Parallels

I met this girl a few days ago –

She reminded me of me

Said she’d learnt to sing all on her own,

Grown wings to set herself free

You know that one. . . about how the caged bird sings?

I had almost forgotten that tale

But I keep getting reminded quite often these days

Try to imagine – but to little avail

It’s just that I’ve never really done well with confinement

Caged bird, how sweetly you sing . .

Maybe one day we’ll meet out in the vastness of the sky

Barter stories of shackles – that no longer sting.

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Home Economics

“Wrong side of the tracks”, she’d said –

what now feels like forever ago

I wasn’t in on that particular joke

only recently stumbled on Google to know.

I mean, sure, if you will count my struggling father

pushed into business because he was the only son

And my mother mostly kept confined indoors

I guess what I’m trying to say is – patriarchy won.

By the time I grew up, there was no business to save

Just to make clear, it wouldn’t have passed hands to me anyway

With my parents deceased, although I still had a home

I didn’t find very many reasons to stay

I’ve had my rush-ins with your kind before

mouthing jargon in a foreign tongue

Ashamed to be who you are, pretending to be someone you’re not

Deprivations breed insecurities

I am still unlearning these toxicities

Arriving at who I am – by recognizing who I am not.

Call me “low-born”, go ahead, or really what you will

“Wrong side of the tracks”, perhaps? If it pleases you still…

You won’t find me shedding my skin, in misguided efforts to fit in

You ought to know, I’ve earned every single thing I’ve got.

Note – Written in response to an insult I wasn’t hep enough to comprehend around this time last year. Oh well. You grow and you learn.

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Old Delhi Couplet

I will go to Ghalib’s house, the next time I’m in Delhi

Pay him homage with one of those urchin flowers

That lie fallen – on the sidewalk of the street

I must visit the old poet

One of these moonlit evenings

In the city of lovers, they call it

His spirit still walks along the winding lanes

Or so, some believe.

Featured on The Drabble.

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Homecoming

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No one’s asked me how I am doing in a while
In Bengali, we usually say, “Cholche”
Meaning – And so it goes

I have never really felt at home in my house
Accommodated, but not welcome,
Truth be told, I felt quite alone

The Krishnachura by my
window was felled in the storm
A dump of sand now – where it used to be
I hunt for signs around this house now
I know there are
places, where I hid bits and pieces, of me.

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The Apology Text I Will Not Send.

drunken mishaps           are a souvenir from the past

I can’t seem to let go of

you didn’t want our demons to meet

so you left with yours

leaving me with mine

Unchained

 

This morning I woke up

with a mouthful of regret

I stayed in bed, for most of the day,

and thought how a restraining order

was probably invented for the likes of me

failing at goodbyes so hard

we make a fool of ourselves

 

I wanted to leave you wildflowers

and a Kazuo Ishiguro paperback

with the gateman downstairs

before moving,

Write you a note             that said

“This is farewell – if you want it to be”

I won’t anymore

So I’m leaving you this poem instead

Here’s hoping I don’t end up still,

leaving you those flowers at the gate.

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