Exposed

the clouds burst

at forlorn places

already soaking wet

because of many

a rivers cried before

the ruthless storms

had even arrived;

how can the eyes turned

skyward remain dry

when the cold,

pelting rain reminds

them of subdued feelings

which can be

buried again only if

cried out along

with the crying sky?

©Aaysid

“I woke to the sound of rain.”

Sylvia Plath

Monsoon

Sometimes the nature takes it upon itself to remind people like us that there is a world outside the four walls we have willfully trapped ourselves in.

The monsoon season is in full swing, with all its beauty and horror.

A few photographs from today.

©Aaysid

Antacid

I had a perfect retort,

But I chose

The less traveled road;

Held it all back

And swallowed it whole.

I have a nasty heartburn

Ever since then,

And sharp words

Keep coming back

To injure my throat!

©Aaysid

“Everything I think of now is too rude to actually say.”
Craig Ferguson

Featured image from Pexels

False Memory

real time events

are no longer of value

for we are trapped

in a moment

which was never

as lucid as we

recall it to be,

the older we feel

the harder it gets

not to live

in the past

which was not

what it now

seems to be,

which never was

what it could

have been; what

it should have been.

©Aaysid

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley

Featured image from Pexels

Springtime

I.

Every year

So many feelings

Are spring-cleaned out

Of the house.

At least they get

To leave.

II.

He sat out

The spring season

To recuperate

From the Fall.

III.

The joy takes

Forever to spring out

Of a heart that beats

In sync with

The melancholy,

But when it does,

There’s nothing

Quite like it.

IV.

She might have been

Limping through her life,

But she still believes

That some day

She shall walk

With a spring in her step.

©Aaysid

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

Featured image from Pexels

Volatile

We are scared to share

As if coming apart

In front of someone

Who means the world

To us can somehow

Put a curse on everything

Remotely held together

In our scattered selves,

And then wonder why we

Explode the way we do;

There is great solemnity

In being vulnerable

At times, but a lifetime

Is not enough to learn

How to open up

Without inflicting pain

And getting hurt!

©Aaysid

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.

Fred Rogers

Featured image from Pexels

A Break

This year has been a blur and it feels as if all I have done is live from one break to the next. I find myself unable to recall what I had been taking a break from most of the times. It had felt good to dissociate nonetheless. I think.

Tonight, I am taking a break from taking too many breaks by taking yet another break. It involves me, a book (which I am co-reading with a stranger; he reads aloud while I read quietly, otherwise known as an audiobook), and some loose granola with chocolate chunks in it (got to keep things interesting). Have a great Saturday everyone!

*The featured image has been captured by me.

Smoke

I went out for a walk today, and was taken aback by the strong smell of cigarette smoke in the air. It reminded me of all the sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease I had encountered during my short time as an intern at a Pulmonolgy Unit. Smoking is one of the many things about this life that I have a hard time wrapping my head around, but then again, we all have our slow poisons, and maybe this isn’t any different! We can always try to counsel and be supportive though. While consuming our own poisons we forget how much it hurts to watch the ones we love drowning in theirs! We could be hurting other people. The poem below is my attempt, feeble at best, to try to make sense of it all.

I feel it spreading

within me,

a cloud of thick

black smoke;

what a privilege!

to be sitting

on the rooftop,

away from the eyes

that judge,

and yet be exposed

like a nerve!

the shame

that self-destruction

is supposed to

bring is masked

by the agony

of one organ

dying a painful

death, and its misery

spreading unlike

a wildfire, slowly,

a little too slowly,

consuming everything

in its resolve

to not be

the only thing that dies-

I light another cigarette.

©Aaysid

A Day Off

A little update.

It rained here yesterday. Rained a lot actually. To the point of it being scary.

I finally bought a good cell phone. It has nice features, and was not too expensive. The old one was even out-slowing me, and had developed battery issues. I decided to spend a little from my savings. Isn’t that what we save money for anyway? For good phones? My conscience tells me otherwise.

I took a day off work to study, but did not get much studying done. I cooked, cleaned and organised a few things around the house instead. It was a productive day so I decided not to beat myself about not achieving my study goals.

Chocolate, coffee, and popcorn have officially made it back on my grocery list. Just another reason to be grateful for the changing weather!

