“Yellow kills happiness” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“Rewrite love” – Nayana Nair

.

How are you?
Are you still there where we learnt to leave?
Since you left
I have changed my address a few times already.
My heart doesn’t lie broken
on the streets that only you could walk.
I find it funny and interesting and sad
that once I believed in “one and only love”,
that once I believed that I have found
what the rest of the world could not.

My hands don’t feel like my hands now,
Now that my hands
have reached out for love even after you.
My mind doesn’t feel like my mind,
now that my mind can forget any hurt caused by love,
now that my mind can easily rewrite love as something else
something trivial, something passing by,
something non-existent,
the moment I am near another light-filled human
who only wants a breaking out of me.

I feel less like myself, the more I heal myself.
Whatever grows out of me
doesn’t want to be anything like the person you loved,
the person I was so proud to be,
the person who couldn’t live without wounds.

It hurts less in the body I am now in.
It hurts less to know finally
that I am more that enough
to fill the void of my own size – the everyday lacking
that I always felt I needed to do something about.

I find it funny and interesting and sad
that I could learn to live only by losing you,
by learning to walk away from you.

“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

.

When I try to imagine,
to recall the face of another human being.

I always see them standing opposite me
with an expressionless face, holding out their hand.

When they are ghosts of pasts,
they are breathing cities of peculiarities and possibilities.
I feel they were waiting for my hand to touch theirs.
I feel as if they have saved up their last smile for that moment.
The steps I couldn’t take, can now never take,
they look so easy, so worth it, so worth keeping as regrets.

But I never learn
because
when they are reflections of present,
they are breathing statues
and frozen hearts that couldn’t possibly beat.
I know that this hand is not for me,
that I have extinguished the smile on that face
just by being myself, just by existing.

Only the warm breath of passing time
can make me miss the world that could have been.
Only on the streets I cannot walk
grow my trees of faith.

But even then, even for the past
I barely feel any love.
What I feel is something similar to
the relief in the things that won’t change.
The pull I feel is for the trust that can never be broken,
my heart that I never had to give out,
the hand of every stranger that remained innocent thereby.

“Earphones” – Nayana Nair

.

I cannot paint

your silhouette moving through the rain toward me-
all the blue that lingered in the light rain, on my skin, in the wait for you.

The color that fills my mind when I recall
how your cold hands met mine, my frozen shivering love hungry hands,
and nothing was cold anymore,
nothing was insufferable,
as long as you and me stayed like this,
accepting the ache that comes with staying.

The song, the familiar and strange tune, that became beautiful
by the time it played for 35th time, by the time our cola lost its fizz,
by the time the untouched food looked comforting,
by the time I found that knowing you and your everything
was as painful and liberating as putting myself into words.

The tension
of the stretched earphones between our head and our aching necks,
a moment of sadness, of a great love, of a great end
played itself before us again and we promised ourselves- we won’t ever be there.
And yet as you mocked the world for its weakness
I cried for the same weakness you and me hid in ourselves.

The cold wind that went through me, as you walked past me,
my pride- ground and powdered, spilling out of me,
blinding and confusing people around me,
making me look desperate, pitiful, and empty
as I chased you through streets where we were never supposed to be.

I cannot draw them, so I write.
I write
how we stood together
in every room,
on every patch of earth
for the longest time
and saw within our reach
something that was beautiful and fragile
and no one’s to keep
as long as we saw each other only,
as long as we could smile at what we saw.

I remember you as you stayed still,
breathing carefully
as we let fate make something out of us.
I remember your eyes
asking me with a smile to confirm the reality of what we had,
of what we are.

I wonder how you remember me now.
Now that we are living our lives trying only to prove
that we have lost nothing of ourselves in losing each other.

“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

“ellipsis” – Nayana Nair

i can’t…i just can’t bring myself to remove all the ellipsis…that i leave behind in my sentences. i know they look shabby… as if i don’t know how to create proper sentences…as if i have never heard of a comma. i am told it is something similar to ending and pausing sentences with “you know”.

