Try Again

Psychiatric centres are a madhouse. 

You take a well-sharped knife and bring it close, contemplating how your life is stinking in this hole. Sharp and shiny, the weapon lures you into cutting your wrist, you think to yourself ‘how un-well have I been, lately’! Your neighbour walks in on you, you’re still holding that knife. Thinking of all the reasons, you must take your life. Your neighbour smiles at you, as he takes away your weapon of choice, runs in the corridors playing ‘Thieves and Knives’.

You’re embarrassed you ended up in a place like this, your mother is no more to take up with your suicidal shit. For the millionth time, you run to catch your neighbour- he slips and falls. Hurts his head, bleeds, lying in the hall. He’s unconscious, you call for help- he lies still, dead as a bird. A nurse comes running, puts him on the stretcher. More nurses lift him up and off they go. He isn’t breathing, some retards laugh around. ‘He was a nut job, he was the one demon chose!’

You curl up in your spot, shedding a tear- life’s not fair, you see it clearer. 

Another attempt fails, you will try again another day. ‘He died after some 50 fails,’ on your death, they will say. 

Troubled Paradise

First, your parents make you believe in fairytales by being this ‘perfect’ couple in front of the world. They make dinner to impress each other. Dad brings flowers for Mum, often. 

Somedays, Dad comes home and takes Mom away for a weekend trip. They spend a romantic vacation in Hawaii and come back to their regular lives, with a tan. Amid the birthdays, special dates, fancy dinners, vacations, gifts and showing each other off at office parties and weddings, you grow up to realise that it’s too sugary to be true. 

The notion of ‘perfect’ is quite an imperfect one. Many a times, people screw something good up by idealising the wrong things. The pressure of being perfect can be toxic. You know that. 

You’ d rather have it the hard way than being mislead with an ‘ideal’ notion of a marriage. Your parents’ marriage. You have a gut feeling that this is all one big,  pretty lie.  You grow suspicious. 

Gathering all your courage, you peep into their bedroom. It’s dark inside, they are asleep at different corners of the bed. Doesn’t mean anything! You decide to leave them alone. And forget all about it. Another day passes by, your mind is still at unrest, you decide to become a full-time spy. It’s stupid you tell yourself but end up with a track journal, “you gotta do what you gotta do!” 

They are arguing, but every couple fights; you console yourself. ‘Every relationship goes through ups and downs!’ They will make it work. Don’t overthink! As you turn your back to the door, you hear a THUD! Your heart is racing faster than that Ferrari, during the Ferrari ride in Ferrari world, Dubai. It’s almost as if your fragile heart were to come right out of your food pipe. Yes, feelings don’t make sense most of the times. 

Everything else freezes, there is a pin-drop silence. The air is calmer, it’s the calm before the storm or after it. Birds have stopped chirping, dogs aren’t barking anymore and our pet ‘Feebie’, a Persian cat that Mum’s friend, from office, gifted me on my last birthday has just peed on the carpet. 

Not wishing to face what comes next, you walk away as fast as you can. The fight goes on for hours- a lot of crying, cursing, lamenting fills up the room. Mum and Dad seem to be throwing a lot of things in anger or maybe that’s just Dad! He has had temper issues in the past but no one knew it is this bad. 

The carpet has been stinking ever since, no one is even bothered by it.  

You cannot stop sobbing, your eyes are red and nose, sneezy; you may faint by everything that is having around, but you do not. Sunken in an arm chair like an inflated balloon, you watch your castle of dreams fall down. You’re like a ticking time bomb-  calm on the outside, counting down till an explosion.

“I want a divorce”, Mum shouts she starts packing her things while Dad picks up the glass shattered from the fight. 

Mum’s saying something to you but you aren’t paying attention . Pay attention! Help her pack. If not, at least comfort her by saying something. 

In fury, she leaves the bedroom with 3 heavy suitcases too big for her size. Hardly being able to lift them, she drags them out across the hall with her face covered in tears and smeared mascara. She slams the door behind as she makes her dramatic exit with her braid swinging behind her in full force. 

Don’t just sit there and do nothing! Be there for her and stop her from crying. You get up when you realise this is ‘really’ happening! Unfortunately, you’re late. You run after her car as it moves further away from your ‘troubled paradise’. 

