Saturday, 17 March 2018

Hiraeth

*
Dedicated to Amma and Achan
*


It was a single-roomed quarters that existed at a time far before technology, you may say it outlives other memories of home precisely because of this attribute - there was more life, more birds, more stars in the night sky than I've ever known. Along its walls my crayons traced intimacy, on its floors I urinated unperturbed. I knew nature, I grew aware for the first time, I dreamt my most artless dreams and slept with no concerns..

***

There was this story of a mahout and elephant that Amma would say to me when I was barely learning to talk.

I still hear Amma's concerned voice saying how the elephant who grew restless at the way the mahout treats him kills him one day. This creates anger and fear among people around and they call a forest guard to kill the elephant, because apparently he had become 'dangerous'. The guard picks up a gun from somewhere and repetitively shoots the elephant, the elephant succumbs, crying in agony.

There would be some reference of the mahout again and his sorry state, and my mother would say "Paavam paapaan!" ("Poor Mahout!").

"Paavam aana!" ("Poor Elephant!") I would correct her offensively.

Amma says I would do that every single time she ended the story with the mahout being poor.

***

Chemboth (Greater Coucal) is my favourite bird. I used to eat my lunch only if she came by to eat with me. Lunchtime was that time of the day when I would sit outside our kitchen with Amma and observe the magnanimity of nature, of her many forms - crawling earthworms to high-flying eagles. We co-existed peacefully - our radio would be playing melodious Malayalam songs, Sunlight may occasionally pierce the gap between jack tree leaves and hit lightly upon us, and we sat conversing about our day's happinesses and wonders.

And amongst the stories I heard and animals I saw, I prefered Chemboth more than anyone else, we could connect with each other strangely, maybe because we both were poor fliers.

***

Load-shedding is a word I still like the most. Every night there would be 30 minutes when power was stopped so as to balance demand and supply. All of us would sit together, talk and watch the night sky. Star-gazing for me would've made its faint beginnings in one of those nights. 

Everytime I look up, it was with wonder. Why are they shining? Are they worlds I may never know of? Ignobility would've begun somewhere there too.

All worthless talks we have today can be traded for those 30 minutes of chit-chat and sing-songs. And whenever I see mercury lamps vomiting light into my life, I wonder how much demand-supply mismatch should be there for the world to be dark again.

***

I remember a poem Amma would sing to me, "ee valliyil ninnu chemme, pookal pokunnitha parannamme.." which more or less exemplified the curiosity of those times. It was an interaction between a mother and her child in which the child mistakes butterflies for flowers which as he sees it are flying away from him. The mother would calm him down saying that he was wrong, it were butterflies all along.

The vast distances between that poem and where I am today are separated by mishaps, depressions and unrequited dreams that sometimes I look back and wonder if it were indeed flowers that flew away in between those words.

***

Rainy days had a certain smell to it, and a distinct color. Drops of rain would hit opened out leaves and shatter into a million silver strokes diluting the dark green background. Chembarathis (shoe flowers) would bloom in our yard and millipedes would roam around in pride. It was their time of the year, when life was sprayed on Earth as downpours.

I would make paper boats and watch them move slowly (braving the rains) in puddles in front of our home. Some would soak and slump down, others would hold on and find new shores. I often wished it would reach seas afar, I hoped it would see things I could never see then.

***

My first memory of school was rain, mud and painful eyes. I remember seeing Amma leaving me and I desperately wished to run behind her. From lying naked on pure earth I was displaced into a room full of strange beings wearing dull shirts and tight trousers. I knew I didn't belong here, I knew I had to go away, I knew I must not separate myself from Amma.

Amma came to pick me up in the evening, and we came home in an autorickshaw. She was asking me eagerly what I learned and how school was, I didn't reply a thing. On the way home, one of my new slippers escaped my foot and flew out of the rickshaw, l watched it sink into mud as the rickshaw sped along. I thought of saying to Amma that I've lost it, but then I preferred silence over dissonance.

***

On a random day, a snake found her way into our home and Achan was trying to get it out somehow. It sheltered itself inside a bucket in which we kept rice. Achan tried tipping the bucket but the snake just wouldn't let go. He then pushed the bucket a little and it fell upside down, he pulled the bucket back releasing the snake and every little grain of rice amidst a curious and scared audience.

Achan chased the snake towards the main door using a stick and as it almost crossed the door, he tried to slam it shut. The snake was caught in between,- her head breathing airs of freedom, her lower half irredeemably lost and probably somewhere near the middle her hopes cut off. She jerked a little before calming down.

I still see their images sometimes, along with sounds from somewhere far away. The snake, the elephant and how easily they were killed.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Red Shift

Perhaps,
Cosmic infinities could not have contained
our purposeless love.

Maybe,
Galaxies around us could not have sheltered
our twilight hopes.

Truly,
Our only misgiving was an expanding universe
harboring darker halves of us all.

Sadly,
We are but nothingness living an enlightened accident,
Moving away from each other since our birth.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Ameena

This is the first of a series of stories (hopefully) which I like to call 'Flutter'. I believe you can gauge the intent of these stories once you read them.

