Avoid the traffic noise.
The murmurs and whispers.
Avoid life, who is waiting at the other end of the ring,
waiting for you to get up so that it can give you a sucker punch.
Close your eyes.
Come on I mean it.
Close your eyes and listen.
Yes… the heartbeats you can feel them, right?
Now, are you able to hear the sound of splashes as you jumped in the puddles as a 5-year-old?
The screams of the ice creams vendor and then screams of your mother;
scolding you because you were running naked on the streets.
Can you feel it yet?
The kisses on your cheeks.
The smell of the first rains?
Can you almost see yourself crying in the corner after a stupid fight?
Is your mouth watering already because of the jalebis being made right across the street?
Do you remember the unexpected rains in the summer of 2000?
Do you remember that paper boat that you made our of page number 47 of sulekha?
Boy, wasn’t dad angry.
Fast forward a little.
Do you remember watching her for the first time?
God, I tell you, it is probably her who sowed the seeds of poetry and then stopped watering it.
3 years later, it is a goddamn tree.
Do you remember the January of 2006?
Grandpa had said that the winds were stronger that year.
I don’t remember much of that year but I remember this.
The kites fluttered like butterflies that year.
Do you remember hanging out on trees; making promises that you no longer keep?
Open your eyes.
I have always been moved by the little things.
I always keep my pockets full of words and wear belts of verses in case I need them.
To woo a woman.
To fight, win an argument.
To put myself in the simplest of ways.
Ironically, I write poetry.
But, at times like these,
I don’t know the right things to say.
The pronouns stay back shamelessly but the adjectives,
heh, they run away.
I feel like me at the age of 5.
that’s how I feel.
When I listen to a good song.
When I walk bare feet on the beaches.
When I hold hands and lay back; watch the stars from between the trees.
But the times they are a changin’
We don’t keep the doors open.
We take the doormat inside on cold nights and the dust spells “Not Welcome”.
We tie the shoelaces of our hearts so tight that they won’t skip a beat.
We take small sips, talk small talks and are so goddamn afraid.
Afraid of what?
Oh, don’t get me started.
Afraid of people running all over us.
Make home in our hearts and then not make the bed after they leave.
Open the curtains; make us fall in love with light and then painting the windows black.
Turn on the lights; close the doors promising that the lights will guide you home but then they steal the light bulbs!
Making your house a home and then leave it haunted.
And it is scary.
So, everyday when you wake up.
You…we… put on an armour.
And ain’t nobody getting through that steel.
You stay away.
Drop the child in our hearts at home;
Locked in the store room under the stairs.
We deny them their letters to Hogwarts.
Tell them that the happy place doesn’t exist in the present.
And in a hurry,
We bury the suitcases full of fantastic beasts with the bags of monsters from the past.
We have convinced ourselves that there’s no floo powder.
*looks left and right*
*point at the carousel*
When you see one?
And go for a ride.
It will take you to the start.
To simpler times.
Photo by Dimple Motiani (@the.namkeen.butter) Follow her on Instagram for such breathtaking photos and overdose of happiness and feels 😀
This poem was written for a Spoken Word Poetry event organised by Povera in Ahmedabad. Poets were given a photograph on which they were supposed to write a poem and then perform. The catch? It has to be a happy poem.Well, I tried.