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“What I Remember (28)” – Nayana Nair

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As I grew up, whom I hate changed constantly, it changed more frequently than my dream for future roles.

Maybe that’s why I was so particular about what I hate and I did it with fervor for the first few years.

But as time went on that hatred turned into just another silence – my refusal to speak with anyone who I wanted to hate.

And now it has transformed to hating people while I pretend to get along with them. Curling inside with anger at the same jokes that I feel compelled to laugh on.

It is not an easy thing to do but it is still easier than all the alternatives. (The alternatives are my nightmare.)

Because even though my hatred has grown over time, I also find it in me that space to accept people at their ugliest, not loving them, just accepting that they too can live here, be here and do what I hate, and telling myself that I have to be fine with that.

I have come to hate this side of me the most – this cowardice dressed as generosity and understanding, where I do nothing but smile as my blood, my ideals burn and collapse.

Maybe that’s why I have hated myself most, with constant determination, without doubt. This hatred is my only light – my anger at myself, for not doing enough, for taking up fearing my uncertain volatile feelings and views, my own voice, more than I fear this world.

“Well” – Nayana Nair

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I left my thirst in your well-
the only way to get rid of it,
get rid of it I must.
For three seasons I filled it up with dirt.
I waited for rains to hide my steps, to hide what I have done.
I built few hills every time you crossed my thought.
I built it with love. I built it with anger.
I built it nonetheless.
I prayed and prayed till I couldn’t see your ghost,
till praying didn’t hurt.
I grew up a little and I grew mad a bit.
The sound of fate now rings louder in my head.
I lay on the ground,
smile at the sun
that cannot reach my heart
at the bottom of your well.

“Shore of Mornings” – Nayana Nair

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As I swim towards the shore of morning,
I think of you sometimes.
Sometimes I think of you without malice
or hatred or blame.
Only sometimes.
Sometimes I am able to separate your existence
from my pain.
I guess,
you are no longer my wound
or weakness or love.

So as I swim back to the shores
that for once are there within my reach,
I can look back at you
and smile,
wanting nothing in return.
That is happiest end I can give you.

“What I Remember (27)” – Nayana Nair

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i think this suits me most-
to lose myself
and yet look okay.
god gave me a face that always looks okay
even when i don’t want it to.
(there have been only handful of days
when i want to look as miserable i am.)

i wonder how it feels
to say
“do i look broken today yet?
“i cried all night”.
i have never cried at nights.
i have never skipped a meal for my sorrow.
i feed my heart too much fats
and instant unhealthy happiness.
i cut down my green trees
and kill few birds, make a fresh trap
that smiles through my gaping wound.

i live life the only way i can.
look okay cause all parts of me are
still working fine.
god gave me a heart that doesn’t break
the conventional way.
i walk this world fearing this heart
the most.

“Red Gates” – Nayana Nair

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I drowned the flowers
one by one.
The poison of beauty
now runs through the rivers
on this land,
they fill his backyard
in every season of rain.
A child with his smile
drowns another boat of dreams,
the flood is a field of paper,
the flood is all that is left of me.
She stares into me,
waiting for a reflection to surface.
She walks into me
to see where I end.

She tells me about the boy
she can’t love and the boy
she can’t blame
as I dissolve and submerge
the red gates of her house,
the garden of forgiveness,
her school shoes, all roads to her friend
who doesn’t smile back anymore,
the spoons that remind her of hunger
for farthest worlds and people.

She asks me how deep will be this pain
of losing herself, how long she would have to smile
through this hate.
I flow into her heart,
wondering, if there
I could turn back to the flower I was,
if the end of my hate could be
the end of her pain.
If I could be her answer of hope.

“Eventual Fall” – Nayana Nair

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She just laughed and said
“you are not really intelligent,
you know that right?”
as she packed her bag,
making space for her only notebook, with difficulty.
I wonder if she really needs all those the things.
She is not a careful person,
I know that because her list of priorities is horizontal-
everything is important, everything is equally dispensable.
I hear a song breaking at the bottom of her lungs,
when she talks of the new thing that she will love forever
when I know she won’t.

