“Things I probably shouldn’t say” – Nayana Nair

I realized that I was too young to fall in love. That my heart was too broken to know how to run away from an embrace. And your embrace was hurtful and genuine – almost beautiful. I didn’t know then that one could be gentle and genuine. Or that there were words other than authenticity and truth and love that are worth living for.

I attributed my doubts, my sad feelings, my loneliness to my paranoia, to my wounds hidden under my beautiful lakes, to all the dark days before you. Even when I saw your lips suffocating mine, I could breathe in just fine if I kissed you back.

If I took your hands and kissed them, it would all be my choice, it would all be a sacrifice for my dearest love. Rather than humiliation, rather than helplessness, rather than the feelings of being locked in with you in this life.

Even as I write, I feel the sting of these words, I feel my fakeness, I feel how it must have wronged you – my gentle, my virtuous, my forgiving image. All the things I wanted to be for you and for me. All the things I never really was.

I foolishly believed that for being worthy of love I would have to first give up myself. I never wondered how you could love the me that left my body when I came to you. I never wondered who you were actually seeing in me, who you held in your arms. I wonder if you had seen my real feelings, my fear of you, the efforts I put to like you – the ugly feelings that I can only see now.

I dreamt of you few days back. I saw you casually slipping back into my life by giving me a paper mache keychain and me being happy, me holding your hand in the glitter of unknown lights. The lights were yellow, you were a bit taller than I last saw you, I was a bit more happier than I last knew myself to be. I woke up hating myself a bit more.

And after my words of confusion, blame, and hurt, here are my kind words. They are few, they are frail, they are nothing in comparison to the wrong that we are but they are there in me just like the occasional dream I hate to be in:

You were sometimes beautiful. You were sometimes kind. On some days you almost meant your love. On those days you meant the most to me in this world. On those days I felt I was good enough to be loved. On those days I told myself that sometimes love is more than comfort, warmth, and understanding. On those days I found it worth it to swim to you through anything. On those days I planned and prepared myself for all the things I should leave for a life with you. I thought I could do it. I knew I could do it for you. There are days I don’t want to separate myself from. Even if I separate from you.

Also, leaving me was the most selfish and loveliest thing you have ever done.

And I hate you even when I say that. Even when I say that, I know that what you did is something people in love never do. Something you can never be forgiven for.

Now, I can only give your words of gratitude or blame. It won’t be words of love ever again.

“in the light that smiles nonetheless” – Nayana Nair

that’s where my anger lives

on the mud stains of a size 7 shoes
swimming on the white floor of my small apartment.

in the plants uprooted, in the marigolds strewn
and trampled on, in the light that smiles nonetheless.

on the streets where lives my fear – that finds me
and almost kills me, every time i hear footsteps behind me.

on the patronizing attitudes that i dutifully respond with gratefulness.
on the potential dangers, the possibilities of violence that every intimacy invites.
on the things i say yes to with a breaking heart.

in the mirror that only prizes my delicate frame and my weak wrist,
that tells me i would at least beautiful in the missing posters,
in the files housed in grim police stations,
in the videos and photos i would never get to know of (if i am lucky)

in the speeches that tell me i am safe
in the compartments and corners made for me.
soundproof corners where either
i would finally end up believing the facade, the lie of a safe world
or where i would learn how to stay silent to be spared the worst.

that’s where my anger lives

“My grief has my face” – Nayana Nair

My grief has my face.
My grief has only questions in her eyes-
questions that require me to cry
and accept the cruel face of the love I have got.
My grief instead gets my silent embrace,
my refusal to choose better, for her sake or mine.
My grief has my face
and my heart that only knows defeat
and only in defeat has found comfort of love that cannot live in me.

“maintain my world” – Nayana Nair

and this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
but an observation
that we have a pattern that is hard to break.

that people often misinterpret the habit of one thing
as a proof of its superiority over everything else in world.

that words can move your heart,
sometimes for worse.
it can move you towards hatred, towards fear
towards anger that is not your own.

that the wish to be right
makes us forget how to wear someone else’s shoes
or their color or their nationality or their body.
a body that is no longer their own – now that
they are just a sack of blood, a sacrifice
to please our personal gods – our thirst of power
and the “better world” that no one else wants.

this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
for i do not have the courage to write the worst
or to imagine how i am right now walking
over faceless nameless beings to maintain my world
just like you.

