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The Pursuit of Happiness by Bijaya Biswal

Photo by Sally Mann

“What do we do now, now that we are happy?” - Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

What do we do now, now that we are happy?

Our hands so tightly held by our lover’s, You can feel the wounds you gave him. And every time you spread your arms, He pushes you against a cross And drills the nails into your palms;  You are code for Jesus Christ. But you are also an incestuous dream from a mid-summer night.

A train which has been through so many cities It does not remember where it had belonged, And how it screeches against the rails at every station, In delight since this must at least be someone’s home.

Your grandmother often listens to the jingle of your anklets, And decides to feel like a bride, But how her wrinkles reappear every time She watches the old man on his deathbed, Curled into a question mark posed at her life.

On one end of the country,  The army orders my father to shoot, And on another I struggle to save lives, Digging bullets out from hearts so big, You can see the universe inside. Stars. And dark matter. But we both are only poets, Writing our own share of verses, Stitches and scars and gunshots and wars, Had never rhymed so well before. 

How red and white balloons rise in the air Ever fleeting like the childhood we once had, Dancing the dance of careless butterflies, But often a sudden burst And everything ripped apart, Like the shock of having grown up.

Men never caring to look above your neckline, And praising you for your beautiful eyes, Calendars scheduled till the day of your death And gardens growing so fast, They could bury you down even while you are walking.

They weave a world from cable wires and silk roads,  And think it could be easier to find love, But here every person is painted as real as the last leaf, It’s like we are looking for a valentine  On the night of Halloween.

These streets are what I am made of,  The restlessness at the traffic lights. The tragedy in a winter evening that the monsoons could not hold back, they seep into potholes that are the shape of broken hearts, On roads crushed by tyres every day. It asks you to take the watches off your wrists, Which have always ticked like time bombs,  And come to open spaces. Take the rain over your face, Let it tell you what it feels like, to never have your own place.

What do we do now,  if they said happy was the place to be in,  But now that we are here, It still does not feel like home?

Read Bijaya's writing on Quora here


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