In another wold,I line up the boys I have loved and

tell them, “It was good to know you”. And they say, “It was good to be known,

by you,it was nice being written about.It was nice and warm there,tucked away

in secret among the pages of your journal.”

(In this other world. My journal is a thick black smear. I have blotted out the indistinguishable blur of unhappy there.)

And he calls me beautiful again, but now not by way of consolation,so this time I

smile,I still wear it smeared around my mouth a year or two later when you

come by.So this time we have more time. We have time left over now that the

redundancy of our “stop being sad” is no longer here.

There,I learn to thread together soft silences by something other than tremor.

Not fear,not hurt,not regret. There you hold me and i brush away the hurt from

your eyes the way I always dreamed I would. I reach out with bare arms and

end

with them full of hope. A little of you.

Then I go home and dream away the good part of a summer.I wake to the

warm dreaming still caught on my eyelids but feel no need to blink them off.

This time I say,hi it is nice to meet you and I smile without wondering why. I do

not run but I teach my feet new  patterns all over again. This time my mind does not somersault away to space.

I go back to spreading branches of a sad tree that isn’t sad here and isn’t sad anymore

and I sing myself to sleep when the moon sets.

In this world I love without screaming why without gasping how this time the

men I loved know I did and do not look at me with anything but gratitude,and I

say thank you too.

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Happiness is an elaborate,long drawn out ritual that leaves you feeling drained- a party you spent months arranging for but you hate every one on the guest list,a restaurant with decor that looks on point on your Instagram feed but with really,really sucky food.

Its lack is the strange comfort of the peeling paint on the walls of your room,so you slip back into it like crawling into an unmade bed at night,still in your denims.It is the faded t-shirt you put on after a shower when you are going to be alone at home all day,it is the faint stink of sweat drying on your skin when you’ve been too lazy to shower,too tired to get out of bed at all.

Unhappiness is-not gray exactly-but the faint purple the shadows under your eyes take on when you haven’t been eating or sleeping much of late,it is the dusky rust the scars on your wrist took on at eleven before fading out of existence.

There is nothing glorious or glamorous about it.It is a hastily prepared midnight snack-some fruit jam smeared between two crackers-and gobbled down hastily,leaving a faint trace of guilt but enormous satisfaction.The parts of your life that do not find a place in social media,but are the overwhelming majority of your reality.

It is a power cut on a summer night and the way you become accustomed to the sweltering heat,a few minutes in.It is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle you never solved but haphazardly threw back into their box.It is coming clean to your mother about failing on a math test at seven,the scolding that comes with it and the subsequent unknotting stomach.

It isn’t glorious and sometimes it intensifies into something stronger,something that leaves you awake with a broken down record player of a mind at two in the morning but till then.

Till then it is the comfort of familiarity.It is taking off a pair of heels and facing your inadequacy in the mirror,it is the meet-and-greet with a not too personable truth,it is a deep breath and simply letting go of pretense,of letting yourself be.Just be.

Because this is life and it’s not supposed to be a Drew Barrymore starrer or a Disney movie and you owe no one a goddamn performance.It’s ok to birth a bastard loss in the lining of your skin,it is ok to not hide the sharp edges of your soul.It is ok to feel piercing joy or crushing grief with no explanation in sight.It is ok to stink and shrink and swell and break out in acne.It is ok to eat too much and throw up,or not.To clutter people’s newsfeeds with ramblings like these.
Because this is life.And you are allowed to be.Just be.

shubho nobo borsho!

mango pickled. fish steamed . and banana leaved . body offending. draped pretty.

today we close eyes and wish. happy new year. wish away that wound of a border.

as if we know how to spell c-u-l-t-u-r-e without tongue breaking throat burning with conflict with shame

we will pack away the truth tomorrow. tuck it at some dusty corner of an inherited closet.

but today we will smile and our tongues will rejoice at the memory of tripping out trailing syllables we say no more

we will be bengalis today.just today. just that.

fifteen

1. Because I was still in uniform and the unbearable gray was seeping into my soul.

2. You said things that made me smile when I didn’t smile much.

3. Or maybe I did but I didn’t feel it.

4. You called me beautiful.

5. Then tucked me in and left.

6. I did.

7.I always ascribe the leaving to someone else.

8.I spent a week aching at a distance.

9. It was good practice.Survival skill.

I woke up this morning and my throat was still burning was it whiskey or was it swallowed truths I never got to say because they are always stuck someway between my throat and my mouth I don’t know but I woke up and I was on fire so I got up and washed my wounds in cool water to reify the fiction that they are not there and I smudged the secret shadows below my rotting reeking eyes and I pledged to be okay but today I saw her again the girl who wears my favourite shade of night sky better than I ever will and it sure did hurt but I smiled and I walked on and I didn’t flinch and I walked on and I wept and strangely enough I thank god I lived

seasonal

With the April sun’s glare progressively harshening,summer find its way into my poems and carves out a niche there alongside the relics of winter.My words are strewn with strong perfume,freshly squeezed lime juice and empty ice cream cones.

Summer in Kolkata is anything but glamorous but arranged right on paper-the lengthening days,the bright mornings,the sultry evenings and even the sweat-can look so.

I feel like every new season makes a new person out of me…the peculiar combination of the visual and the sensory,changing with every passing month,has its way of moulding me,working its own unique spell on me.

Last winter’s dull heavy hunger has been replaced by something calmer,yet more rushed,a cry more muffled,more heavily laden by despair.

I am surviving and I can scarcely believe this miracle.I am always dreading the inevitable-this act will fall off,and I will be revealed to be a patchwork of wounds and scars.

But summer with its silken nights and riotous afterglows,seems to hush and care and love,after all,at the end of the day.

Now that it is summer I am no longer startlingly aware of the struggling behind every breath I take,my heart no longer feels too heavy a load to carry around.

It is summer and there is so much mellow and so much harsh everywhere.How can I differ?

memory

The sun hasn’t been quite this scorching in a long time but I have tasted this flavour of still in the air before. The ice cream van is parked at the gate again,a beckoning to bite into crunchy ice memory. It’s April and I still haven’t untangled fall from my hair,I pray it doesn’t slip off,I pray I have cause to ease back into the labyrinth lair of my mind.Till then I let the hot air breathe teardrops against my skin.Till then I am still a dusty criss cross of lonely Thursday evenings and early sunsets.Of smoky dusks and metallic sunless skies. Of cool grey marble,of breezy memory.Still a see-saw heart and a topsy turvy soul.