if life is a house
we are like broken windows
seeking some light in
There is a poem I didn’t write because I wanted to sit by my window and just watch the clouds stroll around the sky, but things don’t quite turnout the way you want sometimes
You could be just waiting for the moon to show up, for your head to find that perfect resting spot over the pane, and
the smell of unfinished rain can make you miss him so much that before you can even ask why, you don’t know what to do with your eyes.
She was looking out the window,
A fixed, abstracted stare,
At the formless black figure outside.
As the eyes got closer,
Someone was banging at the door.
The neighbours saw and heard nothing.
No muffled screams or signs of struggle.
From under the bed,
My little eyes saw it all -
Those things without feet,
Floating into the room,
The window still ajar.
I am still holding onto my dream of a room of my own,
but for now, let me sit by your window
A man has climbed over a wooden desk- stranded beside the window protruding out- and seated himself over its 20 year old wooden cover. His legs are folding into the window grill like a blooming flower, quietly⠀
The day is dimming. Pigeons have started cleaning themselves, beaks in wings picking dust, with swift turns. The tape recorder humming soft melodies from the 80's would soon shrink.⠀
but the man is not worried. An old book in his arms, unfolding in the weakening light.⠀
Dirty yellow page holding several lives, intertwined; one of them unabashedly falling in love in the midst of war. Through it man finds hope.
Light has escaped the rope.
The man, now stranded like the desk
by the window, breathes, practices hold.
The air is stale, night long.
Soon the man will pick his phone.
Blue coloured eyes with ruffled hair,
A grubby face
And bruises all over.
A four year old Kurdi
Sits next to a body
Which is immovable and
Unaffected by the noises around,
Or,the cry of his own son.
Little Kurdi doesn't know
The sound of the birds
Or a lullaby
'Cause all he has been used to
Is the sound of gunfire and bombs.
He has lived under shattered roofs
Without windows or
glasses reduced to a thousand pieces.
He isn't aghast by
the smoke and fire around
Or the city being reduced to a rubble.
For he has seen Syria everyday like that
Ever since he knew life.
For you and me,being alive is the normalcy.
At lunch today your father called you his
Totto-chan, referring to a character in one of
your favourite books from a decade ago -
the title of its English translation is
‘Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window’ -
and you think of how apt it is for you
to have loved her, as you take out your well-loved
copy (a Gujarati translation that your mother
gifted you) – you’ve only known that little girl
in Gujarati, and reading any other translation
might change your memory of her
and your memory of her is so dear to your heart -
you remember her experimental school,
the classrooms set in a few train wagons, the arch
of trees that welcomed you into the premises -
and you remember her school trip -
the nearby waterfall still gushes in your ears,
the smell of the soup they cooked still lingers -
and you remember fondly how she’d observed
her mother touch her earlobe when her fingers
brushed against a hot utensil - a habit
that you too have picked up ever since -
and most, most of all, you remember all her quirks -
her oddities, her penchant for getting in trouble,
and her endearing curiosity – at times
she mirrored you, and at times she was
your other – always, a dear friend.
Interviewee 10 has a joint family of 9
10 people live in a thatched house
At the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
The thatched house has two rooms
A kitchen and the room of everything else
The house is dark even in the daytime
Gaps in the thatched rooftop
Send sharp streaks of light
Cutting the air like a knife
His wife is applying cowdung on the walls
Interviewee 10 takes me to the house of his best friend
We sit on the inviting verandah
And talk about the potted plants in the windows
His best friend says,
"Never. Even though we are best friends, he can never enter my house. These are the rules of the village."
Interviewee 10 suffers the indignities of untouchability
Interviewee 10 and I return to his home
His wife has finished applying the cowdung
Interviewee 10 is concerned
He asks me if I with my fancy city-bred nose
Will be able to breathe inside his house with no windows?