No more death, please


Little deaths follow my shadows.

Corpses of high hopes,

Funerals of pleasure,

Stinking murders of us.

But take a knife

Tell me to kill again.

The flavours of death don’t confuse me

Babe,

I simply crave for the cooking

I remember when times were fresh

Memories were brewing

Our special places were savoured.

Now all I see is a microwave.

It stares me in the face,

Like those horror movies

And I’m screaming inside

The pleasure is too vivid,

The moment too real.

I’m not ready to feel it again

History is frozen in the present.

And I’m not ready for warmth, today

Rewind, rewind, rewind

Play, but just don’t.

Let’s move to the future please,

Stale is not worth us

I want to breathe again.

Fresh air, Mumbai.

I want home again.

Give me home again.

 

Sunset Waves

Rocking me to sleep
They woke me again.
It was give and take
And give and take
And surprise surprise-
Here comes a wave!
All joy and happiness
Until the sun drowns.

Until the sun drowns
The waters call out,
Lovingly they plead for me
Like they would die for me.
Every embrace, every touch
They try to convince me,
But I’m far too drunk
And in love, to concede.

And in love, to concede,
They show me their impurities.
The sand and gravel underneath
All their sparkling transparencies.
I wash my old, confused face
And they soon drift far away.
My eyes cry out, asking the ocean-
“Leave me now; it’s already seven!”

“Leave me now; it’s already seven!!”
They echo back, scared of the dark.
I know their misery of night:
The stars never reach back in time,
The moon is just a pretty illusion-
It fades away and leaves again.
Penance in the dark waters,
The fish squeal and hide.

The fish squeal and hide,
I wish I could calm them.
But I just walk away, then.
It’s too late and too powerful-
The punishment of the sunset waves.
But, if I could do anything
I would sit there all night
Returning every embrace.

~~~
This is a poem come out of my experience of the beaches in Goa. It was a wonderful, four day trip and I’m so glad it moved me enough to write poetry after such a long time. Credits to my resourceful friends(when do I ever carry paper and pen?), the beautiful weather in my college (when I was writing this) and the girl on my mind all the time. I’m so happy to be back here. I’ll return with a wonderful piece soon!

The AC breathes metaphors in my life.

It’s all happening and not happening at the same time
Like the near-normal AC temperature in this hotel room

Body fat depleting, brain cells increasing,
Accents developing and arguments changing.

Like the chuk chuk of the Mumbai local,
I go non-stop; the matrix come to life.

Yet, in this whirlwind of hurried changes,
Those moments of metamorphosis go unnoticed.

Like how those treacherous mosquitos devour me
All night, waking me to bruises I have no memory of.

(A foreign situation, I really must confess)
I wish there were a repellent for college.

It’s happening too soon; I’m just 18
But actually, this is all I really wanted.

It’s very confusing; a labyrinth of decisions,
A burning broth of growth; take me away.

Everyday I get up, waiting for the rainbow,
But the howling storm takes its time to sleep.

Still one day, when I’ll open my yawning windows,
The warm sunshine will be here to embrace me.

~~~

Hey lovelies,

I’m so sorry for not posting anything last week. My transition to college is a little tough on me, but I’m confident I’ll be fine. Hopefully, I’ll post more often because my University gives me a LOT to think about. Have a great day today and remember, things are GOING to be fine. Trust yourself.

Yours truly,

Charuvi

A letter for the love of my life

I wish forgetting you was like cleaning an easy stain on my favourite shirt,

But you don’t stop the affect like a good stain.

You’re more like the dark rectangle on my wall where that photo frame once was:

Impossible to merge with the present.

The dust on the bookshelves reminds me of the beautiful care in you

And so does the empty bed.

You never forget to leave an impression, don’t you?

 

You always had that style

Ruling over my heart in college too

You stained my soul with love.

Once there, painted all over with colour

Marriage, kids, living together.

 

People look at me today like a sad old man subject to life’s miseries

But darling I still have that poetry in me you would love.

I still go to Natural’s for a midnight treat but now I order only one scoop,

I wish you were there to finish another

I promise I wouldn’t have complained like I usually did when you were here.

