Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Can you feel the loss?

What is a year to you when
 you have seen so many?
Today they all rise, raise their hands
 and shout and cheer, "This year was the best".
Didn't they say the exact thing last year too?
You can barely separate one year from another,
 They all seem to occur all at once,
 As though time has stretched and bent
 and collapsed altogether, Just today
 while throwing the ball at a four year old child
You suddenly remembered how you had come up
with one excuse after another in order
not to get up at 5 in the morning
to go for march past practices;
You wish you had gone instead
 But that was four years ago
 Not this year that is ending
You wish you had told them you didn't eat the chocolate,
 Just thrown it away because
Because you were six years old
You wish you were better at being yourself
You wish you had said a few more things to people
 You wish you hadn't stopped yourself
 Because you didn't want to open old wounds
You wish, more than anything, that you had written more
 Instead of  stupidly violently hurting
On your own
Can you feel the loss?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Do you remember that time of the year
When K. spent days sitting by the window,
smoking more than he could bear,
 filtering in and out of love
And S. was not keeping well,
 lying in the sofa, deep within the blankets,
reading her Greek tragedies,
 morose and moody and dark
A. kept arranging the flowers,
or plucking them or whatever it was
 she was doing with those flowers,
I just remember them all over the place.
I kept waiting you know,
kept waiting for you to call
I was so easily distressed,
so prone to bouts of despair
When you had something else to do
Perfectly valid I knew but even then
there were those heartbreaks I suffered from
Silently painfully
I could envision not having someone to come to
 at the end of the day and that made me dreadfully sad
even though I knew full well I was too young
and mustn't worry about things like that,
like my mother would say
 I don't know what it is that you did to me
 and how my heart tore in a way I couldn't bear.
 But those December heartburns,
 how it drove us all quite mad.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How strangely and awkwardly the days past, 
Days blurr into months and years, as though it happened
 within a click of our fingers and now it has paused, slowed down
And how we are all grappling with our lives
Valiently, sometimes indifferently, forever given to despair
And everyday we tell ourselves we are too far behind
How we envy those who know for sure
We are given to frequent daydreams
Inquiring about insignificant details
Of what flowers we would put in the office
Once we get the job
Which place to travel to with our first paycheck
No other age has been as startling as the one
we have finally stumbled into late one night
Intoxicated with wine, peering stupidly at the mirror
Unaware of the threshold we had crossed
Such electrifying glory it was,
Given to great depths of joy 
And to think that all of this will be gone too
In a flash right in front of our glazed eyes,
Dissolving into each other like mist.

Friday, November 15, 2013


You are at age when nothing holds you,
Any slight contact with the world bruises you
You write
 but it's not quite writing
More of strange words disconnected from each other
Each word sitting alone
Unable to reach out 
and form a sentence.
There is too much thrashing and clawing
 for things that are too early for you to grasp on to.
And hope and belief seems fraudulent words
Your young heart is wary of them already,
Suspicious, watchful and stays away.
You dread the cold immense nights stretched out infront of you,
with daytime so far away
You still haven't gotten used to loneliness
Not yet.
But there are certain consolations, you tell yourself
Soaking in the warm winter sun with the book
 you were supposed to save up for the dreary days of December.
 And walks, long solitary aimless walks
 in which you end up dreaming out loud to yourself.
But what you really have
you don't know yet.
And that partly makes up
For what you can no longer call your own.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dreaming from far away

Grief comes
and recedes
like waves
The eyes forget
the contours of your face
Your smile is etched briefly
Then fades, smudges over
We are the broken columns of sunlight
Illusions of youth,
 holding fire in our hands.
As though all our lives have been
building up to reach this point
Spilling over, falling over
like schoolgirls running up stairs
 late for class, brimming with mirth,
jostling ahead of each other,
Like stepping over an edge,
 Hesitating, but quite willing
Certain till a point but certainty has
 its limits, like all elements.
Love is but a paint coated over stone
Lying near a puddle
Being stepped over by hundreds of foot
Yet you remain
 Longing and falling and changing
Like creatures shedding their skin
and growing them again
Deciphering words from shadows
in places that you have long
 outgrown but continue to hold you.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You left abruptly