“so juvenile”…my friend had commented. i remember saying the same words to my friends as well (but i don’t think my tone was the same, but i could be mistaken…or self righteous)…so it seems i am not allowed to take it to heart. i am supposed to erase the ellipsis…till they smile again and lie that “i will do better”…or that “it’s time i grow up”…or “gotta become a real poet”.

it seems it is okay to store my ellipses in my mind
to place it on an empty sky,
on the face of my teacher sprinkled with a hatred that i can’t understand,
on the hands that never reach out to me in daylight,
on the future i can’t seem to dream about,
on every minute that i walk alone on the streets
where i thought i would never have to be alone,
on the days when i know the answer but won’t speak up
for the fear of being right.
i don’t know how to live a life
where what i think has importance or the acceptance of others.
need to find a better home for my pauses
than pages that are mine
but only with conditions.

“The last brick is in my heart” – Nayana Nair

In every country, in every city,
on every street
stands a home that could have been ours.
I am a daydreamer like that
As I passed the house with an always crying child,
as I passed the house with the overwhelming smell of incense,
as I passed the house with singing reality shows played on repeat
I only thought of the life we could have there.
In my mind, we fit every house, we fit every role.
Even if our body was stripped of every muscles and every bone
even if we put back together the wrong way,
even if we our heart were to be rearranged,
in my mind we would still fall in love.
That is how we had molded the spirit of our love-
to be stubborn (if not right or just).
But now there are years when I don’t remember you,
and yet there is no sadness in me that is capable of ruining me.
You are gone
and I am trying to grieve for something I don’t particularly miss.
As I pass the houses where our stories used to be staged
I realize they are again the buildings of strangers
that I am supposed to keep my mind away from.
My sadness selfishly keeps uttering,
“I need to love someone, someone who won’t do this to me.
I need to love someone, to believe in love again.”
I reach home with bloody nails and bruised fingers
leaving behind bricks with our names scratched out.

The Scale of 1 to 10 (part 2)” – Nayana Nair

#about the street where we won’t meet

There is a street in my mind, where an often underappreciated singer sings about a love that stands just across the street. Forever they stand there, one trying make up combinations of words, variations of beautiful verses – not to win her heart, but to beg the world to keep her beautiful memory alive. Forever her image hovers and floats above the ground, but he is too faraway to notice.

   Well the first time that I saw her
   Standing in the middle of the road
   Eyes as bright as Christmas lights
   Wearing someone else’s clothes
   I did my best to ignore her
   But ignoring my best pretty soon
    - "Words", Passenger
   I’m opening my eyes
   I see you
   I shake my hands
   So your image scatters
   No matter how much I do that
   How often I do that
   Still, in front of me
   You are smiling
    - "Opening My Eyes", Zitten

And this is where my mind is stuck. Not at the numerous meetings leading to heartbreak, not at the years that passed too slowly, not at the will to live and smile that grew weary too fast, not at the silent ending that is more serene than happy.
My mind is stuck at the point where I am stuck in my life.

   Even tomorrow I will see you
   Even tomorrow, I will hear you
   Even tomorrow, everything will be the same as today
   -"Time Spent Walking Through Memories", Nell
   I want to remain
   I want to dream more
   …
   I’m just walking and walking, among this darkness
   My happy times asked me this question
   You, are you really okay, it asked me
   Oh no
   -"Awake", Jin (BTS)

There are roads that I cannot cross and always at the other end stands someone or something too beautiful to be ignored. There stands a poem I wish I had written, there stands an alien undecipherable tear that I wish I could understand. There is a torn down building that feels like a home that I should yearn for. There is a pile of love letters that I never got to read. There is horde of faces I couldn’t trust, but I wished to. There is everything I could have been, if I only had the courage to be selfish.

