“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.

“Come and Kneel and Dream” – Nayana Nair

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Come and kneel here my child.
This is our new lord, our new god.

Come here and learn his face,
learn all things he doesn’t like to see in us.

Promise me that you will never try
to be a reflection of him, never hold him in your heart.

Even as you bow to him, to powers of cruelty
repeat to yourself again and again,

that no god ever killed freedom; no savior,
no beacon of light, no provider of grain owns your soul.

This is all that I have managed to do so far-
silently witnessing and persevering.

Cowardly, I have survived without giving in, without opposing,
without saving, without killing anyone, protecting just you and me.

To bow my head with tears in my eyes
is the only thing I could do with the strength the new gods left in me.

I do not know what to ask from you, what to teach you
but somehow you must outlive all those who prey on all things good.

My crimes of silence and tolerance leaves me no right
to speak of peace or love or future

but I feel fear and hope thinking of you.
You – who has never seen the world with open sky and kinder hearts

will either dream of a strength drawn out of blood of others
or you might just realize the value of everything that people call weak now.

Come and kneel here my child, in front of all those who teach us
to build our own prisons and build them bigger thrones.

All those who hold our lives hostage binding us with our own fear-
look at them and imagine a world where they don’t exist; not even within you.

“Creature of Claw” – Nayana Nair

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife.

I pluck another flower of kindness
to appease the one who won’t even smile for me.
He looks at it and tells me the tested foolproof ways
to kill this useless plant that grows in me
and cracks his shield.

He tells me he will love me more
if I will cut his skin
instead of making him look as bad as he is,
if I struggle a bit to get back at him
rather than struggle to know him like this.

He says
“i would like us to be peas of the same pod,
i would like us to be the insects with same appetite,
i would like you so so much more,
if you would help me rule this world
that doesn’t listen to me. if you could speak
the same words as i do, words dipped in careless anger
rather than the ones served with pity.
don’t tell me the danger of my dagger
by slicing away your skin. you feel more like an enemy now.
the more you bleed to make me suffer,
to make me give up, the farther you get
from the person i could love.”

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife
to stop him from cutting his own heart.
This will hurt him, he knows,
eventually if not now.
Yet he is becoming a creature of claw with a paper skin,
he is growing a dream
from the horrors he has only read.
The unnatural pauses on his lips,
the look of helplessness in his eyes
makes me wonder if he even knows how to stop.

“When they get to know” – Nayana Nair

There was this one girl
who was too bright.
I liked her a lot.
She was a little more loud, little more caring,
laughed a little more longer.
As if that ‘little more’ was her essence,
was a rule she couldn’t break.
I liked how I could see
what she was without that ‘little more’,
that all of them would never know her like me.
I wonder at what point they will get to know,
that she is drifting away.
Would they would find her too plain,
once she stopped trying?
Would they also feel betrayed?
By then, would they have learnt
all the cruel words
that can break her,
words that she already knows.
I hope not.
I hope they are too young
to recognize the masks they see
or the masks they wear.

“Substitute of Light” – Nayana Nair

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Here in this night glowing with memories
placed as substitute of light in the face of storm,
I sit with all the words my body clung to
in spite of its bare, aging and passing spring.
I scratch out all the definitions of what I am
from the paper that seemed to once shine
and reflect an image that could have been me,
if only I didn’t have to live till this day
to realize what a mirror really is
and how painful it is to look into one.
Now when I write down new rules and new directions for myself,
I envision another day in future
when again I will have to strip myself
of all I believe to be true.
And knowing that a day like that exists ahead of me
makes me look at myself with certain pride
for trying again and again.

“Loose Words” – Nayana Nair

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The words once written with passion

once written with anger,

sometimes filled with sweet drops of sadness

and sometimes with happiness that

made cracks in our masks.

All those words have broken down

have become loose and weak.

Those words are not our love.

Those words are our lives.

Our love is the ruled lines on paper

on which rested our broken lives,

on which rested our tested faith.

 

“Guide to living in cage” – Nayana Nair

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Feign innocence.
Indulge in their views.
Do not make you life
a contradiction to theirs.
Utter false words of underdstanding.
And they will let you be.
They do not have much ambition.
They simply want to rule
your words and action.
Your thoughts at least belong to you.
and they will continue to
till you manage to survive.
Give in to their ways.
Live your life in that cage.
So that you may be free in your thoughts.