You left abruptly 
Left with the dark of the night
Before sunlight found its way to me
Through the slight parting of the curtains 
In your room which is so full of you 
Even when you are absent 
I woke up without you 
And I haven't heard from you since 
Your letter i carry with me 
Holding on to the last of you 
Panic rises and subsides like tidal waves 
Thinking of how fragile our world is,
That two years worth of everything can disappear without trace 
In that unknown place between sleep and wakefulness 
there is too much and too less in what we are 
You vanish so easily from my world 
But I m terrible in my love for you 
That you are gone 
And that i have to do these all alone-breathing, waking up, laughing, smiling, frowning, 
There are lives that i collide into 
Your friends,  our friends
The places which you filled 
And fitted into, so snugly so effortlessly, empty now, abandoned 
As though things were dying 
In your absence i tell myself that i am imagining things
Even though silence rings loud
Disturbs, hurts, like the clinging of metal on metal 
But I hang on to the promise 
you had kissed me before you left 

Friday, October 4, 2013

If nothing else
Poetry betrays you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The things we tell ourselves

We tell ourselves when we fall in love
 that it couldn’t have been with anyone else,
 that it was fate or destiny or written in the stars
 or such-like. We try in this manner to create
 an unchangeable, permanent legend of ourselves,
 of our stories, of our love. But it strikes you
 how arbritrary we are at choosing the objects
 of our affection. A glimpse, a smile, a dream 
could have had you choosing someone else. 
Anyone else but the one you fell in love with
 and eventually eloped with on a day drenched with July rains.
 Or is it love at all? Isn’t it some kind of a skewed sense of finality
 that eventually led to whatever arrangement
 that we define as love? Don’t all love start selfishly,
 terribly, chaotically? It is jagged around the edges,
 it doesn’t fit quite well into our lives.
In our distinctly Manipuri lives, trapped
 in our essentially Manipuri bodies,
 whatever that we did were never good enough,
 love was never a good enough reason for marriage,
 there would be so many relatives picking
 on every bit of our lives, yours and his, turning it over,
 examining the unconformities, the abnormalities,
 the lover and the beloved would have to stand
the strain of being made public. Privacy was a luxury
 we could ill afford to maintain. Love was a price
 to be paid for together-forever-after; marriage
was larger than one person, it was many people,
 Ekubok, Enembok, Ibenthou, Enamma, Etei,Mou Ahan,
your nephews and nieces, your marriage was the establishment
of relationships and camaradie with these strangers
 who might like or might not like you, who might
 make your life easier or worse; knowing the man
 you had married was the least of all the tasks involved in a marriage.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


You lost your first friend to years, and absence mostly,
 Growing up, you turned to books, drew yourself close
There are people you lose to places,
 They stayed, you left, 
You can taste grief like a tablet
stuck in your throat, choking you
There is grief for love almost lost,
 Then there is the sensation of numbness
The disbelief that leads you to a state of nothingness
Vacant spaces in you that you try to fill with words
 But it's inevitably their words you chance upon
There is a constant contradiction of remembering and forgetting
Remembering a certain winter afternoon spent soaking up the sun
And forgetting the details- the mouth, the eyes, the hands of the person
You, who all these times have never turned to prayers,
Are found following the rituals you have seen your mother perform.
At this moment, events are unfolding over which you have no control
 They will leave terrible imprints on you
You lose people but you cling on to the notion
 That you will find them again.
Run into them in a crowded street, perhaps in another country.
Perhaps twenty years down the line.
 You lose people to death
Which seems the most bewildering to you
 Because it is so final that you can't get a grip on it.
It evades you like morning dreams on waking up.
He had last asked, "Will you wait for me?"

 You had said, "Always".

Monday, September 2, 2013

This is how the body loves you

This is how the body loves you
starts missing you from the moment I pull away
 from your embrace, by the time I turn and walk away,
a choking sensation arises in my throat,
 by the time you reach the gate, my body feels
 a slight shiver, that uncontrollable, irreplaceable
 longing for the familiar, beloved presence.
There are nights when I lay tossing and turning
 not to have your slumbering body beside me,
not to have my arms around you, snug in your warmth.
 It is even more so on days when I see so much of you
and so much never seems good enough for my heart
 or grieving body, the immense sadness that takes
 a physical form in this way when you are not with me.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