You’re stuck with Dad now. He’s miserable, swearing at everything around him, sometimes at you too, he comes home wasted every single night. He tells you about the ‘Big Fight’ sometimes. He can never forgive himself for the things he said and the way he made her feel. He’s done irreparable damage and he cannot take it back.

You wish it was easier but it never gets easier, you get used to it. The pain normalises. Mum never visits, you go to her new house every weekend and some selected holidays. She probably didn’t want custody! You ruined it, remember? You didn’t fight for her. You let her go. Did she deserve it? 

She probably got hurt that day, there was some blood on the floor. Never speaking of it to another soul, Mum is on her own now. She never comes home to visit you. Remember you did nothing. It’s not your fault entirely, you contemplate.

Your life has become a big ‘Why’. You consult a therapist. Your therapist sympathises with you. You tell the old man things you wouldn’t even tell your own self. In that blue, cold compact room, every Sunday, you feel like you’re being heard.You’re more comfortable talking to a stranger than to your parents, relatives or friends. Life has turned upside down. It will never be a fairytale again.

It’s Thanksgiving, you have to choose who you going to be spending it with. Mom is seeing someone new, he may or may not like you! “You aren’t special”, you tell yourself over and over again. Instead of spending it with your drunken dad, you decide to go to your moms house this time. Reaching moms house, you are taken aback by surprise. She sitting cross-legged with a glass of wine with your dad,  sitting across the table. They are having a turkey. Turkey is supposed to be Dad’s favourite Thanksgiving dish. They seem happy. Or maybe not! You dream excessively much.  Come back to reality.

My Mirror

Reflecting my choices, my gestures my smiles.

Replicating my inhibition my struggles, my inner fights. 

Stating the truth, my joys and cries.

Invoking confidence within, starting fires.

I look at him with love 

I look at him with hate 

He is not human, 

Or he could be a handsome date. 

Shiny and sharp- comes in all kinds of shapes.

My mirror is dear to me, in a hundred ways. 

My mirror comes clean to me, with just a wipe on his face. 

He is the vessel I use, for trapping my desires.

My mirror is faithful, unlike you he isn’t a conniving liar! 

Love is the answer

When I was a teenager, my cousin gifted me “Anne Frank- The Diary of a young girl” as a gift on my birthday. Reading about what she went through, my life seemed so superficial. While she was hiding away in another part of the world in that age, I was secretly meeting my first boyfriend for a date. She was captured and taken to concentration camp for just being born, while the maximum punishment I ever got was that my cellphone was taken away for a couple of days. I felt privileged and guilty. I wanted to help. But one cannot go back in the past to make things better for another. So, I buried my guilt deep inside and promised myself that I’d never let anyone suffer for the way or the religion they are born into. Turns out one person cannot change the world either. I see people being unjust, torturing the weak or the minorities around. Especially during this pandemic, Muslims in my country were made to feel like they didn’t belong. They didn’t deserve this land. These people do not get that religion does not make us, humanity and compassion does.

Watching a documentary on Anne Frank’s diary and parallel stories recently, I got thinking to myself again ‘how could the Jews survive it, knowing death was coming.’ Death was at every single step, every nook and corner of their streets. Knowing that even as children, they couldn’t think about freedom- about becoming something, achieving things in life and traveling. But they still dreamt! They never lost hope and kept waiting for their freedom. Amidst torture, punishments and an attempt to the extinction of their race and identity, a lot of young children lost their lives- but some survived.  Their hope survived! Such a beautiful thing ‘hope’ is: comes to you in the most difficult of times. There are memorials all across Europe, for those who were lost. It was the biggest Holocaust in the history. Some bodies were buried in common graves and were never found by their family and friends.

Can someone continue their normal lives, after going through such a tragedy! They have done this. They have lived and survived as a race. Does their trauma not get passed on to their children ? It does. Do they live happy and successful lives? Not all can, but they have tried! Can the world ever get over the fact that mankind can be so cruel? No, it cannot.

Only compassion can save us from ourselves. Only love is the answer. I don’t remember the question.

My castle of books

Beautiful play-grounds, greenery all around, castles and bags full of hope for the future. My school was no-less than Hogwarts! Maybe, it’s just me! But I loved every nook and corner of my campus, as a child. I still do.

Amongst many wonderful things, my school had a huge library where thoughts could run free. I didn’t need a vacation or friends to make me feel special. I had the library! At the age of twelve or so, books felt like magic to me.

