“Don’t take it personally,” my sister, also queer, says with a tired sigh. “You know how they are.” You see, distant relative I don’t even know the name of, They were talking about you this night. Dear Uncle, I know you have a little brother who's probably the pride of the family— he has a job, and a wife, and a respectable well-settled life; You wore eyeliner to a shaadi and danced to Baby Doll. Dear Uncle, I'd known long before this night the hatred in the hearts of this family for all the people who are 'others' This family that could be so caring and kind, and I had somehow loved them through it all; Now, I cannot talk to my maama without hearing his mocking laugh, saying "I'll tell you why he isn't married yet" Cannot look at my maami without reading the subtext of "Because he likes men." Cannot even smile at my own mother without replaying her dramatic gasp at this odd alien creature. Dear Uncle, you don't know I exist I don't know who you are Yet I still feel that hot red spot in the middle of my forehead that opened like a furious third eye this night But did not wreck loose any fireballs that set about the end of the world like your mere existence did. Dear Uncle, I do not know whether your kohl-lined smolder was your personal gay yell from the rooftop Or your 'earth-shattering' dance was your tandava, your middle finger to the family which never treated you like one— I may never know, either, you will never read this poem and if you do, I hope it's not over our shared pained smiles of the aching bones our khandaan gives us someday. Dear Uncle, forgive me, For I will never be as brave as you are, I can make my boiling blood simmer until it spills and screams in the private ink of these pages, but I could not fight the words that were said with the immense heat that built up inside my head —I was exhausted, and scared, and alone But those are no excuses: to be a silent observer is to be a part of the crime. I'm a criminal, dear uncle, as I sit writing this angry gay poem behind bars around my throat my throat which learnt to choke on its own soon after it managed to open up last year, if only to itself; And you are this criminal's muse, dear uncle, You have fused this black ace ring permanently to my finger now this magical metallic bolt that lets the closet stay open and closed at the same time. I wish I could let you know that I took it personally, dear uncle— I did not know you existed until today and though my cowardly hands did nothing to stop that machine gun, It made this unprecedented Picasso mosaic of my bones Perhaps, close to, what it would've made of you. Dear Uncle, I know none of my words will ever be enough and I'm a cynic who doesn't buy that telepathic connection shit But for today, just for today, I want to believe that I'm there with you in spirit wherever you are, that you may feel some unexplained warmth in this cold, cold, cold of the dual atmospheres That your brain might throw up a kind word amidst all the slurs it keeps replaying. Dear Uncle, this is a really long shot But I hope one day we gatecrash a wedding and march on to the stage to proclaim: "Yes, I'm a queer, I'm a freak, I'm a fag, I've got mud on my face and I'm a big disgrace and I will wave my banner and shout until the stars above you tremble," And we will be in drag, dear uncle, a mass slaughter of this civilised family's collective brain; and we will laugh at gay jokes together when we get kicked out of the family, Estranged from those who were strangers in the first place Maybe I could be brave enough with you. Dear Uncle, it should not be a big deal I've heard worse, way worse, but it is and your eyeliner and dance moves should not be brave— it's been too long, they should be ordinary But whatever it meant, it made you extraordinary, extra-everything in the minds of the people who cannot handle anything extra beyond their narrow tunnel vision of their little frog-pond world, Who do not give two shits about you except when it comes to tittering Tittering that will turn into jittering flames of the torches they'll bring to burn our houses down, But we will make our houses fireproof, dear uncle, We will build them so they spit it right back Spit rainbow-hued fire tornadoes That will char the sky and this mob's faces in the colours of the love they fear so much; And we will Take it personally.
Holi eve night I can't see any stars in the black canopy of the sky But she's there, beautiful, reduced to a centrepiece For strangers to worship and attach stories to Who look at her, but don't see— they love themselves Too much So they chatter and dance and have fun Somebody I don't know offers me a sweet I decline; My senses are absorbed, For even though the sky is dark She's there, scattering stars of sunset shimmering Out for the night to inhale. A girl films her swaying in slow motion to her own rhythm Oblivious to the loud folk music on the community speakers I have not brought my camera. The girl's phone whites out her beauty Turns her blossoming tongues of magma Into featureless dazzling white This is why I did not bring my camera. But I have brought my heart. So even though I know that all the metaphors About her mercurial magnificence That flood my brain like her anbaric rivulets, All the poems I could write That will white out her beauty Have already been written; I let my words flow and engulf this page Like her flames do the wood I let my words flow because I love the fire. I love the fire so I come closer, Even though I can feel her warmth from afar I Can't help but come closer; My skin cries tears of sweat My brain yells at me to step back— But all I can do is bask in the warmth she radiates Let my pupils dilate with her heat And my blood fill with the divinity of Prometheus's stolen treasure. She is a slice of the Sun on the Earth And a soothing sliver of the moon Expectorating fireflies; All I can do is marvel at her supernova core All I can do is look, and yet. I look at her and I want to burn in her, Dive into her heart and burn I'll just be another log, some more kindling That makes her hiss and sizzle and crackle in glee But I want to feel her sear my bones from within Like she's seared my heart from without. Now the stick pyramid falls but she burns on For she never needed that structure to exist— She's a force of nature, hair flying wild And as the wood falls I want to fall too Fall to my knees in front of her, eyes closed And evaporate; Be the Icarus in her tranquil orange lustre That beautifies the ugliest with her summertime incandescence And fills this empty pitcher with ichor That overflows and splashes these pages With the fiery passion inside.