   You were so precious
   Countless memories that you placed
   In all of those moments
   In all of those times
   You were always beautiful
   -"Opening My Eyes", Zitten
   Even within some stranger’s figure passing on the street
   Even above the leaves riding the wind with a lonely dance
   Even within the air brushing past my cheeks on some evening
   In everything I see, hear and feel
   You are there
   Yeah, and how are you?
   …
   Even on that big empty chair left on the side of the street
   Even in the glass I thoughtlessly filled to drink some water
   Even within the mirror I face to look at myself
   Even within the music secretly sitting in deeper from the edge of my ear
   You are there
   -"Time Spent Walking through Memories", Nell
   The last thing you taught me
   Is that there are types of happiness that don’t come back
   -"Lemon", Kenshi Yonezu
   And besides, you probably don’t know how much I was saved by you
   -"Melancholy Kitchen", Kenshi Yonezu

This is what my world is made of, this what this world is to me. Something I feel and love with all my heart, with every drop of my existence. Yet something that is too far away, only because my feet are glued to this piece of land. Because I want to stay here far enough to not ruin anything so good.

   Oh moon, My moon
   I’m not trying to embrace you
   I know that you are too immense
   To fit into my arms
   …
   Oh moon, My moon
   I’m not trying to own you
   The reason why you’re so dazzling to me
   Is because I am a pitch-black night
   -"Dear Moon", JeHwi 
   Letting it go
   Seeing your light
   Living my life away from you
   Being your light
   Far from you
   -"Aurora", Savina & Drones

There is a street in my mind where the lover and the loved are always separated. Here they stay forever in each other’s sight. On that street love never ends, love never ask for practicality, never gets hurt nor does it get tired of waiting. Here the love doesn’t ask for approval of this world. Here no one changes. My feelings, here, are not something to be hidden away, or to be lied about. Here my feelings, my attachment is not a nuisance, but the only meaning that I need to live.

   Since then, when I think of you
   —Someone I loved
   More than I ever thought—
   My breath stops
   -"Lemon", Kenshi Yonezu
   But if i could
   I would love
   To be the light
   Just the light
   That shines upon you
   -"End Roll", Androp
   Memories that spill down
   Words that endlessly come up
   How can I hold you back?
   I’ll be here
   I’ll be here
   -"Opening My Eyes", Zitten
   All the angels who know pain
   Flying on damaged wings through the night
   Every time I'm thinking about love
   Every time I'm thinking about love
   I don't wanna listen to just happy songs
   I'll face my loneliness, color my life
   -"Lights", BTS
   Inside my blue dream
   I want to hold you
   -"Blue Side", J-Hope (BTS)
   Maybe I'm a dreamer
   Or maybe I'm just fallen' apart
   I put it all on the table for you to see
   That you and I, that's what we are
   -"Waiting For You", Grizfolk

“storm of kindness” – Nayana Nair

i refuse to go out into
the storm of kindness
where well-meaning people
drunk on the idea of charity
are running amok on streets.

they don’t know themselves
but they know my kind,
they know all the kinds of people
i might turn into
if i don’t give up and let them in.

they want to know the name of person
who broke me so well.
they want me to cry a bit
and to try saying hello first.

the seat they sit on, still has my warmth.
i still know the name of strangers i prayed for.
how easily things change.
every life had hope,
every pain could be overcome
as long as they were not mine.

“the giants continue to live in my dreams” – Nayana Nair

Across the street
lived the giants.
The green giants-
who waited for rains to cry,
who waited for the night to speak.

Thankfully the windows
in my temporary home
were small and few.
Thankfully it was always cold,
that awful cold
that makes you want to sleep
for a long long time.

So I slept and slept.
I ate whatever my mother cooked.
I waited for her to tell me
what I am to do with my life.
While the kids I never spoke to,
went into the home of giants
to put them on fire,
I slept.
I slept and cried in my dreams.
Because tears on my real skin
would make this sadness more real.
Real sadness demands reasons and explanation.
Real sadness demands proofs.

I slept
to dream,
to stand among them-
the ones who have learnt
how to live and die quietly,
to forgive easily.
I waited for the day
I would grow roots,
the day when I could smile
at my falling leaves.
I waited for the day
I could become one of them
and not the cruel outsider that I am now.