Oh, what do I write?
Now that my ideals and reason
Must lose its meaning, and how
I put them into the firing line
Sitting here in this upper middle class pub
Under the giant Nehru place metro station
That hangs over us on a concrete bridge, watching
The trains that snail through these tracks that
Lead to the red soiled village of Badarpur,
Drinking my cheap vodka amid a family birthday party,
Branded handbags, oversized humans and utter chaos,
After a five kilometer walk through Kalkaji and back.
Six months without a professional ID
Four months of utter disgust and mistrust
Cyber-attacks, impersonating, plagiarised purgatory
Anger, fierce noxious anger that I exposed myself to, through
All that jealousy and pain.
People they twist and turn, expand and shrink
As I sit under the evening sky that grows dim
What did I…
What did I seek?
Through these years of rage and rain
Oh why did I torture
My love that had no takers
What will memory keep of me?
What memory will I leave behind?
Oh ever growing, gigantic like the waves of ocean, love
What will you be?
What shall you look like?
When no lovers remains
When I shall not remain
Nor, those who I loved
I have walked the same road
On which you walk now
Have raged and raged
About the current state of news
I too have wasted many nights
In hope of a new country,
Dreaming of a new spring.
Wasted my mind, my body
In mad, mad, foolish anger
To see life rot,
To see this generation forget
To watch this decay
How every one of us brought
Rulers and kings
We did not need
Year after year
I too had once sunk myself
In deep wells of utopian fever
I have walked the dark road of a tribal in the mainland
Have eaten the untouchable grains of rice cooked in Dalit love
Have tasted the beef fried in anti-national oil
Exchanged gender roles with my lovers
I too had once left my home and went searching
For a world to call my own,
A world where everyone has grown old enough
To share love and common anger
Care for each other
For what joy?
There isn’t anything left now
But to try and deny,
Nothing left to add
Or subtract from
No trees remain
Neither a good fuck
nor a job to lean on,
Neither a late night ordinary bus
nor an empty room,
Nor peace, salvation,
Nor this binary, angry politics
No weird nights-
Doped and drunk like Jesus Christ,
What have you done? What have I done?
What have we become?
What the fuck
Have we done?
What have I done since
I made sense of this existence
And oh, how have I cried!
But did I,
Did I really try to change these walls?
Try to create and break these reasons inside my head like millions
Of years of rage in sleep and liquor and nightmares
Shivering through wintery ears
Of yak owl nights?
But lines we drew on the sand
And grass we grew on our heads
Ponds we jumped in
Like tadpoles, we
Snaked through the roads of life,
Despair to fight this trust we missed,
Eyes in mist
Where are we now?
Where are those nights?
When we cried, insane, in vain to save this pain,
Our love, for this country that grew free
To see the birds who died
And how they archived
When we sighed to engulf,
This world’s agony
The way we could have
Taken this further
And remained in each other
To pose, as if, it were all true
As if this life was true
As if, this country was living, as if,
We are living, as if,
Our fellow countrymen loved us, as if,
As if our leaders wanted us alive
Like rivers, like prayers
Like fever we rose, we gave
Some balm for our eyes
Some pain for our mind
Like placing a finger on the very place
Where the pain remains
And it all runs like a night train
Inside my heavy nerves now.
The signs and the lights illuminate, faces
Of strangers, middle income workers
Who save hard just for a drink
At empty tables like these
At this half-posh pub after office
Where no one bothers about politics
Another metro returns
Spreading its zigzag shadows
Over our weary shoulders
As someone whispers deep
Into my ears:
How to put yourself into an exile
And then, crib about it?
Featured image by Benedict Hynniewta