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“Gray Crowd” – Nayana Nair

There is only this life,
that is made by imitation of stories.
Stories that told me
how to feel
and what to say,
told me to cry and ruin myself
if you turn away,
told me to leave my everything for your sake,
never told me how tedious all this could become
and how much frustrating it would be
to have a love that doesn’t give me back
all that I was guaranteed to get.
What to do if I am no gentle virtuous princess
or even a woman of strong heart and character
but a person not even worth a mention, let alone a heart.
What to do when I am indistinguishable from the gray crowd,
when I am not so special and not so deserving of all that I want.
What to do when my clocks have stopped in that one moment
that I let myself down
and every kind lover is separated from me
by this distance in time.

“Same Strength” – Nayana Nair

The bridges fell one day
leaving me stranded on the other side of the place
that could have been my home.
A home.
I realized only when I was placed out of it.

These bridges that betray me now
have once been the only companion to my lonely feet.
All that kept me alive
have turned against me, and it hurts
only because I remember the days
when I loved them for the same strength
that they now use against me.

“Wrong Way” – Nayana Nair

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They forgot to teach me
the most basic thing-
to know which side I should take
to keep a check on papers, to see sense
when someone tells me what is politically right
and to agree when they tell me that identity is everything
not only mine, but of all those who live on same piece of land as me.
They forgot to tell me to fight and argue
in the name of and for the sake of people
who didn’t care about the fight,
who were fine living the way they did.
I ended up believing
that I could just exist without belonging to any shore
and maybe make my own
and pray that no one joins me
and turn my life into something to live by.

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How could they have overlooked this ,
didn’t they foresee how I would sit awkwardly
midst strangers and have nothing to say
about how the world was run.
Would they consider me silly,
would they think that I am shallow
if I was thinking about the fictional character from a story
and his conflicts?
Would they judge me if the story in question was not about
wars, rivalry or mid-life crisis
but one of romantic ones with cheesy lines
that everyone seems to detest?
They should have told me to memorize lines from papers
and opinion columns
and pass it as my own,
when I was not interested to form opinions
on topics that seemed to be of grave importance to others.
I should know better than to write poems on love and sadness
when people are dying around me.
But I don’t.

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I think I may have been brought up the wrong way
and there is nothing I can do about it now.
But I am not even sure whether
I want to fix the things
that I asked to feel ashamed of.

“Concept” – Nayana Nair

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My hope is a concept,
a word,
lost and forgotten
on pages stuck together.
An absence that goes unnoticed
as the absence of the voice
who turns them,
and burns them,
and burn along with them.

“Turn the Page” – Nayana Nair

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“So much has been lost”
she said as she turned the page.
I looked at her
and then resumed my efforts of escape
as she did.
I couldn’t ask her what she meant
for this question exists
between us like a distance
that connects us.
I feared that
I could never
recount my losses to myself every night,
if I came to know hers.
I could never pity myself
if I witnessed her breaking.

“Absolutes” – Nayana Nair

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From my grip I lose
yet another word-
now alien to my lips and life.
From the corner of my eyes,
I watch it die the same death as me.
Now the stories I told myself have become
a little more unreasonable,
when the words and ideas that
I took as absolute
turned out to be just shape-shifting feelings,
the echoes of my lives I could have had.
Is it possible for a voice to be a mirage?
Can it sound more real
than the world trying to get rid of it
Could it be that my hands,
my eyes were always empty?
Or were they just filled with wanting,
a wanting only for things that cannot be obtained,
that cannot be denied,
for they do not exist?

“My Time” – Nayana Nair

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With you my time
doesn’t go forward, doesn’t go back,
doesn’t stop, doesn’t pass.
My time, like yours,
turns around on itself,
again and again,
till it becomes
layers of repeated confessions
warming our hearts.

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