“I think I am” – Nayana Nair

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The person I think I am,

this person with dreams and purpose,
this person with heartful of love
and tears as a proof of its painful blooming,
this person with a lot say and a lot to see
with an agreeable “to-do”
and hidden “what-if-I-never” list,
this person good enough to be included in your plans,
in your friendly banter, in your group chats,
in your betrayals, in your short-lived love,
in your museums of wax, in your corrupting memory,
in your unreliable heart

this person
– this image,
is merely an excuse I give to world,
an excuse I give to myself.
So that I can continue to exist
even when I don’t know why I must.

“Photographs of Unmade Bed” – Nayana Nair

#1
Today I am fixated on the the houses far ahead, the colors on those countless walls that are yet to be carried away by the winds. Today I am fixated on the wrong choice of shoes, the red sore blooming on the fingers of my feet. Today I am filling my eyes with all that I refuse to see otherwise. I like days like these. They give me the proof of life outside of me, proof that I am part of this world. Days like these let me know that even if there is nowhere I particularly have to go, my feet are sore from walking and the roads are bit weathered. So it must mean something. Slowly I am changing the world, just as the world is changing me. So it must mean something. These are the days I realize that I do not just look at the world, but kiss the world while hating it in my heart. That world doesn’t just disown me, but it keeps looking at my childhood photographs when no one is looking. It all must mean something.

#2
My bed sinks a bit more everyday. It feels as if every day I am carrying, dragging another new person into my uncomfortable sleep, to my messy life. There is no blood, or signs of resistance, so it must a deal of mutual benefit. I hope so. I wake with only my skin, with only my dry eyes. So again it must have been someone I mistook as you. Someone who knows how to keep their end of promise, someone who doesn’t look back at the weight they are leaving behind in my new scented sheets. With you there was warmth and suffocation and never-ending want to be something more. With you there were eyes that stared at me as if I am a road you are forced to walk on. With you there were things I couldn’t be and shouldn’t be. Without you, there is me and my imagination that draws you body full of life on the photographs taken of unmade med and undecided mind. What do I want really?

#3
The one love? The truest kind? The rarest kind? The kind that is made of eternities? The kind that is hellbent on making that big change? I sort of had that. “I had that love” would be my answer, only when I am asked to keep my answer short, which I am often asked.
In the answers of 500-1000 word limit, in the answer where 10 marks are at stake, in the answers only you would have asked – I wanted my only love to be true somehow, no matter what it took. Do you know what that means? It means there are hazy days, holding lies close to heart, illusion that I fed with my own blood that make appearance in this answer. The answer involves knowing everything that is wrong, knowing everything that shouldn’t be, knowing the end that I won’t have. The answer involves cutting short my words, even when there is no need to, even when you are here and you are listening. The answer is pretend that was true, the tears that I didn’t hate as much as I should, the person I liked a bit more than I should have. Always wondering if love would feel like love if it was not me and you standing on both of its end.

#4
There is soaring in the skies. There is running away to the ends of earth. There are, of course, moons, and sun, and stars for taking. There is a wish list for every age we failed to love properly. There are your past loves, there are my past pains to talk about till late night. There are things to eat and relish and complain and things we will never make the way we should, things we will throw away even though they turned out well. There are stories we will make up because we can, because they are fun. There are stories that will tell thousand times even though we won’t be believed. There are night we see only each other, there are nights we realize the pain of not being loved. There are permutations and combinations that I was always poor calculating, that you were never interested in. There is a day like this where we have nothing in our pockets to count on, no possibility, no scenario that could bring us and place us together in this life. This is the only day that I didn’t want to arrive at.

#5
You are only as dangerous as much as I let you be. If I let you be a mistake, you are just a humiliating past to be erased. If I let you be the friend that should have remained a friend, you are just a human among thousand others, a human I dealt with with immature idea of carpe diem, with a stupidity I once called honesty. If I let you be the reason of my happiness, you become the reason I should never smile again. If I let you be the incarnation of all that destroys, you become the plague in my heart that will not end till I die, till I give myself up. The more I let you be within the scope of my life, the more I regret letting you in. I never try to think of you as someone I associated the word love with. That word lets you become my breaking heart, my lungs devoid anything capable of giving life, my mind slowing down and stuck at the worst part of my life.
So when I think of you, I think of you as the result of taking the idea of selflessness, of selfishness, of wanting to be part of this world, of taking “it all must mean something” a bit too far.
Because irrespective of what you might have been for me. Now you are only as dangerous, as important as I let you be.

“River of light” – Nayana Nair

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There are universes
spinning around us
and they will see
how we break down.
They will not know our names
just like we don’t know theirs.
And when they come for us
falling onto our beautiful blue home,
falling into our storming seas and falling heights,
we will still believe that this beauty will save us
and in some ways it will.
In some ways it won’t.

