“As if this all will end” – Nayana Nair

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There seems to be
a shadow of sadness in our every moment.
An another you, an another me
looking at each other through our eyes.
And they seem know something that we don’t.

“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you possibly can’t love.

“Understanding freedom” – Nayana Nair

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He broke my shackles with his blood
and took my hand,
my weightless hand, my almost wings,
and held them in the warm embrace of his own prayer.

As my hands created ripples for my own amusement,
as my hands broke the bread that I would now get to eat,
as I looked at flowers for hours at leisure,
and sang wordless songs without the fear of being heard
-he cried.
It was beautiful and sort of silly – his tears.

He cries at the smallest things
yet is unfazed at the moments that require tears.
Like this farewell, where with a smile
he recites his memorized list of wishes,
he recites the feelings of hope he has for the ones before him.

He looks at me. He looks at us all
and says “you are free. this is now a game without masters.
this is now a world where you are as good,
as deserving of respect
as anyone you stand with or stand against.
you are free. live. live such that
you would need no one to remind you of that.”

As we cried, he told us that
disappearing is what he always meant to do
that wanting his shadow around,
seeking his approval, and following his words
would undo everything he has done in this world.
Yet our tears won’t stop.

We didn’t know if these tears were of desperation,
of relief, of love, of being abandoned,
of being left without directions or heads that could
do the work of seeing and thinking for us,
in return of our submission.
He told us it is sometimes okay not to know.
He said it is okay to hate him
if it helps us to find a way that is our own.

It broke me to hear that because
he spoke as if being okay with being hated for saving
was an essential part of being good.
It was sad that he had to smile when he said it
as if he was not free to cry or complain for something like that.
Or maybe I have not understood freedom yet.

“Only sad poems spring from my mouth” – Nayana Nair

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When I think of you in an indefinite future
without me,

when I think of the past, this glowing mixture
of wax and webs, sticking to my eyes,
to my uncertain touch,
to my every new dream and hope for love;

when I cry, when I laugh, when I say even my own name
the mountains of stories, send me back your voice.
They say you will be cited as the reason
for my every my recklessness and my every holding back.

True to the prophesies of love
my skin wilts and dies and eats itself up.
My heart cries and cries and makes jokes about crying.
Nothing makes sense and yet everything is just as it should be.

And now I can call you my everything and
nothing in the same breath
and still know that even if I let your shadow swallows me whole
I can’t ever call all this love.
I won’t ever feel “love” for you again.

Yet only sad poems spring from my mouth,
when I think of you.

“As people change, I start to hope” – Nayana Nair

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Today I am a bit out of luck.
Today the sun shines bright
on the stairs to your home.
Today I am forced to see.
But it’s only for today though.
On days ruled by fog, I will again get to hope
that you might be sitting there,
till I reach the first cold step.

I can smile for the few minutes – the time it takes
before I realize everything else
in this world, that is not you,
can make more beautiful shadows of you.
Just like how, sometimes, even i don’t need you.
I don’t need you to cling to you, to beg you,
to feel your love, to be in love, to waste away like this.

Even when I wait though, I hope to quit on you soon.
Even in waiting I actually do not need you.
I imagine the days when I will not need this routine.
As people change and leave, I start hoping
that maybe I will also change and maybe I will also leave,
maybe one day I will forget the way to this place,
and these stairs will be just stairs
and not a place you couldn’t be,
and maybe life could be just life
not a story you are missing from.

And maybe when I also leave
there would be two shadows, not one
on these stairs.
Everything that makes me ache now
will be just what they should be-
things that will never give anyone any grief.

“love me all your life” – Nayana Nair

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as his goodbye, he said to me,

“i don’t want to be yours.
but never stop being mine.
never forget me.
you promised to love me all your life.

be my happiness.
let your tears,
let my shadow reign over your heart.
be my happiness.
never chase away the rain that i am leaving in you
never look for another heart
.

be my value, be my worth,
be my pride.
you don’t have to be my love
to have a place in my life.
you can be nothing to me
and still be my treasure at the same time.

i don’t want to be yours
but it would heal my wounds, my ego
to know you will be broken without me
your brokenness will make me more complete
than your love could.”

