Strawberries on the Side

She came home after work one day

And decided that something was a little bit ‘off’

with her (metaphorical) heart-

because everyone knows, the heart has nothing to do with it really-

except for occasionally when you feel a tightness in your chest,

and even then it’s really the brain playing tricks on you

(sneaky brain).

She stared at herself in the mirror,

frowned,

and bit her lip.

She took her largest pair of scissors – the yellow ones with the chip on one side-

and cut her heart neatly out, with a trail of nerves and arteries dangling from it.

It was seeping crimson all over her brown rug

(It was her favourite rug).

She lay down some newspapers on the floor with care, to soak it all up

(she was a very tidy person).

She held it flat on the palm of her hand and surveyed it critically for a while.

It was warm, and flushed, and it dripped red down her fingers,

Creating a brown crisp covering in places.

She shook her head, and let out a deep breath,

An exasperated click of her teeth, and then she set efficiently to work.

She took that heart and she tossed it in the washer

(Luckily she had some loose change lying around- the machine was known for its exactitude)

She chopped some haricots, and carrots, and put them in to boil with the rice.

She also cleared up the newspapers and scrubbed the dried spots off the floor

(she was nothing, if not efficient).

Thirty minutes later, she retrieved the heart.

It was sopping wet, but a lot of the vessels had come loose, she noted with satisfaction.

She neatly snipped away the rest.

The heart looked almost translucent now.

She turned it over and inspected it for damage.

There wasn’t much- just one smallish hole

(and of course the gaping ones that had connected to the vessels).

She wrung the heart, squeezing out all the excess fluid.

She fancied she saw silvery things fall into the sink as she did this-

Spontaneity, warmth, vulnerability, affection-

but she hadn’t been sleeping very much these days.

She turned it over in her hands and noticed that it looked skinny-

what is a skinny heart, anyway?

She smiled to herself, and hung it out on the balcony.

A crow flew by and pecked at the hole.

It cocked its head to one side suspiciously, didn’t seem to deem it edible, and flew away.

She went off to take a shower, and got distracted by a phone call.

An extremely satisfying thirty minutes passed by, cursing the new girl at work, and the deadlines piling up.

She hung up, and suddenly remembered the heart.

It was dark outside, by now.

She retrieved the cold thing, and placed it on the dresser, while she laid the table for dinner.

Once she was done, she came back and looked at herself.

She did up her hair, fastening the tendrils in place with bobby pins.

She rummaged for the face she’d tossed carelessly aside a while ago

(She hadn’t thought she’d need it again).

It was lying in an open carton by the balcony door amongst old birthday cards, raffia and cobwebs.

She dusted it clean, and pasted it back on, taking care not to catch her hair on the tape.

It looked beautiful and mysterious, and gleamed in the yellow light.

She looked at the heart- it seemed smaller somehow-

Like a deflated balloon.

When he came home, rolled up his sleeves, and sat down to dinner,

She chattered on about the funny thing that happened at work that day,

and that movie they had to see sometime soon.

For desert, she said she had something special.

She served him her low maintenance heart on a small white plate,

with fresh strawberries on the side.

He ate it while reading the paper,

with a strong coffee- black.

After he’d finished, he smiled and pushed the plate away.

“Delicious”, he said.

So what do you …

So what do you do when you’ve grown up watching two people who came together after ten years of companionship, and camaraderie and romance, who came together finally- in the face of much opposition- in marriage? When you watched these people slowly fall apart over the years, first like slipping off a cliff, so surreal that you can’t believe that it’s happening, and then in slow motion, and then quick, all of a sudden, freefalling, and then a plateau of dullness. Two people suddenly realizing with dismay, how horribly irreconcilably different they really are. Realizing that you don’t really know someone till you live with them, and have to live with them and their quirks, and fancies, and their adorable absentmindedness day in and day out. You have to take the short temper, and the conventionality, and sink its roots down somewhere tangled up with the frivolousness and nature-loving.

