Author: Misha Oberoi

Misha Oberoi is an Indian high school student who started writing at the age of 9. She aspires to publish a collection of her poems this year. She believes that poetry doesn't necessarily need to be restricted to things such as love and death. Expressing your feelings towards concepts such as feminsim and equality through poetry is one of the most powerful things one can do. For words carry extreme strength. Hence, her poetry isn't limited to heartbreak and sadness. It touches topics such as rape, citizenship, beauty standards and much more. She promotes her blog and writing through her twitter and insta accounts and never shies away from an opportunity to read the works of other aspiring writers. For exclusive content, follow her here: twitter - @mishapsblog insta - @mishaps.blog

you are like the palaces in lucknow.

because you see, having dinner together was only a thing when you started smoking instead of attending your classes and making out with boys in your section instead of the girls from the hostel opposite to yours.

you are like the palaces in lucknow. 
the tapestries that hang on your walls are fingerprints of each poem i wrote about you// the disordered rugs are a sign that perhaps even the most romantic of poets can’t fix all that’s wrong with us// and the half-open windows are the hesitance you show every time i try to enter. the hesitance you turn into anger as the whistling windows get eroded by the wind// and the clock that ticks twelve hours behind is your perpetual need to sulk over the past// for it isn’t the past until you choose to let go of it. 
and the chandelier built of mirrors with hexagonal structures exists so that maybe every time you look up while praying, you see yourself instead of God           
                                                                                because damn it you’re all you’ve ever cared about.
and the door with three locks made of silver are the tests you put everyone through once in a while because trust is not a word your lying deceiving father could ever teach you// and the dining table has only one clean chair while the other five remain covered with dust, because you see having dinner together was only a thing when you started smoking instead of attending your classes and making out with boys in your section instead of the girls from the hostel opposite to yours.

and the carved markings next to the painting on the wall are the childhood you lived like a rebel, doing everything you could to prove you were different. but that painting is still untouched. immune to your fight or flight response. that painting of an enchanting landscape with mountains and a fresh river stream, perhaps a magical place that you could only ever dream of, a magical place that was your only chance of escape from the horrid palace that you call your home.
from the horrid palace that is only left with soldiers to guard its doors, 
from the horrid palace that you live in, but your heart abandoned long ago. 

woman.

you forget that i am a woman. you think i am as soft as water and yet, i am what extinguishes your fire. 

some powerful women my friends and i look up to:)

i am a woman. you think i am as soft as water and yet, i am in the girl you gave justice to 8 years late. i am in the girl you cremated to hide the evil that runs through your veins. the evil you mask behind delayed hearings and careless police work. the evil that makes your blood boil like fire. i am in the wife you slap after she drops the glass you should have filled yourself. i am in the girl you call pataaka when she cycles by. the girl you say shouldn’t have been outside her house so late when you’re the one who should be locked inside a cell forever. i am in the girl you sexualize on the screen. the girl who you dress in clothes as short as possible because the tickets wouldn’t sell without zoom-ins on her naked waist. i am in the daughter you cover up. to who you teach that by being female, she is at fault. to who you teach that her body is nothing but a distraction for men, when you shouldn’t have been looking in the first place. i am in the mother who sacrificed her entire life for you. the mother who repressed her dreams to raise you well. the mother you disappoint every time you look at the girls on streets with the same fire that boils in your blood.

but you think i am the water in the lotus flower. the water that helps it grow, but disappears into the air right after. you think i am the buttons on your office shirts. always trying to hold it all together. being replaced every time one falls off. you think i am the leaves of autumn. losing colour as soon as the weather changes. falling to the ground, fragile. you think i am the alcohol that lets you loose. the alcohol you blame for the things you do after the city falls asleep. you think i am a pushover. a woman who does whatever floats your boat. a woman who carries all your baggage for you like a river carries salts. but you forget. you forget that i am a woman. you think i am as soft as water and yet, i am what extinguishes your fire. 

i’ll sing to you, beloved kashmir.

for it is best not to be seen, my child.
it is best not to be known in the land of the forgotten.

