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,
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,
because at the end of the day, a relationship needs a lot more than just love to last.
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.
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?
false hope is better than the pain of loss.
she chuckles, as if embarrassed,
but i hope he’s doing alright.
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,
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.
“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,
it lies in us too.”
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,
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,
here’s to our loved ones,
wherever they may be.
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,
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,
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,
and all those endangered are gone,
manages to go on.