It is beginning to feel like Fall here, which means that it is hard to stay awake for long. Naps in this season are the best kind of naps. Somehow. Dreamless and restful, all thanks to the nice weather. You wake up feeling refreshed, and then a few hours later, some part of your brain begins to slow down and you stand there looking wistfully at the bed you had just left a few hours ago. You cannot sleep all the time, but fantasizing about it can be equally rewarding. So when your friends ask about your plans for the season, you can happily reply that you’d just be inside napping, and encourage them to catch up on sleep too. We are not supposed to have raccoon-eyes all the time!

Have a great season everyone!🙂

The Grey Sky

The sky gets murky every afternoon these days. A few heavy, grey clouds appear out of nowhere; stay for an hour or two and then disappear into nothingness. Rainfall has been scarce in our part of the world this summer. It is hot, humid, and quite difficult to breathe with two masks on! Yes, the virus is still managing to find hosts here on top of everything else! It turns out, our personal-grey-clouds, unfortunately, are not great at pulling off disappearing acts – they have been here for quite some time now.

I am beginning to lose sight of the bigger picture. With so much going on, and nothing going on at the same time, the void is becoming difficult to avoid. It had begun as fear for life, not particularly your own, but of those you love, but has now turned into a strange, apathetic feeling. You want to rid yourself of such a feeling, but you are not quite sure what that entails. Maybe we already had enough on our plates, and now the contents are spilling over. Maybe we are not giving ourselves enough credit for trying to go on despite the raging pandemic. When they say, “there are worse ways to live,” they forget that this, if not the worst, is not an easy way to live either! There are days that I cannot recall at all, and I have heard a few people say that this had been happening to them too. When all you can remember is: being sick, hearing about people getting sick or dying, looking after people getting sick, sanitising desktops, doorknobs, sweating through masks, canceling plans to go out, and working twice as hard as before (because the workload keeps on increasing), the individual days do not matter! I can feel myself passing through time, which for once, seems to be standing still.

You can pick up the broken pieces with an intent to rebuild only when the storm is over, but how do those with perpetually stormy skies find it in their hearts to keep going on against the winds? How can people manage to hold on to hope even when the cloudy skies above their heads forget to rain? I think I have not made peace with the altered circumstances yet. Is this realisation enough for now? I am sure it is not. I have to do better to feel better! I hope I get there. I hope we all do.

“Most human activities are predicated on the assumption that life goes on. If you take that premise away, what is there left?”
Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Letting Go

It had begun

Six twirls ago;

Stop mid spin

To take it slow,

Make another turn,

And let it go!

There are no stars

In a failing show;

A phosphoric life

That does not glow,

It may liquidise,

But shall not flow-

A few things that

We finally know.

©Aaysid

Image by andresilva5 from Pixabay

“Time doesn’t heal emotional pain, you need to learn how to let go.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Disjointed, Short Stories – Part – III

I. A Beeping Reminder

Oh, how the beeping was fainting every day! Presbycusis was catching up with him. It was always 22:30, it seemed. A timer for something. He no longer remembers what he had set it up for.

22:30. The last time he had heard from his parents. Many years ago.

II. Hush up!

There is a stranger in the hallway. I have not talked to anyone today. They tell me that I go about deflating other people. I don’t know what that means. What if this stranger is actually looking for someone to talk to? Besides, his coat looks too big for his body. I should tell him.

III. Missing

I was enraged. All the A’s were missing from my cereal bowl. How I loved them! It is strange, but the A’s taste the best. I let my mother know about the missing A’s. She shows me my biology report card instead. There is a C there.

IV. Different

He works six days a week, goes on educational trips, attends seminars, and reads in his free time. He tells them that he has made it. He asks them to not waste a single minute of their lives.

He is her favourite motivational speaker. She listens to him while washing the dishes. Three times a day, for three hours. There are fifteen people in her house, and not enough money for a dishwasher.

V. Changing

My older brother has the best taste in movies. Every Sunday, I call him to get recommendations. However, I had not anticipated how different everything was going to be this weekend. I call him, and he suggests a documentary! My brother had his thirtieth birthday two days ago.

