Masks

Depression. A word used often, but not always as it should be. People say, “I am depressed.” They sometimes confuse it with being sad. Depression is a disease. A disease that effects every 1 out of 4 people. A disease that should be spoken about, heard, redressed. Let’s talk, trust and carry the message forward.
This piece is a poem within a poem. One thousand seventy three words, and I still think I didn’t do justice to it. I hope, this helps someone somewhere. Also, if you feel anything like this talk to someone. Talk to me, if you want. Get help. You will be fine 🙂
Here it goes.

I am a mother
I saw my daughter in a shroud.

It was just yesterday,
When I held her;
And the midget was crying,
Life filling her with every breath.

And today
She just lies there, denying to stir.

I cry out loud,
Cry her name,
Piercing the silence of the humming crowd.
I hold her like I held her for the first time.
But; she denies to stir.

It was just yesterday when
She took her first step towards me.
And another and another.
I stood there with arms wide open to catch her
If she falls.

And today,
She just lies there, denying to stir.

‘Tis was the autumn of the year 2002.
She rode a bike for the first time.
She laughed as she sped down the road, a laugh
So beautiful! Oh the autumn seemed to blossom out.

And today
She lies there, denying to stir.

“Maa..
Can I..?
Should I…?
Shall I…?
Would you…?
Could you..?
Can you…?

I..I think I said NO to half of those requests
Or probably more.
Is that where I was wrong?
Should I have said a YES to them all?
Cause may be, just may be
She would stir.
I remember when she was in 3rd grade.
Her best friend fought with her.
She cried,
Clutching on to me for
3 hours 22 minutes 13 seconds.
And I held on to her.

Why didn’t she cry this time?
Why didn’t she come running to me?
I would have caught her.
I wouldn’t have let her fall.

But she didn’t.
And just lay there, denying to stir.

The other day, I saw some videos,
Videos on the World Wide Web.
Videos that might have answers
Answers as to where did I go wrong.
It said:
“The following are the signs of depression –
Appetite change, long periods of hopelessness,
Social withdrawal, concentration problems..”

Oh! That one time she didn’t attend the neighbor’s wedding!
Was that a sign?

Or that time when her grades slipped for a month.
I remember chiding her; was that a sign?

Or when she stopped having pizzas!
I stood there, thumping her on her back
To have finally listened to me; was that a sign?

She did come to me once.
She said, she sometimes didn’t feel.
I slighted it to be one of those times
I feel aloof.
Ignored it, to be a teenage whim.
“It shall pass”, I said.
“It’s just a phase.”

Is that why she denies to stir?

Or was it because I was less of a friend and
More of a mother.
The video said, I should have talked.
Words would have helped.
Words, the never ending plethora of sounds
Imbibed with meanings
By us.
Could that be a mistake?

“Give me my space mom.
I’ll tell you if I feel like.”
I gave her, her space.
I should have pressed on
Shouldn’t have given up on our daughter
Who lies there, denying to stir.

And thence,
I played and replayed every memory
I could grasp, trying
Trying to solve the puzzle my daughter had become.
Trying to find my fault,
Right from the first cry till the last breath.

27 days 14 hours 32 minutes later,
I chanced upon a journal
And these were the last pages:

I sit.
Clothed.
Writing.
Talking, smiling a smile that never reaches my eyes.

You see,
I weigh one hundred sixty six pounds.
I am an acne clad, love tires armored
Lone battalion.

Couple of centimeters below the
Average Indian height.
Foot size – US size 9;
I could easily pass for a hobbit.

Short, overweight, myopic.
Just above average in everything.

Getting these (teeth) aligned
Required four extractions and
Metal wires strung for another four years.
Marred at places, broken too.
Striving every day,
Every day to be acceptable.

Pitted,
Torn.
Bit I denied to break.

My feeds on Instagram and Tumblr
Filled with scores of people.
People with perfection.
Tall smart hot rich beautiful witty.
And there sat a girl
Holding on to the phone
Just above average, denying to break.

Fifteen years of outstanding performance,
Reduced and shattered to mediocrity.
Some scoops of peer pressure,
A dollop of ‘society ka burden’.
Expectation.
Pitted.
Torn.
Yet, I denied to break.

Anxiety,
Raging like a storm, harbinger
Of sleepless nights.
Breakups, hair fall, a broken arm.
But I denied to break.

You see, I had ignited a fire within me.
And all I needed was a unicorn to sweep me off my feet.
And thus, I lived on a life,
Of Paradoxical sonnet.

But unicorns don’t exists.

