She asked him just to look at her. 'Don't touch me', she reiterated and moved away, an inch or two. He was shocked by how voluntarily he obeyed her. And then she began talking, about how she had never been appreciated, never been eaten with eyes. Between sobs, deep breaths, she again pushed him away, when he tried to touch her. With the tip of his finger, just to see if she was there. For real. For he was sloshed. And she was half-high, half-naked. And talking. Wildly.

'Dangerous woman, this one is', he thought. 'Her species, worth having for once, never for keeps'. 

Between sips of the drink that he had placed on the night stand after carrying it upstairs, he saw the skin of her neck shine. Shimmer in the red bed-light. Against the shadows of leaves outside, on the window pane. Almost asleep, he realized, he wasn't listening to her at all. 

Out of guilt and shame, he stretched his eyes open and began listening. 

She had neatly placed her right palm on her chest and was saying that she wanted to withdraw something she had said earlier that night. 'Erase any memory of me having said it. Was preposterous', she whispered, leaning closer, still out of touch.

'Said what? What did you say?'

'That all women are the same neck down. I said that.' 

'You did? Don't remember.'

'I did, and you had agreed. Downstairs. How could you agree?'

Now she was fuming. He could feel the heat in her ears. The whim to burst open, in her gut. 

'All women aren't the same neck down. You see, just below the neck, is this thing.' She slapped her hand on her heart. 

'The heart?'

'Yeah, that..' 

Being an Onion

Being beautiful was never indispensable. It could be done without. Obviously I have lived and cherished life, so far wherein anything that doesn't outstand is left alone to quietly merge with the background. Yet, if one goes about where I happen to live, rubber bands of all possibly imaginable colors would be found, half of them bought and lost. There would be tubes of scrub, some unused, some run out of, on the shelf beside my mirror. Creams, kidnapped from showrooms when sales girls gave me that tough look hinting arrival of wrinkles in a few months. Combs, all breadths and lengths, trashed in a discarded pen stand. More than the clothes I wear, the volume of those that I long stopped wearing and had not the heart to discard, stuns me sometimes. Still don't quite figure why is it that I cant give them away. What comfort in their caged smell of bygone monsoons do I get. And there's nail paint in my fridge. Dozens of bottles stacked from years to keep distance from adolescent despair. Even today. Cotton swabs. Nail paint removers. There's patches of this color on the window ledge where I sit and look outside and play with my whatever hair. Callously shifting from shampoo to shampoo hoping something good will happen with me someday.

I know nothing has ever worked nor will ever do. But what scares me and as well as leaves me in ridiculous splits is that I don't give up the process of trying. Trying to be pleasing to the obvious eye. Trying to be outrightly beautiful.

All these years, all these lessons of life that I have picked up couldn't change my one prejudice, you know. That nobody can judge me from my square inches of skin. The idea is obscene. Yet, I can never get rid of it. Appearances make so much difference. Of much more severity than they deserve.

Someone once told me that I am an onion. You can't say for sure what I am, there's always something beneath what is right before your eyes. Secrets behind the obvious. And the joy lies in peeling off layer after layer. Until you probably reach thin air? The empty center of my being.

Fading out.

The afternoon sun welded into the odor of my broken heart. It was a Friday, after which the week would suddenly cease to be. Driving across and by half standing flyovers that had been coming up for months, I saw a man. Who wore sunglasses and hovered around a white Honda City and smoked. Who gave me a thumbs up as a negotiated a particularly clingy narrow patch of the road. I didn't know why though, but I completely ignored him. Later I found another a man who held the woman’s hand and helped her cross the road. I halted for them to pass by.

I had got blonde streaks done in my hair, as some kind of a coping mechanism. On Valentine’s day evening. Because I was expecting some big show down from my end. Loud anger, the confession of love, undying passion, and the bitter, the very bitter aftermath of being ignored and unloved. And I thought, a fresh look would help me distract myself. Better and faster. I wanted it to be fast. Because, I had been down that road more than a couple times now. Though I would do it if I just had to, but honestly I would appreciate some decisiveness in the whole fucking process of getting past.

The last conversation was unclear. I couldn't even remember his last words. I wasn't puzzled. Or anything. Or defeated. I was just quiet. Indifferent. Very far away. I don’t think I was even listening to what he had been saying for so long. All that felt like trivia.

I wasn't very sad anymore. Like a numbness had taken over. I know I sound like some bloody teenager when I write this way. But. I wasn't even devastated. Just disappointed. Because I knew from the very first day that I had known him that this moment was waiting, this exact moment when my house of cards will fall into itself. But hadn't ever let myself believe it really would. Therefore, mildly deeply disappointed.

And though I remembered none of his words. I distinctly remembered his tone. It was distant. Had no warmth. And was very unsure. But at the same time, very obvious and matter of fact. I should have hated him for that contradiction. But couldn't. I loved him.

Love comes a long way. From those initial lunges of insatiable insanity. Throughout months, converting into the mild emotion of mundane affection. Then that content complacency of assured company. Which then gradually, very unconsciously ends in, fading out. Into the background. Like it never existed.

It’s hard to imagine though, how could passion be over written by reason. But what can we do. A lot of factors are factored in, in the ignominy of that writing over. They say, distance is a huge one. They also say, you can’t be together if you don’t want the same things. Work, they say takes a huge toll on love. They say a lot of things. And we fall for those things. What can we do.

