Fire

Oh, such a power are thee,

Preserver and Destroyer, a blessing and a curse,

For within the flames, more than one can see,

Lies the meaning of the universe.

 

The Gods and Goddesses, smile in the light of your being, everywhere.

Our prayers ascend into the heavens with your heat.

For, a small candlelit thought, I need you there,

In thy presence can only celebration be complete.

 

But on the other end, if the evil in your name shall grow,

The licking tongues of your mighty flame,

Can engulf and devour all that we know,

Leaving nothing but ASH, of all that one can name.

 

In your hands, we are merely a puppet doll,

For the cycle of life begins and ends with a flaming pyre,

And as you continue to persevere and rise from the ashes that fall,

We bow down to your power, OH MIGHTY FIRE!

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And it was all yellow..

 

Rest in peace, my darling, for you’re in a better place,

Away from all that has put you in pain.

I’d love to see your handsome face,

And hold your hands and lay next to you again.

 

But all that I have here, all that I know,

It is all yellow.

 

The wreaths at your funeral, the clothes you lay in,

The colour of the setting sun as they carried you away,

Your jaundiced body, pale and thin;

Oh! If only you could stay.

 

But all that I have here, all that I know,

It is all yellow.

 

My love, I now leave the house starched with our memories,

The familiar sounds and those familiar sights,

The yellow flowers blooming on the backyard trees,

It all feels so different these lonely nights.

But I have to leave, I have to go. It’s just too much pain.

I have to pack, you know I am just how slow.

Remember that time we packed up and went to Spain?

And just lay in the balcony, to the rising sun and yellow skies above.

 

But all that I have here, all that I know,

It is all yellow.

 

I open the wardrobe where you kept your things,

Searching for a part of you I am not ready to let go,

And like a yellow butterfly, fluttering its wings,

My heart does too, a flutter did it throw.

 

And there it lay, in all its glory,

All that is left now of your life,

My eyes well up and vision gets blurry,

Looking at this box in the hands of your wife.

 

Once a white box, now a yellow hue,

Collecting years of dust, that I brush hastily off,

The floating dust, like a sandstorm it grew,

And as it rises, I cough.

 

All that I have here, all that I know,

It is all yellow.

 

I open the box to see all that it contains,

A few old photographs, yellowed with age,

Pictures of us from long gone summers and winters and rains,

And there there was, a yellowed page.

 

But all that I have here, all that I know,

It is all yellow.

 

The first letter you wrote me back then,

Where you told me that you would marry me,

And ask my father for my hand, remember when?

My eyes filled with tears , blurring what I can see.

 

This was before it all, before the Alzheimer’s came,

And yellowed away your healthy brain,

Put into reality my worst fears,

The memory lapses drove you insane.

 

But darling, you’re in a better place now, rest in peace, my love,

And I know that you are watching me from up above.

Because all that I have here, all that I know,

It is all yellow.

 

The flashbacks, the memories of our everyday,

And now, the colour of our ceiling as I hit the floor,

I’ll see you soon, I’m on my way,

I’m saying goodbye to the world and joining you once more.

.. And it was all yellow.

Perfect SENSE

If I wouldn’t see you with my eyes,

I’d kiss your lips, shivers running down our spines.

I feel the warmth of your breath on the curve of my neck,

I smell the scent of your body and it smells so nice.

I feel the touch of your skin on my fingertips,

I hear your soft whispers and smiling sighs.

And even if I cannot see,

Nothing would bother me,

If I had to close my lips and there’d be no taste of you,

But words you speak of love so true,

Feeling you hold me close and tight,

Your scent reminds me everything’s alright.

And without my sight or taste to spare,

I really wouldn’t care,

If everything I could hear went away,

Still next to you I would lay.

Smelling your presence and feeling your touch,

That would be enough, perhaps too much.

And if I fail to see and taste and hear,

And fail to smell you too, my dear,

I’d still be calm and be right there,

Feeling your fingers through my hair,

Feeling your breath on my skin,

And feeling you everywhere- the perfect sin.

And if I couldn’t feel a thing,

I wouldn’t bother to make amends,

Because you and me- would still make perfect SENSE.

The Climb

A mind full of apprehension and a nervous disposition to match,

Youthful faces, all sorted in a batch;

Reaching Valley View, for the orientation soon,

On a rainy late July (2011) afternoon.

We climbed up the stairs to the hall on the first floor, The stairs to our near future.

At the destination, we see a door.

And here we see our family for the next five years,

As we bid goodbye to our parents with eyes filled with tears.

In the first week, entering the hostels, up the stairs, lugging our giant suitcases,

Going to our rooms, all at different paces.

Then to their hostel rooms we were led,

With a study table and a cupboard and a bed.

In a search to begin life as an adult, a long wait,

Here they begin hostel life with their roommate.

Late nights, birthdays and studying, parcels parents send,

And it’s here they make friends that last till the end.

Then, in the Centre of Basic Science, classes begin,

The three floor climb to the halls where the lectures are in,

In laboratories, we taught ourselves to learn as we do,

In lectures, we increased our knowledge on concepts we already knew.