I wish you could come back

 

Here I am, doing it again,

I told my doctor I wouldn’t wish unreasonable things:

For you to be back and for me to be the same without you.

Sorry.

 

So, getting to the point.

I’m writing in memory of the lovely girl with whom I aged and faced life.

The girl that showed me how wonderful life can get

Even when it just doesn’t seem to get any better

I’m promising her that I’m going to respect that and learn from it

I’m going to fight depression and stop being a cliché

(We never liked the mainstream anyway.)

My days are still as tinted with you

As they were before.

I still love you and forgive me for talking about trying to remove your stain.

Your stain is in the deepest part of what makes me the person I am.

Your stain is a reminder of beauty-

Impossibly pure beauty- that once garnished my life.

Yes, I have become a romantic as you suspected I would

(Remember when I would laugh at cheesy posts like these? Well, life pays back.)

And I thank you for that.

 

Yours forever.

 

(I’m still jealous that you got to know what death is like, before I did

And yes, yes, I will stop flirting with the young lady that stays across the road:

I never meant anything serious,

She still misses your morning chai.)

 

~~~

Inspired by the emotions of the main character in the movie ‘Madaari’, for his lost child.

To the three boys I loved.

To the three boys I loved,

The first one,
Fun and frolic,
Uncaring, ungiving,
Yet beautiful.
The one who unknowingly broke my heart.

The second one,
So utterly giving.
Soft like a coconut,
Hard from the outside.
Yet beautiful.
The one whose heart I knowingly broke.

The third one,
With not one quality that stood out in my list of qualifications.
The one who meant so much more than ‘bestfriend’
So caring and stubborn still.
Yet beautiful.
The one who unknowingly broke my heart and whose heart I knowingly broke.

YOU HAVE TAUGHT ME.

Your love and lack of love has allowed me to FEEL and LOVE and DREAM and then realize that the world is NOT always my canvas. That this wide spectrum of romantic relationships needs hard work and a two-sided effort.

Your love and lack of love has taught me that being selfish doesn’t help a beautiful friendship-what you already HAVE. And sometimes LOVE is greater than its benefits in a resultant courtship.

I have learnt now, with your love and lack of love, how much more I am worth. My ideas, thoughts, time, beauty and being- given to another so easily in courtship- are not priceless. They are worth so much that cannot be surmised in words.

Lastly,
I stand straight today and look above your heads but I still fondly visit memory lane and love you. I respect you. And I hope you remain happy.

It is not a sin to love. To be vulnerable. And to do silly things.

THOSE are the things that help you fall, and get back up. ❤
~~~
I had written this on March 6th for a submission on ArtParasites. Going through my documents, I stumbled upon this yesterday, and felt like sharing this with you. 🙂

Love
Two of the things I love the most: coffee and love.

Over-ripe,under-ripe students.

CHAPTER TWO: Over-ripe, under-ripe students.
To follow the story better, read CHAPTER ONE: My First Day On The Metro

As days went by, we developed a beautiful relationship with our students.
At the very start, we noticed that the students discriminated against their peers on the basis of family background and economic status. I would often hear the influential students ostracize certain others by closing their circle and making the others sit alone, outside. This made me really sad because it was just a dress rehearsal for the life they would lead as adults-in a world where power were used without the interjection of the conscience. I was suddenly even more aware of my role in the lives of these children and reiterating the mantra “If you wouldn’t like to be treated badly, don’t treat others badly.” worked well to resolve this issue.

When a good number of classes were over, I noticed that was Anil greatly interested in birds, Aneesh assumed a natural position of leadership in the class, and Gautam and Anita were the most eager to learn. So soon, apart from being their teacher, I found myself becoming their friend. I realised that many children faced trouble with parents unwilling to send them to the bus-mainly due to trust and practical issues. Even the ones whom we were able to convince sent their children only with their younger siblings because nobody was at home while the adults worked. This opened me up to an over-ripe side to the under-ripe young girls and boys. These children took care of their siblings, did many household chores, worked nearly as much as one would in a a full-time job and still found time to play and go to afternoon school like students their age. Getting to know them filled me with such an intense, powerful urge to help them live a better, educated life in the future.

