A Conversation Over Telephone by Aishwarya Roy




"This piece is about all the conversations that keep us warm on cold winter nights. Not knowing something or someone can be so painful and endearing at the same time. And yet, we don't want to know everything. For when telephone lines waver, telepathy persists like the voice we cannot hear, but only feel in the abyss of our souls."-Aishwarya Roy



A Conversation Over Telephone


[ 4 am ]


A symphony plays in the backdrop, only audible to both of us.

It's a winter world.

My mother is an empty parking lot.

My father, a bankrupt retail store shutting down.

Both, asleep.


Dark room.

Eyes closed.

You mumble softly over the phone.

I can't decipher the words,

Only the nature of the words.


— "I hope things get better"


Places like Gaza and Myanmar become popular only when they shed blood. Hope?


𝘏𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘴. 𝘞𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴.


Words fall into their places, like our feet fall against the ground, to the beats of manjira.


— "I got my first scar when I was three"


"𝘞𝘦𝘭𝘭, 𝘸𝘦 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘭𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘸."

We talk in a foreign language, because love hurts more in our mother tongue.

It's a winter world and my room is blue.

Blue like our tongues after we eat jamun.

Blue. Like anastomosing capillaries

On the side of my right knee.

My body shrinks, as if I am lying on a cold moon.

My veins carry blood, that still boils so very often at everything wrong with this world. They keep me warm.


Five seconds gone by. I can sense you sighing.

— "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

"𝘎𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵. 𝘊𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯" — the interviewee in me answers.


[ 5:11 am ]


The dark turns into day.

Romance turns into friendship,

Death into another form of life.

A moth to silk, a grape into wine.

The stars searing through the sky, ending themselves, and becoming your eyes.


There's a time bomb inside my chest.

"𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸, 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘤𝘳𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦'𝘴 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘸𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦"


You say nothing, void of emotion.


We call it void,

Not because we know it's empty,

𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸

𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧.


It's a winter world.

We wait for Spring, for new poppies and widows to grow, out of dead bodies.


Our drowsy silence is interrupted by the sound of azaan.

— "mujhe ab tum se dar lagne laga hai

tumhe'n mujh se mohabbat ho gayi kya"


I blink in surprise. And stifle a yawn.


𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦.

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"mujhe ab tum se dar lagne laga hai/tumhe'n mujh se mohabbat ho gayi kya" — an excerpt from the book Main Jo Hoon Jaun Elia Hoon by Jaun Elia. It roughly translates to ~ "I am starting to get scared, are you falling in love with me".




About the poet:

Aishwarya is a messy poet from Kolkata, India. The engineer in her reduces the probability of sadness to near zero, by feeding itself salty newspapers of memes. The artist in her reads classics, and scribbles art on forbidden walls. You can find her work on Instagram at @aish_whereya_at