The cat’s familiar (2/2)

Part 1

‘The Shack’ was a wholly inaccurate name for the witches’ place. It was a bungalow covered in vines because of course it was, and it didn’t appear as big on the outside, but it was huge on the inside. Labyrinthine, almost— maybe it was my dizziness from the broomstick ride but… oh god, the broomstick ride. 

When I was all dressed up, had locked my apartment’s door and come outside, I’d seen the five women with three vehicles. Stella leaning with her shoes crossed against her light-devouring black, evil-looking motorbike, Isha killing time reading a book balanced on the steering wheel of a pretty car with a blue-and-green gradient finish, Camila riding shotgun with a cigarette between her long carmine nails, Jenny in the back with her elbow resting on the window, absorbed in the few flowers in my building’s small front garden and Magistera Seleni checking her pocket watch, her other hand holding a broomstick, and Catpurrnicus sitting solemnly near her feet.

Stella straight away refused to let me ride her bike. Jenny offered me to sit in the back of the car. Magistera didn’t say anything but her expression indicated the broomstick was open, but not the best choice. 

Of course I picked the broomstick. Continue reading

Prose-tinted Glasses S1, E3

E1- 1984 | E2- The Handmaid’s Tale

Hello and welcome back to the series which is updated once in six months, where I look at the world through the ideas in a popular book that most of us only pretend to have read. And I subject you to the essays I would’ve written had I been an English Literature major. (Not to brag but y’all gave me an A+ the last two times so I guess I could replace ‘subject’ with ‘treat’ *wink*).

Guess which book we’re doing today. It can’t really be called a modern classic, but it’s not Paradise Lost-old either. You’ll be able to guess; I’ll give you two words: psychology and quiet.

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City sunsets

Sunsets in the city
aren't the most romantic affair— you see,
there's no sun-dipping-into-the-horizon
(because there is no horizon)
no distant crash of waves
or the chirping of unknown birds,
(Though you might just get a nice breeze if you're lucky)
there's no fire in the hearth slowly going out.

But leaning here against the balcony's railing
Gazing at the sky you just know
you just feel the sun setting
And a slight smile creeps up your lips
and you feel the railing's warmth
which has had time to heat up the entire day,
but also its strangely soothing metallic cool.

You just know you're watching a sunset
without watching the sun set—
In the gradient of the sky
blue, then a hint of thunderstorm grey,
soft lamplight orange, then lovely, lovely pink
before finally descending
into the grey-blue of the oncoming night.

The oncoming night,
which does not fall, but rises
Though not before that flock of birds
stops tracing figures-of-eight in the dusk
then zeroes, and gets thinner and thinner
as each bird alights on the 'chosen one' tree,
Not before that lone kite
stops floating in the swirls and eddies
of the streetlight wind,
Not before you finally notice
the mosquitoes in your feet
and wish those powerlines in front of your house
cutting through every view
would just disappear forever,
Not before you still heave a contented sigh
and go back inside,
missing it already.

26th April/ (14/30) / Free verse

Mind your language

“Okay,” Angie cracked her knuckles. “I got this. I’ve done this every year, and I’ll do it this time as well.” Her nimble fingers were poised over the keyboard, ready to strike as soon as an idea presented itself. 

Indira walked over to the workstation. She was a bit older than Angie, but they both seemed to be the same age; not just in appearance, but, as Angie liked to say, in their heart and soul as well. She thought ‘heart and soul’ sounded cool. Indira huffed. Anything was cool when Angie said it. 

It wasn’t that they hated each other— far from it. They were practically siblings. It was either ‘hey I’ll help you bury the body’ or ‘yours is the body I’ll be burying.’ There was no in-between.

The second was what Indira was feeling today. Since the past few years it’d always been Angie, Angie, Angie. At best, she was riding shotgun. At worst, she was forgotten in a corner of the house. It wasn’t fair at all— she was a grown woman, she had been the first one here, she was the one who opened every single door and window. She loved Angie, true, but not at her own cost. Today presented a perfect opportunity for confrontation.

“Can’t think of anything?” she slurped her fennel-cardamom chai loudly.

“I- I don’t know, it’s just—“

“Sabe que tu corazon conmigo tu hace bom bom, sabe que sa bebe esta—” Espina was skipping around the house singing— no, shouting —the rap part of Despacito for the third time. In an hour.

