Closure.

How does one get closure from a love that never was?

Nothing to remember but forget-

one cannot.

How does one move on from a love that was lived

in the head and the eyes and the twitch of the lips?

 

How does one get closure from what was never told

but in sighs only the quietest heart

could hear as lovelorn moans

How does one move on from a past too scared to be

but in dreams of a spirit caged in reality?

 

Shivering nights in the naked breeze

Stars together that smirk and tease

But I

I see the dreamcatcher.

Glossophobia

​May I write to you?

My core processors from terabyte speed

swivel and ruggedly power down

(Like the brazen biker without a silencer

jerking to a stop at the junction)

when I try speaking to you-

Wile E. Coyote out of cliff to run.

May I write to you?

I might forget the avalanche of words

that break off into unfinished textese

(Like the mike at the leader’s speech

betrayed by the blackout)

when I try speaking to you-

Homer Simpson run out of d’oh.

May I write to you?

I’d just like the time you see

To google bits of poetry

Appease your grammar nazi

And stalk your facebook ID.

Then perhaps I shall edge in a word or two

And invite you to a mute date

At the cinema.

The Boy Who Lived lives on

I confess, I am an addict. Even when it has been weeks since I read a new book, I will still go back and re-read the part where Snape produces his doe- Patronus and weep myself to sleep. Even when I am having a bad-tummy-day and must ignore the delicious vathakozhambu my mother has made, I will still fantasize tasting Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and chugging on some Butterbeer. And even when  I know that nothing including doubly-strong iron chains that could anchor the Titanic firmly in place could keep my parents out of my room, I will hang up a poster on the door and will it with all my nonverbal- spell-casting skills to ask anyone who seeks to enter for a password. I am a Potterhead and the promised worldwide release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, set 19 years after Voldemort is dead has got me all riled up.

potter door
My Pinterest-inspired Potter door/ He is a leglimens

Since the launch of Pottermore, an entertainment website to which Rowling officially contributes, we have had more than enough to satiate our appetites for any news from the magical world of Harry Potter. And Rowling has delivered. From sorting us into houses, allowing us to explore Diagon Alley (and pocketing stray galleons on the way) to sharing with us the back stories of characters, one can say that the boy who lived has pretty much lived on. But there lies the conundrum. Did we really want him to live on, and live thus?

I must say, I was partially disappointed with the Epilogue to the series in itself. Yes, Voldemort is dead. To have the snubby-people-like-Fudge ridden world suddenly transform into a warm, friendly place wasn’t the worst part, in fact, it was totally understandable especially after Rowling proved she was only second to George R.R. Martin in making the world gloomy (read Sirius, Lupin, Fred, Dobby and Dumbledore- enough said.) But to find that the trio ended up being pretty much where they wanted to end up in life, married to the people they “loved” during school and all responsible and gay struck me as slightly odd. I mean, how many of us end up marrying our childhood sweethearts, doing exactly what we thought was our goal in school and name our kids something they are bound to be teased for the rest of their lives? Rowling gave us the imperfect marauders whom we fell head over heels in love with, and everyone from that generation surprised and delighted us (a 25- minute movie called “Severus Snape and the Maruders” made by Potterheads and uploaded very recently on Youtube will tell you exactly why we made such a fuss over that generation). Then she gave us the Potter generation, and they had their moments too, making us feel bad for Draco in parts and call Ron a complete ‘arse’ for ignoring Hermione. Rowling was employing the oldest trick in the bag of character constructions- making us see the perfection in everyone’s imperfections. We wish the epilogue was similar.

