“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.

“I let him drive” – Nayana Nair

I roll down my window
hoping for the first time
that I knew how to drive
so that I wouldn’t have a confused witness
to my impulse of moving forward by a mile
and falling down by a heartbeat.

“Is everything alright?”,
he asks me too often.
I don’t bother to calm him down by saying ‘yes’
as I was doing an hour ago.
Nothing I say can now convince him of my normality.
So I let him drive and let myself collapse.
I bury my face in my lap
and breathe better by suffocating myself a little bit more.

He hums a song that reminds me of the love
that now lives in a country I have not seen
in a life that I will always guess inaccurately
with a girl who has a serious case of klemptomania.
Last time I called the stolen one,
I was given a sorry and an address of a better therapist.

I let my ring burn my heart.
I ask the driver to leave me somewhere no one can find me
knowing he will not, he will take me home
just like he doesn’t everyday,
and he will make sure to greet me
with a kind forgetfulness the next morning.

I wish I had kept more strangers like him in my life,
someone who would worry about me.

“Summer Mood” – Nayana Nair

my feet relentlessly insist
on burning themselves
for the sake of summer mood.

i wear a shirt too big for me.
a wear a smile a bit too small.
i wear the worry of my parents on my neck.

i feel their fear
when i smile back at strangers.
i pretend to be the sand that no one can hurt.
i pretend to be the sea that doesn’t end.
i pretend no man in this beautiful scene
would hurt someone like me.

but my feet, they burn, they bleed.
my feet that only wanted freedom
from the moment i was born,
now they make me feel like the mermaid
who was not wise enough.

i feel like i am losing a part of myself
every time a stranger asks for my name,
every time they accidentally touch my skin
to fill me with shame and sin.
i pretend to be cool, to be understanding,
to be blind
as i feel like the monster
that brings out the worst in people.
as i erase my memories everyday
to put faith in people whom i find hard to trust.

“i will only stay till your love fades” – Nayana Nair

i might love you
or i might not.
but if you ask me
‘do you love me?’
i would always say ‘yes’.

i would always stay up late with you,
would worry
if you are happy? if you’ve eaten?
if you’ve slept well?
i would sit with you in an empty eatery till late,
i would sit with you till you felt like talking.
i would forget that i am angry at you
whenever i saw your face.
i would re-write the pages of
‘what i can do’ and ‘what i cannot’ only for you.

once i thought
these were the obvious hints,
that i could never love anyone like i love you.
but when i ask myself
‘what is love?’
my heart doesn’t reply with your name.

“No Other Choice” – Nayana Nair

When I held your hands,
you told me I am calculating.

When I listened to your worries
you told me that it is because
I have no other choice,
because I have no one else anyway.

When I cried
you told me I am manipulating.

When I speak of my feelings for you,
you tell me that I am afraid of loneliness,
of dying alone.
That a person like me can never love anyone.

I wish I could say that it is all in your mind,
that I am not evil as you speak.
I want to say that my love for you is true,
that I am not all that bad.

But as you said
I have no one,
no one to tell me that
I am only as bad as everyone else is,
no one to tell me that
I can still be loved.

I have only you
and now to love you
I have to learn
to hate myself first.

“Let Me Wait” – Nayana Nair

As you smile
and tell me all the words
that make you look happy,
I can only wait for you.
I can only wait till you decide to
you let me know your tears,
your worries,
like you have let me know your love.

But meanwhile, I won’t knock incessantly
on the doors of your heart,
I won’t try to knock down your walls
because there are things that I am struggling
to share with you as well.
I know the pain of hiding.
and I won’t add to this pain
that is wearing you out.

So dear,
do not feel guilty,
do not try too hard.
I will follow you for this life,
even if you give me only half of your heart.

“What I Remember(5)” – Nayana Nair

No it is not an escape anymore
because
it is not only me
who is into these addictions of milder kind.
All I want is what everyone already has.
Don’t worry these books and music I get high on
don’t alter my perception of reality
like they used to before.
So I am fine with irrelevant goals of
having one more book to read, one more page to fill up,
and some hours to sit and stare at screens of literature of a cruder form.
They may not constitute the real meaning of life.
But I have not seen anyone who is particularly worried
about missing the real point of life.

