Dreams of Bougainvillea

It was a decent apartment. Slightly damp. Slightly dark. Breezy, but old. There were two bathrooms. One of them was permanently latched, from the outside. The other one had blue tiles. A wide window in the hall looked into the outside. There was a road, which was sparsely taken. Except by the kids when the school nearby closed for the day.

Beyond the road was a huge tree of white bougainvillea. The tree looked so gorgeous, it looked like Cinderella. Its leaves laden with winter dust, couldn't decimate one bit the sheer numbing charm of its white flowers. Margot couldn't fathom why, she hadn't known before that white was such a beautiful beautiful color. She always presumed it was the lack of it. 

As a kid, her father, the one she no longer spoke to, took her to the house of a friend of his. Who had a gigantic pond in his backyard. He reared fish in it. That pond had a dozen trees of bougainvillea planted around it, or more. Of all the colors, her child's mind could imagine. Red, orange, pink, all intertwined. It was as if a mother tree, grew branches and each branch flowered a different color. And they all reflected in the green pool water and created an illusion of twice the color. The melange appeared to be out of a painting, only it was real. But this is white bougainvillea. Something she had barely stopped to notice. And now that she opened the window, she couldn't move a step away.

This was a date. A mutual friend had suggested they meet. This was the second time they were meeting. Or the third. Probably, Margot didn't keep count. She recently had broken up. If you can call it that. That man, she had met online. And fallen in true love with. But after years of loitering around the point, she had decided, she was not getting anywhere. Now she was on the market again. If you can call it that. And following the mutual friend's suggestion, she met this new man. Whose apartment this was. Overlooking the white bougainvillea. 

Margot was twenty eight. 

The guy, with thick eyebrows, was rolling weed in the bedroom as she looked at the white flowers in the hall. She imagined what it would be like to stand under that tree and look up. What will bits of blue sky look like from between the gaps of white petals. That blue matched the tiles in his bathroom. The one he used. And now they were gonna get high. Really high. 

on the "Cat Person"

What I assumed to be love,
Now reduces to power play, mere
Once I was in it with a burly-burly man
For years, I was so proud,
That, love had touched me, the way it had
Unrequited though
Love, nevertheless

Fuck, that was power play
And mirages of perceptions we built
Toyed with, inside each others' heads
Like a kaleidoscope
Very little of it, must've been for real
Concocted falsehoods, probably
Ideas of how he would kiss me, and fuck me

How his chest would look like in the dark
And our bodies would heave, up and down in rhythm
What his breath would smell like,
How my skin would shiver under his gaze
And most importantly, wet his kisses on my forehead
All that

Sometimes I kept the power in me
I am the woman, afterall
But before I could get drunk on it
He exerted that power back on me
By denying all the attention he could
By not calling, not writing, not existing, simply disappearing
Hence, he owned me, by simply disappearing
I equated being powerless, to being in love

A collage of endless stories
Sans beginnings too, I wrote on him
I presume, he imagined them too, our stories
But cared not much further,
I took undignified liberties with imagination
May be, he was a different man than I knew, thought I knew
Now, is too late, to return
Good for us

#CatPerson #NewYorker 


You & I
Are headed toward the sun
Circa 2085
In our tiny little space ship

We are to either douse the sun
Or reignite it,
Unsure which, we inch closer
Light minutes, light seconds, centi, milli, nano

Our golden spacesuits
Shine and daze each other blind
We float in space, infinite darkness, shapeless
And become fragile spirits,

We time travel
Go rogue, off track
Zip zap by neighbor planets
Asteroids, and such, 

In the front room,
We sometimes sit and stare ahead
It's day 24*7
Get blister eyes, yet never tire

The saffron sun, in your eyes, our collective muse
Time expands
We lose our minds

Is it a black hole?
Or just love.

On Not Existing

Thinking of buying. New covers for the sofa. This time, anything but maroon, I am exhausted on maroon. Also new sheets for the beds, may be. A coconut scraper for the kitchen also. And a dozen new spoons, my spoons pull the disappearing act on me. They vanish from the drawer where I keep 'em. Next to my forks. Curiously my forks keep increasing in number, spoons don't like who they are and secretly convert into forks. Overnight. As in metamorphose. Unlike I, who takes a lifetime to change, and fail at it. To cover up for that failure, and many others, I buy. Stuff. Stuff I need. With money I have. Or have not and fret. Enormously. You know. I need 'em spoons babeh. So many of them. Also I am needing wine glasses. For gorgeous bottles of red wine I don't have. But that I am gonna gift maself for my birthday, thirtyfirst. Meh. Also a shoe stand, for old shoes I ain't giving away. Because they are the witnesses of the miles my rugged feet have walked. For years. And new cardigans, because, you know, it's December. I need tonics to erase some memories too. And surgeries to take parts of my body I am no longer beginning to like. Parts of my body that are parts of other things I despise. I also need a baking pan for my occasional baking disasters, charcoal grey track pants for him that would make him love me back more and fill up the collective vacuum in our lives. And new underwear, not the lacy ones, but sturdy ones that last and that make laundry a less recurring liability. I wanna buy till the end of December and into New Years. I want to sit, cross legged, on the cold floor, between everything I have so bought, and stop existing.

Because, anyway, I don't. 