She lets me know for my own good “geniuses are not made by effort,
love doesn’t happen by hard work,
quit swimming and struggling when you are on land.”
She takes me by hand, teaching me how to walk,
teaching me her pace.
Her pace unsettles me. She gives cruel names
to my innocent actions as she smiles.
She smiles at me while I wait for my forever to end.
And only because I hate myself
for not wanting to love her sometimes
I smile back.

I wonder how far my determination can take us.
As she finally boards the train home, after missing out on a few,
she says “stop struggling, when i am with you,
i know your heart, even when you don’t.
it hurts to see you like this,
things will eventually fall in their place.”
I wonder if she is pushing herself, within the limits of who she is,
to save something of us, to save something of me.
I wonder how she can love me, if she knows how petty my heart is.
And because I do not know the answers to her,
I wait for us to fall into the places.
I think of her and find it easier, this wait.

“To the one who who couldn’t change me” – Nayana Nair

The answers I hear
are never the words you speak.

The answers I hear answers are
poorly dubbed clips of proven cruelties and truth
that only a stranger to my pain could utter,
that only you could utter.

It is the thoughtlessness
with which you try to pronounce hope with ease in front of me,
even when you know the names of all the dead ends and dead smiles
where hope has always led me to.

It is the thoughtlessness with which you try to replace
the glowing shards of sad words from my crown
that I have fallen in love with-
my eternal friends who are as unwanted as me.

My crown and its sharpness are just walls for you
and my claims of love for who I am is just an act.

My dark feelings take up more space
than me or you combined
and yet you like to call me small.

Your light
only gives me new shadows to play with
and yet you call me weak.

The color of my eyes and song in my heart
don’t change for your liking
and my love for you doesn’t change.
Yet you call my passions temporary.

While my answers are the ones
that you cannot accept or even see.

My answers exist in a place where I exist
not in a place where you or me would like to be.

I hold onto your hands as much as I try to let go
-that is my answer
Those are the words that you cannot speak.

"Ports" – Nayana Nair

a blue cloudy sky over a banana plantation.
the only word to be heard – rebellion.
someone is crying far away.
another round of bullets leave the shaking hands
of the one who can’t seem to stop crying.
now he must die just like me.
he rests his bloody head and its murky thoughts on me.
in this last afternoon of my life
i drift into bouts of darkness,
without fear for first time,
with the company of only his confused memories.
will this be my last dream – his life?
even in his head my homeland and its afternoons are beautiful.
he has a face that he doesn’t want to forget,
he has childhood home he can always return to
but he didn’t, he regrets it now.
he remembers the red color that his sister
stopped wearing on her lips
once her heart was broken badly.
how he kept it with himself, as a symbol of happiness
that he can’t have only for himself.
there are ports on rainy days
and buildings that became sadder at night.
he once painted the window that would never open to him
or anyone else for that matter.
he cried when another nameless woman was found lifeless
on the last page corner of newspaper
and the window never lighted anymore.
there is a cafe filled with few bombs that didn’t go off
where the only one spared was him.
he doesn’t want to be spared anymore.
i wonder if he thinks that he can have happiness when he ends.
i wonder if i will be able to smile on a rainy day, even if i am born again.

“Funny Look” – Nayana Nair

When I speak of
what I thought my life would be like,
what I still want to be if I was not dying in my skin,
they give me a funny look as if I am seeing things.

And frankly I am seeing the only things
that give me hope.
I am aware of their imaginary status
and how separated by time they are from my life.

But I wish instead they would just smile along
as if I am a child who speaks
of ten professions in one breath
and not remind me how I am losing out in life as a woman
just because I am trying to breathe as my dream once in a while.

“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

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