————–

©Aaysid

I felt like taking a break from poetry, and then I thought about writing flash fiction. I have shared such stories before as well. The previous ones can be found here and here. 😊

Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay

Coffee Overload

If you do not want to hear a strange buzzing inside your ears, and do not feel like thinking faster than you can act, then it is wise to not have coffee muffin cake (with dalgona coffee icing) with coffee! I feel like staying up all night to read and watch a movie (taking a little break this weekend), but I’d be surprised if I manage to get anything done tonight! Turns out there is such a thing as too much coffee after all. 😁

I am currently halfway through Normal People by Sally Rooney, but I am not so sure if I’d finish it. The pile of unread books on my nightstand is calling out to me.

As for the movie, I want to watch Stowaway as I have heard good things about it, but I am pretty sure that I’d end up rewatching either The Shawshank Redemption or The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

A Coffee Muffin with Dalgona Icing

Featured Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Your Things

It is both amazing and borderline creepy how somethings never stop being relevant or relatable. You hesitate to declare them as “your things”, because of the unpleasant reactions you tend to receive when you mention them in front of the people you know, but deep down you cannot help but acknowledge that those are definitely your things!

For example, Billy Joel’s song, Vienna, has been resonating with me for so long now that it feels as if I’d known the lyrics since the day I was born! Is it weird or what?

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

Artless

I miss being crafty even though I was never a craftswoman! I used to paint horribly, sew terrible clothes for my dolls, and was knee-deep in loud, DIY friendship-bracelets craze back in the day. When I chose to pursue science, however, the artsy-craftsy side of me happily locked itself in a box. I have the key to that box, but I am not sure it would do any good to open it now!

I quench my artistic thirst by using coloured pencils to highlight the text in my books, and by grading my students’ response sheets with a red pen.

Sometime ago, I turned one of my posts into this desk-calendar, post-it notes kind of thing by using a free template from a graphic design website, and that had been the most crafty thing I had done in ages.

With that being said (and shared), I’d like to add that I am utterly grateful to be able to appreciate art, and to follow a lot of great artists here and on other social media platforms. Looking at paintings and beautiful photographs is one of the highlights of my day – enough to pleasantly rattle the old, locked box! 😂

The Apple Jam

Every day, a particular something reminds me of apple jam.

I wouldn’t say I like apple jam, but I buy it quite often.

I am not good at making it myself.

Cooked apples give me the creeps.

All right, I admit it, I buy it for the cute jar it comes in.

It looks good sitting next to the bottle of ketchup in my kitchen cabinet.

I like ketchup.

Though nothing reminds me of ketchup much.

Except for blood.

Gosh, I wish I could love the blood-red apple jam that tastes nothing like ketchup!

I hate myself for treating it the way this world treats us sometimes.

Hating us for the things it cannot control about us.

Measuring us against those it deems perfect!

©Aaysid

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Lights On

I hope that your light

never goes out,

and on the days

that it flickers too much

you turn off the switch

and turn it back on

just to fix it,

and I hope you never

decide to befriend

the shadows instead.

©Aaysid

Photo by __Pi_ed_ _pi_p_er__ from Pexels

The Pretty World Outside

It was a lovely rainy day today. I had heard a lot of people say that. Our office does not have a window, so there was no way to tell. Days like these command celebration, but your work gets in the way. The indoor world traps you and makes you forget about the world outside.

We had a good amount of work today-a lot more than usual. Shifting the entire academic sessions to online learning management systems had felt like a thing of marvel in a country like ours, but a year into it, and we are now losing the grip on reality. It is not the same as on-campus physical classes, and you keep bringing your work home. You have to be on your toes all the time. My email inbox is beginning to feel like a second home. There is always something to do, and a lot of things do not get done anyway.

Our students are now getting anxious. The glitchy virtual meetings and timebound online assessments are making them frustrated. They want to come back. Since last year, they have come back three times, only to be sent packing in a month or two. I wish things get back to the way they were, whatever that way was. The old-normal seems to be so far back in the past.

As I left the workplace, the beautiful weather did make its presence felt. The gentle breeze was like a balm for the tired eyes (thanks to the too much unavoidable screen-time). The actual hero was the sky, however. It looked insanely beautiful! Looking up to the sky is always therapeutic. It reminds you of your place in the world. It reminds your problems about their place in the world too. Everything seems so insignificant in front of the vastness of it. The sky is hope.