no one remembers, love. 
she tells me. 
no one remembers my heaven on earth.
no one remembers my land of light. 
my land where angels resided,
but now God weeps every night. 
Mother jhelum is crimson now,
but its calming sounds,
seem to mask the screams of the corpses underneath.
and when my people look inside its crystal waters,
their eyes widen, 
and death winks at me. 

for it is best not to see, my child.
it is best not to know in the land of the forgotten.

i want to interrupt but i can’t. 
i’ve been silent for too long, she tells me.

this was 
no, 
is the home of my women. 
women, 
who used to walk through my fields,
singing songs of me.
songs that now only exist as echoes of the foregone,
my women who now only exist as shadows in the dawn.

for it is best not to be seen, my child.
it is best not to be known in the land of the forgotten. 

she pauses and the silence between us lingers. 
so i tell her. 

another harsh winter is coming,
another winter of frozen corpses,
and dreary boat rides in dal.
but you must stay.
you must hear me, my beloved.

where there is life, there is hope.

so let me sing to you,
and you shall overcome. 
let me sing to you like your women did,
for if you leave now, who will know how much you weeped?
let me sing to you dearest kashmir,
come out now, it is your time to be seen. 

the months of the year as descriptions of people i love

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january; the smell of cologne, long showers, grey sweatpants, cold stares, black caves, masquerades, full moon, leather jackets, playing poker, high heels, embroidered curtains, rolling your eyes, smudged lipstick.

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february; the smell of highlighters, straight lines, hand sanitizers, art museums, waffles, going home after a party, new york apartments, off white walls, long bus rides, the smell of glue. 

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march; the smell of freshly cut grass, stargazing, picnic mats, world maps, purple tulips, floral dresses, colourful clips, sunshine that blinds your eyes, holding hands, open windows, soft plushies, fruit salads, afternoon naps, wings of a butterfly, crying of happiness. 

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april; the smell of old newspapers, warm hugs at the airport, paper planes, 90s magazines, telephone directories, handmade gifts, borrowed books, bicycles, chapsticks, going on rides at a carnival, velvet tops. 

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may; the smell of shampoo, sunflowers swaying, hikes, dad shorts, diving in the pool, round glasses, unsolved mysteries, dimples, baseball caps, maple syrup, scrunchies, smiling in relief, forehead lines.

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june; the smell of wine, weddings, crowded malls, drunk girls in the bathroom, bell bottoms, dancing in pitch black rooms, hotels, late night calls, ready made cakes, sunglasses.  

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july; the smell of the ocean, wavy hair, coconuts, roller skating, bandanas, open sunroofs, home full of plants, face masks, sandcastles, pillow forts, evening walks, the summer you always remember, cotton candy. 

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august; the smell of rain, blue roses, polaroids, vast forests, vinyls, dreamcatchers, lemon iced tea, untitled poems, falling asleep in the car, singing in the balcony, grey eyes.

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september; the smell of coffee, wooden flooring, handwoven rugs, black gel pens, blunt knives, broken mirrors, alpenliebe toffees, dry leaves, playing the ukulele, cowboy hats. 

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october; the smell of old books, my grandma’s cooking, the great gatsby, bonfires, sticky notes, bullet journals, purple skies at 5 am, singing ballads during karaoke, baking cookies, treehouses, watching the sunset from a hill top. 

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november; the smell of vanilla, fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, sky lanterns, peanut butter jars, silver disco balls, milk moustaches, ice cream stalls, henna tattoos, hoola hoops, rubber bands, sleeping on someone’s shoulder, falling on your bed after a long day. 

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december; the smell of tobacco, new year’s fireworks, chandeliers, city lights, empty bathtubs, all nighters, elevators, watching fast cars pass by, helicopter rides, listening to the radio, talking to a stranger at a party, hoop earrings, champagne glasses. 

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look how beautiful you are.

