Gloom time

I Have A Couple Of Things To Say To You, Actually.

You don’t look good in that cap. Remove it this instant. How could you ruin that beautiful head of hair? How could you mess it up so badly?remove it.

I lay in bed all day today and yesterday, and last week- when I could. Then I gathered the energy I found in tiny crevices that had been sealed away from you (yes, there were a few- and thank fuck for that) and walked to the supermarket. I did the most purposeless grocery shopping that there could have ever been, choosing apple after apple with the utmost care. I picked only the most perfect ones. I wanted not one scratch, not one soft spot, not one discolouration- perfect.apples.only. There were only 4 of such. I gathered them into the bag and left.

I ate the meal we ate long ago on February 14 in another country- masala dosa that could never match the one we had and filter coffee that didn’t seem to find the sugar.

Then the waiter told me he had no sweet for me. Not badam halwa, not any halwa. So I sat there wondering why I put myself through all that spicy chutney. What was I looking forward to?

I teared up, but didn’t cry- I can handle some amount of spice after all.

Now I am home. I have realised I have been breathing in something that could be poisonous, that could be fatal. I should be worried, I should be making plans to move away, but here I am, upset and losing myself because I see you, in another country, slowly but steadily moving away from everything you used to be. Doing the things you said you never would- being the very person you detested.

We are both inhaling poison, I guess- you by choice, and me by lack of it.

I have never felt so betrayed. If there was no badam halwa, why did I put myself through all the spicy chutney?

Phrased Phases

About her

Some nights, when she knows 
I am alone
she'll come down
and knock twice. 

If I catch it, I open. 

She won't enter, no. 
Not until she holds my heart
and feels it beat, at twice the speed. 

She turns me around,
and puts it back in. 
Brings her lips closer, 
as it beats quicker. 

Her fingers trace...
harsh lines from a mean bra
and her lips soothe, 
slow and steady. 

Then we go to bed
and she hugs me, heart in hand
making sure it doesnt break, 
making sure it doesnt hurt. 

How That Night Went

I have only a vague memory of this- the few sensations I could salvage from a piece of memory soaked in alcohol- it was my birthday after all.

We sat on my bed, fresh sheets- a deep red with specks of gold, laid out clean and straight a few hours before. On my body is silk. A sullen pink that could perhaps be mistaken for brown. My hair, freshly washed, so that when we sat very close to each other a few hours later- my back leaning against his chest, his chin on my head, he would be greeted with the scent of coconuts and flora.

Drunk ramblings. My mouth gushing with words that I don’t remember too well. I am overcome with emotion- a typical birthday…

Until I put my head down, covered by coconut and flora-scented hair. I am weeping.

It was the first and the last time, I wept about my father and was held with love. Topics were not changed, water was not poured.

Just two people, on a bed of fresh red, hugging and crying.


This Panda Lamp

I had forgotten about this Panda lamp until a few moments ago when I realized all the three bulbs in my room did not have enough power except for when it came to ruining my already weak eyesight.

This Panda lamp was collecting dust in an old shelf. I suspected that it would not work, but it did not let me down. it shone through all the dust. It shone like a child trying to win her mother’s mythical praise. Mythical, because she had only heard it was possible, she never really experienced it. This panda lamp was eager to please.

I call it Panda lamp because it has pictures of three pandas on it. It shines with a soft yellow glow that reminds me of a therapy session I had been to in Bangalore where I started crying because my family was always fighting and I had just acknowledged that I had been abused.

Papa was strict when it came to external factors that impacted our studies- our spectacles had to be smudge free, and our study area well lit. This panda lamp was bought for me when we were in Dubai, and it cost him 20Dhs. It was bought from Al maya hypermarket- a one stop shop in the fourth floor of Lamcy Plaza- a plaza near our house that we would visit every weekend for home supplies, snacks, and free tastes before we went down to the ground floor to eat pizza and maybe an ice cream. Today, Lamcy Plaza has been burnt down, never to be rebuilt. Papa has passed away. This Panda lamp however, still shines.

Thank you papa, for this panda lamp. I love it very much now that I have rediscovered it.


Entries in Grief

I had been left behind. Everybody else was slowly resuming their lives at full speed, and I, like a car slowly breaking down on a smooth highway road, came to a sputtering stop. What set me aside from everybody else, making me feel absolutely left out, was the fact that I could only begin my grieving forty days after my father passed away. The following are excerpts from my diary entries:

October 19, 2020

12:00 AM

Was crying. Cleared up my tears to pick alleged ‘friend’s’ phone call. Answered his stupid doubt through my sniffles. Asked if I had a cold. I said no. He kept the phone.

How to politely say, I am hurting, the loss of my father is hurting, why do you all bug me with your stupid doubts?

October 20, 2020

12:00 PM

My mother’s tongue.

It does not sound good, no.
It does not allow a child to grieve her father,
Nor does it allow her to laugh at his tombstone.
My mother's tongue,
In the morning it insults him,
and in the evenings it prays the rosary.

October 22, 2020

12:57 AM

I miss my father very much. My phone gallery has one photo with him. I wish I had taken more. It has a video of him wishing my sister for her anniversary, the next photo is of him in the coffin, two cottons stuffed in his nose. I miss him very much, especially after my sister left to Dubai today. I wish this was all a prank and he comes back, but I know he won’t. I saw his body, bleeding, going into that horrid looking coffin, and then getting cemented in that dark hole. I saw it. I saw my papa being sealed shut. I wish I didn’t have to see it so soon.

My phone gallery is a liar. If you swipe right, my dead father comes alive. If you swipe left, my alive father lays dead.

October 23, 2020

6:00 PM

I don’t care for the photos they send me. I couldn’t be bothered about anything they say. I wish they’d all leave me alone and stop asking me things.