But let us not dwell too much on the past. After the seven books came, we busied ourselves with Mugglenet, reading fanfiction and rooting for Drarry. We busied ourselves with Rowling’s stories on Pottermore. What we did not expect was a whole new magical world thrust upon us, complete with new magical schools, sorting and histories of their own! Yes, I was miffed when I discovered that the American counterpart of a muggle was a ‘no-maj’, because it came from a woman who flaunted her French with Vol-de-mort (you are no Potterhead if you did not know that) and her Greek mythology with at least half the other characters and creatures. But I was overwhelmed and overawed when I was introduced to Ilvermorny, Mahoutokoro, Uagadou and Castlebruxo- wizarding schools other than Hogwarts all over the world. The Ilvermorny story (the North American wizarding school) was revealed on Pottermore a few days back, both to the delight and chagrin of fans all over. The latter was sparked off by an indignant letter by a Native American Potterhead which went viral on the internet. She felt Rowling had been insensitive in her research on the Indians and hadn’t given them enough space in the story. But for a non-indigenous fan of Rowling’s who knows very less to nothing about Indian folklore (yes, I am being selfish here), the school and its houses opened up a world that promised to be as magical as Hogwarts itself. After going through the magical sorting, a revamped version of the Hogwarts one with questions like “What would you exchange for your heart’s desire?” and “ Do you prefer to remember/ experience?”, I was declared to be a Horned Serpent. I was confused if this was in any way related to Slytherin, and only heaved a sigh of relief when I read that it “Represents the mind” and “Favours Scholars”.

Harry Potter brought in a flurry of firsts in my life. My first literature paper was an eco-critical analysis of Harry Potter. My first application of Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief” was when I imagined the broomstick at home was a Nimbus 2000. The first time I saw what the world looked like at 5 in the morning was when I stood in queue to buy the latest book. I can hardly wait for the magic to recommence on July 31st. For Harry Potter, the excitement is on, always.

Rediscovery

The evening passes in tense awkwardness

of politesse and thank-yous inching around

soul aches and knee touches seemingly oblivious

Until the charade comes to an end

and a simple “Drive?” hangs in the air.

We loop around roads I told apart

Once

by the aging temple, the Gulmohar

in full bloom, the coy stationery

huddled in between, but no more.

They go by, hurt,defiant at being

forgotten. I memorize instead

You.

Your checkered shirt stretched taut across

shoulders that promise respite

The ache to trace a finger across that back

translating to a pathetic, wandering

finger on the strap slung across

and when you shake your head trying to understand

if what boils in you wells up in me

I count the small number of grey hair,

Register the exact tint of your Ray-Ban,

trace the shape of your teeth through the boyish smile-

Only stopping when

I look at the soul shining out of the reflection

of your gaze in the rear-view

And gasp

Terrified to see the same fire in mine

And with an effort that might have

Ousted Atlas’s, wrench eyes away.

I see

the temple, the Gulmohar, the stationery-

they’re all ablaze.

Where did the words go?

lurking away in some corner

of lips parched with the immobility of silence

and trapped

in the slur of the tongue drunk on sleep,

teetering on the edge of memories

that threaten to force you off the brink

of existence.

Happy memories, not sad

for sadness has a beauty about it when alive

but happiness

once lost, takes away the words-

meanders in the dark

And anchors them in the land of the lost.

Chaos

Is your mind so cluttered that the silence of an echoing room feels like the white noise of the television? When it does not just sound that way but looks like it too- you blink your eyes to the blinking black and white of chaos. Yes? It cannot be. For then you must be me.

Kafka stole my poetry

Kafka stole my poetry

The summer last that is.

When light soul liquified

Weighed down- seeped cold.

All my visitors – driven away

From home now nest of vermin

When Kafka stole all my words

The summer last that is.

Gauzed vision has replaced

Clear blue skies with smite

Carefree- that forgotten word

Gives home to vengeful spite

That dreaded moment- realization-

Nothing but a speck of dirt-

In other specks much dirtier

And masks of mirthless mirth

The summer last was when I knew

That Kafka stole my poetry.

But was it ever mine?

When half a year’s done, a balance-sheet

Six months into the year, nothing is new any longer. The prime minister, the phones, the books and the movies have all settled comfortably into the “accustomed to” category. All but the resolutions we made earnestly over that eventful New Year’s-eve.