During these 30 days of teaching, I lived two experiences concerning the students that I will never forget in my life. The first was when an orthodox father came to the bus angrily and dragged his daughter by her upper arm across the street and into their shanty. This totally shattered me because the child was punished so brutally while she wailed and apologized for simply showing an interest in education. Even today, I cannot forget the sight of the small girl being dragged across in her pink kurta by her unmoved father: those are the substance of nightmares.

The second experience was when a mentally disturbed boy of 14 or 15 sat on the steps of our bus and used abusive language with the much younger students. He incited them for no reason and even tried to throw stones at them. When we tried to reason with him, he looked us in the eye and refused to budge. Finally, Rahul Bhaiya-the driver of our bus-drove him away and out of the bus. The teachers said that Sallimullah would perform such acts often because his family did not care at all about a “useless” mentally ill child. He would wander about wherever he wished and his parents would start looking only if he was missing for two days or so. Being a student of Psychology, I was absolutely dejected about Sallimullah’s lack of family support for his illness. 😦

Yet, despite all the difficult experiences, it was wonderful to finish my internship with a family of many loving students behind at Mankhurd. I often heard the young ones calling out excitedly to “Teacher!!” when they were on their way to the market or their local school and those excited faces kept me motivated for the rest of the days. I will always be grateful for their love. 🙂

IMG_20150513_150542937_HDR
Our younger students at Mankhurd, Mumbai.

My First Day On The Metro.

CHAPTER ONE: My First Day On The Metro.
For the next chapter, see CHAPTER TWO: Over-ripe, Under-ripe Students.

My first day on the metro. I walked into the compartment with my sister, sat on the spot-free morning seat and looked around. Sophisticated and simple women sat shoulder to shoulder looking high and mighty in their silence. All back to the Monday grind. Sigh, still a few more of these internships, the end of college and I’d be in their place. Hopefully the big window with its fleeting scenery would save me from routine. Full and luscious green trees stood before me each for just a millisecond – looking worse than a few years ago, I’m presuming, but still beautiful.
My sister had a don’t-talk-to-me-before-10am-rule and in my own world of mellow morning music, I thought about what was going to become a unique memory for the future-my first time meeting children from the Nirankari slum. It was the first day of our teaching internship with Save The Children that day and I was anxious about meeting the little ones. They were not more than 14 and so sadly distant from us in their underprivileged lives. Still, here we were, going to teach them something that would link us forever.
Ananya and I got off the metro and took a bus to Shivaji Nagar. The bus journey was hot and uncomfortable but that was just another thing we got used to, by the end. At Shivaji Nagar, an office help was sent to direct us towards the work area in the Muslim-dominated project location. (I learnt later-to my delight-that Kondiba Bhaiya was considered as no less than the other members of the office).
The slum was just surrounding the dumping grounds of the city of Mumbai and there was an immediate stench when we walked into the interiors of the rural-urban setting. I took in the stench as any other local there but I was very conscious of the fact that I was a stranger. Apart from being a resident of a suburban area, something that separated me from Mankud was that I was a different-looking woman in a clean, hygienic state. And that received some cheeky looks and scrutiny.
I walked on the unpaved road amidst locals going for their afternoon namaaz and entered our work area for the next 30 days-a large, blue bus with pull-down tables and a  clean whiteboard.  The children were young, scruffy, eager, talkative and wearing what seemed like yesterday’s clothes.
The first struggle in teaching, I realised, was the difference in language. I was shocked at our lack of complete fluency in Hindi but the teachers at Save The Children helped us out with a few translations here and there. We taught the children the basic education we had taken for granted in our primary schooling and helped them with Math and English specifically.
In our later-afternoon session, we recieved a larger audience of students who had been freed of household chores and afternoon namaaz. I was personally surprised about their ignorance about certain fundamental matters and amazed at their child-like curiosity. Ananya and I asked personal questions to the students in an effort to show that we cared about each one of them.
The day ended with a little staff-room chatter in our bus and a reflection on the huge difference between this life and the life back at home. 29 days to go.

~~~

This is the first post in a series of posts regarding my experiences teaching young children at a difficult slum in Mumbai last year. The experience is close to my heart and I hope you can live it early as well as I did.

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metro