Tag Archives: Friendship

Untouchable- Part 3

the smell of chickens
and cows and bulls
hit me as i reach
my grandmother’s house.

she lives alone
with the echoes of her past
haunting her.

her only friend is
the maid who now cooks
mid day meals to support herself.

the maid’s daughter married
an alcoholic to save herself from poverty
but came back running home
when she had a son

All these people
Getting divorces now
Back then we stuck to our spouses
In sickness and in health

My husband had cancer
And I stayed by his bedside
Till his last breath
Taking a sabbatical from work

Kunju ettan taught me
how to pick mangoes
and how to make manga chamandi
with a stone mortar

he taught me to play
catch, and seven stones
and to act for a play he’d written
about forbidden love

he teased me about boys
i was friends with
and girls i wasn’t

he told me to call him kunju
or vaishakh,
because ettan is too formal
i now know why.

he sat a bit away when we were eating
and my grandmother didn’t touch him
he had to throw his leaf elsewhere
and burn it to the ground.

every evening
my mother interrupted me
from our games
and i had to go
to our kollam
and have a bath
to rinse him away from my skin.


I live in Denial

My lips curl in an involuntary curve
As my phone blinks to reveal your name
My heart glows a warm fire
As you write me a beautiful letter
In a hot summer afternoon, I live in denial,
As you draw me to you, inch after inch

As we tread softly, and slowly through
Word after word, universe after universe
And dream after dream, plan after plan
And as it becomes clear that we are a team
I live in denial, as you fill me with joy unbound
And leave me hoping for a happy forever

All the bright places we wander through
Dim out the monsters within us,
And the darkness that engulfed our past
And threatens to endanger our future
I live in denial about where it all starts
The potential of a you and me, and a here and now unrecognized.

As we preach about the phases of the human mind
And the beauty of the human kind
As we laugh about the clueless colleagues
And the stupidness of the grand scheme of things,
I live in denial about my feelings
About the impossibility of you and me.


I remember when we were talking
About our lives, our dreams, our insecurities
I remember your distinct flavour
You’re a cinnamon roll, with a paprika piece
Not too sweet, just the right taste.

I remember how we kissed
For the very first time
Under the street lamps
On a New Moon night

Now I see your ghost
In every thing I do
When I’m watching a movie
About taciturn men;
When I’m reading a book
Doubting if therapy works:
When I’m crying tears
Hoping you’d hold me.

I see your ghost
In the strangers on the crowded subways
Who have the same hairstyle
And my broken laptop
That you knew how to fix.
When I want to score
The beatiful numbness.

I see your ghost
In stories that are funny
Because you’d have rolled your eyes at them
Now I look over and see plain white sheets
Impregnated with black ink
That mean nothing to me.

I see your ghost
In poems I write for other people
Before you and I were crafted
Into a beautiful melody
Before I gave my heart to you
Under the laurel tree.
Before you said you loved me
And you always will.

I see your ghost
Haunting my memories
In the darkest of hours
Haunting my dreams
In the most beautiful nightmares
Haunting my day
In the busiest of hours
Haunting my nights
In the whitest of sheets.

Going back in time.

Do you sometimes want to go back?
He asks me, his eyes full of fear and hope
He’s looking like the home
I ran away from, because it was time.

To the place in our lives
When you could hold me all the time?

I miss his soft lips,
The way they move against mine.

I still love the way your brown eyes shine
I miss his hoodie that he’d given me to keep
I miss the prickly hair on his cheeks
I miss his soapy scent just after a bath.

I still love your insanely frizzy hair
I miss the paragraphs of love declarations that he’d send
I miss the side eyes that he’d give
I miss his reassuring bear hugs.

I still love you, let’s make it alright
I miss the heated debates that were never fights
I miss our late night phone karaokes
But I do not miss him.

If I could travel back in time,
I’d want us to be back together

If I could travel back in time, I’d like for him to hold me again.

If I could go back in time,
I would never let you go

If I could travel back in time,
I swear I’d love him right.

If I could go back in time,
I’d want us to be together forever

If I could go back in time,
I would choose not to.


Is it toxic,
If you ask me for my opinion
On everyday mundane things
Like what to wear
But also the big decisions
Like should you take that job?

Is it toxic
If you laugh at me
And laugh with me
And make me laugh
But also make me cry?

Is it toxic
If you proclaim eternal love
When you’re drunk
And tell me I matter
When we’re alone
But in front of others mock me
About things that I hold dear?

Is it toxic
When you want to only talk about yourself
But then get mad at me
When I don’t tell you
Things that happen with me?

Is it toxic
When I want you to be there
And you want me to be there
And we both talk to each other everyday
Without any discomfort?

Is it toxic
If you tell me about your favourite cousins
And that aunt that annoys you
And that grandfather you never knew
But they say you are the copy of?

Is it toxic
If I tell you about my first love
Who was also my best friend
And you tell me I should try again
And after 6 years, I reconsider?

Is it toxic
If you care for me
And respect me
But then insult me
And annoy me
And boil my blood?

Is it toxic
When I fall in love with you
Deeper and harder
But you think of me as a little sister
But also your good friend?


You waltz in
Take my breath away
And leave
Without ceremony.

I do not think of you
For the next ten years
Except once or twice in my dreams
And morning after as I wonder
Where you are and what have you become

I sit alone
At a bar
Of work, of life
You ask me
If the seat is taken
Old friend
Our flame is a kindle
Akin to our desire.

I fall again,
Between white sheets
And Friday Night Sundaes
Burnt Toast mornings
With black coffee
And hot chocolate Wednesday Afternoons
And this time, you stay.

I will tell my children about you

I will warn my children about you.
The kinds that give you all,
But then take it away
Faster than you know it’s yours.

I will warn my children about you.
About the dozen promises
That both of us made,
And broke in the blink of an eye.

I will warn my children about you.
About us, at fifty, with a cigar
In our hands, and whiskey on the table
Sitting on the cliff talking about life.

I will tell my children about you.
The godcousins they never had
The dogs they didn’t befriend
The friends they never knew.

I will tell my children about you.
The plans of gatecrashing your vacation
To end life, because you don’t want to treat your cancer
And the waffles I never got to bring you.

I will tell my children about you.
About friendships that may not last forever
Even though you both try
Even though you both love.

I will tell my children about you.
About promises they want to keep
But cannot, because of their fears
And the anxieties that cripple them.

I will tell my children about you.
About growing up with you.
About how just because something ended
Doesn’t mean it was not worth it.