But for today
the universe around us
inspires us to love, fill our hearts
again and again,
it cradle us tonight,
carries us from one unbearable moment to anohter
through the tunnels of serene silence,
through the river of light.

If this all is an apology for what is to come,
just like the offerings of the sad heart before it broke me once,
then maybe we don’t deserve this kindness,
maybe we are given, gifted, cared for a bit too much
in the name of the eventual end that is waiting for us far ahead.

“Dry Rivers” – Nayana Nair

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The river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.

Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.

Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.

The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.

There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.

But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.

How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.

“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

The Scale of 1 to 10 (part 5)” – Nayana Nair

#enemy_of_hope

On my way to you, there is a world that I must walk through. In the dense fog, through the things truer than us, the steps that I take are the heaviest, the decisions I make the most difficult.

“Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons every where
Looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all”
“Both Sides Now”, Joni Mitchell

“I embrace the world and take a quick, deep breath
The stinging air that fills my lungs says it all
Yeah, I who wanted to escape countless times
The long times I suffered through, becoming numb
Right underneath those times
Everyday I pray
that I can be a little better grownup
And everyday I stay
Because all humans and all the pains eventually die
We have to face the wind to become numb”
“Everything Goes”, RM

“As much as my heart flutters, I’m just as afraid”
“Serendipity”, Jimin

There is a sky that sometimes waves at me, sometimes sings to me in rain, sometimes reminds me why I must stop. I have followed rivers as blue as this view to find a feeling resembling love in me, I have created a version of myself softer than these clouds so that it is only me who is hurt in the stories that I tell you when you find it difficult to find sleep in this world. Stories that you recite back to me, on the days my heart refuses to beat for anyone, even for you, even for me.

“Just when I thought a day
As beautiful as everyone else’s
Was about to start
Clouds out of nowhere
Gather to pour down their rain”
“October Rain”, 10 cm

“If I was only by myself
If I didn’t know you
Maybe I’d have given up
Lost at sea”
“Heartbeat”, BTS

There are steps made of stone, a corner store selling smoke to kill or to cloud my heart when it gets unbearable, a house falling apart with a kid gone lost, a kid falling apart in the reckless pursuit of something better than the safe shadow of easy peace. I pass by them to the next road, pretending that I do not know the possibilities of great failure awaiting us all, especially them – those who wait for change with a heart of hope.
I walk a bit faster, just as you told me. I do not let my shadow, the sound of my restless steps reach them. I think of you and keep my pace. I think of you who will make me forget this unpleasant afternoon, this misfortune of seeing myself before I was wrecked.

“I see Pinocchio wearing a poncho
That’s me some time ago.”
“Tokyo”, RM

“Maybe I got stronger
Maybe I got indifferent
I used to cry only once or twice a year
But now tears are coming
On this hidden path”
“Nosedive”, Dynamic Duo ft. Chen

“If I keep walking around reality, impotently
Sometimes, I feel like a ghost
Loneliness is like a grave
But you always take me out of it
You’re like the chorus of this song”
“Nosedive”, Dynamic Duo ft. Chen

“You’re my painkiller
When my brain gets bitter
You keep me close
You keep me close”
“Painkiller”, Ruel

“You seem like the whole of this world to me
Harder and more painfully embrace me”
Best of Me, BTS

My heart is an enemy of hope.
My hate for hope rises more and more everyday. It rises like a child filled with helium and happiness, it flutters like a flag of a nation I do not recognize and can no longer love. My hate for hope, runs through the carnivals, through the fields of futile dreams that my feet trample and waste away. It runs into your arms of firework filled with love. And you, you smile, confused if it is okay to have such a stubborn single-minded love born out of hatred for the world, wondering if you are bad for me.
My heart is an enemy of hope that never wanted you, never dreamed of you.
My hopes still sits beside me, telling me about the things I could have had and loved instead. Sadly, my hope never dies.

“I began to change,
began to fall, and be steady..
since I have known you,
I have started to move toward you..”
“Hasi Ban Gaye”, Humari Adhuri Kahani

“I can’t sleep, homesick, babe.
I just wanna stay right next to you
If I could choose my dream
I just wanna stay right next to you.”
“Tokyo”, RM

“What kind of soul do you possess
to have something that ties me to you like this?
Even though I don’t even have old nostalgic memories of you?”
“Seoul”, RM

“Yeah, even if I want to fly, I don’t have any wings.
But your hands become my wings.
I want to try forgetting the things that are dark and lonely
together with you.
Even though these wings sprouted from pain,
they’re wings that face the light.
Even if it’s hard and it hurts
if I can fly, I’m going to fly.
Can you hold my hand
so that I won’t be afraid anymore?
Because if you and I are together
I can smile”
“You Never Walk Alone”, BTS

I force myself up the uphill road. I cling onto railings and walls decorated with moss. I am never alone on such roads, I become everyone I face. I almost become someone you could never love. I am army of possibilities, an army raging against your reign. I become the person who, even under your closed eyes and soft breath, cries for all that ended up dead just for me to love. I become the person who placed his ears on the ground above your ribs, searching for a way out. I again become the faceless heartless entity enchanted by the the glitter of masks that demand a sacrifice, of you and me.