We still had yesterday

How do you get to know someone?
When did you become a friend from a stranger?
The first time I told you about dialectic materialism
The second time you told me the color of my hair reminds you of a red star
There is still the familiarity of gestures, warm smiles, specific words,
 tilted in that specific way you pronounce it
I don't know many things
But you tell me you don't have to know many things to be happy
Everything has changed, perhaps nothing has.
The first time it took months of movies and books
 exchanged and passed around like secrets
This time around the time it took to finish a cigarette
Today you tell me
Whatever happens, we still had yesterday.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Because you meant to hurt 
And I didn't know any better 
Because there was too much 
And then too little of you 
Because I am still trying to find my way back to you 
Like I always do
Because this time i can't even show up
At your door at the break of dawn
There is nothing much to do 
I walk aimlessly, illness consumes me 
I disintegrate.

We are back with the same dark wounds again

An argument
Build on past mistakes
On assumptions, presumptions,
That what you thought wasn't what I thought 
There are a few things i am sure of 
I have been planning it since two months
Looking forward to it every single day 
Waiting, waiting patiently, waiting impatiently,longing for you 
I don't know what went wrong 
But something always goes wrong in the end 
And its inevitably the same old things recycled to hurt, to provoke 
God knows why 
As though something couldn't be made too perfect 
Too happy,
There must be a fall to balance things out
Icarus rose only to fall again 
So we are back again 
As thought time  hadn't healed us
We are back with the same dark wounds again 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Because you could love and you did

We all love in a way we don't understand
 can't comprehend
This was before the act lost its novelty
 and intensity with over-usage
After a point of time
you stop counting it
 you stop wondering if it's special
because its lost the newness of it
 the shine of newly struck gold
 when it was still shining
and the world seemed glorious
because you could love
 and you did.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Feeling cold on a summer day

Because it is slightly cold on a summer day
and I am aching for things that are far beyond
 my reach- you, for example, and cigarettes,
 the ingredients of my youth which is frowned
 upon here, at home, I am trying to make sense
 of the world that I find myself in once again,
 over the years I have learnt to recognize
 the subtleties and the grace in many things
 but I am yet to reconcile with moral duplicity,
 when a woman was  found murdered by
a married man, the women's character
 is questioned, and made her love her crime,
not the murder by the man. I don't know
 many things, I don't know how minds work,
 I see so many signs which I can't describe
 but which troubles me nonetheless.
I am left feeling cold on a summer day.

Anxieties and possibilities

Lying beside you, shuddering
under the weight of possibilities,
the limitations of the present,
I can only plan till tomorrow's
breakfast of strawberries and milk,
even stretch it to next week
when I mentally decide to run to your place
first thing in the morning. There are things
that I look forward to and yet despair
that the future might bring too many changes,
too many demands on our lives,
that these ordinary days will fade away.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Because you always thought you were young
And it would take time sometime to catch up with you
That it would stop by and watch as you laugh
with the carelessness that only stays for so long,
the length of one a piano sonata you might have heard
when you were easing into sleep one May afternoon
And that time would understand that you are preoccupied
With struggles that you have not yet found proper solutions to,
That there are no permanent solutions, only the waiting
for it to disrupt again, for the wounds to reopen again and bleed
If only time would wait for you as you go about folding your clothes
scattered over the room after a frantic search for the perfect clothes
to wear on a Saturday evening-out, if time would wait as you take your
 leisurely walk down the tree-lined road to nowhere, lost in
thoughts of what-ifs and what-it-would-bes
If only it would sit with you while you read your book,
 you would even offer time tea and biscuits,
But it is almost two years now and you can't always be young
and irresponsible, there are things taking shape beyond your control
 and immediacy of other lives are telling you that you
have to somehow collect the best that is left of you
Because that is what you have always done.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

So what have you learnt so far

So what have you learnt so far,
Apart from what everyone keeps telling you- 
that you should learn algebra, sit like a lady-
 straightbacked, hands folded,  crossed legged,
 to close your mouth when you chew your food
 and definitely definitely not talk while chewing,
 write in such a way to please the examiner
 and better your handwriting, keep your room clean
 and to organise your wardrobe so that a mountain
 of clothes and miscellaneous objects(probably love
 letters received and hate/apology letters never sent) 
don’t descend on you like an avalanche when you
 open your cupboard, to lock up everything you
 can possible lock(but you can’t conceive why
 anyone would waste their energy stealing
 worthless things that you own),
You have learnt to not kick rocks when  Madgirl
 drives you crazy(with rage ofcourse), to hold on to J
 even when things get difficult and he talks in the way
 that reminds you of departures and makes you cry
 but it still makes sense to hold on because you both 
are worth holding on to, to preserve letters even if
 they are absurd and illegible and never sent because
 you were what you wrote and you are what
 you are writing, to walk as much as possible 
as long as there is no risk of heatstroke or being robbed
 and other horrid things because it makes you feel  healthy
 and less fat and the most engaging conversations can take place, 
you miss home but you dread it and it is something you
 will take a lifetime to figure out but then again these might
 be one of those things which are never fully understood 
and that’s why you obsess over it so much.

