HAPPY PEOPLE

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“Are there any happy people?”, he disappointingly asks. I nod with a gentle smile.  “Where!?”, annoyed he puts across his disbelief. I take his tightly clenched hands and unfold the fingers outside. “Here. Wherever these fingers point, there are happy people.”, I assure him.

Rain leaks through the thatched roof inside our only room and drowns it in. Isheen had made a boat last year and planted it inside. It isn’t as bad as it sounds.

There’s not much to do. Early in the morning, he works at a zamindar’s farmland for a few hours. Later in the day, he reads Premchand and Tagore while sitting in the boat. 

We can’t buy more books because they’re a luxury when you fail to put food on the plates. In the evening, Isheen, like most boys in the village, ruminates over the unfortunate lives they lead here. Most of them can’t find an answer because probably there isn’t one.

But if there is, it’d be something like: an evening full of cricket matches where the 15 year olds won’t behave as 35 year olds. Where loving books wouldn’t be considered a curse you were born with, because it remains uncherished. Where mornings wouldn’t begin with the zamindar screaming at you for not properly digging up weeds and cutting the roots. Where the eyes are glistening with the imagination of life than tearing down with its realities. Where you don’t question the existence of happy people.

But then the sun goes down and so does the hope of better times. Tired minds go to sleep, tucking a dream beneath the cushion. A dream where there are city lights. Isheen wouldn’t mind them because they’re too far to prick his eyes. He says he now wants to imagine life in a different space where he can believe that happy people exist. So I let him. 

I let him weave dreams of metropolis life where people drown inside the circles beneath their eyes. And there’s no boat, for there’s no time.  Where you wake up before the sun rises and go to a place you hate for hours. Where books aren’t bothered to be removed from the bookshelves. Where there’s no imagined answer, for there’s no question. Where there’s no point of cricket matches because the shoulders are pushed too down to be able to lift a bat. Where you don’t ruminate because you’re numb. Where there’s only midnight snores in place of  dreams tucked beneath your cushion. Where you don’t have anyone to tell you that happy people exist. Nobody lies to you that way.

But it’s a far-fetched dream. A dream of city lights. Or maybe of happy people. There’s no difference. But there are happy people indeed; we just have to find where to point.

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MENTAL MESS

That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.

ELIZABETH WURTZEL

TW: mess; so if you’re already going through bad times don’t read it at all.

On some days, one feels
resilient enough to get through
this black hole of a life which has
refused to end somewhere.
But on most days, I lie down
on this comfortable couch
staring on this i-should-be-grateful screaming ceiling. Those days I feel
nothing at one point, and some scary emotions at the other, that run on my body as if a rat race has to be won. I refuse to break the pattern for the detachments done all at one time threaten me of paralysing loneliness.
But if I keep being the binder of everyone’s hopeless emotions, all I’m ever left with is emptiness. That silence echoes at the back
of my head like an iron rod is being swayed for trial purposes and as soon as I take either
of the decisions, it’ll hit me as hard as is possible. 
So I do nothing but keep myself tight. I cry sometimes, put my hands on my mouth to
silence my disturbing sobs that might distress another soul. I sometimes go on my terrace with
a book and when I’m still not able to control my attention after trying to get it from about
thirty minutes, I look down from the terrace, at the ground. But that’s not me, it can’t be. And more than that, it shouldn’t be me. So I find myself staring at a group of pigeons. They make me smile, they make me happy, but 
painfully so. I have to go back to my rabbit hole and though
it haunts me from its go-back echoes, it’s still the one place I feel the most safe. They say there’s always a way out, but where would you run if you don’t know which one is
going to hurt even more. They all seem equally pointless sometimes, so one just sits on the middle ground, staring at one door on one day and on the other,
the day after. It doesn’t seem to end, ever.
Does it, ever?

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OF HOPE AND ITS INNOCENCE

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.

Margaret Mitchell

Diminishing yourself is a reflex 

your bones have when it’s 

around a person called, hope. 

Hope smells of varied lost&found 

advertisements, taped on every 

wall of this planet and everywhere

you might trace back the lost. 

