Sunday, 24 July 2016

unfamiliarity with my skin baffles me even today
there is a bruise on my toe i just noticed
it’s old and healing and dry
wild hair sprouts from my belly button
it’s long and dark and mad
why does the mirror say i’m still the same?

the pimples of childhood have somehow vanished
there is only aftermath of scratches on my face
time has made me thick skinned, some tell me
you're fat, you're fat, you're fat, they say
is that why the photographs say i’ve changed?

i once took a mirror to the bathroom
an exercise no adult would like to hear
i opened my legs and looked right at my vagina
my labia, my clitoris, my pubic hair
i stared and i stared and i stared
why do i not find a woman there?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

i couldn't help myself. here is my version of on turning ten by billy collins

on turning twenty three

the whole idea of it makes me think
likes it’s just another day, it’s just another number
something like a Monday, any regular day
or a Tuesday in the college attending classes
a Friday night in comfy pajamas
an anxiety-filled Wednesday afternoon
a Sunday evening that gets over too soon

you tell me it is time to be looking forward,
but how do I forget
the infatuations that came at sixteen
and the complex intersectionality introduced by twenty two.
I can crawl back and remember every year
at twelve I was an artist
I could make faces with only a pencil
by concentrating for four hours at a stretch.
at seventeen I was a poet, at twenty one a feminist.

and now I am mostly at the laptop
watching videos and then an article and a reading.
back then it never felt so much
the people who walked by my house
and the illusions of doing good
as it does today,
all the pretentious charity drained out of it.

this is the complexity of living, I say to myself
as I walk, jump, crawl through the universe
it is time to grow old with friends
time to turn another digit to write on all official forms.

it seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light
if you cut everyone, only I would shine.
but now as I see others tumble upon the sidewalks of life
I can see- we all skin our knees. We bleed. And we shine.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

well aren't you lucky, you fools in love
to be so naked in the middle of winter
and yet be the warmest of us all

Monday, 9 May 2016

there is something about a duplex which says
a house can be one and still be divided
everything an effort to be able to reach out
who’s story sits in the corner-most room
the flickering light that will not be fixed
the cobwebs beneath chairs and behind beds
who gets the mattress when two sharing a room fight
who gets the AC, who gets the pillow, and how

there is something about a duplex
and the terror of stairs- from underneath the fear
of a horror movie, a face staring from between the gap,
from the upper floor the coming to life of a
family drama you did not want to watch
there is something about concrete and two floors
that still cannot shield children from the shouts
and cries, everything becomes quieter, the voices
become clearer; the horror of stairs where you sit
listening closely to the swords of words
a battlefield, your childhood the collateral damage
to a burning family; listening closely
to the beating of your own heart

there is something about a duplex
there is something about noises
there is something about stairs
that makes the soul go numb

Sunday, 8 May 2016

the patterns of well-rehearsed fingertips hands remembering rhythms of the body like the beat of a song you’ve heard every day; who said a game for two (or a few) can’t be played by one?

Thursday, 5 May 2016

the witch hunt alone
in all godly hours
she mutter spell under breath
jibber jabber to world
it is she who fell the rain
it is she who drown the land
it is she who travel the air
it is she shake the earth
it is she the wild hair
stay unchained in wind
it is she the laugh
reach ear at night
it is she burn in rising flame
it is she who never die
it is she in café-bar
it is she who get drink
it is she in library behind book
it is she who get the wink
it is she echo in hollow monument
it is she fly in bird wing
it is she who serve food
with little long witchy hand
it is she who give comfort
with jibber jabber spell
it is she whose breast you suckle
it is she whose vagina you lend
it is she whose milk you drink
it is she whose blood you born.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

काश तुम सुंदर होती
दुनिया ना इतनी अंधी होती
दर्द ना इतना भीतर होता
हस्सी ना इतनी खामोश होती
शक़ ना इतना गहरा होता

काश तुम सुंदर होती
रातें ना इतनी तन्हा लगती
चाँद ना इतना फीका लगता
बातें ना इतनी अधूरी लगती
सच ना इतना कड़वा लगता

काश तुम सुंदर होती
कम-से-कम डर ना लगता चेहरो से
भागती ना यूँ आईने से
मुस्कुरा कर कुछ तो बोल ही लेती
गिरते संभलते चल तो लेती
कोई सहारा तो रहता
सुकून के शब्द जो कहता
अब बस यही सोचती रहती हो
काश मैं सुंदर होती

Monday, 21 March 2016

unloving and being unloved

there is a coffee stain (from a previous date) on the heart
a cut that gets bigger and bigger after every wash
there is a memory that refuses to go away
but the details have been taken care of
why lie and say nothing has changed
you no longer fit like you used to
tearing at the corners from my skin
when did I get too much for you?

tuck me in and say goodnight (goodbye)
tuck me in and say goodbye (tell me to grow)
tuck me in, don't say a word
tuck me in and quietly go.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

an ode to tinder

one corner of Mumbai is hot today, another lovely, another stuck in its room
the walls move from off-white to blue, and so many shades of old
jumping back and forth in seconds- from sheer honesty to pretense
i like my whiskey most days of the week, it makes me happy
i read and read and read till my eyes are sore, I’m boring
spot the truth, spot the lie, play hide and seek with words
i do not know the sound of your voice, the crack of your laugh
is their dishonesty in your eyes, comfort in your cheeks?
i do not know, do not tell me, please do not try

one heart feels empty today, another too full, one is missing
the messages move from long to short, to no words at all.

a game of match, unmatch, bye.

