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.