Hope doesn’t say much, for it 

wants you to feel the non-existent,so 

that it can emerge back into this 

universe of yours.Hope ignites 

the evening diya in the temple of your

dark room. It sits with you while 

you read Woolf, and smiles at you, 

for it wouldn’t be longer when you’ll 

have a hand to squish  amid your 

anxiety attack. It sips chai along 

with you on the cold floor of your 

room. It brings you a journal to

enter every single way you would 

bring love to it once it finds your 

lost self from a room full of painfully 

familiar noises. Hope pats on your head

as you lie down on your bed at night 

and asks you of dreaming of old 

days. Of producing happy hormones, 

of  humming your favourite songs 

again after years, of studying peacefully 

under the lamp your grandfather would 

light inside your head. And when 

you wake up between the dream 

sweating heavily on screaming 

at your father and hating yourself 

afterwards, hope reminds you it 

was just a dream. It sings a lullaby 

then, of future, of your kids reading 

Ambedkar or Krishnamurty, of your 

house filled of noises echoing 

happiness, of a man lying beside 

you who spoons you within his 

embrace, of times when responsibilites 

wouldn’t shriek for a stronger shoulder.Β 

And after you’re comfortable enough, 

it’ll leave your side so that you sleep 

peacefully ahead. Hope doesn’t know 

what to do of itself at times so it’s 

irregular. It doesn’t visit you on 

some days. Hope doesn’t have a 

post office in its area, so it’ll miss your

crying letters most of the times. 

You would sit on the cold floor alone, 

chai spilled on it. Virginia would hide

herself in her own room and you’ll 

waste the last matchstick without 

the puja. The journal would like 

some dirt to sit on it and make

you ignore its existence. And that 

hand? You’ll go outside your house 

and tear down the advertisements 

and when asked you’ll say it had 

been too long and probably nothing 

was lost at all. And when everyone 

will go away at night, you’ll splash 

black paint on the walls so that it 

can do whatever it wants on its 

fresh slate. Hope doesn’t hate you, 

it’s just a little vague in its expression.

And what’s vague has no idea 

what to do with itself. But long 

before you know it, your bones 

would have already diminished themselves.

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TO FEARS AND THE HOPE

No matter how many plans you make or how much in control you are, life is always winging it.

CARROLL BRYANT

Dear Irfan,

Life’s specially disappointing today after having to face that a legend left us sooner than we were ready for. But when are we ever ready for a loved one’s death so time might be an ignorant word here. I don’t know what to say, you were like a bright shining sun on our skies and now it feels like night has overshadowed us. It screeches us to our misery of the series of regrets because we’re never really paying attention until something falls apart. You drifting off this world is like an alarm on our ears to wake up. Things go by unsaid and we realise we never said what should’ve been said. You gave this world something beyond your craft. You’ll always be remembered in our hearts. I wish wherever you are, you lie in peace and eternal love. πŸ™β€οΈ

Love,

World

🌸


Has your sadness ever
turned into fear? Like this
is how it’s ever going to be?
And the fear isn’t of lifelong
sadness, it’s that of scarcity
of your survival strength.
Are you going to make it
till the end, or are you just
gonna be trapped inside
this mind forever and trip
eventually in a never ending
abyss. Probably things are
good out there, I don’t know,
maybe. But inside this head
is a dark, haunted forest, climbers
hanging around from the trees.
The surface filled with leaves
crying out old-age; dry,
stiff, like death is one
foot-crush away. There’s deafening
silence, the echo of it vibrates
in your ears. When did this happen?
What so bad happened to you
that you bent this way, like
an old woman with a painfully
hunched back, who walks
around the forest carrying
a bag of dead hopes hanging
on her bony shoulder. The
stubborn hair  lie on her face
and she can watch through
each section of her hair,
a different world. And of all
the world she sees, there’s
a world of daylight. Birds
chirping and hopping on
green trees. Some leaves
are on the ground but that’s
too less to bother those
smiling eyes,and all of a
sudden she’s a kid again.
She keeps fluctuating within
her worlds and though the
daylight comes very less often,
for very short periods, that’s the
one she keeps holding  her
heavy bag for. And while it’s tough
to say this right now, but I’m going
to hold onto that story of my heart
and sing it to my head too, each night.

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JAADU NAGRI SE AAYA HAI KOI JAADUGAR

Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction.

RUMI

i sit down to channel my
stream of thoughts onto
a piece of paper lying in
a dusty drawer. something
about that paper draws me
to get a pen in my hand.
slouching against the wall,
i start to think about what’s in
my head currently. disgustingly,
it’s you. I’m ashamed of me.
i don’t want to constantly write
about you but still that’s only
what i do. it’s like i have nothing
else on my mind. what happened to
the educational dream, to the
daily visits to the old age home, to
staring at random strangers amusingly.