My sister has sent me these pictures. I am so glad that she took pictures.

The Blues

A friend asks me to see her, saying she was feeling blue. We talk for a while, and I can tell she is tired. She is one of the most hardworking people I know. I look up to her.

As we say our goodbyes, she tells me never to let sadness find a home in me. She says that with such dolefulness in her eyes. I tell her that it’s alright. There is nothing wrong with being sad sometimes. It keeps you grounded.

She says that it does not work that way. Sadness arrives as a guest, but makes itself comfortable in no time. It stays.

I tell her that is what makes it beautiful. The sadness stays. Not many things do.

She laughs. We both laugh.

I leave her place thinking about a sad song I had been listening to the other day. I hope that she feels better soon.

A Time Loop

The Facebook “Memories” feature is both awesome and awful. Not only it makes you nostalgic, but it also keeps reminding you (frequently) how witless you used to be in your less-wise years. Anyway, I found out just now that two years ago, on this day, I had been sick in bed, binge-watching Russian Doll and felt as detached from reality as my throbbing, clogged sinuses had allowed. I had found myself relating immensely to the protagonist’s plight even though I had not much in common with her. Things are different now.

It is that time of the year again, and the sinusitis did not forget to visit me this year and has now become that uninvited guest that overstays its unwelcome. Not only that, last year, at about this time, we had gone under lockdown and had switched to online teaching and learning, and now we are going back into lockdown for two weeks, and shall be taking classes online. Like many others around me, I have these huge lapses in the memory, where I keep forgetting about the events from the last year, even though every day feels the same. So, maybe I am stuck in a time loop, and I do have something in common with Russian Doll’s protagonist after all.

Sadly to this day, my obsession with Russian Doll remains unshared by any of my friends. If not the show itself, they are missing out on its brilliant soundtrack. 🙂

“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Noncommunicating

I often find myself stuck in the middle of the most boring conversations ever, and I am no longer able to mask my obvious discomfort, despite having an actual mask on my face! I fail to engage, so I stay quiet, patiently listening at times and zoning out at other times, mostly because I usually cannot relate to anything the other person is talking about. It is only when you get older that you begin to realise that you cannot keep spending your days listening to people and thinking, “No, I do not relate to that.” That is when you should decide not to listen to everything anymore and let your bubble get the stronger walls it deserves.

Here are my borderline inappropriate, conversation-killing responses to a few questions that people had asked me just at the end of their stretched-out halves of the conversations:

  1. I buy two pair of shoes per season and wear them out
  2. I have never been to that place you were talking about
  3. I am not friends with that many people, and we see each other about twice a year
  4. Sorry, I did not quite understand what you were talking about earlier
  5. Sorry, I have to leave, I am already late for a meeting
  6. No, I shop online
  7. I have a similar headache at the moment.

I am beginning to get tired, and I am pretty sure that people are getting tired of conversing with a silent person who keeps staring off into space and refuses to offer no insight whatsoever. Something must be wrong with me.

Since I am still obsessing over Fernando Pessoa’s poetry, a slightly relevant snippet from one of his poems from the book, I Have More Souls Than One translated by Jonathan Griffin, is in order:

“Yes, I am tired,

And ever so slightly smiling

At the tiredness being only this –

In the body a wish for sleep,

In the soul a desire for not thinking

And, to crown all, a luminous transparency

Of the retrospective understanding.

And the one luxury of not now having hopes?

I am intelligent: that’s all.

I have seen much and understood much of what I have seen,

And there is a certain pleasure even in the tiredness this brings us,

That in the end the head does still serve for something.”

Photo by Amir Esrafili from Pexels

Not Lost in Translation

Sometimes you read something, and you cannot stop thinking about it afterwards. At least for a few days. I have finished reading a collection of poems by Fernando Pessoa called, I Have More Souls Than One, translated in English by Jonathan Griffin. There were a couple of poems in it that made me wish I knew Portuguese so that I could read the original versions of those poems. When a verse reads this beautifully tragic even in a language it was not penned in, how magical it must be in a language of its birth!

With this thought making rounds in my head, I wrote this poem today:

I have heard you talk,

And I have seen

What you have seen,

But I still don’t know

You at all;

We are worlds apart,

Words-that-we-speak apart,

But may not be apart

In your art.