And every year, the final exams where we lose our sanity, lose it all,

Balancing books, climbing the stairs towards the examination hall.

In three hours, writing an explosion of all that was taught,

We write all that we know- relevant or not.

In the third year, we begin postings in the realm unknown,

And here we learn how little we’ve actually grown.

Climbing to the second floor, with faces as blank as our patients are,

In a few years, will we get very far?

The exhilarating shiver treating your first patient will emanate,

The adrenaline rush, it’s all worth the wait.

And in internship, after a year or two,

We seem to know enough to diagnose and do.

And then, we graduate!

Surrounded by familiar faces, happier than one can say,

Framed by graduation hats and more mature confident faces, compared to the first day.

To receive the graduation scroll, we get on stage in pairs,

To conclude the journey of a thousand stairs..

Will you?

Will you hold me close,

Comfort me, hold me tight?

Will you hold me close,

Through our wrong and right?

Will you hold me close,

Even though we may fight?

Will you hold me close,

All through the night?

Will you still hug me,

When I act insane?

Will you still hug me,

When I over think everything in my brain?

Will you still hug me,

When salty mascara tears down my face in the rain?

Will you still hug me,

When I fight with you in public on the train?

Will you still hug me,

Through all my stress and strain?

Will you still love me,

With every passing day?

Will you still love me,

Through March, April and May?

Will you still love me,

When our hair turns grey?

Will you still kiss me,

When I drop tea all over you?

Will you still kiss me,

All that we go through?

Will you still kiss me,

Knowing all that you knew?

Will you still kiss me,

If I told you I loved you too..

EMPATHY

I wrote this poem for a college competition, thought of sharing.

 

I wake up to a bloodstained bed,

With a disturbing fuzziness in my head.

Panicstricken, I wake my partner up, now asleep,

Shuffling, confused- my balance I couldn’t keep.

 

My bump that lay ahead of me,

Blocking all that I could see;

Am I losing my baby now?

This is not how I imagined it, this is not how.

 

The rest of that morning was just a haze,

Just a puppet to what the doctor says;

A test here, a test there,

All I had to offer was a blank stare.

And then came the moment of truth. A blade,

Right through our hearts. “You’ve lost your baby, I’m afraid.”

 

Show me some empathy, put yourself in my place,

Had you dreamt of my baby’s face?

 

My baby girl with my lips and my partner’s nose,

My baby girl- with cheeks soft like a blushing rose.

My baby girl- whose eyes would shine like the endless seas,

Whose little voice would stir the envy of singing birds on the trees.

 

Show me some empathy, put yourself in my place,

Had you dreamt of what my baby says?

 

From her first words, first words she’d had,

To “I love you mum, I love you dad.”

From her terrible twos to her terrible teens,

To the yelling and the occasional ecstatic shrieks.

 

Show me some empathy, put yourself in my place,

Had you dreamt of my baby on her special days?

 

From her baptism to her first birthday,

Celebrations galore in the month of May;

To the day she becomes someone’s wife,

And the day she brings a baby to life.

 

But no.

Empathise all you want,

For today- forever will haunt,

As being the day we start living with a memory,

And living life as what could possibly be.

The heavens reclaimed an angel today, this angel of mine.

Placed a glowing halo on her little head, so divine.

Go, my dear, fluff up the clouds so high,

And spread joy to the world above,

Mommy won’t cry..

Mommy won’t cry..

Shut the Blinds

Creaking headboards, untimely thuds and a well rehearsed female moan,

Are the sounds I wake up to;

A scurried exit of another unknown,

I hear him fixing his tie on the go and putting on his shoe.

 

My sense of hearing- tad too sharp, it is,

My vision nil, since birth;

Blind to the sights, amplified to words of his,

Men treating women like us as scum on earth.

 

Through the paper thin wall we share,

I’d hear him ask my mother, a well veiled doubt;

And as I grew some stayed to stare,

At me before they left. I’d hear mother shoo them out.

 

My extensive vocabulary of words that a woman may be called,

Come from these infrequent visitors who sometimes stayed the night.

The meanings, as I find out, leave me appalled,

My mother being called these, is it even right?

 

Her life, one day, I shall live,

This is all I’ve lived and ever known;

All of their curses and misgivings, I have to forgive,

For the small sum they pay. I have to condone.

 

My life starts and ends within these four walls,

Enclosing pain, abuses and obscenities hurled;

Bastard children running around playing with torn rag dolls,

And their mothers, immune to the ways of this world.

 

But first, I had to know what lay beyond,

These walls that trapped us in;

So one cold night, barefoot, my mother’s scarf I donned,

Excitement rising, goosebumps on my skin.

 

I came out all set to experience the world anew,

Hear women being treated well;

But to my shock, as I breezed through,

At everything I heard, my heart fell.

 

Vouch never to come back out here,

I began to run back to the place I called home till now;

It brought up in me an intense fear,

The outside world was a kaleidoscope of lies and how!

 

As I run, I realise I’m so fortunate a kid,

Where they treated people like my mother and me,

With approval and a price, the way they did.