“Maybe I could if someone would stop screaming lyrics they don’t even know the meaning of!” The walls felt Angie’s frustration, but the little girl, barely three, didn’t seem to take a hint. She continued rapping at the top of her babyish voice.  

“Tsk-tsk. She’s just a child, Ang dear, who you enabled.” Indira sat down on the empty chair, crossing her legs. “You seem tired. Maybe you should let me take the lead today?” she tried not to let her desperation show.

“No, I—” Angie put her fingers through the handle of her coffee mug. “I’ve gotta do this. It’s my job. I can’t let Her down. Not today.”

“Oh, please. You’re overworked as is. Besides, you do this all the time, and today’s a special day. If you do it, it won’t be anything… different. It’ll be just as usual. Take a break. Let me help you, Angie.” Indira seriously hoped she wasn’t sounding like one of those thinly-veiled Bollywood femme fatales.

“No, no, no. You don’t get it, Indu. You haven’t done this in, like, forever. You’ve done this, what, a couple of times in the last six, seven years? I do this at least every couple of months or so. I’m meant to do this. Besides, even if you do it, we both know what’ll happen. She will get tired, She will think it seems too…” Angie paused. She didn’t want to trigger the woman sitting in front of her. “…unlike Her. You’re best at the more sociable part. Why don’t you do that?” She smiled, hoping that’d clear any hints of an insult. Nobody wanted a pissed-off Indira.

The smile did not help.

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Prose-tinted Glasses S1, E2

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?

Nah. 

I call it being authentic. Continue reading

Ode to Skin

You, the fabric that covers my bones
In all its tanned brown glory
You, the canvas of my emotion
And also its shelter.
For you are the thin line, the boundary, the border
Separating, protecting
This convoluted rabbit hole of an inner world 
From the outer one.

You are the curtain, the doorway, the membrane
The universe must sear through 
Before it sears me.
With all your intricate layers 
That you cast off and renew
You are the shield
All scars must get through.

You are the vessel, the marionette, the coffin
That encapsulates my soul in its worldly warmth,
Packing supernovas and blackholes and a gooey conscious
Into a five-five body for the cosmos to comprehend,
The sluice gate which confines my cyclones in
And lets my tsunamis slip through in solitude.

You are the companion, the slave, the master
Born with me, liquid milk, you
are what the world touched first. 
You'll live through the hormonal hurricanes of my youth
Till finally the liquid milk unfolds its wrinkled layer
To be blown on and pulled off by the icy warm fingers of death
And dissolved in the flames of earth's remembrance.

You are the yielder, the rebel, the healer,
Submitting your forests to razed
And your land to cut or dug or burnt           you
Endure it all with nary a sob
And yet, you are strong. 
You are strong, not malleable,
For you never give in, my beautifully stubborn rebel you
Come back,                        slowly,                              quietly
Your silent rejuvenation your powerful protest. 

You are the transmitter, the receiver, the storer
That feels the elements and etches them into itself
Memories and secrets only you and I know;
The raindrops that slip under the umbrella,
The wind in my face on a bicycle ride,
The yellow warmth of the winter sunshine,
The soft dewed grass under a tree in my toes.
You            
are what turns moment into memory.

You many not be pretty, or uniform, or perfect
But that is why you are human
You are tangible
And most importantly, 
You
Are mine.

Prose-tinted Glasses S1, E1

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. 

It’d be funny if it wasn’t true.

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. 

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Marked Difference

(About 1000 words)

“Uber for Mark?” the handsome middle-aged passenger peeked through the front window. The driver took one look at him and almost fainted.

“You’re… you’re Mark Romero, right? Agent Mark Romero?”

Romero sighed. It had been fun at first, but now it was starting to get seriously annoying. Damn that Tina for convincing him to get on TV.

“That’s the one.”

If the driver could’ve jumped, he would have.

“Omigod, sir, big fan, sir, big fan—”

“Thanks, now, I need to—”

“The way you busted that coke ring, sir, saw it on TV sir, heroic, absolutely fantastic.”

“Yes, thank you, flattered; now listen to me—what’s your name?”

“Kevin, sir, at your service.” The man actually saluted.

“Look, Kevin, I have my nephew’s wedding to get to, now, and Juárez’s nearly three hours away. I’m running an hour late already, so I’ll make you a deal– you step on it, and I’ll tell you about that cocaine ring on the way. How does that sound?”

Kevin took a second to take the panicked man’s information in. “Very good, sir, very good. Hop in.”

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