9:00 PM

I wanted to be a food writer three years ago, today I find eating laborious. An obstacle that comes in the way me and my writing. A pure waste of my time. I have just finished a sad meal of spicy prawn curry and rice.

October 24, 2020

3:00 PM

I strongly believe red velvet cannot exist without cream cheese. The two put together are divine. But red velvet needs cream cheese more than cream cheese needs red velvet. Any other icing on a red velvet should be illegal. Except maybe chocolate… chocolate goes with all.

But I’ve never had red velvet and chocolate, I can only assume.

4:00 PM

Can the world stop showing off their fathers?

October 25, 2020

The world thinks mourning the dead ends in a week. I don’t want sympathy, no, not at all. I merely wish they didn’t expect me to do everything- feedbacks, laugh, send assignments and answer queries. When do I mourn my dead father? Everyone else’s feelings seem to have died with him too.

October 28, 2020

I hate my own writing now. It does no justice to the tantrums in my head.

October 29, 2020

12:00 PM

Note: Grieving lasts longer than the person claims it does.

During breakfast my mother said, “Some guy died today.” I couldn’t help but think how some other family might have said that about my father. I thought of him on the ventilator. He had looked so troubled.

4:17 PM

I saw the papa butterfly today! The last time I saw him was in Wayanad after the 40th day mass when we went around looking at his old house. That black and white butterfly- exactly the color combination he always wore. That day he was fluttering around his neighbor’s plants, today he was fluttering around the pink flower plant, the one I always pluck to leave at his grave when we go visit. I saw him as I was reading the newspaper. He disappeared when mom came, and came back when I pulled my sister to come out and see.

8:06 PM

Today I am thinking of the morning of 8th September. At 4:00AM I had finished a second viewing of a documentary about the politics in a tea plantation. I went in for a shower and began to cry. I knew today was going to be day. I hoped I was wrong. I didn’t sleep until an hour later. I was crying, repeating to myself, “Papa, you were a good papa.” I just knew it was happening today. There was nothing I could do. I slept.

At 9:00 AM my brother in law was knocking loudly outside my bedroom door. By 9:30 AM I was at the hospital. What would Papa think? I was going to meet him and I hadn’t even washed my face properly.

Everyone stared at my sister and me, the phone buzzed. I didn’t look. My sister did. Her eyes turned to me, widened in fear. I didn’t look. I told her to keep quiet.

They called us into the ICU.

His chest was moving up and down, still attached to the ventilator. It looked like a cycle pump pumping air into the cycle tyre. I hate that it looked like that. The bed was not slightly raised anymore- like the last time I had seen it, it was a straight, 180 degree line. I wondered why? He was breathing after all. His eyes were mildly open, they were a cloudy grey. I began to cry holding my mother’s hand that was on my waist, I didn’t know why.

“Can he hear us?” I asked

“No he can’t”

He was dead. He passed away at 9:16AM. That was the message. I was a fool.



Can food become your comfort place?

I am aware of the existence of comfort food. But that is a long, tedious process. One must drag themselves into a badly ventilated kitchen that makes you hot and sticky, and slave over pots and pans for a really long time, only to remove all traces of it’s existence in an hour or so.

But comfort places? There is no slaving there. You can simply close your eyes while everything around you increases in irritation, and whisk yourself away to a magical land.

My comfort place, is a brownie. Ordered, not cooked.

I finished the last square today, after managing-painfully- to extend it’s lifespan for three full days. It surprised me every evening, with a little extra heaviness. With chocolate chips that formed little ripples in a wave of fudgey-ness.

My comfort place came to me in a tiny orange box. A beautiful, beautiful orange box, heavy with three tiers of brownies. The joys of removing a brownie crumbed butter paper division to find more brownies is exactly what I wished for in a comfort place. A place that keeps on giving, one that keeps on surprising.

I think the best part about having food be your comfort place is this– every place you envision yourself eating it in suddenly becomes tolerable. My precious little brownies have smoothened relationships, made me a person capable of forgiveness and tolerance. It makes me want to kiss everyone hello and goodbye. I would practice any bit of kindness to be left alone, to continue being lost forever in every tiny bite I took a few hours ago.

I love you brownie. And I miss the way you loved me. How you stuck in corners of my mouth without being too clingy, how you loved me with every cocoa bean that went into your making.

I miss you so much brownie.

I’m calling you again, soon.


Wine My Muse

Wine burns your lips. If you only kiss it, without really trying to sip it, it will burn into your precious pink lips. So, you must sip it. You must consume it whole, and feel the toxic residue lingering in your mouth, etched into your breath.

Funny thing, this wine. It will tempt you as it glistens inside the glass. You watch it, and you watch yourself make a fool out of yourself in front of it. Twisting, turning, bending and adjusting. You try to resist but your eyes are hooked already. This wine looks delicious, forget that it will burn your lips, forget the toxic aftertaste.

Think of the pleasures of it all- this wine and you. Tipsy, making poetry together in not so hidden dark corners, in unexpected places. Each sip making you crazy, making your seemingly solid brain a mush. You don’t know anything anymore. At this moment you only know this wine and it’s glorious bottle- it’s warmth, it’s tight embrace.

For so long you denied yourself this wine, and today it stands in front of you- a nice, tall drink. How can you say no? How can you push away what your heart screams and grabs hold of every waking minute?

Wine with it’s big round eyes and long thin fingers that know exactly how to hold you. Wine with it’s many, many problems and awkward questions. Wine making your throat burn with each sip, and your heart burn with each resistance to sip.

Wine- the comfort that burns and tempts but doesn’t really care about you. Wine- the hurt that soothes and deflects but will always manage to make you think it loves you.

Thank God for these damn masks.