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“The Scale of 1 to 10 (part 4)” – Nayana Nair

I have been collecting books on building sandcastles from the the remains of things humans leave behind. This is all I have ever read – how and where to find the stones called history, how to grind them so fine that they can forget themselves.
In my hands they become another extra leg of the ever wobbling chair that already looks like a monster, the miniature castle no one can live in, the gigantic dinosaur that won’t get the chance to destroy this world, the skyless blue that will keep dripping from the ceilings as long as people want to see the rain that won’t ruin the glow of their skin.

 "People burn lamps of clarified butter
  I've ignited the lamp of my heart.
  People swear on their faithfulness
  I've eaten the poison of separation.
  People lose their heart in love.
  People lose their heart in love.
  I've also lost myself.
  But still me getting extinguished
  Was liked by my beloved"
  -"Luttna", Cocktail
 "Giving and receiving scars is part of being human
  And I don’t think I was really scared of that.
  I clashed against things like I was going to break
  And I don’t think I was really scared of that."
  -"Green Nocturne", Nell
 "sometimes the roof of feeling leaks,
  we remember old thirst,
  but new clouds dance and rain,
  they kiss the forehead with chains of drops..
  it's the time to get soaked,
  a new weather is standing nearby,
  it's a small, but big thing.."
  -"Dhoop Ke Makaan Sa", Break Ke Baad
 "I guess that I
  I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart"
  -"We are young", Fun.

I love to hold exhibitions where people can look at something beautiful enough to make them cry and not even realizing that they are looking at something they never wanted to see again, that they are looking at themselves the way they never wanted to.
They might not understand this, but I do.
The “unnecessary” that is so easy to cast away is the only thing that their heart wants. That is the only happiness that feels like happiness.

 "We imagined the future we saw together 
  on top of that high hill where a blue wind was blowing.
  We launched a big paper airplane which flew anywhere, 
  carried by the wind.
  You laughed loudly as you saw my distant look.
  Your hat was blown off by a gust of wind, so I ran to catch it"
  -"Control Tower", Galileo Galilei
 "The headlight that shines into my heart
  has become completely clean.
  All of your memories fade out.
  Inside the storm, my heart is green light"
  -"Eraser", Taeyeon
 "Cuz I taste you in every shot that I take down
  But I feel so hollow"
  -"Here Come The Regrets", Epik High

No one is innocent, no one is blameless.
Helpless they may be, ignorant more so.
But all who seek reality and stability have killed someone or something that was too weak to protect itself. That is how we become good enough, deserving, suitable to live in this world.
The ones who suffer grow up eventually. But they grow less and less each day.
So knowing this, how I am I supposed to hate these murderers? How can I not save all they burn as they cry?

 "Fear takes a hold of me and my heart grows heavy.
  And a sigh comes out of my mouth again.
  Time made me into an adult,
  but I don’t think it made me strong.
  Time made me into an adult
  but it made me that much more of a fool"
  -"Green nocturne", Nell
 "I am still the same person I was before
  I am here, the same person I was from before, but
  An overgrown lie is trying to swallow me whole"
  -"Lie", Jimin (BTS)
 "Here comes the rain
  So many scars never fade
  This is the price of war
  And we've paid with time"
  -"Fight the Night", One Ok Rock
 "Today is a winding road that's taking me to places 
  that I didn't want to go
  Today in the blink of an eye
  I'm holding on to something and I do not know why.
  I tried"
  -"Thunder", Boys like Girls

So when they start hearing voices, when they feel that none of their masks fit their faces filled with fear- they come to me.
As they wait reading magazines filled with faces, bodies, lives, circumstances that are better than theirs, I sculpt a lie for them.
I call it a lie, because that is easy to accept, easy to display in their living room. Unlike truth, seeing it or showing it does not involve damage estimation.
This is how I make a scratch on the face of reality even when my hands are tied. This is the only happy ending I can give them, the only happy ending they can accept.

 "This field is lined with the brave
  Souls in relief
  We'll fight fight till there's nothing left to say
  (Whatever it takes)
  Fight fight till your fears, they go away"
  -"Fight the Night", One Ok Rock
 "Yeah I'm walking on a tightrope
  I'm wrapped up in vines
  I think we'll make it out
  But you just gotta give me time
  Strike me down with lightning
  Let me feel you in my veins
  I wanna let you know how much I feel your pain"
  -"Thunder", Boys like Girls
 "So if by the time the bar closes
  And you feel like falling down
  I'll carry you home"
  -"We are young", Fun.

No one is innocent, no one is blameless.
But they are weak. We are weak.
I need to save them. So they can save me somehow.
In their tears, I see the tears that I have not learnt to shed.

 "Just give me a reason, just a little bit's enough
  Just a second we're not broken just bent, 
  and we can learn to love again"
  -"Just Give me a Reason", Pink
 "We fight, fight till we see another day.
  Whatever it takes."
  -"Fight the Night", One Ok Rock
 "Carry me home tonight"
  -"We are young", Fun.

“Sense of Urgency” – Nayana Nair

Today I realized
what to call all that I have been reading for so long.
A person I didn’t mean to overhear called it ‘a sense of urgency’-
the desire to save this world as soon as possible.