Years ago, on a quiet bylane
Next to a tree where cherry blossomed
There was a house
But more than house, there was
A garden,
Like an untended jungle

Adjacent trees of wildflowers
Stood in between unscathed wilderness
A solo white chair
Sat amongst them all
Rusty and rickety, that chair
Barely white actually

From between its legs,
Rose a creeper
With lotus leaves
And purple, clitoria like flowers,
Only denser
And purple-er

The nectar of that flower,
Or if you crushed its petals,
Squeezed it into your mouth
Made a rare potion
It chose your priciest memory
And erased it

Tonight, get me that nectar
Wontcha, wontcha, apple pie
I need to forget,
More than I need to live
So run, run already
Back in time and fetch from Faraway


For one, it wasn't even my regular toothbrush
I had it at home, when I lived two hops away
And lest it get mixed up with the rest of their toothbrushes
I hid it in the cabinet in the living room
On the last shelf but one,
Alongside the teddy bears that my girlfriends
Had gifted me in high school
With our names scribbled on their bellies, you know

Every weekend, or so, I went home
I didn't have to carry my toothbrush with me
Tremendous, gasping liberty that
I could go home anytime I wanted
Didn't feel like working, go home
Didn't feel like eating what I cooked, go home
Felt  like sliding into weird combinations of pajamas
Which  I had abandoned long back, but mama kept
Go home

That toothbrush was my thing, really
Like my time capsule
You know, how movie characters hide things
Quietly in their childhood homes
And go back decades later to retrieve the toys
They had stashed above the fireplace, behind a brick
Or something, like that
That toothbrush, held time still for me
Whenever I wanted to unwind time, freeze space
It was there for me,

But then they moved
Pushed everything in cartons, clothes piled in suitcases
And crockery wrapped in old newspaper,
They hired a shitty mover, and moved
And I wasn't even there then
Nobody remembered my toothbrush, I guess
It must have been heaped with the mounds of other junk
That we had collected over decades,
But didn't have any use for, no more
College books, ties we wore in school,
Our Saturday white sneakers, purple bowls we slurped noodles out of
None of it was to be hoarded anymore
So much for low inventory

A lot of things broke while moving
Lives were shattered even
It was like utter metamorphosis
The next time I went home,
Toothbrush  aside, I no recognize nobody
Their faces had changed
Times had eroded them, hoarse
Their voices had gotten coarser
Stories had become more fumbled
I looked in the trash and fidgeted for our old life

Found nothing, nothing at all.

Low Light

Sometimes I wonder if I can see in darkness. I don't trust the dark enough. But once the lights are off, I see almost everything. How eyes adapt. Even the streaks of mellow street lights filtering thought tight maroon curtains are enough. The notification light of the cell phone is enough. Multiple cell phones, iPads and such. 

I had a knack for total darkness back in the day. I celebrated my tweety-fifth, sitting alone on the bathroom floor and smoking, in the dark. My roommate knocked on the door when she had to pee, badly. I don't remember her name. All I remember is that she had straight hair, like ironed hair. She would iron her hair every morning before we left for work and I would steal glances at her, in between my several morning pretend chores. 

Morning chores. Evening chores. Now, night chores. I don't need the strength to go on from day to day, week to week, hour to hour because I busy myself with such chores. Water the plants, assemble breakfast, pack a lunch, dry out the clothes, don't forget this, don't forget that and such. One after the other, jam packed schedule. My routine is my one bloody saviour. Never having a moment to sit in the blank, pitch black darkness to merely think is probably my secret. Otherwise I wouldn't get a reason to get out of bed. In a way, this is the best thing ever. In other ways, it's the worst possible damage I could cause to my soul. 

When I am in a routine, I don't let the little sorrows of life catch me. And when life crumbles like a pack of cards, instantaneously catching me unawares, it's probably the numerous alarms I set to wake up, to go back to sleep, to take pills, to pay bills, to get to work because I need money to pay said bills, that eventually get me back on track in my no thinking life. 

Earlier I loved the darkness so much, it brought me ecstasy. Somewhere in the middle I weaned myself off it, you know, how we do that. But now, again, I am using darkness to catch a break from this mindfucking to do list that I have turned my life into. Because I want to probably grow that courage to go on from today to tomorrow, inside me, for real, and not just fake it around.



You know how Amazon does what Amazon feels like. So they delivered a little foldable table to me in a cardboard box more than twice its size. Initially I thought that I would throw the box away. Then a couple days after I thought why not make a shoe stand out of it, like one of my little anti depressant craft projects. I even bought tape. The storekeeper smiled at me. Not your usual storekeeper kind of smile, I wouldn't bother. But his over warmth made me suspicious and shaky. Like literally I kept the cash on the counter and ran. Should have also ordered the tape from Amazon. But anyway, that shoe stand thing never happened. So I thought I would help my sterile pegions. There is a couple of pegions that has been trying to have chicks for like a year now. They gather hay and leaves in my balcony, build a nest, lay eggs and care for them everyday. But those eggs never hatch. Like I watch those eggs, check on them every other week. But they don't show any signs of life. I even googled pegion gestation. But still no. And one day my maid would lose her mind and sweep the whole balcony away. Now I am thinking if I just kept that box in the balcony instead of making a shoe stand out of it, may be the sterile, infertile, subfertile couple of pegions would find a more hospitable nest. And I would ask my maid to just not interfere. In their business. Everybody needs warmth, it's November. Today I gave away two of my old sweaters to her. One pink, which I had bought about ten years ago as a Valentine's Day gift to self. Now it's too small for me. Also another fairy white one. That one would fit me even now. But somehow I don't like it, never wore it. A friend of mine, a rich one, had bought it for herself and hadn't liked it either and she had given it away to me. I didn't like it much. But given my rudimentary sense of fashion, I thought I would keep it. That sweater moved with me wherever I moved, and that's like half a dozen places, I never touched it once. And today I gave it away. Got rid of it. My maid didn't like it either. I had to tempt her with the pink one and said she would have to keep them both. May be she won't keep it either. Nobody would ever love that sweater. It's going to be discarded unused after an extremely stretched shelf life, I wonder what that sweater thinks.