1st April/ (1/30) / Free verse
Neither am I dead, nor is this series.
Hello and welcome to the second episode of Prose-tinted glasses. If you have no idea what the hell is going on here or need a refresher, head on over to the pilot episode where I introduce you to this new venture of mine and talk about Orwell’s 1984. Seriously, do it. It’ll save you from my wrath by preventing you from calling it a book-review series.
I’m assuming you’re now familiar with the previous episode. So, in keeping with our theme of Books we all Pretend we’ve Read, the book for today is The Handmaid’s Tale.
*cue theme music*
I know, I know. It has over seventy thousand reviews on Goodreads, who knows how many more articles, entire research papers, and a whole TV show. But will any of that deter me from writing about it? Did any of that compel me to read at least one article about it? Did I watch the show?
I call it being authentic. Continue reading
HALLO FRANDOS I’M BACK.
(Shit Tanushka you’re growing on me.)
So my exams are over and I finally have the time to start a new venture. This new venture is a new series, called, as you see in the title, Prose-tinted Glasses.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that writing book reviews isn’t my thing, and this isn’t going to be about book reviews either. The episodes- let’s call them that- will be written while I’m reading a particular book, and will be posted when I’ve finished reading. They’ll basically be my nightly mental ramblings about the things explored in the book (because why should I lose sleep alone) and how I feel they connect to things outside the book. You can think of them as those post-book English class essays, but you’ll soon see they’re not really that. If you want book reviews, this series is not for you.
The featured image is a quick colour pencil drawing which I made at 11 in the night while my mom was yelling at me to go to sleep. And yes, this will be the featured image for all the episodes. It’s a series, after all.
Hopefully I’ll post an episode once a month, but it’s not a rigid schedule- nothing is ever rigid over here- and there might, or more appropriately, will be episode-less months. The theme for the first season (yes, there might be more seasons. It’s a whole thing.) is Books we all Pretend we’ve Read.
Now, I have already read some of these- not a complete ignoramus, thankfully- and they won’t be included in this series (they’re The Hobbit and The Alchemist, if you’re wondering). Nor are the books in this image the only ones which will be included.
With the intro out of the way, let’s get into the episode.
(No, this is not a poem
Because in my country
It’s not that simple.)
They hate the rain in London
Because it means dark, gloomy days
No sunshine, football, or picnics
And house arrest in stuffy, humid rooms.
Click here to read the previous parts.
After hours in the local cyber cafe, I finally knew enough to tackle the midnight man and find out Rennie’s location. Or, at least I hoped I did.
The process of befriending the Creator was, of course, still going on simultaneously. She seemed to be a nice person for the most part, except for the part where she’d killed my parents as a means of ‘character development’. And the part where she’d basically messed up ‘Grey Earth’ for her ‘dystopian YA sci-fi fantasy’, as she put it. It seemed absurd to me that an innocent-looking girl could be the monster at the end of the book, quite literally.
I’d also checked into a room at Hotel Parth Paradise (as I’d told the Creator) after all, since I had to stay somewhere.
I’d sold a couple more gold coins at a jewellery store and bought a hydraulic press from an online shopping website. I’d stocked up on salt, bought silver knives and learnt the number sequence from the Korean elevator ritual by heart. With luck, my plan would work.
उस दिन जब दुनिया ने मिलकर
प्रेम-पर्व मनाया था ,
नफ़रत ने भी पुलवामा पर
मायाजाल फैलाया था।
चाहे उन कायरों को संपूर्ण देश की
बद्दुआ लग जाएगी,
पर क्या कोई कविता उस माँ का
आँचल फिर भर पाएगी ?
Click here to read the previous parts.
Five hours and hot buttery parathas at a local eatery had calmed me down enough to know that I was essentially directionless at the time. I had no course of action at all before me, but I had plenty of time to chart one.
I was in no mood to try to kill the Creator without any of our poisonous arsenals. I’d even left the potassium chloride with Al, I recalled- when I’d thrown the container in his face. Good times.
Al had lectured me on not caring about Rennie’s sacrifice. About making her sacrifice meaningful. Well, I thought, why let her sacrifice herself anyway? She did it to right our messed-up world, but why her? Why should she have to do it? Wasn’t it the responsibility of those snobby ‘leaders’ of The Society which was created to fight the mutants and keep everyone safe?
So, I decided to bring her back from wherever she was. I contemplated my next move. There was only one person in the universe who could bring her back. The Creator. Continue reading