Tag: indianpoetshub

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. 

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. 

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.


————————————————————————————————————————————————
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.

what do people here do to look beautiful?

“well I simply have no clue,
for we may believe that beauty lies in a certain shape or size,
but perhaps,
it lies in us too.”

i once read somewhere,
that in china,
girls are taught to shrink themselves,
since birth they are taught to wear a shoe 
smaller than their actual size,
their feet are bound and choked
like the voices which long to come out of their throats,
the voices that have remained paralysed too long for them to know,
their feet are bound and choked,
until they become numb to the pain,
until they become used to a lifestyle of restrictions,
and start believing it’s sane.
i once read somewhere,
that in korea,
complexion is what helps you climb the ladder,
that being fair there,
is far more important than being free,
and beauty for them doesn’t lie in the eye of the beholder,
but rather in what cosmetic surgeons see.
i once read somewhere,
that in japan,
every girl is expected to be petite,
maybe because they fit easily into the arms of men,
or maybe because it’s easier for them to be controlled,
or maybe because a bigger body is a risky chance,
for their thoughts to be larger,
and reactions to be bold.
i once read somewhere,
that in india,
women try all sorts of things to lighten their skin,
that they put fair and lovely during the day,
and haldi at night,
that they listen to all the parminder aunties of the world,
in hopes to finally hear them say,
‘ah your skin tone is just right.’
but what i wished i had read is that,
in this world,
people are black, brown, white, red...
and they look beautiful regardless,
they are of sizes 0, 6, 8, 10..
and they look beautiful regardless. 
so that if someone asks me one day,
what do people here do to look beautiful?
i’ll be able to say,
“well i simply have no clue,
for we may believe that beauty lies in a certain shape or size,
but perhaps,
it lies in us too.”

here’s to our loved ones.

my brothers always hated seeing the trees lose colour,
and so when the leaves started falling,
as if on cue,
he left the four gray walls once and for all.

my favourite teacher resigned in march,
yet i waited for her to correct my pronunciation just one last time,
and even though she didn’t,
the things she taught me, 
the things she thought were in vain,
will always remain.
in june, my best friend moved to another continent,
and i learnt that distance does not break bonds,
it simply loosens the light ones,
and strengthens the right ones,
the ones which keep us sane
the ones which always remain.
two months later, my ex girlfriend changed jobs and the sky cried with me,
but we could never lose what we had,
nor could we grow out of the beauty of being in love,
for even if there are wrinkles on my face and she forgets my name,
in that beauty, we will always remain.
my brother always hated seeing the trees lose colour,
and so when the leaves started falling,
as if on cue,
he left the four grey walls once and for all,
and although we called once a month,
i slept in his room every other night,
because in the things they leave behind,
our memories,
be those of joy,
be those of pain
always manage to remain.
it's christmas now and no one is home,
yet love seems to be in the air,
because even if a screen,
is the closest we can be,
it’s enough for me,
so darling,
here’s to our loved ones,
wherever they may be.

dinner table conversations.

they drank till their slight touches turned into slaps,
and repeated their favourite line,
‘tu haan kar,
ya naa kar,
tu hai meri kiran.’

translation: ‘even if you say yes,
or no,
you are my kiran.’

my uncles liked having loud conversations,
they liked keeping count,
of how many people survived,
and of how many died,
they liked arguing over policies,
capitalist or communist,
conservative or socialist,
as if the leaders involved were just by passers,
diplomats in their monarchical world,
they liked to talk while chewing,
often spitting in each other's plates,
secretly staring verma aunty up and down,
her liberal mind was too much to bear,
some days were worse than others,
for they drank till their slight touches turned into slaps,
and repeated their favourite line,
'tu haan kar,
ya naa kar,
tu hai meri kiran,' 
over and over again, every single time.
my uncles liked to take names,
calling the pakistani traitors,
and the bangladeshi bastards,
sharma uncle would always say that our politicians were corrupt,
that the strikes were staged,
and the roads were never built,
for the taxes we paid were rather used,
for their luxurious spa treatments,
eyelid surgeries,
and sarees of silk,
but he never dared to speak,
of the tea stained rupee notes that he slid,
to the man with stars on his vardi,
nor of the abundant notes he gave to his son's principal,
and how he just forgot to mention they were farsi.
but the women in our family,
well they never spoke, 
they'd clear the tables,
throw away the seeds on the orange peels,
tidy up the washbasin,
while uncles smoked their pipes and went to sleep,
although they weren't literate enough to read,
and their lips remained steadily shut,
their ears always perked up,
for they longed to hear of a day,
when the headlines would talk about their win,
and the misogynists' defeat,
the day they could be the ones commenting on medha pathkar's feminist ideals,
and the outspoken female who only won one seat,
until then,
they would continue to scrub the spots of the dhotis which smelled like mrs.sharma,
and put cotton on their swollen bruises,
they would continue to nod and say 'no matter,'
and then leave to take care of chores,
for whether or not china chose to avenge itself,
whether or not the workers staged their strikes,
whether or not policemen took bribes,
they'd have to grow barley and pluck their weeds,
uncle would continue to come home at 11,
although the security guard said he left at 7,
friday evening dinners would still turn into political campaigns for the parties which paid more,
for even if the economy slows down,
glaciers melt,
and all those endangered are gone,
their world,
manages to go on.

Sita, our Goddess.

In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Goddess Sita was known to be Lord Rama’s wife. She accompanied him in his 14 year long exile along side his brother Lakshmana. They spent a few years at Panchvati, also known as the site where Goddess Sita’s abduction by Ravana, the ten faced king of Lanka took place. She is often regarded as the embodiment of wifely devotion and self-sacrifice.

Fabric the colour of saffron,
Gently lays,
On the eccentric green grass,
Her sari spread like rangoli’s rays,

Her thick silky hair,
Bound by elastic,
Few short strands flow,
With the breeze that blows,

Congested in a bijou hut,
Near the free fragnance,
Of dear Godavari,
Lies the confined heart of Panchvati,

The cold damp gufa,
Where sits the almighty shivaling,
Echoes her silent prayers,
Enclosed by 14 years of unfair penance and care,

Yet her genuine heart,
Sees no disguise,
A starving beggar appears,
Mouth full of hungry lies,

She steps out,
Crossing the holy line,
He doesn’t take a second to grab her,
And divine Panchvati loses its shine,

The elastic loosens,
Black locks gather apart,
Her shrill screams haunt the hut,
Remorse fills her heart,

They fly away in his grand chariot,
Ten faces laugh aloud,
Yet the sky cries with her,
Her anger as heavy as the storm cloud,

Panchvati bids goodbye to its queen, 
Lord Rama shouts in agony,
For he failed his promise,
But long gone now is,
Sita, our Goddess.

There may have been several ramas but only one sita.

~Swami Vivekananda