You know how you are at nineteen

You know how you are at nineteen,
halfway through despair and hope,
 trying to quit some things, trying to
pick up a few fallen dreams, stepping on
 crunchy brown leaves, talking a wrong
turn on the way to the dentist, feeling as
scared as you were at six when you suffered
 your first toothache, and finding a florist,
your eyes feasting on riot of colours
each bunch more lovelier than the other
 yellow daffodils just the way Wordsworth
 described them, violet gladiolus, pristine white lilies,
 though you trampled on your mother’s flower beds
as a child and delighted in plucking them, intending it
 for prayer services to a deity of toy- blonde blue-eyed
teen on a her red convertible, the envy of
 the neighbouring kids, and then you think
of how you would be a twenty-something, with a house
of your own-furnished with white curtains with delicate
 prints of carnations daintily flying to welcome you
as you open your door, a warm red rug
 at the centre of your living room, yellow chairs
in the kitchen, shelves of books in every room,
 a clock from a street in St. Moritz, the wall hanging
 from Rangoon and other things, because by then
you would have been to a few places, covered 1/110th of the world,
 so  you imagine how at twenty-something,
you would pick up a bunch of flowers and head home?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MadGirl's Birthday

You look absurd
With that frown on your face
Strange objects perched on your head
Exhibiting terrible grins,
(Only you know what I am talking about)
Old pictures.Your birthday.
Another one has you twirling your hair.
Staring into space.
White and blue tadpoles.Books piled up.
My back turned against the camera.
My hands blurred as I reached out
To snatch the book from your hands.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Handle this without a cigarette

Staring at the ceiling,
Telling yourself you can handle
This without a cigarette.
Your empty bag lies next to you
Its content spilled
That's how things go sometimes
That's why you strike off today
As the day you lost and gained
 In equal measure, or maybe not
Maybe that's why you have
to pick yourself up
and handle this without a cigarette.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shifting homes

So how is it like shifting homes? The boxes are labelled,
 clothes, books, miscellaneous, there are your dolls in
 the other one, do you remember how you occupied
 a whole room with them and their stories, and you hated
 anyone mishandling them? Do you remember how in that
 corner you discovered the joy of reading and the immensity
 of the worlds you stumbled over in them, and in that corner
 your brother had picked up a lizard  as a five year old, crawling
 on his knees, as chubby as you please, now he is older, leaner
, do you remember how you thought you would be possessed
 by an evil spirit if you touched the tall tree in the backyard,
 they told you it was a sacred tree, there had been rituals to
 cleanse that house of evil elements, you remember Mum
calling you back for dinner when all you wanted was to keep
 on playing, running, you bruised your knee many times,
you still have those marks, you can't get yourself to discard
 the terribly old tshirt you got from Disneyland so you keep
 it in those boxes, then there are letters which you wrote
 to yourself from school, you used to treat your sister like a doll,
dress her up and pretend you were magicians, you can't
remember the last time you played, sometimes you don't
 even realize the extent of your missing and mourning, the five
 years in this house will be forgotten in a matter of time, new
 people will inhabit it, but all the falling in love,bursting into tears,
 laughing uncontrollably and growing-up you did, it all happened in this house.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

