“Is it now?” – Nayana Nair

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I have seen snails and snakes
from a distance of two feet.
They were scary and I was scared.
Even when they vanished, I remained scared.
I remained scared
of everything that stood two feet away from me,
asking me, “Now what?”,
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”

I have seen friendship
from the distance of words
I could never type.
I sent them new year,
friendship day, diwali,
doomsday celebration greetings
but I never sent them my heart.
They too figured with time
that they could live without me,
without this heart of mine
they have only heard about.

When I see them smile for me
across the street
that we both won’t cross
I wonder if I should smile back
and extend this period of pain, this pretense

or should I see through them,
to set them free

or should I walk closer, to fill their heart
with the horrid images of the real me,
to let them see the dying me,
to let them see the things they can’t do anything about.
Would they love me for real if I did that
or would they look me from the distance of two feet
as I ask “Now what?”
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”

“Hope and Wait” – Nayana Nair

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I looked at you for a long time
and for a long time you pretended to sleep.

For a long time
you closed your eyes,
even when tears spilled,
even when laughter almost made out.

I placed my hand in yours and waited.

I hoped even when you pretended to be stone,
pretended to be wax, pretended to be mine,
pretended to want me gone.

I hoped, I waited to held in your arms.

I hope.
I wait.
I pretend to do all this with ease.

I pretend to be a shelter
as I hunger melts my stomach,
as words melt my mouth.
I do not know what you pretend to be.
Not yet.

I wonder
if I let my eyes close,
if I chose my weakness,
if I hide,
will you take my place, place your hands in mine
and pretend to wait?

I won’t mind such lies and such pretense.

*I wonder if our lives could change
if we didn’t feel burdened
by truth and lies all the same.

“The city that won’t decompose” – Nayana Nair

Some days I am thankful to the walls
that never broke down when I did,
that looms up to the heights
that seem more beautiful than sad
(on certain days at least).

The tiny tiles,
the cemented words in me-
they were supposed to be who I am,
they were meant to decompose
when I chose to change my ways,
when I chose to change my heart.
But this ‘me that I have made’
is more magnificent,
more important than me now.

My mask is more than a mask.
It is my life, it is my M.O.,
it is the replies and answers
planned out for every worst case.
It is a solution that works somehow.
It is a city where I live helplessly
not because I am helpless.
It is just difficult
to throw away something I thought I was me.
As my nature melts and takes new forms everyday
this artificial me remains as my only point of reference.
My pretense is the best I can ever be.