I stood there for a long time,
slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t.
I stood there for a long time,
till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy
as he held me, letting me cry into him
for the hundredth time.

“Enough for me” – Nayana Nair

She climbed the stairs
never pausing for a second.
I knew what a second of thought could do.
How it could pull back her steps
and let out her screams.
I knew this is something she didn’t need.

She climbed the stairs
and walked towards me.
Beside me, not exactly near,
steps away perhaps she stood.
And that was enough for me.

Enough for me to not know of loneliness.
Enough for me to not feel fear
what all I could never be.
She stood where I could grow if I chose to,
where I could happily fall apart
and she would never leave.

But I also knew that meaning of this distance
which she hoped I didn’t see.
Being her mirror, as I looked at her from this distance,
I realized this carefully measured out space-
how beautiful and perfect
and safe it was.
She always stood far enough
so her heart wouldn’t rely on me to beat.

“50 goodbyes a day” – Nayana Nair

There are no dances waiting for us,
no innocent moments of sunlight,
no darkness or headlights striking our windows,
nothing worth the wait.
We are stranded here in this life.
We are stranded on a planet
far away from our home-
a home that becomes more and more beautiful,
the more we are convinced there is no way back.

Here the days are longer than our lifespan combined.
Here we record 50 goodbyes to ourselves a day.
The air, the hurricanes,
the rain, the smile,
this peace of mind
are all just luminescent chemicals
that delivers more than its promise
of a near death exhilaration.

The rainbow of lies is our constant sky
the friend we cannot live without.
It is the only thing
that helps us live with the dust of betrayal
that settles on the clothes left out to dry-
another thing we much dust away and forget,
another thing we must do to be called a “good sport”.

I sit here knitting another version
of my beautiful glorious past,
another tribute to the world filled with rare ordinary
and you sit across me
complaining about what the world has come to
as you paint my brain to match the new you-
one less insecurity in this perfect world.

Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

After a long long time, I am back with another award post.
Roshni has nominated me for Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award. I am really thankful that she like my work and considered me worthy of mention on her blog. Means a lot.

Here is the link to the award post by Roshni: Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

So here is rundown of the rules:

Rules
– Thank the person who nominated you with a link to their blog. (done)
– Make a post of the award (with a photo of the logo). (done)
– Post the rules (done)
– Ask 5-10 questions of your choice. (I won’t be posting any question as I won’t be nominating anyone)
– Nominate 10-30 other bloggers (or more) and notify them. (For last few award post I always skip this step of nominating people. Most of the people I follow don’t like to included in awards and stuff like that, so yeah. And it is too much work to filter out who do like it. So I have given up on the step of nominating.)

So here are the answers to the questions Roshni has posted:

What is the most interesting aspect of the place you belong to?
To be honest, I have never felt a sense of belonging to a specific place. The place that my family home is, the place I was born, the places I have lived are all different. We were on move so much, we never stayed at a place for more than 2-4 years. The place I am living currently living in, Bangalore, is the longest I have stayed somewhere. I do love the convenience of Bangalore, but again I do not have a sense of belonging to this place. All the places I have been I have fond memories of those places, they have contributed greatly to my childhood experiences. All these places, places I won’t ever belong to, places that will forever be in my memory nevertheless have taught me that people at their core are basically same. (It is one thing to read it and other to actually know it.)

Do you like quotes? If yes, which quote defines you? If no, ignore the question.
I love quotes. I love quotes because of the beauty with which they deliver a sentiment, a sentiment that can live without the context. I don’t necessarily think that quotes are the ultimate truth though. If there are 50 quotes in support a sentiment or a thought, there will 50 other quotes against that thought. It doesn’t necessarily prove anything but it is still beautiful.

I am not entirely sure if I can objectively describe myself in quotes. The quotes that I can relate to either make me sound more grand than I am or more pitiful that I am. So the quotes that you see below are just a compromise between how I see myself and how I guess the world sees me.