Sunday, 28 February 2016



FUCKING DOGS, DIE                

We don’t deserve puppy licks
We don’t deserve wagging tails
We don’t deserve any kind of little
Or lots of love
From any puppy we don’t care of.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

encounters with a menstrual cup

the gorgeous cup
the first time i tried to put a menstrual cup in, i was treading unknown territory. i did not where i was headed, where it should go, how it should feel like. my god, was there even space for that thing to fit it? i held the cup in my hands, unsure if those 800 rupees were well spent or was it just an impulsive purchase that would go waste? i had to google how it would go in, and what my insides look like. 

the first day with a menstrual cup on, i forgot i was menstruating. there was no blood to be found anywhere. my panties were not uncomfortable, there was no blood in my pee, and i did not have to ask my friend to stare at my butt again and again to check for a stain. the day i wore a menstrual cup, i actually had to check if it was still there - could it disappear? 

the first time i tried to take the menstrual cup out, i was sure it was stuck. i had already imagined the humiliation i would have to go through in going to a hospital (or worse, asking a friend for help) in taking this strange thing out. sure, here was proof how 'feminism' was setting me on the wrong path. squatting on the floor, over the pot, any position in the world. google could tell me how to pull it out, i wished google could do it for me too. would i ever use this thing again?

the first time i saw my menstrual blood outside the canvas of a sanitary napkin, i stared at it in awe (and disgust). i saw it again with more awe (and disgust). i stared at it till the disgust was so disgusted, it walked away. 

the first time i touched my menstrual blood as i cleaned away the cup, i cringed and washed it quick. i sat wondering why i cringed. i started cleaning it slower.

the first time i told my friends about the menstrual cup, they told me how disgusting it would be to touch that blood. i have never felt so in sync with my body. they ask me how something this big fits in- my vagina is fucking beautiful and big. just like my (metaphorical) heart.

Friday, 29 January 2016

falling in love with the wrong person

come, walk into my book, a gorgeous fantasy
there are chirpy chirpy birds, and bright bright sunrises
the wind whispers poems in my ears, the trees are
green green, and the flowers smell loud like perfumes
it’s beautiful, isn’t it?
come, look at the gorgeous man, his eyes, his smile
here love is when he’s too shy to look at you
or talk to you in front of his friends
or be seen with you in public
or be caught on the phone with you
when he’s pooping alone at home
here love is when he’s so nervous to talk to you
about anything other than himself
it’s not selfish, it’s love, he sticks to familiar topics
to a life he knows, he doesn’t want to be caught a fool
if hap stance you utter a word he doesn’t understand
he’s a hero, a real one, the kind you can’t find in the real world
but you have to *understand* him, his hurt, his pain
everything that makes him like needles right now
he does not bleed you to hurt
he bleeds you because he can’t help it
come, walk into my book, a gorgeous fantasy
exaggerated streams of a dream date
and picture-perfect first kisses
the love is lovelier than love ever was
the pain more painful than when the book is closed
there is hurt that never lasts too long
and every single day, I give this story a different happy ending

Monday, 25 January 2016

On Masturbation

Dress up tonight in your sexiest outfit, or just stay in those pajamas,
or even better- wear nothing at all; light some candles, or keep all the
tube-lights on – stare at your gorgeous skin- open your
legs wide and run your palm along the forbidden territories of
the body; feel the mold of your breasts, your nipples awaken from
the alarm of the pinch, and your mouth sigh at this casual intimacy;
slip your hands into your underwear, or just take the damn thing off,
rub the length of your finger along your clitoris, feel the thousands of
nerve endings send electricity to your brain; move your fingertips in circular
motions - both fast and slow, close your eyes and blank out the world,
whisper and moan and shout any name you want (or not); feel the speed
increase, the thighs tighten, the increasing pulse, the sound of bursting
heartbeats, and keep your fingers moving till your body breaks into you,
the head spilling with ecstasy for five seconds or ten; stay still, stare at
your tummy as it goes up and down, feel the hair on your body begin to rise
a standing ovation you truly deserve for your performance tonight.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

When Meera died, they dissected her body looking for her soul
Scratched layer after layer of her dead blue skin
Shaved off her hair, took out the eyes
Carefully carved out what was left her smile
The left hand, the right hand, the right leg, the left leg
Sliced and given to each family member to look into carefully
Doctors were called to empty her torso, her soul must’nt get lost in the mush
Of the small and large intestine, the slight smokey lungs
The heart was the most important place, stories called it the soul home
The brain was handled by a neurosurgeon for everything in there creates
What is called the soul; the grandmother walked in and said
It must have hidden in her clothes!
Out rained her closet, all the colors so bright
Duppattas in the air, patialas, and shirts
Sumitra di almost found a sweater that smelled like her
They found her 18th birthday red top, and earrings gifted by a person she truly loved
The tailor-made pair of loose, long pants, and the beloved lehenga worn twice a year
The t-shirt she wore everyday for a week, and her favorite summer shorts
They searched and searched from bra to sock, but the soul just seemed to be lost!
Dad came out with her diary, the sacred private place
She poured herself in this for so long, my Meera must be here
The pages came tumbling out, they had held her world so long
But all paa could find in there were the lyrics of their favorite song
Quotes that Kabir had shared, a conversation she once had with Uma
One entry sounded like Rudra, rough and raw, sensuous and kind
Another had Naina between the words as she went on about the depths of the mind
It held the usefulness of mom’s meditation, the meaning of her favorite word
There was background music produced by Sid, his world inside her world;
A mangled body, scattered clothes, a private diary no more
When Meera died they dissected her life, searching for her soul.

Later that year when Kabir died they dissected his life searching for his soul
What a surprise it was to find Meera as they emptied out his drawer.