Saturday, December 26, 2015

These days I listen to Farida Khanum on repeat

These days I listen to Farida Khanum on repeat
We sit together in the afternoon
Eating cashews and almonds
Mum bursting with news, Papa reminescing
Goldy wakes up at one, even though
we spent the whole morning trying to wake him up
We dressed him up in Papa's trenchcoat,
My sunglasses and a hat.
He looked like a regular CIA spy.
These winter days are so miserly with the light
It is evening too soon, and I have barely woken up
Alice Munro enchants me,
I am beginning to think I should
start with short stories first,
Canadians seem to be my current favourites
From Margaret Atwood to Michael Ondaatje
And ofcourse Justin Trudeau,
who makes me weep with joy at the things you do,
I can't get over the swag with which
you are changing the world.
I get my daily dose of poetry from Akhil,
resident poet of Dilli
Took a little bit of my heart that time you read out
your poem in JNU,
You write so beautifully
I wish we were friends
And through you I heard of  Farida Khanum
who sings divine, even more so with age in her voice
"Aaj Janne Ki Zid Na Karo",
I blanket myself with the immensity of those words

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In the seven months till she saw him again

In the seven months till she saw him again,
 Meira had  turned 16, felt desperate to see him again,
 concocted stories in her head about his life,
 tried to innocently ask her mother about him
 to which she wasn’t very helpful apart from
 the obvious fact that he was in her MA class and a bright boy,
 tried to forget him because he had never come back 
to return more books of her mother's, figured out that
 he probably saw her as his proffessor’s daughter and nothing more,
 had her first kiss with a boy in her school who she felt
 was much prettier than her, then told him very guiltily 
that the kiss didn’t mean they were going out as he might
have assumed, devoured dozens of books, decided that life
 was meaningless and inherently unfair, castigated the books
 she read for making her see, think and feel more than 
was necessary for survival, sobbed a few nights into her
 pillow as she felt an acute pain in her heart at all the beauty 
and all the stupidity, punched a boy in school for calling 
her ‘chinki’, had been summoned to the principal’s office
 for her aggressive behaviour which had surprised everyone
 because she had been such a wonderful student, 
had always done well in school and hadn’t exhibited 
any antisocial behaviour till now, tried to bring up the fact 
that the boy had provoked her by using a derogatory term, 
her mother had been summoned, Naina was indignant that 
her daughter had to suffer because of a stupid ignorant boy,
 had fought on her daughter’s behalf but decided to brush up
 the matter because she didn’t want her daughter to be awarded
 a disciplinary action, Meira had cried her heart out
 on the way back, Naina had felt helpless and heartbroken
 that despite all that she had done to bring her up in what
 she had considered fair, never letting her daughter feel 
any less of a person because she was a girl, she had completely 
overlooked the fact that she looked different from her, 
different from the people who inhabited this part of the country,
 who called her awful names, and thought she was any less 
beautiful because of that. For the first time in her life, 
Naina wondered if she had done the right thing
 by leaving Manipur and bringing Meira here. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

And you looked for me all the way to Kanglatombi

I am beginning to realize how small Imphal is
How I can probably go from one end to the other
for a nice long walk and not even get very tired
When I was younger I thought you lived so far away in Singjamei
Back when we were younger
and when I was in love with you
In that crazy way only fiveteen year olds love
You know that pure unadulterated amplified kind?
And laughed about crossing Konungmang a few minutes before you did
Or when you saw me at Sekmai and I didn't.
At twenty two I am revisiting that time five years ago
When you promised me we would spent more time together
when we get to Delhi
By then I had so many other people in my life
And you marked my life with your stubborn absence
Borne of hurt and hate
Now we have settled into some kind of friendship
Not as close as we once were
But still holding on to each other
Dull ache of a love
Our names reveberating from Kongba to Nambol
The places we sought each other
Caught glimpses of
Wrote fervent letters to
The kind of love that went unfulfilled
and then dulled into something akin to friendship
Sometimes I can feel the connection return
when we talk but you were never the kind to confess
All those years I spent trying to unravel you
and you never said a word.
We parted ways at Chingmeirong
And you looked for me all the way to Kanglatombi.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

By a cruel joke of history

I am not knee-deep in grief
Except once in a while
When personal tragedies occur
The kind which makes you question
If you will ever amount to anything
Existentialism, solipsism, you name it
Been reading too much
Fardeen got a friend who I kind of stole from him
We get depressed together sometimes
and she says things like-
"Life? Two stars. Wouldn't recommend it".
So even sadness is still kind of funny
It sounds really sad only in poems.
Though getting dengue got me pretty paranoid
About mosquitoes and other buggers
So much so that I plan to become a climate change refugee
Suddenly I have realised that I live in an inhospitable
live-threatening tropical country
Though I am mostly genuinely sad
When I read about nations
And the atrocities committed in its name
(Deeply suspicious of words like nationalism)
And about all the refugees who have no place to call home
and the people like the Kurds  who got divided into
four countries by a cruel joke of history.