what happened to my will to sit in a library
and finish a book in one go, to my focused mind.
what happened to my journal that’s lost from
over a year, to me wanting to listen to people
and their life disturbances. what has happened to my passion to be something. where are those
sketch pens, why have i wiped clean my board.
why am i not sitting in a park and reading “to kill
a mockingbird”. “Humne dekhi hai unn aankhon ki mehekti khusboo, haath se choo ke isse pyaar ka ilzaam na do”
Pyaar nahi, rishte humein kamzor
kar dete hain. Uss’se vaasta, uss’se iraade maangna humein bohat chota bana deta hai. Tum ye mat samajhna apni iss khudgarzi ka mujhe ehsaas nahi, ‘gar na hota toh baat aaj kuch aur hoti.
i sit on my bed and try to read some words
while they dwindle across the room. I’m helpless
and i hate this version of me. but maybe i was
supposed to go through these years like this only. i dont question god. i hold my inner strength accountable for the mess. “Shayad unka aakhri ho yeh sitam, Har sitam yeh sochkar hum seh gaye, hum wafa karke bhi”. Gir kar uthna insaan ki fitrat mai hona chahiye. ‘gar vo na uthe vo uski zati kamzori hai. uss’se vo duniya pe sawaal nahi khade kar skta.
i don’t blame you for anything.
the battle is mine and there’s nothing unusually special or melodramatic about it. “Hazaaron gam hain iss duniyaa mein apane bhi paraaye bhi, muhabbat hi kaa gam tanhaa nahii ham kyaa karen”. For the rest, “aapki nazron ne samjha..”

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OF FORGIVENESS //

You cannot forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’

MAYA ANGELOU

If one squeezes out forgiveness out of a human, i wonder, what would one find,

for the starters, there will be some leftover tears of the night before, that were gliding all over that face,

a forgiving heart rarely wastes tissues for wiping the tsunami, so there won’t be much mess on the ground, so trust  the face,

you’ll find a mountain of wrath in one of the corners,

the mountain would be of the darkest shades of all the colors one has loved, because I don’t know if you can tell, but the wrath was once known as childlike innocence,

if you are curious enough, just quietly bend down and see underneath the bed,

you’ll find some words singing a song of teenage tinkles, SHUSH, the responsible hands might get alert and crush them and fill their nails with them,

so now you know why some nails are dirty

they deserve disgust for being responsible of everyone but them,

there will also be a tiny-swampy bottle of impulsive interrogations,

the cork would be fitted well enough, for nobody wants to feel guilty of the same thing again and again,

but this is utter stupidity, for one or the other day, someone even less careful would pump it out open and create a mess nobody would want to clean,

and above all that, there would be some decisions spread evenly on the bed, there won’t be no unevenness in them because they were well-thought and implemented over the time,

you know, while emotions can leave you all over the place besides being the most fulfilling expressions of human nature, it’s the patiently carved out path by all not-so-feel-good times that are binded well-enough to not let this body fall all of a sudden, one day,

but you would appreciate the forgiveness as a personality character in a person,

and I’ll have to tell you, it’s not that; it’s maybe a choice people have to make to save a lot of ships whose primary sailor doesn’t know how to care enough,

and you never knew nothing betterΒ than saving.

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OF THE THORNS OF MY BOUGAINVILLEA //

Main tenu fer milangi

Kitthe? Kis tarah?

Nahi pata.

Shayad tere Takhiyl di Chinag banke,

Tere canvas te utrangi,

Ya khore tere canvas de utte,

Ik rahasmayi lakir banke,

Khamosh tenu takdi Rawangi,

Main tenu fer milangi.

Amrita Pritam

The nature was supposed to

play a game of hide and seek

 with me. The tree that hangs

 from the abandoned house 

 was supposed to wiggle down 

the truth from its leaves on me.

The saplings were meant to whisper

my purpose as I watered them to

 life. The moonlit sky hid behind 

the clouds but I still believed it 

would shine bright above my 

head, one day. It used to hum a

song for me each night too. Or so

I believe. You see, I don’t trust my

senses. I took life as it came to me

and it was so messed up that the 

only thing I could pick through

the painfully variant choices

was my anxiety. I stuck my little

finger in its palm and did what it

said. In the hope of knowing the

meaning to this life, to continue it.

I searched so much I stopped.

Then one day a lightning struck

on me and I took it as the nature’s

message. You came. I saw you, 

I loved you. You didn’t. You didn’t

have to. I believed my love would

be whole in itself. As I saw Amrita

Pritam write to Sahir Ludhianvi,

I needed no further proof.

I grew my first leaf, after all these 

years, a happy green it was.

Never in my life had I felt this firm

that i let it dance through the

horrendous winds, in ecstasy.

You whispered songs of joy, of 

trust, of pain that I could heal from, of growth, right in my ears. I swear on my senses.

I was a bougainvillea, because I 

seemed happy but since when 

did they come without thorns. I

didn’t mind then, I don’t mind

them now. But I had placed my

trust on nature and it changes.

It’s meant to. Everything changed

slowly and slowly. The ground

slipped gradually. I shed my senses, 

my hopeful trust. 

I shed these bright flowers that gave validation to me, my purpose. 

I shed everything but the thorns.

I didn’t mind them, did I? 