After home, I went away for an old friend’s wedding. And came across lots of people I had once known. Witnessed, how extraordinary love is celebrated with the most ordinary of arrangements. I heard the vows. Felt them somewhere inside. All of them. And now, despite that lack of warmth in his voice, that wanting different things, the toll of work, all the disapproving people around, and most significantly, despite myself, mine hadn't faded. I have fallen for him, further, by several inches and several feet.


I wish I had this juvenile ability to pick up two people from one point in time and drop them within another, doing the exact thing. Ceteris paribus. Everything else remaining constant.
That way I would crawl backwards a few days, to the night when you were singing to me. Forgetting lyrics midway and not caring. Inserting words as you fancied. In some impeccable American accent. Unashamed that I was there to hear you. Judge you. Rate you. Because I wasn't gonna do that anyway. Midway shifting songs, you halted on a soft romantic one. And I noticed there was a string of pain in your voice. The one I had been looking for forever. And was worried, wasn't able to find. But finally relieved I did.
And then how, just how we wrecked our brains because we couldn't remember what song it was that you wanted, only the video kept flashing across our midnight minds. That debilitating muted feeling, felt happy though, because I was with you. At a point, when I felt that my memory has been wiped off of that song, I felt like my heart would implode with the joy. The joy of trivial amnesia and another of great love. Later when I googled the lyrics for you, you were cold asleep.
I wish I could crawl back in time, pick the both of us from that moment, and place us here now. But I can't. Nothing can, bring that back.
Atleast I am glad, we don't have the other juvenile ability to forsee the future. For if, that night, I had seen that this was what our future was gonna be like, I wouldn't have let you have me, the way you did that night.

Your average woman

Being a stringent believer in intimacy comes with knowing the sole truth that it can never happen. Any two cannot love each other bit by bit. There has to be a distance, without which the temperamental momentary nascent intimacy just cannot be. I am a stringent believer in that distance too. In that kind of superficiality. Once fell for a man for his shoes. Just saying. Once fell for another for how he kissed. So, understandable.

I am your average woman. I could know half a dozen men who would sincerely like to take me out for how I think. The slightly twisted men with the gift of intellect. Unorthodox. Open. Yeah, open. But notwithstanding, what I write, open still scares me. I have the most ungetoverable of crushes on the average man. Man who would run behind the pretty face. I would pursue him, just because he wouldn't me. You get the point. His parochial vision fascinates me. The way he is blinded by his primal limits, the way he hasn't cared to rise above what's much beneath him, attracts me.

So I sit with him, not craving for the intimacy I crave for. And utter my quietest silence in trying to become a good listener. About what pretty face was like what. Exact ornate descriptions of who he fucked, and who he might, just in case. And the like.

Between awkward pauses in these conversations of the skin, I crave for the distance. The antithesis of intimacy. Where in, I wonder among all those descriptions of faces and bodies and vital stats that he has in his mind, where in would I fit in. Just in case. You know. Wild waves of intimacy between dry brushes of impotent distance. Swept in those waves, I so try to be, the average man's woman. Your average woman. 

I've got to see you tonite.

You are my only way to you
The only way.
When you cut me out
I've got nowhere to go.
I know this sounds like prose already
But read deeply, it's a poem.

Miss you.
I miss you.
All day, I've been thinking, what to write
When I get back home
And couch on this chair
It must have been a composite of things

About you,
About how I need a haircut and my split ends
Or color them over the weekend, that you're not here
Or what people say about what I write
Rather, you don't know that I secretly write
And write about you.
You, all day.

How funny is that?

Also, you know another thing, preposterous.
Lazy ass
Dumb head.
How, thanks to you
and Me,

We haven't moved even a little bit from where we began
In whole entire years.
Days months weeks
Hours, seconds like these in which I type away

We haven't budged.
Gotten any closer or further.
Except exactly where we began

Or may be we are just elastic
No matter how far we stretch,
We come back,

Now, it feels stupid, somehow
Also the poem reads long and awkward.
So, just come home soon.
I've got to see you tonite.

PS: If you're still reading, this still is a poem. 

By Herself.

Off late she spends a lot of the day by herself. Almost in entirety. With no one else around. Or inside of her mind. Either staring at the roof not sleeping, or turning sides. Driving, her way through an indifferent traffic. Honking. Honking on. Clinching her eyes, between attacks of irritation. Sighing, gasping. Holding her head in her hands, feeling her forehead with palms. Crying, sometimes, with mild moist eyes, among bunches of people. With whom there couldn't be nothing. Eating lunch by herself. Chapatis with damp edges, sitting alone, in some sunny place. Watching TV. Laughing at the jokes she got. And regretting that there was no one who would help her get the ones she never got. Quietly praying, not for an end of any sort. But just for the sake of being. Merely being. By herself.

Have you ever felt completely outside of the world you happen to live in? And if not being a part of it were an option, you wouldn't be. She probably has. Felt that way right from the beginning of her time. But lately, the recurrence of that feeling has increased so much that it had begun to hover around her all the time. And she spends a lot of the day with this sole feeling.

Sylvia Plath. By Herself