*written during the COVID-19 pandemic, 
in response to the amount of hate and  xenophobia
asians have been facing all over the world*

credits: @susdraws on instagram
look how beautiful you are,
with curiosity blooming in your eyes 
as you walk around a town you’ve never lived in before.
you watch as young boys cycle together,
the blonde one utters a slur when you pass by,
you ignore him
it isn’t the first time you’ve heard it,
and oh well,
he’s just a boy.

look how beautiful you are,
as you gawk at the cute cafes on every turn,
a few heads shift to stare at you 
and a few mouths whisper,
you ignore them
after all,
you’re just another foreigner, right?
it’s natural to stare.

look how beautiful you are,
widening your eyes at the skyscrapers that behold your eye,
they’re taller than you expected
so you admire them in silence,
until a man tells you
that making your eyes look bigger won’t help you fit in,
you ignore him
everyone’s quick to assume once in a while.

look how beautiful you are,
as you rush to help the woman
who dropped her basket of oranges,
but she tells you to stop,
she tells you to go back to where you came from
and take all the people you killed with you,
you ignore her
at least you try to 
you want to say something, you want to shout
but you can’t.
you don’t know how to tell her that you mean no harm
so you stand there all alone,
trying to build a home away from home
in a country so far,
oh darling please just look,
look how beautiful you are.

the way you look tonight.

pristine,
spotless,
untouched.

i love the way you look tonight,
and i think the sky seems empty,
for you’re the only gleaming ray in sight.
and you have seen shades,
shades of life,
and phases of change,
you have known darkness,
you have known emptiness,
and yet you remain pristine,
spotless,
untouched.
you have kept your glow,
like people keep treasured moments,
close to themselves,
and always in the back of their mind,
as signs of hope for even better ones,
as signs to always be kind.
you have been the brightest star in the sky,
and the days they doubt that you aren’t,
you chase that tiny glint of silver light,
you come back again,
you build yourself up,
one by one at your own pace
not too fast,
not too soon,
adding a piece every time,
until you’re full,
A complete circle,
A moon. 

A Letter To Yemen.

My dear Yemen,
I hope that you too can one day grow from every rock that you’ve been diminished to.

Dear Yemen, 

I have always known you as the only country whose name I could take if y landed on me during a game of atlas. I have always known you as the country who causes the game to end if its name has already been said. But today as I have grown and read up on who you really are, I worry about your own end. You see, when I search up your name and the only images I see are of destroyed buildings that used to be historical landmarks, malnourished children being carried away by volunteers from NGOs, tall men in kurtas carrying rifles larger than the graves of new born babies, and not even one woman outside her house, I cannot help but wonder, what really happened to you? 
And so I dive into the wonders of the internet and find every piece that can educate me about you. Everything from your history to your culture to your people,

to your forgotten war. 

And It breaks my heart to see that if I type in children along with the name of any country in this world, I see happy smiles that taste of youth, yet when the name typed in is yours, tragedies of war and epidemics take up the entire screen.
And it enrages me that you’re being termed as the nation of the forgotten war when your cries for help have been louder than the missiles that have made you their home. 

I find myself wondering if your end will be forgotten as well. 

Nevertheless, I want to understand who you were before demolished houses and fallen bridges. I want to find out how you began before I worry further about your end. And so I look up, ‘yemen before war,’ and oh my god. 
Yemen, you breathe beauty. Your mud brick architecture filled with intricate designs are a pleasure to look at, and yet,
the most beautiful of all are your people. 
In fact when I learn that in ancient times, you called yourself ‘Arabia Felix,’ Latin for happy land, I think to myself that although you appear to have lost that title, something tells me that your people never will. 
For they seem to find time to celebrate weddings between bomb raids, fix roads by hand every time they’re destroyed, and write poetry in a country which has 3 times more guns than people.

But the one thing I cannot keep my eyes away from is the divine Dar-al-hajar palace that hovers over your sleepless capital city. For it is built in a way that it looks like it’s growing from a rock. And as I admire how tall it stands, only one thought rests in my mind. 
My dear Yemen, I hope that you too can one day grow from every rock that you’ve been diminished to. 