So the writer and the poet say

It gets all right in the end of the story, the writer says
Monday begins grudgingly, resentfully, dread spread like
 poison in your purple veins, green at your wrists, sometimes
 you walk past it like a somnambulist , nodding , obliging them
 with a smile, your eyes light up at moments, dulls and becomes
 heavy lidded when overcome by afternoon sleep, but you don't
 sleep. Tuesday gives you rain, mugs of coffee and blankets
 of love, you hum old tunes into his ear, he smiles back at you
but you despair as the day comes to a close, parting for the night
 leaves you feeling slightly cold. Wednesday rushes past,
you devour written words, news of faraway lands, stare at
 faces of people with brown hair, black , golden, criminals,
 politicians, starlets, you imagine the houses by the sea, the cruel
 mountain tops, quaint houses and  cobbled streets, the Kumbh Mela
 at the banks of the Ganga. Thursday is for old acquaintances,
 reminiscing about childhood idiosyncrasies, a biscuit divided
 among four friends, prank letters written and received, ghost stories
 told. Friday is spent with a book, soaking up the warmth of the winter
 sunlight, nibbling on strawberries with chocolate cream, you are amazed
 at the heightened sense you feel of the world around you,
 overwhelming in their incredulity. Saturday tortures you with deaths
 sometimes, the vast scope of the human life, its various possibilities
 yet so limited sometimes, its heartbreaking misery, you miss
 the embracing magnanimity of home, of Mum braiding your hair when
 you were a little girl, of pushing your sister's tricycle, of going for
evening walks with your brother and your dog.Sunday morning makes
 you restless,waking up late never became you, the not-knowing of
 the rest of the day, but he will come to you or you will go to him,
 nothing is too hard to solve, even imagined grief passes,he imitates
 your scowl, you are laughing again, he is laughing too.
 Even the poet says, it gets alright by the end of the week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In you all things are changing, less fire, more water,
 sometimes you wake up as though you never slept at all,
 you are falling back behind the lines, it reminds you of
 retreating armies, you think it cowardly, you are most
 cruel to the weakest, you don't really know if you are
 finally letting go or clinging to things you should have
 let go long ago, you sift through memories of others-
 a slave in ancient Greece, a Sufi saint in Ajmer,
 a concubine in China, you are all of them and none
 of them, you wonder if that is the fifth dimension
 he told you about? You, who once fell in love 
with the crowd in Times Square, New York, gets
 a headache when assaulted by loud voices, the movements
 of too many people disorients you. You seek out the sunlight,
 you look for love in corners of books, you turn out
 cupboards, run that deserted stretch of road, you are
 changing, fighting, swallowing, choking until you are so 
exhausted, but it takes you so long to fall asleep, hours go
 by and you wait for the enveloping peace that only 
sleep brings, you sometimes end up crying because
 you are losing out on people, people whom you love
 and people who love you, you can see them trying so hard
 to pull you up but you are unable to stretch your hand, 
you are retreating and you don't know how to go back,
 how to reverse it and go back to that point
 where everything would be alright again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waking up, walking to your door, waiting for you

I don't know why I suddenly feel homesick
or some sort of sick, like something is missing
and it's breaking my heart not to have it, only
 that I don't know what it is. Some things I am
 learning to admit to myself, for instance,
I am needy in quite a pathetic way. Maybe
 if I had your arms around me or even just
 a few of your words whispered to me, if I was
 running around getting the cake knowing that
you are in the room next door, your living
breathing presence, not two kilometers away
because it is simply cruel to be parted by ten hours
of the night and several more of the daylight hours.
 It hurt less when you were two thousand kilometers
 away, sometimes distance doesn't sink your heart
 the way nearness does. Ask anyone. But then how
 would anyone know? How can anyone feel the way
 I do about you, that in this moment suspended in time,
the world is blurring, other people are but specimens
too bland, too interesting, too old, too new and they
somehow couldn't arrive at the perfection at which
you somehow did and here I am
 waking up, walking to your door, waiting for you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The coming of an end always leaves you
with a falling heart, even the desired end
 after which you assumed all the delights
of your deprived life would rush back to you,
sweep you of your everyday-wake-up-and-read-eat-sleep
routine.You are leaving behind something of yourself,
and this isn't the first time nor do you think this will be the last,
the places you have left behind, the little rooms, the shelf of 
overflowing books,the beads spilling out of your drawer,
 tablets competing with your clock for space in your bedside table, 
the waking up, the putting to sleep, you know that with each end
 you are letting go or being let go or both, hands that were wrapped 
around you won't catch you when you fall, you get on the plane
 like you always do, and you can't help feeling empty
 because some things were getting mended, and being let off 
such misery can be overwhelming, you have always wanted
 this end, counted the days to this end,
 but with it you are losing something you don't quite know.