As the clock struck twelve and 2015 dawned upon us, I remember thinking with steely determination of all the things to be accomplished during the year. The Internet was heavily browsed for the easiest way to stick to the resolutions. Glorious images of one floating around the kitchen looking chic with apron and top hat, a bit like the contestants on MasterChef; a fitter body that didn’t have to grunt every time it tried to touch its toes; and a better-read shelf with Kafka finally done, flitted in and out of the mind. I should have realised then it was the adrenaline and the delicious plum cake speaking.

The first step was to look up challenges. Because aren’t they fun to accomplish? The Goodreads challenge was hastily signed up for and reading a hundred books promised to the book-loving Internet society. Second-hand bookstores were raided and shelves stocked. Ever heard of the squirrel that couldn’t get through even half of its hoard of nuts? You’re looking at it. Sleep became a more important event than exercise. For hey, flab is lost and gained, but the time spent sleeping can never be replaced. So after weeks of setting my alarm early and shutting it off myself without batting an eyelid, I gave up on the exercise routine. And the MasterChef plan, well, um. Perhaps I thought watching the show was better than being one, for that has not yet materialised either.

Sometimes, they say, all that a man needs to succeed is to challenge himself. But sometimes all we need is to do what we want to, and the momentum builds up by itself. True, I did not and perhaps cannot now fulfil my Goodreads challenge, and Kafka has not yet been touched. But I discovered instead D.H. Lawrence and Emily Dickinson. The former I picked up quite unabashedly because of the particularly beautiful cover of Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and the latter because of a snip of her verse I read – “I’m nobody. Who are you? / Are you nobody too?”. That stood out in stark contrast from the side of me that wanted very badly to be somebody. I skipped a masterpiece, but gained masters of writing. Mother decided, against loud feminist protests from my side, that twenty one was old enough to help her out in cooking, and I discovered strange solitude in adding dollops of sugar to tea and coffee, mixing batter and just contentedly listening to the grinder whir.

The year so far, thus, has been beautiful. I have not visited an exotic place, but have seen the serene quiet waves of the neighbouring town by the sea. I have not caught up on the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV series, but have discovered ‘The Newsroom’ instead. And though the daily Guardian Crossword remains unsolved, my interest in the genre of cryptic crosswords grows. You see, as they say, the best moments of life are the unplanned ones.

(This was published in The Hindu on June 16. Yay! )

impasse

In the chilly hours of the morning, the wind blows incessantly. A wind that I might have once enjoyed, tickled by the goosebumpy freshness it brings to the skin and exhilaration it evokes. But not any more. Inside a body that seems to spew up convolutions every time I sneeze or cough, the wind seems a stark reminder that happiness does not stay. Like the wind it shifts. Like the wind it is only for a few to enjoy or a few moments to feel happy about. I want to look back on this moment and some time in the future be able to say, “I thought that was it but I’ve come through it” Except I shall not use the words unscathed. Because to a body that wants to be whipped by the wind mercilessly and yet exult in the joy of the whipping, isolation in the confines of a rough blanket is scathing. It hurts. Sometimes fate is merciless. It trips you up and then unapologetically lets you know it wasn’t accidental. Then punches you in the face and shows you the way to the hospital. Because that is the only way I can explain the past few weeks. Being disappointed is bad enough. When you won’t be allowed to be disappointed in peace? That takes you to a whole new spiral of dejection. When the mind is all geared up to shut down for a few weeks so that the blissful release of depression can take over it is then that the body starts shutting down. Now the mind cannot do the same. Because unfortunately for you, age is on your side. The mind needs to help the body recuperate and puts its own problems on hold. And the stubborn ass of a body becomes hot and cold and bleeds and wails and doesn’t settle. And all this while you are aware that the mind is only functioning because it has to, and is on stand by mode, and will put up a fight of its own once the body is fine. How they play with the helpless, innocent soul trapped between them.

And all the while the wind is blowing fiercely outside, teasing and teasing, maddeningly teasing the soul out of its wits.