What you do is this: In your own relationships with men, in relationships that appear to be terrifyingly real, you throw your worst self at them. Here, you retort, take my crazy, and my ugly, and my batshit insane and deal with it! When they do, you’re surprised, but not convinced. So you let go even more and let yourself unravel on them. You deliberately air out your morbidity, and your anxiety and the panic attacks, and cling on to them for air, drawing in deep lungfuls. You expect them to recoil, to want space, to slay you with a shrug of indifference. When they don’t, you’re a little bemused. Still you wait. Sooner or later, you’ll push it too far, and they’ll leave you. It’ll suck, and you’ll hurt and bleed, because this is the real-est it’s ever gotten, but deep down, you’ll be vindicated. You were expecting it, of course. You knew. 

So you don’t make the common mistake that most people do in new relationships. You aren’t on your best behaviour, and you don’t pretend to like sports. You don’t faff around like you usually do when you’re trying to impress people and seem cool. You confess to not remembering much of ‘Pulp Fiction’, and express the desire to rewatch it, soon. You confess your feelings of inadequacy and struggle against the fact that you’re hopelessly besotted. You use the word “besotted” in front of them, about them, and feel them smile from halfway across the world. The good things about you slip out unconsciously, like you can’t control them, or restrain yourself. The texts in the middle of an evening (yours) saying “I love you, I love you, I love you. I’m so lucky we met”- that he will wake up to in the morning. The spontaneous squishing of someone that you cannot believe you want to squish, and are allowed to squish. The semi-sexy emails in the middle of the day. The actually worrying about a person, and buying them fruit and making a detour to their place to make sure they’re still breathing. These are the things that pour out of you- words that you cannot stuff back into your mouth, thoughts that translate into sentences before you have time to think, that terribly foolish thing where you include them in your plans for a year later. The good things are unplanned, but your ugly you will fling at them continuously.

“When will you show me?”, he asks one day when you’re talking about a piece you wrote about him. “When I’m convinced you’re not running away”, you say. “I’m not running away, babe.”

You don’t believe him entirely. Yet.

It is extremely…

It is extremely wearisome having an addictive personality. There is no balance- either I’m depressed or I’m euphoric. There is no middle path- I would be the worst Buddhist in the world. It’s the same with things and people. I love something, someone and I obsess over it, and fixate, and have em on loop in my brain until finally I wear myself out and get bored. It’s exhausting. And I end up sick and tired of people for no fault of their own. It’s a twisted cycle, this. And horribly unproductive. I’ve GOT to figure out a way to stop.

The xx

Please don’t say we’re done
When I’m not finished
I could give so much more
Make you feel, like never before
Welcome, they said welcome to the floor

It’s been a while
And you’ve found someone better
But I’ve been waiting too long to give this up
The more I see, I understand
But sometimes, I still need you

Sometimes, I still need you

And I was struggling to get in
Left waiting outside your door
I was sure
You’d give me more

No need to come to me
When I can make it all the way to you
You made it clear
You weren’t near
Near enough for me

Heart skipped a beat
And when I caught it you were out of reach
But I’m sure, I’m sure
You’ve heard it before

This is not a love letter 2.0

Things that will remind me of you:

