Someone once gifted me a book by Margaret Atwood, with a note signed “For Upashna, who should write a book of her own!” This book is for you.
I’ve read many book release announcements, with lines overflowing with overwhelming joy (why not, since you’ve birthed it). However, now that the moment has come for me, I feel a rush of every emotion but excitement. I feel more vulnerable, like my mind is stripped naked and left bare for every person to see. I don’t now whether I should or shouldn’t be feeling this, if this is the projection of my deepest fear of being ‘read’ or if I’m being too self-critical, I don’t want to ponder over it.
Had it not been my anxiety and other close maladies, I wouldn’t have written this book! My sincerest gratitude to all those who believed in me and inspired me to write in their own little ways.
The paperback for The Woods of Delirium, is available for purchase online, the link to which is given below:
An aged couch, an ill-lit room A dusty book in hand – proly Blake I look around, and not by chance The faceless ladies caught my glance. All were given umbrellas, painted in vibrant pinks and flaming reds But She held one – pretty vague!
Is she the cast or the outcast?
Something odd in the way she stands I see one leg but not the next.
While the rest had a certain poise, their dress’ furled and twirled
Had the artist missed the strokes Or on purpose was her garment stiff?
There’s a jovial air about the standing crowd But a facelessness to her faceless face.
Is what I see a fancy of my left side brain Or is it me I see in the faceless face?
I wake up at 2:40 In the morning And I think of you I picture you On your king-size bed Cribbed like an infant With your dogs Or your thoughts Sleeping next to you. ~ The television must be on As that’s how you like it With Chandler spilling his sarcasm Or Monica obsessing over tidiness ~ You say you like your space But sometimes, im sure When you turn towards the left In one of your sweet slumbers And your arms fall hopelessly On the empty sheets You do taste some bitterness.
The sepulchral air gyrates in hollow whispers the transiencey of life. The ‘is’ , within a split second wears the garb of ‘was’ and embarks on this journey to the other side, the unknown, the enigma. The seeds of love, once implanted in the hearts of dear ones, nourished with care, blooms into swollen pearls which fall from the crevices of the eyes glistening in the summer heat. An earthen lamp sits in the corner facing the south, its purpose, to disintegrate the waves emitted from the dead, wick half-drowned in the scarce pool of oil, flickers, with a soft sputtering sound. The spasmodic shrills of little children running around, unaccustomed to the heaviness of loss, breaks the monotony of death. A heavy pall of uneasiness like a sodden blanket, hangs limp, suspended in the air. A conch shell is blown, suggestive of departure, of the dead, a cue for howls and wails. The show has ended, the curtain drawn, the man exits the stage, laden with wreaths of choisest flowers, pink and blue. The mourning, soon turns into a ceremony, with chatters and clatters and spoons and forks. Some, continue with the melancholy drill with women attending on them, with words of comfort and shoulders to rest on. While some,with a burning heart wait for the company of the dark, choose an abandoned corner and then, unleash the dam. The emptiness gawks at the living, wide mouthed. The prolonged season of longing then gives way to the the warm season of memory, reminiscences in the wintry night around dying embers, which next, is followed by the season of white poppies, forgetfulness, where a distant memory becomes a rare visitor. The sight, the smell, the touch and smile folded neatly sits dusty, tucked in the lowest rack of the temporal lobes.
You are alive, right here, right now, breathe!/ Ah! The smell of mangoes, ripe and swollen with its juices, hanging above the whitewashed door/the bees, watch out! It might sting the baby in the crib/ he’ll cry, cry and cry, day long, not easy to shush a babe/ there wasn’t anyone to shush me when I cried, standing by the pieces of broken glasses as they fought endlessly, I coiled up like a snake and slept/sleep; a cure deprived to a weary mind/ the winged anxiety keeps pecking on my head, drilling its way and nibbling my brain/ I had no brain, said the fifth grade fiend sitting on her fat ass, I was fighting a losing battle with ruthless numbers that besieged me/I missed my best friends birthday, she must be mad, I’ll gift her the Versace Dylan Blue Pour Femme after I’ve saved enough/ ‘Diamonds and Rust’, Joan must’ve loved him with a full heart, as I love him, I must gift him cufflinks, too!/ I must sleep now, the room is treacherously silent, it must be conspiring against me, again the palpitations, sleep, sleep, sleep! Waking up tomorrow would be great.
I’m done, I’m tired. I’m tired of being reminded constantly That this, is a ‘different kinda love’ and the many battles I fight with my mind, trying to explain the same. I’m tired of your, “What is wrong with you?” And my ‘nothing!’s When every time I see myself Losing a part of me. I’m tired of your indifference, and my relentless efforts, seeking happiness from trivial things Like a ‘good morning ‘ or a ‘goodnight ‘ text. I’m tired of trying to convince myself That I am not the ‘other woman’ While my mind plays a parody to my frustrate attempts. I’m tired of seeing you, so much, in love with me behind closed doors, and the next moment, just two civilized individuals sharing common interests, whenever, someone walks in. I’m tired of acting okay Every time you mention her name, or when, I see you together, a happy picture, and I, a dramatic backdrop to a nineteenth-century forbidden romance. I’m tired of encountering the sneer in the faces of people which quickly moulds into a smile whenever you walk in. I’m tired of living a lie which every night I feed my mind as I hush myself to sleep. I’m tired of it all, I’m tired of this act called ‘love’!
