sleep/ 20 of 30/ 111

I want to sleep- the
exahustion gnaws
at me like a rat, and
I can’t think, can’t
breathe, can’t live
Likely this- I want to
sleep. I don’t know
when and I don’t know
how, but, but I still will,
one day. I want to sleep,
but it’s a farce.
A farce.

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19 of 30/ 110

There is a knot in my stomach
and I don’t know how to untie it.
Once I tried, but I just made
it tighter- squeezing my entrails
even as I tried to break free.
There is a lump in my throat,
and it’s making it hard to swallow.
Every time I try, I just get stuck,
so instead I don’t eat, don’t drink,
don’t speak. There is an insecurity
hovering at the back of my head,
aand now my mind is a ghost town.
All I can feel is the lingering
sense of unease, the feeling
that today- today is not my day.
Neither is tomorrow. Or day after.
There is a knot in my stomach,
a lump in my throat, a spirit in
my mind, but there is also hope.
Hope in my heart, that one day,
one night, one week, everything
is going to be alright.

18 of 30/ 109

This poem is not political.
This poem is an upper middle
class north Indian boy, believes
patriarchy is cool, child marriage
is okay and girls are meant
to listen. Not be heard. This poem
is a politician at a rally for rapists,
a poem where he is still representing
the people, a
poem where the country we live in is
suffocating, where tradition
is conflated with bias, where rapists
aren’t rapists when they’re Hindu.
This poem isn’t political.
it’s simply an observation.An observation of this society that
exists in a bubble- all opinions
around are just white noise- this poem isn’t
political,
because if it was, how long do I live?
This country does not have space for more.
This poem is not political,
And thank god,
but I am.
I am.
I am.

blue/ 16 of 30/ 107

do you feel the bitter blue rage that I do?
at first I used to see in reds,
all road rage and blood,
all cliché- anger was an emotion
I put on every morning to accessorize.
do you feel the bitter blue rage that I do?
It’s like being underwater, but not by choice.
It’s like being underwater, when someone
is holding you down, and your arms
keep flailing but at the end you’re
still under water, and all you see
is blue, until that fades away too.
Do you feel the same way?
Do you feel the bitter blue rage, do you
feel the cold, the waves hitting
the rocks, do you feel majestic?
Or unforgiving? Do you ever feel
just, just blue?

live wire/ 15 of 30/ 106

You touch me and I am a live wire,
ready to bolt at the first feel,
I am a forest fire, and nothing
can stop me from lighting up,
I am a firefly- aglow against
night sky- you touch me, and
I am real. I don’t know when
contact became a healthy
substitute for mental health, but
I do know that I know longer
like crying all the time, that the
world is still dark and dreary
but most days, I can see the sun-
a small hope in the distance,
and I’m not saying you’re the cure,
not saying you’re what keeps me
tethered to this world, I’m just
saying you make it easier. Just saying
that live wire love is better
than no love at all, I’m just saying,
I would rather bather in the flames
of a fleeting feeling, than suffocate
in the ashes of reality. I’m just saying,
when you touch me, I can feel the
electricity. I’m just saying, live
wire love is electric and alive,
and that’s all I ever want to be.

ghost/ 14 of 30/ 105

Do you remember the day you became a ghost?
When your elbows turned to dust, and your feet became wisps of air, when you slowly, steadily, faded away.
Do you remember that split second where the colours of the city faded away, when the bright lights, and noisy streets no longer held any appeal- your city, the one you had loved so much, became a ghost town.
And you were just another invisible inhabitant.
Do you remember the day you learned to stay quiet, a look from your father in a room full of strangers when you blurted out too much too soon, the slap that followed, the systemic silencing that it led to,
do you remember what you were like before?
Before becoming a ghost, you were, well, alive. Vibrant. Sharp. Before becoming a ghost, you spoke too much, and danced on every ray of sunlight that hit you. You used to gather up your courage and clutch it with beady eyed desperation, like you wouldn’t survive without it. And you were right.
When they took it away, when they broke you, broke you in the name of morality, in the name of sanctity and justice, your courage faded away and so did you, until you were just a ghost, just a wisp of what you were. What you could’ve been.
Do you remember the day you became a ghost?
It was the day you lost yourself.
The day I lost you.

girls/ 13 of 30/ 104

Girls like knives,
used during fights
as objects,
girls like guns,
a hovering threat of
life changing forever,
girls like
girls.
Strong.
Beautiful.
Ambitious.
Dead.
Dead.
Dead.
Girls like Asifa-
toys for men before
they’re old enough
to know what danger
looks like, girls
like Nirbhaya, trying
to stay alive in a city
not made for them,
girls like girls.
Girls like human beings.
Girls like people,
who suffer violence at
a scale larger than I
can even comprehend,
girls like girls.
Strong.
Beautiful.
Ambitious.
Alive.
Alive.
Alive.
For now.
Girls like war zones,
always afraid
of being reduced
to rubble. Girls like girls,
living life anyway.

worthwhile/ 12 of 30/ 103

You are a lightning bolt,
arcing through the sky,
you are fire, shining
through the night,
you are an ocean wave,
beautiful and wild,
you are dynamic,
and fierce, and there’s
no one you would rather
be. No one I would rather
be. You are everything
and more, so when,
when they try to
drag you down,
don’t let them.
Instead, watch
them look at you in
awe when you
keep being yourself,
because you,
you know who you are.
And nothing could be
better, nothing is,
nothing will be.

11 of 30/ 102

my chest tightens,
there is a noose
around my neck,
and tug of war is
being played with
heart; my ribcage is
a corset that is
being pulled tighter
every second, and
mind is a bee hive,
I can no longer keep
track of the activity,
but I never stop hearing
the buzzing- there is
static in my soul now,
and I keep forgetting
to breathe. keep
forgetting to live.
Now, when my
chest tightens,
i barely notice.
after all, who
keeps track of
the ordinary?