2 AM ACHE

It’s a 2 am ache,

Rising sharp at 5 pm,

Like every hour before it,

Like every hour after.

 

In the in-between minutes,

There are heartbeats,

Mingling and distracting

From this punctual vacuum.

 

I swear I deleted your face,

I don’t remember your name,

I can’t recall your smile,

Or your scent or taste.

 

I’ve removed your words,

The brand of your touch,

You don’t laugh in memories,

Because you don’t exist anymore.

 

You never were, never will be,

It was the easiest thing to do,

After a while of being the toughest,

Reached last but finished my race.

 

But then…

There’s the 2 am ache,

An SOS no other radio can receive,

Emitted and caught by atoms in my bones,

On a special kind of stupid loop,

It’s feedback without melodic genius:

This special, non-hummable 2 am ache.

From The Girl Who Couldn’t Love You Back

Last night, I wanted to tell you that if you ask ‘others’, what does 1 + 1 equal? The answer will be 2. No one will say 3 or 4 or 100014.5. Because no one sees the invisible spaces between the 1 and the + and the 1 again. Those invisible spaces, my ex-best friend, are where you and I reside. Correction, since your call last night, used to reside. So your other friends shall advise you like the objective, rational people they are. They’ll advise you like they would on which mutual fund to invest in, or what restaurant to take your parents out to dine in, or which firm to join. They’ll advise you, not knowing you like I do, not knowing me like you do. Not knowing anything about us worth knowing. And you’d listen, because that’s what you want to do, not because they are saying it.

I wanted to say all of this and so much more to you last night. But my voice was steady, hard even. I heard my words fluid and calm like the practiced movement of a surgeon lifting a scalpel to cut a deep incision in the body of our friendship. To my surprise, there was no blood. The bleeding bit was done. But the hurting bit wasn’t. I tossed and turned, and when sleep finally found me I dreamt broken dreams, my subconscious mind in as much disarray as my conscious mind.

I have never seen love as a bad thing, even when it hurt, which it does so much of the time. But for the first time I saw the curse of unrequited love. You fell in love with me. And I couldn’t love you back the same way. I wanted to, I tried to. But I couldn’t. And that is no one’s fault is it? But punishments are seldom dealt fairly. You told me that you couldn’t see me as a friend, that you’d never see me as a friend. That you love me too much, and that you’ll always love me and so…we can’t talk anymore. Ever. I wondered if you’d talk in terms of a year, or two, maybe three, but no. You tossed in forever so casually, expecting me to catch the word with just as much ease.

I tried to tell you to call me when you meet a girl and fall in love again. You refused. I understand that your emotions don’t allow you to see beyond a few feet into the future. But how can 26 years of living on planet Earth have not taught you that nothing is forever? Neither our promises, nor our loves, nor our bodies. You loving me forever is the most naïve declaration in the grand scheme of things. We inhabit an oval rock that floats listlessly, repetitively in pitch black nothingness. Its doom, like ours, inevitable.

But coming back to our ant existence, you’re hurting now, and that’s because of me. Of course you’ll say it isn’t my fault that I don’t feel the same way. I know that too. But when you tell me you, the boy who never cries, cried because of this, all I think about is how your life would’ve been if you’d never met me. Like an alternate universe where we decided not to overcome our initial dislike of one another. Would you have been happier? Would I have been happier? Crazy, futile questions buzz around my head, and answers have long turned into myths written in a cryptic language in a place far, far away. I hate the fact that I am It. The reason for your pain. That is not what I wanted to be for you. In a world out to ‘break your heart ten ways to Sunday’, I wanted to be the healing hug at the end of Sunday. Clearly not.

However you aren’t the only one lost right now, friend. In that at least we are together. People have asked me during this entire period of back and forth, confusion and angst, joy and friendship, whether I love you. What a silly thing to ask. Of course I love you. You are my soul mate, how could I not? But not in the way you want me to. I love you like family, and I tried hard to change that. That truly broke you didn’t it? You saw me try, and it spread poison in your system like a toxic dart to the heart. You tried to win me over too, despite everything. You tried to make me love you, the way you loved me because in a fair world, input = output. But I couldn’t. And I want to slap the girl I see in the mirror, because I know a ‘yes’ would’ve made things so easy. But it wouldn’t have been true to you or me.

It’s weird. A break up feels worse, sure. That is like a sucker punch to the gut that knocks the wind right out of you. You double up in pain, as your insides bleed. It takes time to get back up again. But this, this is breaking up with a best friend. Not because you’ve drifted apart, or because you had a fight, but because of a mismatch in the type of love. Because if there was a criterion for matching the amount of love, friend, I’d probably win. Why? Because nothing you could do could make me walk away. Why do you think every time you’ve walked away from me, I’ve welcomed you back with open arms? Even now, stupid though it is, I hope. I hope maybe a couple of months down the line, with distance from the constant agony of being around the girl who couldn’t love you back, you will see me in a kinder light. Because love changes form all the time. Maybe your love for me shall transform from that specific angle of romance to a much deeper version that matches the love I feel for you.