wrapped in the lies of the deluded world soiled, her body lay afloat drenched in the moonlight shower. she always loved the moon the moon loved her too! it sang to her melodies in forlorn nights which shrouded all her weariness. ~ this frivolous mind seem to find no peace a riddle is what I’ve been written into with time. the only thing my ‘self’ instructs is to escape- escape from the people,places, situations and even my mind- which I doubt is mine anymore. ~ the voices in her head grew too loud, loud enough to belittle the bellowing wind and the prattling rain. she walked one sultry night,lured by the sweet touch of the soft breeze- a messanger of the dame who dwells in the dark pool placid and blue. she drew careless steps — her lady has watched her bud, bloom, wilt and wither. the water slapped her feet, she surrendered, walking her way through the sparkling mist that enveloped the lonely lake. with every step she moved a step close to her till finally she unburdened the load in her head, stowed it in a pool of tears and let it sink to the bottom of the blue. she looked at the moon and her lips parted for a final goodbye. ~ wrapped in the lies of the deluded world soiled, her body lay afloat drenched in the moonlight shower.
I miss her A little more today As the empty chair Sitting opposite me Stares at me Contemplating what could Or rather should be. Almost a decade Has silently passed by And not a word from her No news, No sight, Nothing. The only assurance Of her existence Is no news of death. I wonder When I’ll see her again Or if I ever will. Does she look the same Or is that familiarity Buried under the fine lines Of time, Does she carry the same weight Which she once did The delicate, fragile frame Prancing around In bubble and glee? The boy on the guitar Strums an old song On friendship. I miss her more. I miss her laughter, Her fears, Her arrogance Whenever she passed by men She was beautiful And she was well aware. I miss our moments The endless chats Back then, We were both In love with Chris, Christopher Maurice Brown. We made sure To memorize the lyrics And rejoiced singing In duo. I remember How she cherished And preserved The rough sketches Of animé I made it for her. She had them pasted In her bedroom wall. Does she still preserve them Or has it been ripped Long ago Shredded into pieces Blown into dust? She was more Then just a friend. She was my strength My confidante And by guardian too, She took care of me. I don’t remember The time, day, date Or the occasion When we fell apart. I don’t blame her solely It was my presumptions, My pride, my female ego. The last time I heard of her Was that she had married Settled down. I try to picture her In the garb of marriage, Taking household, Taking responsibilities, I smile! Does she have kids, Do they look like her? Does she think of me Whenever she’s burdened Under a load of conformities And is looking for someone To talk to? Maybe she does Or maybe she doesn’t! Maybe I am Still vivid in her memories Or maybe I’m lying Untouched Somewhere In her distant past Rusted and damp!
Sitting here in this room, with no other sound than the momentary crackling of my knuckles, the chewing of food or a deep sigh to break the deafening silence, I sail in the tempestuous sea of thoughts. I know I should write, I feel the urgency too. I have to put my bare thoughts to words before they form an allegiance and conspire against my peace of mind. I sit down with an empty sheet and a pen, I try to write, I gather myself to start with a word, but in vain. My senses go numb, it seems I have lost access to the secret chambers of my mind where all the words are stocked. My Muse has abandoned me, leaving me with a mind full of thoughts, heart full of aches, a melange of feelings and emotions running a marathon in my cluttered head but bereft me of words to express.
I read the pieces which I once wrote when I was blessed, an insatiable imagination always hungry for more, a rich play with words, but now a thick black curse mantles around me while I lie devoid of expression. In this state of nauseating stupor, I stare at the vurgin sheet which mocks at my futile attempts of procreation.
The channel, through which, once, words sneaked in, in the dead of night has been blocked, the door shut and bolted from the other side. I try hard to gain access trying numerous ways to undo the curse but all I’m left with is a void. A void which sucks me into it and I watch myself by and by sinking with time.
I long for summer, the bounteous Sun spreading it’s golden hues in the naked sheet while I bathe in the spring of metaphors. Wasted by the smell of Hyacinths and Gardenias, scattered in the air, my somnambulance leads me to the world of poetry where the rhythmic chirruping of metrical wings lull my senses. But now, the clouds of anxiety has replaced the Sun, the rain of grief and restlessness lashes my bare body and the morbid sound of unnerving humdrum palpitates my heart.
Will the sun ever shine on me again, will the tides of creativity wash my muddy mind or will I die here, one day at a time fading into oblivion?
Does it sit still in plaintive contemplation
between the neat folds of the window drape or does it peer from behind the blinds waiting to be taken in?
Does it tirelessly walk up and down the treacherous bent, abandoned , sulking at night or lie pressed like the thin veined petal between the pages I’ve marked, the verses I’ve read and re-read with you on my mind?
With nowhere to go , does love confine itself inside the bottle of my favourite mist, a gift on Christmas Eve and die silently with each spray?
Once love breathes it’s last , does it fasten itself with strong straps and properly habited in ‘pumpkin suit’, launch off to the distant moon?
Or, at the very moment retrace it’s path and fall back to the bootless pit of the malignant heart?
Does Love still live in the soft ripples of the forest pool created with each dying leaf?
Does it cease to exist?
Like the dense smoke that bellows out the chimney top , only to realise it’s transience under the boundless sky.