Three rotis became one.
Social gathering, a headache.
Sunny days turned pensive.
I was draped on the outside
With yards of skin and layers of clothes,
Adorning a perfect mask
Of nonchalance.

But what about the inside
The part that lay bare, naked.
Naked; to be trampled.
Naked; to be whipped.
Naked; to be touched, stabbed once twice,
A hundred times?
“Get a grip of yourself.
Take deep breathes.
Count forward, count backward – 1.. 2.. 3..”

There were nights in my room
Days in the bathroom; lights on, lights off- it didn’t matter.
And I cried.
Cried behind doors, cried myself to sleep.
Sleep that stopped coming.

My BMI screaked at me to stop!
I couldn’t.

Friends became people.
People became crowd.
Crowd became beings with two arms and two legs.

Moving a foot felt like moving boulders.
I didn’t know what was happening to me!

Maa told me to talk.
But words;
They failed.
Failed to express, failed to know,
Failed to come out of the bourgeois.
Failed to form, failed to articulate.
Letters became mere arrays of – A B G P X Y Z.
No switched to turn off, no anchors
To hold on to.

Till,
I had no choice but to silence
The disarrayed words, figures, body, mind
Heart and soul.

Thus, I write one last time.
The last time ink shall ever leave
The tips of my nib.
The last time I shall ever
Struggle to breathe.

Let me sleep.
Good night.

I sat there holding on to it.
Stunned and lamented.
Lamented for reasons I didn’t understand; but would have.
Lamented for reasons I couldn’t wrap my head around; but would have.
Reasons, I knew I would have solved
If only, if only she would have
Let me catch her
Before she fell.

I sat,
Holding on to the non-existing body
That denied to stir.

 

(29.04.2017)

The Train for Mundane

I sit by the window sill.
The world passes by,
Not stumbling once.
It’s as if it was born to
Walk and talk and never stop.
The cooing of the birds
Silenced by the never ending blare
Of the passers-by.

Rumbling along the crevices
Of the city untold
Undeterred, stopped by a red light or two.
The train continues its course.
A woman smiles looking at her son,
A man hastily picks up his phone.
I sit and watch it all unfurl
On my 7:01 to Luxembourg.

My day goes down
Like a mundane show
That is played with a hope to have
A visitor someday.
A life of utter brown and dull
Is what I live every day.
But I wait for my way back on the train
To look at the world alive.

Unseen in the never ending crowd
Of suited men and masked faces
I trudge back and wait for my train.
Stuck and beaten
By the things around
All I house is disdain.
My train to Luxembourg and home
Is my only track to reign.

Chimera

“Top your class Beta. Why did you score less than XYZ?”
“Put in your cent percent and ace 12th grade; your life is set.”
“Get good pointers in college, will you? Companies won’t recruit you.
Do your PG and you will get an amazing job.”
Get married, have kids and settle down now.
Welcome to the world
of worrying about them topping, acing, getting a job
and settling in life – And the pattern goes on.

STOP.
Before it’s too late. They are talking about paper wings and castles
of sand.

I got a pair of paper wings that
Will take me to Brobdingnagian heights.
They have speckles of gold over blotches of rainbow.
Oh! Such a beautiful sight.

‘Fly my girl! To the mountains.
Move boulders with all your might.
Then come to rest in the Shore Castle
And have a beautiful night.’

Patience and perseverance
Clouded my mind.
The shroud of happy times kept me
Awake all night.

Today was the day when I shall finally give
Wings to my dreams that I
Saw perpetually every night.
I wore them with pride
And carried a small smile.
Nor rain nor hail could falter
My vow to rise.

Grey clouds announced their approach.
They lurked their way through
And caged the sun from all sides.
Rain and wind gashed the earth
Quavering my stout resolve.

I looked hopefully at
My harnessed wings.
Alas! The colours were oozing their way
Towards the brown terrain.
They were nothing but a pair of muck
That mocked me.

I tore them away from my body.
It wasn’t the cold but
The Hope
Which crumbled before my eyes
That made me tremble.

‘It’s ok.
Get yourself together. I still have the
Shore Castle waiting for me
To have a beautiful night.’

I reached the shore.
The sea was high and uncouth,
Lashing the shores with
All it’s puissance.

I searched frantically for the Shore Castle.
They had promised
It shall shelter me from rage and snow
That danced
Among the mortals and bones.

I tripped and fell
Face down on the shore.
Salt and grit hit me hard;
Supervened by the ugly truth.

They lied to me and fed me
With desires, hopes and delusions.
‘You are doing all this for a beautiful tomorrow.
Envisage a happy face.’
It took me apart – One pearl at a time
From the necklace I had woven every day and every night.