Love,
Anand.

***

Ameena would lie down in her balcony on days like these, wondering where she came from and what her purpose was in life. Aluva river, in front of her, peacefully flowing onto the Arabian Sea would reflect starry skies above. She felt intimately related to the celestial peace which descended around her; moon in the distance, lights from the airport, and the ever benevolent silence. She could imagine the farthest extents of Universe right here in this negligible point in a negligible Earth, for that she was thankful.

The chicken curry her husband threw on her face still burned her eyes and nose, it was spicy alright. He used a word to describe it specifically and her existence generally, she couldn't help but think about it. How would he know what that word means to her, how would he know what that word means to humanity. This was not the first time he reproached her using words she considered pure, but then she was aware of how present parlance brands her puritan words as derogatory.

Ameena.. She loved her name, but then twenty seven years of married life made her forget the tunes of those syllables - jumping up, sliding free and hitting a sudden stop! Ameena.. Her eyes watered when she tried to remember how her Umma would call her 'Ameenakutti', it was so long back that it seemed non-existent now.

She grew tired after a while and tiptoed her way back to bed. The air conditioner in the room made a cranky noise as it threw cold artificial air into the room. She remembered how disturbed she used to be when her Vaapa would buy her leather bags and costly deodorants, she would smile and accept it all the same, she barely knew another way to behave.

Once in bed Ameena twisted and turned for a long time; she tried burying her face in her pillow, she tried pushing her head towards her breasts, she tried singing herself lullabies. There was an eruption of something uncontainable inside, she had to find vents to release it. How pitiably he used that word, she thought.

"Khaled.." she called. "Khaled.."

Khaled usually detests when his sleep is disturbed, but then Ameena never did a thing like this before, he was as perturbed as he was angry.

"What is it?" he shouted.

She got up and switched on the light, looking him sternly in the face, her eyes held fires that devoured any words he had to offer. He sat transfixed.

Ameena wanted to be precise on this, she didn't want to hold anything back or shout anything new. She wanted it to be clear and certain, while making sure it portrays the uproar inside. She knew she shouldn't make it too stern so that she burns herself out completely or too soft that she may seem magnanimous. She gathered words in her mind and slowly brought it out of her mouth.

"You and I were born out of a vagina too, my love.." she said and gently walked back to the balcony.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Gravity

Who can gauge,
The depths of human mind in thought,
Effervescent streams of velvet hope,
Red-shifting music that sink souls in thriving pools
of celestial re-births and re-discoveries.

Who can fathom,
The distances a migrating bird must fly,
Vagaries and silence of lives beneath,
The art of a rare chemical dance
and its unpronounced everyday evolutions,
A story of recurring dreams,
Painted with dark nostalgic loves left behind.

Who can put to words,
The grandeurs of extinct universes,
Their sunlit banks, their wonderous cosmic evenings,
Beginning of life, death of stars and a heroic force,
Working upon primordial imperfections,
To build home as we know it now.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

S.O.P.

I heard you say my truths are veiled lies,
I heard you say my mind is crooked and high,
I heard you say people detest my chronic rhymes,
I heard you say what am I but my routine jibes,
I heard you say nobody follows my divergent vibes,
I heard you say fuck yourself, go and die.

But my dear, these insecurities, they are mine,
Mock me, choke me, sock me, I will live my life!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Achlys

I contain
multiple loves.

I love how wet earth
drags her alluring lips
on my hardened cheeks,
I love silent mountains
shouting unused truths,
I love my mother's milk
and memories of her breasts,
I love your hands
when they entangled mine.

It stagnates
as avenues shrink,
Souls to receive it
reclines self-seeking,
Equally alone as I maybe.

My fathomless loves
rot and infect,
Turns malignant,
Soak and wrinkle
uncontainably,
I dribble blood.

Everything I love
kills me a little more.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Telos

Let my words be flawless today,
Clear as silver stream,
Fresh as morning spring,
Let it reach you
toiling through doubts in your mind,
Let it move along your turbulent vistas,
Where piety had made melancholic tombs,
And proceeds of war made wounds that can't be healed,
Where I once made my abode severing your rueful constraints.

Let my words reach there again,
As an ending quote,
Or maybe a wholesome resurgence,
Like light following an eclipse,
Like land after years of sea,
Let my words make meanings,
For long it was only noise - farcical moonshine,
Today let it be plain and from my hardened heart,
Let it leave no doubt, no points to guess,
No rhyming sentences, no superficial nonsense.

I want it straight,
As pure as my perpetual longing,
As unfettered as my resurrecting love,
Evading your shallow pools of dubiety,
Caressing the happiness we shared
and the grief we forgot,
Let it touch the nights we laid awake,
Let it bring rainbows for our storms,
Let it stay there etched,
In the sky, by the shore
and on snowcapped moons.

For today I want you to know,
That I am here and I will be waiting for you,
Through rain, snow, spring and fall,
Through tears, smiles, laughs and fears,
Through days, months, years and time,
All my life,
I will be here,
And I will be waiting.