It seems the enemies are too many.
I saw many names in the list of these enemies
that I silently agreed with-
pollution, dictatorship, bullying,
monetization of education, competing in a rigged world,
oppression of lives and loves of minority, hate crimes,…

I scoffed at some:
the collapse of society in the hands of socially withdrawn,
collapse of economy in the hands of those who want and do less,
the unfeeling and unapologetic generation that seems to love depression,
women whose learning and thinking too much only breaks families,…

“this is the cause worth dying for”-
I suddenly became afraid of that feeling.

As I read all the absurd causes I couldn’t agree with.
As I read and became exasperated at the words of those
who were convinced that they knew better
even as they killed and killed and killed
and got addicted to seeing blood dissolving in oceans.
I realized
how dangerous this feeling could be.

“this is what to means to change the world.
to change the world
is to walk over everything I don’t want to see”
My sense of urgency hated me for thinking this.
It recited every quote about silence of good men.
But all I could now see was the line that I must not cross,
the words I must not say, the knife that I must never hold-
no matter the cause.

“Unconsumed” – Nayana Nair

Posted on

I hear sweet laughter
from far away (from the floor above).
Leftover light from that bright world falls on me.
But it is not mine.
and it seems I am not allowed
to love anything that is not mine.

It seems no one can be mine
until I constantly try to please them,
chain them to me, make them dependent on me,
do their chores, worship them,
read their minds and say only what they want to hear,
be only what they want me to be.
Is this how I make this person mine?
or should I wait for someone else
to put me on a pedestal for once?

I don’t think that would be love though.
But what do I know?
I have tried doing things right every time
and look where it has got me-
passed out on floor,
yearning and envying another’s happiness.

“Whatever Blooms in Darkness” – Nayana Nair

Posted on

When all things that are not divine
found a home in me,
I realized they would probably
be the only friends I ever make.
I read up many books
and considered taking up some mildly destructive
and slightly disturbing hobbies,
so that I could know them better.
So I could become someone they could accept.
I looked for a teacher who could teach me
how to love back darkness,
how to become a wound itself
instead of nursing one forever.


I want to say I found happiness
in that one friend
with sad eyes and bitter lips.
But there still lived in me
that one girl made of light
who wanted to ruin me
by guiding me back to life.

“What I Remember (12)” – Nayana Nair

hailstones.
that’s what i remember.
when the stones fell
onto the already breaking roofs of our class,
the girl who sat three rows ahead
stopped reading.
everyone who was busy day dreaming,
who had shut their ears to every useless fact that we come to learn,
knew how to listen to this,
to this violence that could hurt but won’t.

i sat there listening,
wondering if my skin would also be able bear
what this tin sheet roof can,
if my classmates would look at me
understand their violence that could break me but hasn’t yet.

maybe it was our silence,
maybe it was the teachers glare
that made it stop,
made the loud shrieking rain to end.
and when she left
the stones had already turned into dripping water.
the kids wanting to forget
the trauma of being silenced,
of having their dreams interrupted,
of being reminded of their helplessness
recited incidents that didn’t happen,
tried to laugh a little louder than usual,
made another joke at the expense of someone like me
and so my only memory of hailstone
was also reduced to the din of students (who never liked me).

i closed my books and pretended to be asleep
while everyone ate and talked to their friends.
i waited for everyone to leave
so I could eat alone
without being ashamed for being left alone.
“hailstones”.
i said the word aloud in that empty classroom.
i had one more words now
to describe these kids who scared me by their meanness,
who made me like the prospect of loneliness.

“Your Cactus” – Nayana Nair

i never learnt about gardening, nor about patience, nor about caring,
nor about looking after anything that doesn’t speak, doesn’t complain,
doesn’t tell me in plain words how i am terrible, how i mistakes make me
even if those mistakes are not mine.

i wish i was blind, i wish i was mute,
i wish i was the cactus in your bedroom.
i wish i was the books you didn’t read but can’t throw away.
i wish i could stop wanting to be a decoration in your life.
i wish i could stay human and stay in love at the same time.

in my room
i close my eyes, and find myself with you.
it must be dream, i wish it was.
for here you don’t cry because of me,
don’t have to tear yourself up just to be nice to me.
i wish it was a dream
because here i have forgotten to tell you
that i can’t love anything that loves me back.
i wish you stop making my heart ache with your sincerity.
i wish i woke up
before you sacrifice anything more than you already have.

“Just Poems” – Nayana Nair

My mind that understands
is chained and crippled by its understanding.
It only tries to understand new words
by comparing it to
what has already written or read.
It only understands feelings in terms of
the pain it has given
or all it has suffered.

-o-

So when I stand in front of the doors of a poem
feeling the sting of December winds on my back.
When I ring the doorbell
and hear from other side “May I come inside?”
I immediately know that this not something
that I understand,
that there is a difference
in reading as if
sitting on the couch in a stranger’s house
waiting to be entertained
and reading as if
I have let the stranger in my own mind
and allowed him to change
the view I have of this world.

-o-

Some poems are not just poems.
They are voices that never die
because they have never been born.
They are ghosts that we have always wanted to haunt.
They are names we give to our own suffering,
a closure that only we can give to ourselves.

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