“If I could make sense of it all
All the hours I don’t understand,
the time we can’t go back to,
the moment filled with nothing but regret –
it seems like all those times will go flying
I don’t know how to cope with the feelings
that I’m feeling without you now”
“Insomnia”, DA₩N feat. YAYYOUNG

“Sometimes I’m disappointed in myself
I willingly trample on myself
“Is this all you are?
Have to do much better.
You have to be much cooler.
If you’re gonna lose, might as well die
You have to win, you you you.
You.”
“Uhgood”, RM

“I’m now so tired of you
Your constant ash-grey expression
No, no, I’m afraid of myself
Because I’ve already become a part of you.”
“Seoul”, RM

“But I can’t give up the “me” that you know of.
I can’t let go of the “me” that I know of.”
“Uhgood”, RM

When tomorrow comes,
How different it’s gonna be?
Why do love and hate sound just the same to me?
“Tokyo”, RM

My way to you is a world always in turmoil. It is also filled with glowing breadcrumbs of your love. I could never lose my way even within myself.

“But I believe, even though it’s unbelievable
Losing way
Is a way of finding way”
“Lost”, BTS

Even if it is the path I chose,
and everything is a fate that I created
Even if it is a sin that I committed,
and this whole life is only about paying for my sin.
Walk with me.
Fly with me”
“You Never Walk Alone”, BTS

“I have not seen “the end” for me yet either
But if that [end] existed, wouldn’t it be you?”
“Best of Me”, BTS

“What can I do? I speak with your words
And I breathe your breaths
I’ll be you
You, who are holding me,
I kiss your sword”
“Best of Me”, BTS

“On rainy days
Lying down, not a single word
Gazing with our eyes closed, everything becomes ours”
“Everything”, The Black Skirts

“The eyes of my mother” – Nayana Nair

I planted the idea of a happy family,
a happy tomorrow,
into the eyes of my mother
with breaking tips of my pencils
against her granite eye lashes.

I told her the story about the boy
who is ever so sad
because his parents didn’t care enough,
who weeps on his empty birthdays,
who weeps into my heart.
I tell her I am not so fine myself.
Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly,
cause she didn’t stop
her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.

I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being
from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind.
I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look
with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”

She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long,
a bit too tenderly
as if letting me know, telling me
“Look, this is how I look when I am alive.
Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet
even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”

And I stood there for a long time,
slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t.
I stood there for a long time,
till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy
as he held me, letting me cry into him
for the hundredth time.

“I want you to see the world” – Nayana Nair

i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.

i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,

till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean

till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.

though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.

“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

“Variant of Love” – Nayana Nair

You held me as I broke again and again.
Your warm chest tried to hold me, to keep me alive.
I couldn’t cry anymore
I felt indebted to you I loved you.

You left me again
in the crowd that you promised to protect me from.
I called you, your number and you name-
becoming useless to me with each passing day.
I cried because
I felt cheated I loved you.

As my heart filled again, as it emptied itself out
you stayed in front of my eyes
in flesh or in glowing illusions,
telling me, nothing is wrong with me.
So I slept peacefully
because you made me forget my incompleteness I loved you.

You told me love is supposed to be a pain anyway.
That this smile of mine that shined in spite of your mistakes,
in spite of your cruelty on my weary hopeful heart
was the only thing that made you believe in my love.
And again I smiled back
so that you continue to believe me
because I loved you.

There were moments, glorious ones,
when you were the most the beautiful human,
when you cried for me,
when you cried for the world,
when you tried to do something right.
I wanted to stand beside you
so that I could protect you somehow
because I loved you more for it.

But now
I must face the world and myself alone,
without having to become something right in your eyes.
Now I don’t have to round up my every feeling
to a variant of love.
Now I can care for you, hate you
and see it as care and hate and a frustration without an end.
Now I can see you as the miracle and as the failure that you are.
Now I can be a failure myself.

I am not good at loving in the past.
I can only be honest.
Now I cannot look back at you
and call you my heart.
You were so much to me
that I badly wanted to be something that you want.
I kept on sleeping to keep your dream intact
and calling this love, when it clearly was not.
Even though it was probably something better than that.