So they stayed. Now if you 

come and meet me, you’ll see 

all I’m left with are my beautiful 

thorns, my senseless being and some bougainvillea hung alongside one 

of the thorns. And if you ask me, 

if you dare to, I’m in love with 

my thorns. The bougainvillea made 

me happy but it was too blurry. 

I won’t lie it taught me a lot of 

the right things, but it hid a lot 

too. The clouds that teased me 

that night were there for me, 

to make me realise that i 

wasn’t a cliche garden meant 

to be called beautiful. Rather I 

was one lone plant meant to 

survive in a secluded spot. 

I never lost my senses, I 

was just using them to 

gather something that was 

never there, for me. And

yesterday I heard someone 

say why people grow bougainvillea 

around their houses. To guard 

their homes, the thorns keep 

them safe. I guess that’s 

where my senses lie, I think

that is my purpose.

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WRITE

Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.

SYLVIA PLATH


An exploited self
would tell you to
not-retort, to give in.
To forgive, to forget.
When people thrash
your soul and slice
it to serve a docile demeanor,
you mustn’t let them.
And if you find it difficult,
you must go writeΒ  thousands
of words, right now.
Write how you felt, write how
you fell apart at the human’s
convenient use of emotions.
Write how your tears smelt
of disgust that night. Write
words that evoke pain in the
ignorant-selves of people.
Write as bold and as
helpless as your anger is.
Write words of pointless
patience, of gruesome gnarl in
the pit of your stomach.
Write why you’re manipulated
into this sobbing silence, why do
you stay mum when you have
a higher pitch to echo in their
ears all through that night.
Write your ambitions, your
radicalism wrapped up in
your threatened collection
of books. Write of your
resilience, of your courage,
of the hope you’ve kept alive
all through your teens, of
how scars only made you
remind of your strength,
how your voice reflects the
shine in your eyes, how you
collect truth bombs inside
your dark circles, how your
curls never let go of the
mission you’ve been
carrying in your womb.
Write until your fingers
bleed words that stain the
ill will of their ignorance-filled minds.
Write until they hear you.
Write until they feel what
you feel. Write today, so
that they can never
do the same to another
soul, tomorrow. For if you
won’t say how much it hurts,
people won’t know. They won’t
feel threatened. They’ll keep
rotting this world with their
greed. Their soul would
always be trapped inside
their filthy minds. This
world is too heavy with
unacknowledged regrets
that were sent their way.
So it’s time for you to
whisper the truth. Write
those and serve it to them,
in a not-so-docile demeanor.
Write.

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BEING AN HSP

There’s hope in people, not in society, not in systems, but in you and me.

J. KRISHNAMURTI

An old woman sitting

alongside the road told

me, to not lose my heart,

when I’m loathed upon.

She has this weird wisdom

theory that says: some of us 

are chosen by our god to feel

more pain, more often than others.

While I felt this as a tragedy, she has a

different story to pour in my head.

She says you’re tortured by butterflies

as they move from the big sunflower

to your nose, because you have these

tiny pores there that receive it differently

altogether, like nobody. I said that it hurts

when the butterfly flaps its wings up and 

down on me, it hurts to protect her from 

my hard hands, that could hurt her anytime,

since I’m too hurting from too long. There that woman holds my hand.

She says by choosing not to hurt her when 

you’ve full potential to smack her

down; that by choosing to close your eyes

towards your own pain — you exhibit

your strength. She says : By enduring

pain we’ve the tendency to pass it on

to others, but what makes  the

difference is when you choose not to.

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On Words //

But words do not live in dictionaries, they in the mind

Virginia Woolf


having words in your fingers don’t make you any better,
nor it means your life is full of pain,
if you look closely into my words,
you’d find there isn’t no tragedy I’ve encountered,
the reality is most people can live through my truth,
and more importantly, without whining about it constantly,
it’s just that I was born with a body full of wounds,
and they’re all so wide open,
so much so if you even come forward to love me,
i start trembling,
maybe the one month i got less
inside my mother’s womb,
i’m still upset about it,
look I’ve been called too much of a person too many times,
and so I’ve forgotten to realise my self,
i can’t move my body and it ain’t me,
i keep trying, being pushed down, crawling and then giving up
and when I give up,
i cry,
but crying makes me hopeless
my wounds demand explanation,
but I retort
but then it begs,
so I give them these,
listen,
I don’t sit with a pen and paper to carry on an expedition,
i’m just trying to save my soul from falling in this abyss,
by defining some creases, outlining the boundaries and smoothening the mess,
so that i’ve something to hold onto as my fingers slip,
i don’t want to fall down,
i don’t,
so,
the next time you want to put across the question to my words,
keep in mind,
pain is art, it indeed is,
but that doesn’t make it any less disgusting

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