You’ve left all our common whatsapp groups. I’m sure Facebook and Instagram shall follow shortly. It’ll be like I never existed. Pity people aren’t as easily erased from the heart as social media. We have so many common threads linking us: friends, family, and now all of that is shrouded in haze. Will you shun them or will they shun me? What about all the trips we had planned? You promised to take me trekking, and the lazy bum that I am, I thought I’ll do it later. After all, I had my whole life to go trekking with you. We were going to be best buds forever weren’t we?

Do you know why I’m writing all this? It’s because I can’t say this to you. I want to cry and yet I can’t. I want to express this pain because pain always radiates outwards, if you force it to go within that spells deep trouble. The thing is there are words that shall express this, this feeling of anguish just right, and in that expression I can find peace. But I can’t find the words to put my pain into prose. I can’t find the colours to paint my bleak landscape. I can’t find the movements to this performance. I stand alone in the grim spotlight of a sloe black stage and am unable to sing.

Sydney Sheldon wrote that when you’re in love all the cheap pop songs seem to be written for you. It’s the same for a broken heart too. Because that’s what you did to me, I broke yours, you broke mine. I’ve been listening to the cover of ‘Don’t wanna know’ by Boyce Avenue and Sarah Hyland on repeat. It’s just because of these lines: “Do you think of me, what we used to be? Is it better now that I’m not around? My friends are acting strange, they don’t bring up your name, are you happy now? Are you happy now?” Are you?

The thing that hurt me a lot is that our friendship meant little, at least in the face of the love you felt. Like a pretty stream losing meaning in merging with a vast, depthless ocean. I wonder if you did all that you did for me because you were in love with me, or because I was your best friend. And that bothers me because somehow it feels like I was a fool for thinking of our friendship like a rare diamond. Because now, because of that, I will never be the best friend ‘forever’ that you let go of. I will now and ‘forever’ be the girl who couldn’t love you back. In popular parlance, the girl who friendzoned you.

Love, just not the kind you want,
Roshi

Wise Fools

You can’t know what you don’t know,
Because what I know, I don’t know.
And I think you know what I know or don’t.
Then who knows? Maybe everyone and no one.

Sometime while sliding over rainbows,
We hit a snag of a storm cloud,
Then we had to learn to travel by lightening,
With thunder booming loud from the stereo.

I wore a gown made from the whitest cloud,
And did my hair up with ice-crystal pins,
Twirled in fancy, with a love infancy,
You called me beautiful and cute (what?!)

Let’s jump off from the ocean into the sky,
Do a tap dance on floating ice bergs.
Let’s skate along the rings of Saturn,
And after, have tea with the red spot of Jupiter.

Should we interview the Sentilenese?
No, they would not like us in the least.
But at least we could wave,
As they threaten us with arrows and hate.

Let’s drink the drink of fools,
Go where all the insane ones go,
Because we’re a bunch of wise fools,
A bunch of wise fools who don’t know.

Shhh, my heart.

Shhh, my heaving heart, shhh

Torn apart by tornados of thoughts,

Wrapped in layers of a black silence,

You know this part, so shhh, my foolish heart, shhh.

 

Promises are word prostitutes,

Whispering sweet nothings in your ear,

An hour of pleasure for which a piece of soul you paid,

It’s the economy, so shhh, my deceived heart, shhh.

 

The wrecking ball slams into your walls,

Tissue and arteries, crushed and burst,

Red and thick, the blood fills you upto brim,

You deal in blood, so shhh, my bleeding heart, shhh.

 

Each throb is a punch, in to out,

Each beat strums pain,

Something shrieks and something breaks,

It’s blind madness, so shhh, my raging heart, shhh.

 

Tears are the currency of inflation,

A lot means little, their salt has more value,

Drip-drip-drip, silent drip, an IV cut loose,

Crashes happen, so shhh, my weeping heart, shhh.

 

Talk distracts, except when it never does,

Which is near always,

So pretend to talk, smile and laugh,

It becomes real, so shhh, my aching heart, shhh.

 

Dogs chasing tails, round and round,

We chase tails of what-ifs,

Perpetual fools, the head calls us,

We’ll get there, so shhh, my stubborn heart, shhh.

Deep Divers And Snorkelers

In my instagram series called The Travelling Earring (because it’s about a travelling earring) I posted a picture of a conversation between a Swedish cat and the earring. The cat drawled, “You know T, I’ve seen a lot of people. And there are two types I’ve observed that constantly chafe against one another. If we imagine life as this beautiful, natural blue pool, deep as a TS Eliot poem, then the first kind dives in till say 1-2 metres max and resurfaces for breath. They can never go beyond that depth, it’ll kill them. The second kind dive in deep, they go beyond that level and more, even if they suffer without air to breathe, even if it kills them. And it is the lack of understanding between these two kind that breaks each of them.”