Maybe if I could

Walk your walk

By becoming a part of what

You do with your pen,

I may still limp,

But I might not fall anymore.

©Aaysid

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Selfless-Love

Today on an online store application, I was greeted by an insanely-pink banner that had read, “You come first! Buy yourself something special this month.” I don’t know why, but it had made me sad. Maybe because it had seemed like an exploitative marketing strategy!

I find the concept of self-love/self-care a little unsettling. It is one thing to prioritise our mental and physical well-being, and accept ourselves for who we are, but the entire concept becomes this completely messy thing when in the name of self-love, we start spoiling ourselves and begin succumbing to narcissism. The world is already full of such people, there’s absolutely no need for more.

I think when it comes to self-love, it is wise to set boundaries, because of the way things are at the moment, more and more people are becoming intolerant, cannot stomach even the constructive criticism, and are becoming materialistic. By inhabiting our personal full-of-love bubbles, we do not feel like giving anyone a chance anymore. This does not seem right.

So if I see a banner somewhere that reads something like this,

“Hey there! Please use this month as an excuse to buy something special for someone you have not made contact with and surprise them by letting them know that you still think about them,”

I would be happy to oblige. 🙂

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels

Round-ups

I used to love yearly round-ups. The “top-tens” of literally everything. I’d listen to those over the radio and would be glued to the television screen on the new year’s eve to watch the shows featuring such lists. I no longer am a huge fan of those but I feel like making lists of all the fun things that I have done this year. They’ll probably fall under three categories apart from that one big list of “Twenty Little Things of Beauty”, which I am finding quite difficult to compose this time around, unlike the last year. Anyway, I am sharing the list of top-ten movies and TV shows that I have watched this year (these weren’t the latest releases but I had watched them for the first time this year). Since I know how boring such lists are for many people, therefore, I shall try to keep mine as brief as possible:

10. Glee (TV Show)

I have discovered some really good music through this show.

9. Bandersnatch- Black Mirror (TV Show)

I liked the concept of an interactive TV show.

8. Instant Family (Movie)

It was sweet and fun to watch.

7. The Fundamentals of Caring (Movie)

I like road trip movies in general and this was a funny one.

6. Clueless (Movie)

Finally found out what the hype was all about!

5. The Haunting of Hill House (TV Show)

I had finished the entire series in one day. Pretty good scares!

4. The Umbrella Academy (TV Show)

I loved the second season more than the first one because it was funnier and the characters had more depth.

3. I am Thinking of Ending Things (Movie)

This movie was something else altogether. It messed me up. In a good way somehow.

2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (TV Show)

This show has become for me what Friends is for so many people.

1. Room (Movie)

I couldn’t stop thinking about this movie for days. I had immediately placed the request for the book it is based on at my local bookstore. Hauntingly beautiful!

Happy Celebrations, everyone! May you and your loved ones stay safe. 😊

©Aaysid

Photo by Ann Nekr from Pexels

Co-reading

It was on a night as cold as this one when I had found out that I was one of those people who could study comfortably with noise in the background.

Everyone else in the house was sleeping soundly that night and I had a lot of studying left to do before I could go to bed. I felt angry and sad that I had to study so much and had to do it alone. I had one of those early mobile phones in which you could listen to the live transmissions broadcasted from the local radio stations but I was not a big fan of those. However, I ended up playing one of those stations in my ears while I studied that night and felt oddly at peace knowing that someone else had to be awake as well. I had studied that entire year with those radio stations serving as white noise. I got a better phone later and could play other things besides the local radio stations. I would then have my own playlist on while studying. I do that to this day. I cannot study at night without another noise inside my head.

I have listened to a few audiobooks but had to read the physical books later. Not a fan of those either. Yesterday, I stumbled across the audio-narration (on Youtube) of the book I was reading and I decided to do a little experiment – I tried to read along with it! It did not go well. I had to increase the playback speed but even then I kept reading at my own pace and completely ignored the audio-narration. It turns out that I can study with the background noise but I cannot co-read.

Here’s a short poem inspired by the above-mentioned events:

We are not keeping pace with each other,

one of us is always a few words behind,

pausing after every other line,

and exclaiming loudly at all the wrong points,

but we are still trying our best

to asynchronously co-read the night away!

©Aaysid

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