“Forgetting” – Nayana Nair

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Is forgetting something like

descending down the the narrow white steps
and finding myself knee deep
in the coolest spring on the hottest day of year.
An year that I feel I am yet to live,
a temperature that feels a bit too familiar.

Is forgetting something like

looking back at the steps and trying to recall
where I am from, trying to recreate the horrors or happiness
that I am running from,
Wondering if I was actually running.
A part of me begging me to go back,
a part that keeps saying that where I came from
was the only place I ever wanted to belong to.

Is forgetting something like

being brought back to the year,
that I am trying to avoid looking at,
by the receding cold water,
to see my feet run
after the blue shadow, the floating leaves,
the place no summer can reach.

Is forgetting something like

reaching a place
far away from the narrow broken stairs to past,
but also a place where no springs, no summer exist.
In such a place without symbolisms and signs
I keep finding
another pitiful deity of broken and beautiful hope.

Is forgetting something like

finding faith, loving again, blindly believing.
To close my eyes, to the me that I am now,
just to hear myself running down the stairs,
just to feel the water find my feet again.

“Tomorrow I will be complete” – Nayana Nair

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I saw my shadow
cowering in the corner of the derelict store room.
I could not bear to sit down beside it,
so I closed the door and waited outside.

Even as my eyes looked at the world,
I was aware of the one crying inside.
Even as I answered every question of the world
and laughed most appropriately at the words
that were said with with intent of making me smile,
all I could think of was “when would it be my turn?”.

I kept losing track of the doors I had closed.
I kept growing new shadows.
Against all my hopes,
all of them found their way to every grief possible
and eventually found a way to hide and cry somewhere new.

All I did meanwhile is to
wait for my turn to cry,
wait for someone to close the door and stand guard,
till I find and rearrange
the pieces of flesh remaining in my chest
to look something like a heart.

I kept repeating “Tomorrow, I will become a better person.
Tomorrow, I will be complete.
Tomorrow, I will realize I have always been complete.”
I kept repeating these words even when I knew that
anything and anyone that separates from me
is lost forever.
There doesn’t exist a way back to me in this world.

“The ocean is so huge and weird” – Nayana Nair

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I drew her shadow on sand.

She stood still, her tiny shoulders
and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen)
moved gently with each breath.
Each tiny breath
like the wave that swept in,
like her laughter used to be.
She looks at me and asks if it is done.
I nod. I meant to say “almost”.
Just like I had meant to say “stop”,
or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”.
She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore.
She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.

Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers,
looks like a human being pulled apart
beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect.
But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird,
just like how she called the ocean weird.

For her
the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird,
a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird,
the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird,
the days she walked to school with her friend
and the days the sun went down as she slept over the
struggles of homework were weird.
She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.

“the ocean is so huge.
as huge as, all the things i can’t have
but once i had them. it is weird.

it is weird how this ocean is mine now,
the breeze is mine along with the sky
but i don’t want them.

you have memorized my shadow.
you keep bringing me back to life
but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself.
as if you don’t believe in me .

sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other,
it is our heart free of our bodies.
sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here
and the world where my head can rest in your lap
still exists.”

“It took me years, it took me you, to find a truth that was not a selfish reflection of me” – Nayana Nair

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Once she had a bite of my fate
she became a restless ghost.
She looked like all my ugly wishes staring back at me
but she had a beautiful smile so it was more bearable to my eyes
than to wear my own desperate words on my unsightly lips.
She looked out of place, but in a good way
as if she was the invitation to some place where my light won’t die.
Even in her voice it was my own words
that asked me to leave, that told me to love for the last time.
As my shrieks danced in the empty corridors
she planted a seed of eucalyptus in my palm,
she covered my hand with hers,
and covered our hands in dirt.
She told me how, for years, only the smell of eucalyptus
could calm her mind,
it made her believe that there was a gentle cure
to every disease that hurt her heart.
As she spoke such words that were not extraordinarily sad
I felt my spine become soft.
I dreamt of her leaning against my back
relieved of her every pain
and maybe it was the only beautiful wish
that has ever been born from my heart.
Once I touched the shadow of her heart
I grew and bloomed and learnt to be the one
who waits, heals,
loves, and breaks without bounds.