The deep divers, I’d dare say people like myself, tend to harbour a grudge against the snorkelers. But with time and the wisdom pills it keeps chucking my way, I’ve come to realise the snorkelers aren’t truly at fault. Someone, some time, while they were growing up taught them that to feel too much, to think too much, to be too much equals pain. Even media drives home the same point: pick up any newspaper, switch on the TV to any channel, scroll down your news feed and you’ll understand why it is better to be a Panda and chew bamboo shoots without a care in the world. Because the world is out to break you and if you remain open, unprotected, thinking and feeling too much, it will succeed.

The snorkelers choose happiness and succulent, two-second distractions to get through the day. They have hardly any expectations from friendships or relationships and are happy with the little they get from everybody. They know they are at the top of no one’s priority list, and they themselves keep no lists. For them life is a very in-the-moment experience: “The person I am with now is the most important person to me and tomorrow will be another day.” Over the years sedimentary deposits of time calcify these hearts and they become impervious to anything real or honest. Hopping from one stone to another in a stream, holding onto and letting go of light and frivolous bonds, they never really get more than their toes wet. I don’t blame them but I do wish for another perspective for them.

I was looking at an experiment the other day for work. It was about how a paint company had created these goggles for the colour blind so they could experience the range of colours that hitherto they couldn’t. The man who could only see shades of blue couldn’t stop crying at the beautiful, intense hue that was purple. The woman who had only seen one shade of green, was speechless at the different shades she could discern for the first time in her life. That is my gut instinct about the snorkelers. While they have seen the pain of a life lived deeply, they haven’t experienced the pure, unadulterated joy of that life. And that life makes for the closest thing to a truth in a world that seems more smoke than real.

By all means stay a snorkeler, but not because you never dove deep, but because you did and still choose to remain so. Without knowing, without giving something a chance, without allowing the mind to freely entertain a thought, one cannot decide who one is.

Relationships (family and friends) are sacred. I want full immersion in each other’s lives and the kind of love and understanding an extended family has for one another. I want my friends to know the little details of my life because those matter. And I want to know what’s going on with them. But even these expectations are at times foiled simply because not all my friends are deep divers, I dare say, a few of them are snorkelers. It’s hard to understand them at times because they have literally accepted the least threshold of expectations from others. While some say that is the path to happiness, I say unless you’re seeking nirvana like a Guru, that is a fake path to a temporary happiness. You don’t build a foundation out of cotton because it’ll be easier to lug to the construction site. Stones do the trick but they cost you in effort.

This is my truth, and someone else’s may differ vastly from it. And for all my talk of Snorkelers not being deep enough, I do value the diversity and perspective they bring to my life. I just wish at times that they’d dive a bit deeper with me, it would make for less frustration and who knows maybe they’ll like it at the deeper end.

Chemicals

I want to breathe you in,

Like scented words of a poem,

That fill my head with your essence,

Till there is room for nothing else.

 

Blame you for travelling far,

Into the realm of other worlds,

Where you give me a look, the look,

That keeps me in my head all day long.

 

I imagine the roughness of your fingers,

Running up my neck and into my hair,

As you pull me close like a black hole,

Up to your lips, your eyes, and your soul.

 

I imagine the heat your body emits,

As it glues with mine,

Then for a second we break apart,

And crush back, fiercer than a head-on collision.

 

I bite you, not in nibbles,

But in wide, animal gulps,

Leaving signatures on your neck,

As your tongue and teeth play upon my body.

 

It’s your musk, your scent,

That drives me insane,

Pheromones and hormones,

And that chemical drugged craze.

The Poem Conversation

I hear your words muffled at first,
Like a glitch in static, like a memory of a memory,
Like music heard through a closed, wooden door,
With my hand on the brass knob, I pause,
Unwilling to open, unable to let it remain closed.

 

For I have seen and seen,
How the music ends in a blink,
When someone enters the room.
And I have lived that silence filled with shiny words,
Your mask so rough it keeps slipping.

 

If you were a place, you’d be a second home,
And I guess when I shook your hand,
I must’ve let go of my jar of labels,
As I write you, to you, for you,
I find more of me than you.

 

In the ball room outside,
They rush to put us in a box,
We must be something, right?
Something defined.
But we aren’t or are.

 

We are old souls,
On similar flights,
“Did you see that cloud?”
“Yes, and I loved it too!”
An imperfect, perfect harmony.

 

In dusty rooms, once in a blue moon,
About shackled speech and angry hearts,
I write letters to you,
But that room is locked,
I don’t have its key,
Those corners know me more than me.
They won’t let me in, unless I need.