Quotes that define me:

They say it’s good to let your grudges go, but I don’t know, I’m quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.” 
– Liane Moriarty 

I’m not sentimental—I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last—the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

She knew that was not an honest prayer, and she did not linger over it. The right prayer would have been, Lord . . . I am miserable and bitter at heart, and old fears are rising up in me so that everything I do makes everything worse.” 
– Marilynne Robinson

Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

For an accurate description of me, this is how my sister defines me :

infj (mbti) + cancer (zodiac) + sprinkle with some pixie dust & lots of love + lots of sarcastic humour

Following is a quote that defines my persona that I have as a poet (also, suggested by my sister):

Today, too, I go on living just enough
Keeping in step, wearing my feet out just enough
The sun makes me breathless
The world has stripped me of all I have
Without a choice, with no other alternative,
Under the moonlight I am picking up my scattered self.

-“4 O’Clock“, BTS RM &V

You wake up in the morning to find an alien(or Thanos) sitting on your chair reading your favorite book. How would you react? (No, I’m not mad; I do envision such scenarios ?? )
I think I would just go back to sleep. I am good at living in denial.
I don’t normally imagine such scenarios. I do daydream a lot, but my day dream would never fall into the category of fantasy, it is mostly about real life as it is. My daydreaming is mostly about what would happen 5-10 years from now, different scenarios of my future or of the people I love, or about a possible story that I am trying to flesh out.

What do you enjoy more- reading, writing or story-telling?
I like reading the most. Though I love writing and story telling as well, but I feel I have too many limitations in that. I feel I have a very narrow vision and hence very narrow range of what I write. I don’t really mind it, because this narrow view, is just me being me, being obsessed about something that I am interested in. But even though I like being confined to specific topic and specific style, I cannot negate the fact that they are redundant to some degree. I love reading most because I never know what I am in for. Every well-written book surprises me, moves me, makes me think in a way I never could have otherwise. So yeah, reading would be the most exciting thing.

What is the knowledgeable/wise thing you have learnt in your adulthood?
Wise things I learnt in adulthood, that have not necessarily eased my life, but anyway:

  • Importance of reputation
    I have to work for the reputation I want. It doesn’t mean I am trying to become someone I am not. But if I fool around all the time, obviously no one is going to take me seriously. So even if I don’t get my sleep, even if I am sick or in pain, I will complete my work, I will be on time, I will not let down people. My dedication and sincerity lies in my actions and not in the words I speak casually. It doesn’t mean pushing myself for the sake of my image. It means if I mess up, everyone would know that I have my reasons. My mistakes will be mistakes, not something that I do just because I can or want to. It also means I don’t expect people to believe me or take my side, if my previous behavior makes their disbelief in me justifiable.

    Another quote:
    I think both of you are going to have to take this to heart the way anyone who has ever changed anything about their lives has had to take it to heart: by making it not just a nice thing we say, but a hard thing we do.   
    It’s how the real work is done.
     “
    – Cheryl Strayed
  • Minding my own business
    I cannot save everyone, not everyone needs saving, I am probably not qualified to make such assessment on other people, and I don’t think anyone is qualified for that. My morals, my likes, my wants, my decisions are only my business and not something I should project on others.
    Exception – I will voice my views of people who don’t know how to mind their own business. The key here is reciprocity.
  • Being content
    Even though I might say that I don’t expect much in life. It is all a lie. I expect a lot. My standard are too high. My standards were higher when I was younger. I wanted a perfect family, perfect friend, perfect love, perfect job, and a perfect life. Not that I ever had it. At no point in my life I experienced perfection. Maybe that’s why I wanted it so much. But with time I realized, I didn’t need so much, I wanted only a little, I just wanted those little things to be true and permanent. I did’t want an adventurous or enviable life, I just wanted a peaceful life with things that I care about. I didn’t want a perfect person, but a person who is kind and understanding and on same page as me. I didn’t necessarily want that person to be my love or soulmate. I didn’t actually want a big dream or purpose. I tried to want all the grand things, because I was mistaken that what I have is my worth.
    But now more than anything I wanted only one thing – to wake up with hope, passion, and love for this world. I just wanted to be capable of loving and being gentle to this world. Once I would have once considered this as settling for bare minimum. But now I realize I actually need and want only this.