But outside, freedom for women is just a blur, an illusion of safety.

 

Women were molested and raped in broad daylight,

Only to become the next headline;

Epitomised for a day or two, forgotten by night,

Was this really the better world? Was this really fine?

 

And all of this was just the beginning,

Beginning of a giant blame game;

People point fingers at the girl and blame everything,

For the rape, except the rapist. What a shame.

 

The motives of the people who come to us are loud and clear,

All right there in front of us. In bold.

Under a shield of false security and lurking motives here,

Women had to fear the juveniles, middle aged and the old.

 

Outside all happened under a veil of shame,

Behind a curtain of values so thick;

For her family wouldn’t want to ‘ruin’ her name,

So keeping quiet is the option they pick.

 

I reached back to where I live and I steady my pace,

Block images of the unjust outside world, of all kinds;

Whisper to myself that I’m finally home, smile on my face;

And to the outside world, I shut the blinds.

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

The point of the poem is that the way we look doesn’t influence what the people who love us think of us. If there’s something you want to change about yourself, you will always have love and support, but appearances do not deserve the attention we give to it.

There once lived a man, with a head full of hair,

He was a jolly good fellow who lived without a care;

Until one day, people started to fret about him- a thing, then another,

The only one who stood by him was his significant other.

They complained he was too fat, they complained he was bald,

He lost weight, then they complained about his cellulite, if that’s what it’s called;

Day after day, this poor (once) jolly man wept,

If only there was a way, a head full of hair, he could have kept.

And everytime people told him something about his hair,

Our man got conscious of all those who would stare;

In the comfort of his home, a few medicines he gulped and tonics he drank,

And when they failed to work, his remaining hair he would yank.

Pulling and pulling his hair, the man one morning woke up with three,

And the transition from a jolly good man to a grumpy one, we could all see;

His significant other took a comb, and to work she got,

“TA DA!  You’ve now got a braid like that rockstar lot!”

He smiled and he had a good day,

But he knew the hair on his head for long wouldn’t stay.

And then the next day, the man woke up to two,

This jolly man, forlorn he grew;

His significant other says, “I know what to do!”

She parted his hair down the middle, as her husband’s smile grew.

He smiled and he had a good day,

But he knew the hair on his head for long wouldn’t stay.

And then the next day, the man woke up with one hair,

He was convinced everyone, today, would stare;

And lo and behold! His significant other had a plan,

She put it in a ponytail, for her man.

He smiled and he had a good day,

But he knew the hair on his head for long wouldn’t stay.

And then the next day, the man woke up with none,

His bald head glistened under the light of the rising sun;

Then our jolly good man looks at his significant other, smiles and says,

“Look, honey! You don’t have to come up with hairstyles for the coming days!”

-Neha Nambiar

Tooth for a tooth

Cracking my knuckles, I look around,

That chemical scent and the constant buzzing sound,

And poster people with smiles on their face;

Morbid does not begin to describe this place.

 

Clutching my pained jaw, I wait my chance,

I see a white coat approach and steal a glance;

She walks over, calls out my name, scans the crowd,

Dazed, staring at her, before I realise my name out loud.

 

I shuffle off my seat, she starts leading me to the chair,

Following, I can’t help but stare;

Momentarily relieved of the throbbing pain in my tooth,

She looked too young to be a dentist, to tell you the truth.

 

She sat me down in the chair and puts on her mask,

Pen in hand, a few questions she begins to ask;

After every reply, I have a question of my own,

She’s only a student, I should have known.

 

She wears her gloves and switches on the chair light,

A mirror and something that seemed a little sharper than I would have liked;

Peers into my mouth and begins prodding here and there,

Probes around a tooth and, in pain, I jump off the chair.

 

She gave a sympathetic nod and a masked smile,

As she wrote something else into my file;

“We’re going to have to extract that tooth, I’m afraid.”

She was honestly the only reason I stayed.

 

Today, my pathological fear of injections is going to take a backseat,

It’s not too often such a pretty dentist I meet;

A silent prayer in my head as the needle touches my gum,

With an anesthesised mouth I ask her where she’s from.

 

And as we wait for it to kick in, we talk a little more,

Until my jaw begins to feel a little sore;

She gets right to work, ploughing about,

Until finally she gets the tooth out.

 

When she’s done, I give her a thirty-one tooth smile,

And ask her if she’s free tonight at nine.

16.12.2014

This is something I wrote in light of the recent Pakistan school massacre that took place on the 16th of December 2014. I do not usually post poetry of the sort, but what has happened is beyond unimaginable. Do let me know what you think.

 

 

 

I don’t ask to live forever,

I ask to give me a try;

A try at being in my own future,

Not this weak excuse of a goodbye.

Like the ashes that lay,

Charred are the hearts of the ones I love;

Their prayers and cries in vain,

Ascending, to the heavens above.

Is killing me, is killing us,

The only choice you’ve got?

I wouldn’t lay a hand on you,

I wouldn’t have even fought.

I cannot seem to justify this,

No matter how hard I thought.

Humanity is not what defines humans,

Its absence is what is not.