. . .   .   .     . 

I know this consumerism and media culture irritates you.
That I look like one of the thousands who sit and demand
to be entertained, to be fed with something other than
the reality of insufficient time and cash.
Would it make me more real, would your gaze become more softer
if I bring up a portion of my life where I was hurt by this world,
when the reality didn’t change just because of my disappointment in it.
That not everyone can be one with the nature and one with society,
when nature is far away from where we are locked,
when society is all about waiting for someone else
to mess up on a grander scale than us.
See that is what I don’t want to talk about.
It is depressing enough to live it.
We can either discuss about how I almost found friend in a fictional character,
found a mirror or even a window in another,
how I do not agree with most reviews,
how I couldn’t get the tragic end of the story out my head.

. . .   .   .     . 

I don’t mind sitting in front immaculate shows of lies
if that is where the my temporary relief of my life is hidden,
at least we are entitled to that much – relief.

“I don’t want to be kind” – Nayana Nair

Excuses are futile, reasons unnecessary.
You may have sad story
but who doesn’t.
I don’t want to know what you went through.
I don’t want to melt my indifference and disregard
and become the only character who suffers for their understanding.
I don’t want to be that lone person
who considers even small actions
so that the ones who are already hurt,
don’t break on their watch,
don’t die on them.

*****

But it is difficult to be kind
to the ones who end up living for their pain,
who think their pain makes them special,
who would do anything to keep their status of
the ones needing protection.
It is tiring to continuously ache for others.
It is tiring to see everyone walking back to their mistake
in the name of love, in the name of passion.
Don’t tell me about your sadness and worries.
Don’t ask me for support and advice.
I cannot forgive those who return to the normality of their hell
leaving me as the only one
who should have known better than to help those
who can’t make up their mind.

“I won’t be fine” – Nayana Nair

Why does your lie hurt me so
when I know it is a lie?
Why are we ready to act as if
things have gone wrong between us,
when you still love me like you used to,
when I still feel like it was only yesterday
that you changed my life merely by existing.


I want to love you and protect you all my life.
Why are you giving up this life we have together.
I am not so strong that I will tell you-
“don’t worry, i’ll be fine”.
I don’t want to say that.
I will break down if you are not here.
For it’s not only my heart that you have
you have everything of me.
If you turn away from me in spite of loving me,
how do you expect me to carry on living with ease?
I do not want ease.
I am ready to loose my sleep over you.
I know what I am promising
believe me as you have done till now,
I have never given you a reason not to.


Stay with me
even if our love becomes my ruin.
Stay with me
even if it pains you to see me like this.
Stay with me
for all the pains I take for you
and for all the care you have for me-
we can only have so many seconds to be happy
and every portion of my happiness
I want to give it to you.
Stay with me
and let me the only one
who has to carry the burdens of tomorrow.


The one who hold my hand
it has to be you,
no one else.

“Aunt” – Nayana Nair

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“Yes, I do have plans for my future my dear aunt.”
I say, after I see her put her cup down and look at me
with sympathy and resentment.
“How can we not worry.
It is your future we are talking about.”

Actually, I never had these conversation,
at least not with my aunt.
I never had such an aunt to bother me.
But there are relatives and other faces
that I am hiding under the name of a non-existent aunt.
Sometimes it is me who is hiding under that name instead.

I am handed down spare maps
that I am supposed to study and follow.
Mark my route and choose someone
who could help me get up in the morning
even if it out of hatred.
I am sure it will be hatred
because I have seen no one one who has sorted their life
to wake up feeling that they have done it right.

My bitterness might make me seem like
a remainder of uneasy and uncomfortable families,
but it is not so.
There are just too many non-existent aunts in our house
who thinks we could have done better, chosen better,
lived better-
if only we could get our act together
and stopped acting like the world owes us some kind of happiness.

This constant re-evaluation of life
and its result coming out as failure every time
makes everything we live with
and everyone we choose as a mistake.
What is this “better” that doesn’t let us live?