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.