The Winter Child’s Song

I put the star up on the tree and look around to see the glitter, golden and silver, clinging on to the black and white woollen geometric patterns on my sweater. Every year, some of the glitter falls off, and every year, I put some more on. I crouch against the back of the sofa and wriggle my fingers into the handle of my mug, curling them up against the warmth. The smell of coffee mixed with the cold and dry leaves – this is winter, the smell I want to trap in a jar and save up forever. Instead I have to make do with simple remembrance.

It is that time of the year, the one I wait for every remaining day. It is the time I feel the most hopeful, when naïve faith beats any tiny bit of cynicism I might have built up. All the days of locking myself up, heart breaking and making, all the shaking catches up with me, but for once, everything is okay. If only for a day. If only for a moment. It is okay.

And I know this is a skinny love, it ends too soon. So I remember it all – the tinsel on my shoulder, the bokeh lights on the ceiling and that smell, that smell that I am not allowed to keep to myself – and I remember them dearly, just to last another year.

Unsullied

There is a book that lies on one of my bookshelves that I will never open again.
The yellow cover will only become yellower.
Dust will settle on the edges of the paper and stay there.
This is the only change it will see.
Soon it will smell differently,
Older.
But I will never know this,
Because I will never smell it again.
There is a book that lies on one of my bookshelves that I will never open again.
Its spine will never see a crease.

I never finished reading it to you.

Tell me your dreams

Let’s start at the very beginning today, because I have a lot to say (I almost always do) although I’ll still try to be coherent (something I’m not quite feeling tonight).

I am a complicated girl. Not just the normal complications that come with being a human being, but many added confetti-pouring, darkness-dripping paradoxical facets that the maker thought would be extremely funny to throw on me. Which is fine, I like being this person even though it makes me want to beg for tranquilisers a lot.
I like creating things. Yesterday I went through our whole collection of photographs and saw that about 90% of the moments of leisure in my toddlerhood involved sitting down with a pen and a notebook and writing down, what I must have thought, Tennyson-like poetry (which infact was mostly curly-wurlies). So needless to say, this (and I am waving my hands over all the notebooks and pens and poetry strewn around me on the bed) was kind of inevitable.
I am a science student. I scored 9.8 on my 10th grade CGPA. I took up core science for my 11th and 12th grades. I scored 93.5% in my finals. I took up science again for my bachelor’s degree (RIDICULOUSLY analytical statistics). The catch? I never wanted to.

Two years into my degree and I am officially a mediocre student. Actually, that is being stupidly optimistic. By Indian standards, I am a bad student.
For the past one year I have attended classes everyday (barring health issues) and every single day I have felt stupid. And I wish I was exaggerating and I wish all of this was a big fat hyperbole, but it’s not. This year, all of it overwhelmed me enough to make me cry (the number of times I have cried in the past 4 years can be counted on one hand) and this academia-induced crying last happened in 12th grade with, no points for guessing, physics, after which I had sworn to myself that this won’t happen again. It did. Hurrah.
So what happened? Am I stupid? No. Not because I scored a 93.5% in my finals in 12th grade because that happened after almost murdering my entire soul and hence doesn’t count. But because I know what I can do, and I do them all pretty damn well. I have and will have great stories to tell if you’ll let me. Is it my fault that none of them are bound in calculus and normal distributions and projectile motions? Science is a beautiful world. But it is just not my world.
I work with words. And people. And ideas.
I am working with numbers.
And it is killing me.

I am not blaming anyone anymore. Firstly, I am too exhausted and do not have any modicum of energy to spare for blame, but more importantly, I know I now have a longer, ridiculously winding path ahead to do something that is remotely connected to what I want. Because even though all I feel is despair, I cannot give in to cynicism. It’s the last straw I have left and I’m not going to let anyone take that away as well.

So my dear fellow countrymen with your ever-growing obsessions that ruin lives – when a little girl or a little boy goes up to you and inevitably asks you the wide-eyed, hopeful question, “Can I be anything I want to be when I grow up?”, don’t, please don’t say, “Yes”. Because in 15 years you will completely forget that pact you made with a 5 year old and you will be sending yet another person down the road where they no longer know what to do. Not because they never knew what to do.

Rather they always did. But you took it away.

A Firefly and a Butterfly

Where do you go with your broken heart in tow?

Legend had it that they were of the same soul. She would have missed her, even if she hadn’t met her.

What do you do with the left over you?

They had pulled apart each vestigial plaster and only they knew how the other looked beneath it all, each mark of a bad day etched like constellations on their skins.

Where does the good go, where does the good go?

But then with the music turned up, they danced; she, at one end of the city, she, at another. They both knew, always, without a word exchanged.

Look me in the heart and tell me you won’t go.

After all it had all started there – two whispers piercing towards each other in a crowded room. They could always complete each other’s whispers.

Look me in the heart and unbreak broken.

“Be okay”
*Be okay*

The Motherlode

The little girl looked into his crinkled eyes as he took her to a time when he was young – a land he had never seen before, the lives he would inevitably change because that is who he always was. He was a tale of love lost and love embraced, the world conquered in a way only he knew how. He wouldn’t tell, until years later to that little girl, that he was a little scared too.

And he had those eyes, dark, yet not so much as to not be able to decipher the warmth of brown; a storyteller’s eyes from another century. He didn’t know then but his stories would save a little girl he loved dearly. And yet, his eyes kept just one secret from her – that they were saved for someone.

She walked across a land she had never seen before, past the lives she wanted to change someday. She wasn’t so little anymore; cigarette burns marked her heart in patterns so intricate that somehow it looked beautiful. She would have been a lone soul if not for those crinkly eyes whose last words to her were, “You’re my favourite girl”. So she mouthed her letters to the wind and the rivers, knowing that they would reach him; it was, after all, her turn to be the storyteller.

She didn’t know yet. She had his eyes.

~A