Every week we could issue one book per student. I would request my fellow classmates to give me their library cards so I could issue more books in their name. (Now I can tell this to the world, but back then I couldn’t dare! I could get in so such trouble if my teachers got to know!) I would finish one book in about two days, most of the times. And then, go back to issuing more!

Books have been my escape, ever since. Whenever I had no one to talk to, or was upset these books would carry me away. They’d carry me away to a place so high that I couldn’t hear a thing anyone said or could question why.

Today, when the dark days come and try to scare me away, I have enough pixie dust from that castle to make them go away. My treasure chest is full of jewels and precious ornaments- Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Blyton, and classics that can never last. And writers like Elif, Hossaini, King, Atwood who take the world by surprise, in today’s world.

I truly feel blessed to have these castles of dreams that go where I go, keep me safe from the outer world and make my life interesting. No, I do not have multiple personality disorder. I just live several lives with each of these characters from my favourite books. It may sound crazy, sure! But would you not want to live in those books too?

Poetry

She comes and washes away my

fears like waves hitting the shore,

touching my feet gently!

Wiping away particles of sand,

every time a little bit more.

She asks me why my mind is

at a never-ending war!

Why I wander around

not knowing what

I am looking for.

Poetry wants to free me of my

insecurities, inhibitions

and those old-fashioned traditions.

But I am too rigid to change-

so I ask poetry politely to leave me

like she found me.

But I am never the same.

-udbhavi

In love

Deeply in love he returned,

to her each day.

For she was the only,

who could make him stay.

Take him far away from the

filth in this world.

Make him feel he did not *need*

validation from another girl.

To make him feel enough,

confident and satisfied.

To make him believe

he had a future, very bright!

She was his teacher,

his guardian angel,

his best friend!

Never left his side

like a true friend till the end.

She was the protagonist,

from his favorite book.

It didn’t matter how she looked!

 

For someone has rightly said-

a book will never leave your side!

He fell for this character,

there was nothing to hide.

-udbhavi

Destination unknown

Driving on those curvy roads 

with a destination unknown 

Alone with my backpack

Having come so far

away from home,

Venturing into the wild unexplored

Beautiful rivers, water falls, forest core zones

And mountains out of bounds 

Untouched by tourists and their drones 

Where humanity makes love to nature

Air, water and sky mourns

Or co-exists together

And greatness is born. 

There is peace in exploring new places-

Not many may understand!

What it is to have a drink or two in a foreign land.

Waking up before dawn to watch sunrise-

Dive deep in the sea or play with dunes of sand.

Travelling to these places is what makes me feel alive 

Taste different foods, 

live a different life.

I know it’s a dream many dream

and I know I naive 

I am not on drugs honey,

but I can’t let go of this high.

– udbhavi

True love

I cannot keep writing poems

for a love that smelled

liked mix fruit jam

but tasted sour!

I cannot keep giving a damn

and wasting away my precious hours

when his love was a cactus

instead of a bunch of flowers!

I cannot keep remembering his birthdays,

those precious special dates!

And how devilishly handsome he looked in those shades.

For it pains me to remember it all.

You should rise in love, and not fall.

I tell myself

again and again

that he cheated- it makes me feel sane.

But he did not!

My love hangs like a shirt freshly ironed for a no work day.

All efforts in vain!

And he got no shame,

in posting pictures with the bitch

who is mad in love,

ready is to be tamed!

She doesn’t know

what has she got into.

It’s a bloodbath,

He is a psychopath!

True love-

my dear, is something

you’ll wish you never had!

-udbhavi

It was her fault

Blood was all over the place,
She was mourning with pain
The bastard could’ve make her suffer in a million ways
But this was the worst of them all they say.

Cut her breasts apart
Engraved his name on her thigh
He had no heart
No questions asked- why
Oh it would be better
if she just died.
If she died.

No place to hide
Justice denied.
Maybe she can’t make it another day
Maybe there is no other way
Maybe it’s a goodbye
It’s no big deal right, hundreds suffer
Hundreds cry.
Maybe it’s her final goodbye.

Her studies, her merits go to drain
Burns of cigarettes and blood stains
Driving her crazy, making her go insane
Oh darling- never go alone in those shady lanes

Wondering about it all
It was all her fault
She should’ve just
answered his call
Shouldn’t have rebelled
against her assault
Of-course, she wanted to go
down this path
Get raped, cut and beaten by that psychopath.

Of-course, it was her fault.
Of-course. it was her fault.

-udi