With Love,
Your well wisher.

the end of winter.

and as he crumples even more underneath,
the world finally hears him screaming,
screaming for help,
screaming that he cannot breathe.

a crow sways gently off the tree,
accompanied by a heavy raindrop from the sky
he touches the ground and lies there all alone
until a certain white boot steps on him,
crushing him into pieces. almost.
the crystalline drop of water spreads across,
polishing his mixed shade.
a shade that rests somewhere between gray and black
somewhere between life and death.
and as he crumples even more underneath,
the world finally hears him screaming,
screaming for help
screaming that he cannot breathe. 

nevertheless,
the white boot steps forward and leaves,
but the muffled cries of the bird remain.
for they echo across town as he exhales one last time
and that one heavy raindrop, breaks into rain. 
nearby birds that have grown wingless over time,
whisper within themselves,
‘another was murdered today.’
yet this time, a storm begins to erupt 
and slowly the beaked creatures realize
that as long as the white boot is a power hungry predator 
black birds will always be its prey.

and so,
they gather to shield the lifeless crow,
righteously grieving the loss 
of many more than the world will ever care to know.
and as the sky cries out louder than it ever has,
they flap their wings and caw in sync,
for it’s finally time 
to bid farewell to their 400 year long caged winter, 
and to end the await of a relieving spring
it’s time to lift the white boot from their throats,
so that the weeping black birds
can finally sing.


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here, the lifeless crow symbolizes the death of george floyd. // the following are a few references that i made in the poem:

i. ‘somewhere between life and death’ – this is to highlight the fact that he didn’t die at once, but that he lay there pleading and screaming for a deafening 5-10 minutes.

ii. ‘echo across town’ – his murder sparked several questions against the racism that is still extremely prevalent in today’s world.

iii. ‘a storm begins to erupt’  – several protests took place despite the presence of an ongoing pandemic. instead of light rain/complaints, people were enraged and expressed their support through petitions, donations and much more. 

iv. ‘400 year long caged winter’ – it has been 400 years since the establishment of slavery in the United States of America//

not another love poem.

because at the end of the day,
a relationship needs a lot more than just love to last.

pc credits: me!!
grandma told me that she was in a long distance relationship once,
that they wrote love letters to each other at the age of 16,
labelled their long phone calls as dates
and sent gifts every week. 
tonight i ask her if she still thinks of him
she kisses her old rusted locket 
and in those moments of silence,
all is understood. 

in college,
she met a boy who made a lot of promises,
but somehow always forgot to keep them.
she tells me he made her wait for a long time,
so why didn’t you leave?
because sometimes,
false hope is better than the pain of loss.
she chuckles, as if embarrassed,
but i hope he’s doing alright. 

at 25,
when aunties started sending proposals,
and batchmates began to mail fancy invitations,
she met a boy who already had everything planned,
from his first car to his first house to his first kid’s name.
yet he left her a note after their 5th date,
she rolls her eyes and tells me,
a woman from a middle class family would have put his status to shame. 

when she turned 28,
her mother introduced her to grandpa,
and as expected,
he treated her like she was the only woman on this earth,
like every being had grown tired and weary,
and he was the only one who saw her worth.
and although he wasn’t her biggest what if,
first love,
or any other guy from the past,
she chose him
because at the end of the day,
a relationship needs a lot more than just love to last.

things i have learnt during quarantine.

credits: weheartit

i. I have begun to appreciate sunrises way more than I did before. There is something about waking up at 5 am to see pinkish glowing clouds that seems to calm my restlessly beating heart. 

ii. I have stopped wearing earrings and my face looks incomplete. As if missing someone it needs to let go of. As if yearning for something that adds nothing to who it is, except a touch of superficial appeal.

iii. I have started taking afternoon naps and I’ve realized that we don’t need to do everything without even breathing in between. That we cannot do everything no matter how hard we try and so our best chance is to enjoy every given moment like it is our last.

iv. I have started making maggi at 3 in the morning. I have begun to tell myself that if I don’t know how to be happy right now, it is because I’m worried about the future, but if I don’t know how to be happy right now then what guarantees I will in the future? 

v. I have started going to the terrace to wash clothes. For there is something melodic about clothes flowing with the cold breeze. Melodic enough to make me sing to the sky. Melodic enough to fill my words with hope. 

vi. I have begun to feel a lingering sense of relief whenever I see someone outside. For my heart seems to sigh knowing that there is one more person who’s still there. One more person who is trying their best to survive. One more person I can still pray for. 

vii. I have realized that Saturdays are my favourite. That sleeping in and not having to worry about staying up till late the next day is perhaps one of the only things that I can still find comfort in. 

viii. But Mondays are the worst. For they signify the start of another long week. They remind us that there’s a lot to do before we can go back to things that comfort us. That despite everything we’ve done in the past, we still have a long way to go.