  1. Long Facebook conversations and Facebook in general. 8tracks. 9gag. pinterest.
  2. The Men’s clothing section anywhere. Pantaloons.
  3. Words: grim and solemn, frustu, fonzie, kissyface, tongle
  4. Beer >.< (ohdeargod)
  5. Bananas. Not in that way
  6. The blues
  7. Tom Waits, Joe Bonamassa, Feist, The Grateful Dead
  8. Pine Moon, Sweet Thing, The Boogie Man Song, I Wanna Do Bad Things To You, I Want You, Hold On, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, Evergreen Tree, that happy-sounding depressing song, Lover, Bloom
  9. KFC, Starmark- South City
  10. Steinbeck, American Psycho, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Black Book, Mohsin Hamid, The Sandman comics
  11. Book lights
  12. Bearded men. (Not bearded women. That would be strange, and hard to come across)
  13. Publishing houses
  14. Bachhan’s dhaba, Balwant Singh’s dhaba and doodh cola (The last isn’t something I will miss. At all)
  15. The vestibule in metros.
  16. Oxford bookstore
  17. Summer
  18. Durgapur (heh heh and frustration)
  19. Hobos. Yes really. Facepalm.
  20. Zen, chilled out people, stoners *shakes head in frustration*
  21. Hungary. Schenectady! Calcutta.
  22. Golf Green
  23. The smell of smoke
  24. My room in my upstairs-flat, my room in my downstairs-flat, Rupsha’s balcony (ohshit Rupsha’s place in general), Sattam’s place, Arunava’s place.
  25. Action. Haha. Sex-ed.
  26. Pork fat. *shudders*
  27. Ebola. HIV. Kaala azar. Filaria (haha quite disgusting this is turning out to be)
  28. School of Tropical Medicine, SCTR
  29. The JU backstairs, CL Ledge
  30. Picadilly, waffles, pancakes, Maidan, Metro cinema near Esplanade
  31. Rango. (Hah hah)
  32. Electricians called Mawna 😀
  33. The =* smiley. Also the tranny smiley but ohwell. And the smug blowjob face smiley.
  34. Blue jeans. Dirty jeans.
  35. My Jimi Hendrix slippers that are two sizes too big
  36. Goa.
  37. Someday by The Beatles. But that is more out of panic from the mater calling at inopportune moments
  38. Port Wine.
  39. The period belt, Daler Mehendi, Balle Balle Boyz (whatthefuck.)
  40. My own body (and now this is just unfair, damn you)
  41. Very skinny people.
  42. Weed. Cigarettes. Clearly you’re a great influence.
  43. Taaja’s. Old songs from the 1920’s.
  44. Incessant texting
  45. Keep Calm and Murder Everyone. (very sound life advice, this)
  46. Ohwell.
  47. Squishing
  48. Albacoon
  49. Ha’pant aar chhera ganji
  50. Cartoon songs

Most things it seems will remind me of you, for some time to come.

This is not a Love-Letter

So I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we just make up our own language and fill it up with words that no one else knows, words that came into existence as we spoke? Let’s just create these things, because the thought of it is exhilarating to me.You are exhilarating to me. You are a beautiful thing, filling up my brain, taking up residence in all these cracks and crevices so that you leave me hardly any room to think of anything else. 

Beautiful. That’s not a word I use too much for people. You are a beautiful feeling- that moment when my breath catches in my throat for a brief second, when my heart does a back flip, only I accidentally call it a flip-flop because I’m too incoherent to even know what I’m saying anymore- it’s fleeting and forever all at the same time. It’s terrifying. 

Beautiful. You are beautiful. I overuse this word for things I love- for prose and poetry and Neruda and places and food. But not for boys, no, never, how could a boy- a real live one not made of celluloid screens- be beautiful, y’know? But you are. It’s not just your face, or that one mole you have on your shoulder below your left collarbone. It’s not the way that your too-tall skinny frame fits perfectly into mine when we’re lying side by side. It’s not those stupid sudden endearing things you do like the way you kiss my nose, or that jolt I feel when I look up at you and realize that I want you. I look at you up close, our noses almost touching, and I’m floored. 

It’s a feeling in the gut of your stomach, y’know? Almost a queasy one because you realize you’re in trouble, but you can’t- don’t want to stop. It’s the one that has been making me increasingly soppy and sappy and gooey-eyed with accelerating speed.

You are my summer. You’re the hard sunshine making me blink in the sudden light, you’re the cool comfort in the air when it rains. You are this insane whirlwind of colour, this really chill tangled mess that I want to run away to places with, metaphorically speaking, literally speaking. 

You are here now. With me.