They gave me wings
To fly to soaring heights.
And built castles made of sand and bright.
I didn’t know that wings of paper
Would decimate when I try
To let my dreams fly.
Nor did I realize that
Castles of sand shall disappear
When the Sea will rise
To erase the prints of yesternight.


 

Battling Minds – a melancholic strain

FUNDAMENTAL (3)

During the last three years in Rachana (School) I kind of discovered my passion to write. Also these were the years when we were introduced to the works of Shakespeare and Frost. It introduced me to myriad of new words wanting me to use them all in my poems. So here goes one such attempt in standard 10th in the memory of my first pet, a turtle called Gicoo.

 

Thunderstorms blew with full might,
Breaking the silence of the night.
The sea was scowling and shrieking,
The waves were raging white.

The shore had grown fatal.
The sky stood raging dark.
The wind grew wilder and wilder,
And the night turned drearier and dreairer.

The anguish in my heart was unbearable,
The bond was completely unbreakable,
I stood on the sandy shore,
With tears streaming down my eyes.

My heart wept like the drizzle,
My knees touched the shore,
The loss was forever,
And the gone would never come back.

I trampled over the sandy shore,
The sore in my heart prevailed.
I was dismayed by the incident,
Which left me grieving and bereft.

What hurt, was that winsome face;
Those beautiful serene eyes.
Which were now, nothing
But a dissipating memory.
What remained was a lonely heart,
The lamented in agony and distress.

Those memories flowed back to me,
Those happy moments at the glen,
Those sweet moments together,
Left me bemoaning in solitude.

The dawn broke and the sun rose,
The birds chirped with zeal,
The sky stood blue and divine,
The sea was vast and calm.

I curbed my agony and solitude,
Fought the feeling of dissolution,
Conquered my bereft heart, and
Wiped away those tears.

With the first blessing of the sun,
And the first swish of the breeze,
I began my life anew and afresh,
With ecstasy, enrapture and enthrall.

 

Seele

She looked proud and pretty.
But have you trodden her soul?
Some places are scratched,
Others have healed.
Most of it , though
Is empty.
The hollowness that looks
So charming, pure and tempting
Shall be filled
By Tomorrow.
A Tomorrow that offers
Everything ; yet nothing.
Her journeys will
Etch the words
And carve the stones that
Lay bare in
The Garden of Life.

Be like the sea.Don't let trivial deeds mar your shore.

lonely.

 

Have you ever been lonely?
I am sure you all have.
You feel abandoned; worthless; despondent.
It’s like a never ending abyss.
It creeps into the deepest
And the purest part of you
And drains you completely.
You feel helpless and
Utterly disappointed.
You don’t know if you want to
Blame yourself
Or your neighbour.
Or the world, for that matter.
They all say that they will be there.
Sacred pinky promises were made.
Vows of brotherhood taken.
In good times and bad,
Just give me a call
And ill be there, they said.
They, who?
Everyone.

One day,
The most awkward,
Out of the world situation
Arrives at your doorstep.
And you are pulled into the shambles.
It’s like a chain.
An eldritch one too.
The harder you try to get away,
The tighter it holds on to you.
All you can think of is one thing – Who will take me out of this?

You think of calling someone
Someone you suppose is the closest.
Who shall
Be what may get you out of this
Uncanny predicament.

You call him(or her).

He may come to rescue you, for good.
An act of kindness with(out?) expectations.
Expectations that
You will be there for him.
A debt that you shall be weighed upon,
Which you shall have to remember
Your entire life.

Or he may not come.

And the shambles you see, doubles if he denies.
All the tears and memories with that person
Crumble into the already
Crumbled world.

You lose the tiny hope you have
Of getting away from
The sickening feeling that
Has now enticed every
Molecule in your body.
And you go deeper into the quick sand.

The grip tightens and
You start to choke.
All you have
Are a few breaths to count before
Oblivion merges with you.

You have to stay aloof.
You have to find
That glimmer of hope
To survive.
Not for anybody
Or anything.
For you.

You fight all the shenanigans
That have clouded your mind for so long.
It’s only you who can
Flush it out of your system.
Only you can unshackle the bounds
That have bound you
Time and again
And forced you to question
The rules that
You have been told about
All your life.

They all said they will be there.
And then there were none.

specials

Life will present us with so many instances where we have to run solo. And mind you, you will always expect company. Don’t. And sometimes a situation arrives where you are in a mess that seems impossible to get out of. My advice? Do not depend on anybody. Take it up as a challenge and get out of it. The satisfaction you get out of it is amazingly insoluble. And you don’t owe anything to anybody.