“I love you (probably)” – Nayana Nair

I wish falling for you was easier
but it isn’t, it could never be
that is not how you like it-
easy love goes only as far as that
and maybe that is why I loved you.
Or maybe that’s what I tell myself.
Everything I tell myself is a whisper,
a secret from you.
I tell myself stories of a ‘you’
that probably never existed.
I hope you never get to hear them,
for now even my sacrifices feel like betrayals.
I am afraid, till the end
my heart would only be able to love the fiction of you.
I am afraid, till the end
you would remain unloved.
Even when you don’t deserve to be.
That hurts me more than knowing that
even I cannot be truly loved by you.

“and one day i stopped without wanting to” – Nayana Nair

i am a girl who reads too much between lines, especially yours.
and your words, they were cold
but they were warmer than the pages they were written on.
and since i wanted to love you
i tried to see your world as one big adventure
even when my heart was filled with fear.
i tried to do things that might make you happy,
to say the words that might put you at ease.
though i suffered greatly,
being with you made up for everything,
or so i thought.
but in the hope to be loved
i bent a little too much
forgot where to stop,
i went overboard with the idea of sacrifices and promises
and forgot to look at the blood and life i had lost.

one day he would grow up,
one day he would realize,
one day his love for me, would actually feel like love
“-
were the words i lived by.
but isn’t it pathetic
that even when i have no use for these words,
even my soul is more sore than alone,
at night when i count the pieces of me,
and the numbers just won’t add up,
the thing that i am most sad about is that
i was so easy to love
and yet you couldn’t
.

“Letters from my lover” – Nayana Nair

what is the use of loving you
if you won’t speak less and be less for the sake of my ego,
if you don’t have the proportions or face to brag about,
if you won’t sleep with me,
if you have “anxiety attacks” just when i am having fun
(it is embarrassing, grow up)
if my mom won’t like you,
if you can’t give me the kids that i want,
if a career, a dream is still on your mind,
if you still want friends when you already have me,
if you want to write the stupid poems that make me look bad,
if you won’t consider me your god,
if you continue to live for yourself.

so dear, work hard.
work hard
or you will become useless to me.
there is only so much that i can tolerate for this love of yours.

“Better Clone” – Nayana Nair

If you were to find a love
that could make you complete,
I hope you find it with me.
I hope I become better
before you start looking for this love.
So that being myself won’t mean
being cruel and uncaring.
So that loving me won’t be a sacrifice.

I want to have you
without breaking you
and without breaking me.
But how often does life work out like that.

When you became the question of my life,
all I could do was hope
because what I had was not enough for myself.
What if you were to ask me something
that would remind me of my poverty?

I am afraid that this
is what you are meant to do in my life-
remind me again and again
that I am lacking in so many ways.

But all I can do is try
try to become someone who has lesser faults.
Because giving you up
is not something that I would ever want.
But some nights I wonder how long will I last
before I collapse under the weight
of your wants and mine.

“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.

“Have a Good Day” – Nayana Nair

I was sat down and told repeatedly everyday
that though the world belongs to all of us,
sometimes it is better
to step back,
to only take up the space we need.
I misunderstood it to be a lesson in humility,
wanting less, and sacrifice,
but I realize now that it was not so.
I was told to stop before I anger someone,
before someone got jealous,
or before they saw the weakness of my gender.

As I stand on the balcony at midnight
and hear drunk shady men shouting, cursing, and stumbling,
as they make their way to their broken homes,
I remind myself
this is what I am supposed to fled,
a person who is allowed to loose their mind,
a person who will always have excuse to hurt.
This what everyone wanted me to become,
someone who is proficient at spotting dangers,
who can conjure up the worst possible scenarios
when they hear another’s footsteps on deserted streets,
and see the worst possible demons in the face of men.

These days I often hear people say
that the new meaning of a powerful woman is
the one who walks into misfortune willingly,
before she is stalked and defeated by it.
Is this the only alternative to what I am living?

I wish that when I walked past a stranger on streets
I could smile and wish them a good day,
without having to fear being misunderstood,
without the echoes of ‘she asked for it’ in my mind.