    Quote:
    Hodaka: “Dear God, if you exist, please don’t take anything more, and don’t give anything more.
    Weathering with You

Which blog post of yours is your favorite? (Kindly provide the link as we all can read and enjoy.)
I don’t have favorites among my work. Half of my work is just a bit better than the other half, that’s it.
So I am just listing here some poems that I had forgotten I had written and were sort of good:

My Night Sky” – Nayana Nair

What I Remember(4)” – Nayana Nair

Far from Ideal” – Nayana Nair

Suggest 3 books for the readers.
3 books. Soooo tough. That is a really small number. If I select one book, it seems I am being unfair to other books.
But I must select as I can’t list all the books I have read till now, even that is not possible.
So anyway, here are 3 books that I can suggest you. These are books that have taught me something or have moved me, made me see and feel the world in a different way. There are many other books who have done the same for me, but let’s just consider this a starting point.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Oyasumi Punpun by Inio Asano
In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman

Name a fear (if you have and if you’re comfortable in sharing) which you want to overcome.
I think all the fears that I have are there for a reason. I don’t mean to get rid of any of them because I know exactly why I fear what I fear. It is not an irrational fear but a rational one. (If you are vaguely interested in the sorts of ridiculous or nor so ridiculous fear I harbor, click here.)

So yeah that was all. Since we are at the end of the post I would like to thank Roshni again for the nomination and for liking my work.

“name my heart” – Nayana Nair

i draw a white light
on another perfect window
with my broken hand

the clouds have gathered
for me
my blue stream must be dying inside

i speak my softest tongue
i lift my wounds
to show my untainted heart

stay on the waves in my eyes
touch the only vein in my body
that knows how to hope, i beg

but they drift away
before i name my heart after them
they drift away not wanting to be mine

the sky is clear again
i try not to cry, as i draw the lightning
that no clouds can gift my heart.

“What I Remember (24)” – Nayana Nair

It is time to go out into the world.

It is time that I try hard to get my heart broken
and pretend that it is happening for the first time,

to claim that I trusted blindly
knowing it is not something I am capable of,

to fit my body awkwardly
in the kind of life that people call ‘life’

to find words, to practice the new lingo
that can make something about me relatable,
so that my skin soaked in a tiring tale of sadness
doesn’t make me an alien,

to fill me up again with pictures
of parks, cafes, malls, and roads filled with people
who supposedly like each other,
if not a lot,
then at least enough to not let their ailing self
ruin the perfect moment, the perfect teamwork, the perfect promise.
(Perfection that relies on someone else
doesn’t sit well with me.)

It is time I find something new
that I cannot be or cannot have
before I lock myself up again
for next hundred heart years.

So while I am out to find something to write about and hurt about
miss me my cell,
pray for me.
I am afraid that once I am surrounded by all
that I have learned not to want,
I might start to hope again.
I might slip again.
I might forget to see the distance that I carry in me
and get disappointed by the doors that I can’t reach.

“What I Remember(7)” – Nayana Nair

I have got something against
most words and most sentences
that proclaim that everything is achievable,
that dreams come true,
that life is perfect picture if you want it to,
that everything is in our hands,
and happiness is ours if we have to courage
to step out of the shadows of our fear.

Because I may have lived just over 20 years
but I have feel like I have lived a lot
and I think it is unfair
that I feel so old and weary already.
I feel I am disappointed in many things,
many small things,
things that I could have easily ignored,
things that I could have got used to
if I was aware of their existence
before reality crawled into my world without any warning.

So when I cross my path with these filtered picture of this world
the fun, the bright and the confident who deserve the world.
I am sad, because that is the world I have never seen,
that world doesn’t exist for me.
In the world I see not everything is achievable-
somethings are and somethings aren’t.
Dreams come true, but not always
mostly we end up changing, skipping and down-grading
till we reach the ones we can achieve.
Life is not perfect.
Yes, it is the biggest gift,
but it is not perfect and it all doesn’t depend all on me.
My life is more in the hands of others
than I would want it to be
and helplessness comes in all forms
dressed in the form of situations that no one else can see.
Helplessness is as real as our dreams.
That out of the shadows that we hide in
it is not all warm and sunny.
The rains, the storm,
the climate of life is not same for all.

So all these quotes meant to motivate
don’t mention the subtext
don’t mention the terms and conditions,
the cases where they don’t apply.

I would have coped better with these small hardships
if I expected them when I chose my dream.
I may have taken it as my grand adventure,
if I didn’t feel duped or betrayed half of the time.
Maybe then I would not feel obligated to always have an excuse
to give, for the times when I fell short of the default way of things.
It would have helped or perhaps consoled me to know
that everyone has to work hard, has to sacrifice a lot,
that many struggle for years and sometimes for their whole life
to get what to they want.

Or maybe I am just bitter cause someone else is living a better life.