Shopping for groceries
with someone you love
Smelling the froth of
freshly brewed café au lait
Watching a couple embracing
in the misty fog
Reading the lines of a book
that was recommended by a lover
Rereading your lover’s old
letter and poems
Being kissed by the sun on a
particularly cold morning
Discovering a crumpled note in an old, discarded,
unwashed pair of jeans
Striking off a pending task
from your to-do list
Burning the mouth while eating
coz it just tastes so darn good!
Catching up on a conversation with an old friend
just from where we last left
Recalling the lyrics of an old song that had
gotten lost in the memory lanes
Seeing your mother smile
as you make a fresh, new cooking mistake
Looking at your reflection on the mirror
as you apply cherry red lipstick
I don’t want gifts on specific occasions that you mark on your calendar. No birthdays, anniversaries, couple days, valentine’s day, lover’s day, women’s days. I don’t want you to be subscribing to the cliché.
I don’t want you telling me my that my cleavage is showing. Or that I need to show some cleavage. Or that my legs are unwaxed. Or that my lipstick colour is too “out there”. I don’t want you to be telling me what suits my body and what doesn’t. Sure, I want your opinion. Sure, your views matter to me. But I don’t want you to be my moral police. I don’t want unasked and destructive criticism.
I don’t want you to be writing poetry about my perfect eyes, my perfect lips, my perfect breasts, my perfect waist. My body isn’t perfect. Neither am I. And nor are you. I don’t want a perfect life with you. It doesn’t exist. And I don’t want to be chasing something that does not exist.
There will be times when I wouldn’t want to drink with you. I don’t want to dance a dance with you. I don’t want to dine with you. I don’t want to go to a club wearing “appropriate clothes”. There might be days when I wouldn’t want to be accompanying you anywhere. And that ought to be okay. I don’t want you to be clinging on to me every single time. I have a life. With you. And without you, too.
I don’t want to spend sleepless nights apart wondering what the hell did I do wrong. I don’t want to reach that stage of our relationship where I spend every night making a list of things that could have happened differently if only.…
I don’t want to think about the “If only…” scenario. I don’t want unfinished sentences. I don’t want those three dots at the end of an unwanted thought.
I don’t want to spend mornings craving for a fuck. And blaming my PMS for my unpredictable cravings. I don’t want to blame my vagina or my uterus for my mood swings.
I don’t want to stare at the ceiling and count the cracks on the wall while you are busy working.
I don’t want to hear your rants about life being unsatisfactory, especially when you claim I am a significant part of it.
I don’t want you to be thinking I have too many wants. And if you do, I don’t want to care that you think so.
I don’t want to justify why I wrote this.
I want to spend the day weaving words with you. I don’t care if they are gigantic words like “procrastinate” or tiny ones like “too”. I don’t care if they are long sentences or empty and incomplete phrases. We must weave words together. Words sprayed randomly across pages in different colours and moods.
I want to hear the gossip at your workplace. I have bored you enough with my work stories; I now desire to hear yours. Who is pregnant? Who is dating whom? Who is likely to get a promotion? When is the next appraisal? I want to hear about it all.
I want to eat a dish cooked by you. I want to witness how you prepare to make it. I want to see you in a bright coloured apron and see you grin at me as you wipe tears from your eyes while chopping onions. I want to see you work doubly hard on garnishing the dish that you make. And I want to see the eagerness in your eyes as I take the first bite.
I want our house to be never lacking of fresh fruits and vegetables. I want to see you bargain at the grocery store as you pick and choose items for our kitchen.
I want to have never-ending discussions around topics that irk you and me. I want to engage in a debate where we lay bare our politics and grapple with it.
I want to argue with you on mundane and everyday things: which earring to wear, which jacket to buy, which book to donate, which book to keep, which biscuit to buy, what kind of milk to purchase everyday, which song to hum and whose turn is it to clean the toilet today.
I want to sing a song we both like under a hot shower.
I want to write an ode to the white hair on your chin beard. And read it out to you in bed.
I want to hear you moan more often. Louder. Longer. Sharper. And I want to be the cause for the moans.
I want to be hugged and held in bed every single night that we spend together. Until we naturally drift apart.
I want to kiss you till eternity. And never find a reason to stop.
Inspired from this post.
Read What I Don’t Want
When you stare, you pierce my face.
My body. Sometimes, my soul. Even my thoughts.
Can you read through my mind?
Can you hear my silent protest?
Can you feel my loathe?
Can you smell my fear?
Can you taste my disgust?
When you stare, you question my confidence.
As I walk on the road with my head held high,
your stare punctures my poise. My belief
that I belong to this space.
When you stare, you make me wonder.
Are my breasts too big for your pleasure?
Or too small to entertain your pervert thoughts?
Are my legs too hairy? Or too long
To let you imagine how you’d twist them
when you assault me sexually?
Is my bindi too distracting? Does it
make you wonder if I am married or loose?
Is my sari too bright? Allowing you
to get diverted and provoked?
You haven’t said a word
and yet I hear you.
I am filled with anguish,
as I interpret your leers.
I am filled with pain,
as I become an object for you to devour.
I am filled with regret,
as I doubt my own judgment .
When you stare, you question the reason for my existence.
I wonder why I am living this very moment
Of a piercing gaze penetrating through me
Your eyes overpower me. They strip me
with each passing moment.
And, suddenly, I am naked
in the split of a second.
No,staring is not the same as looking.
She was a good ten minutes late. What reason was she going to give this time? Traffic? Left home late? Had work? Lost track of time? All of these true. She hated the way the day had begun. She woke up with a sore throat. She couldn’t find what she wanted to wear. And now she was a good ten minutes late wearing what could best be described as “the perfect last-minute find”. Well, all these issues could be sorted out easily: all she needed was a hot cup of coffee, he didn’t really care what she wore and he was used to her late comings. But it was enough to spoil her mood. She hated that café, to begin with. Far from home, did not serve tea and loud and expensive: this wasn’t her idea of a café. Which café serves just coffee? She rarely drank tea but liked to believe that she had the option to order it. And the sad little cookie that came along with the coffee: that just seemed preposterous.
The café sported a deserted look. A plump middle-aged man enjoying his cup of latte was the only other customer. He was so focussed on his caffeine that the only time he denied it any attention was when the woman made some fidgeting noise with her handbag or house keys. He stared at her sweaty face, while she ignored him. His leching was least of her concerns; the guy she was supposed to meet hadn’t even arrived yet and here she was, anxious that she was late and that he might be angry for waiting so long. This was a rare victory for her. She had arrived before him. That was almost as rare as her wish to drink tea instead of coffee. She mused over the lectures she would give once he arrived decidedly late. She rehearsed a couple of lines in her head, determined to teach him the lesson of time management and punctuality.
Half-past twelve. Her throat was feeling better. Her anger had boiled down. The plump latte-drinker was gone. And there was still no sign of him. She called him for the seventh time and for the seventh time the sadistic bitch said that the number was out of coverage area. She was drinking the coffee rather slowly, so she could avoid the glare of the waiter, who was trying to figure out what was this woman doing in the middle of a hot day in this sad, deserted café. He was probably judging the man she was waiting for, she thought, and this infuriated her. Who was he to think anything about her lover? She was in good mind to give him her coldest stare but she had other things to worry about. The sadistic bitch on the phone continued to revel in her restlessness.
Her second cup of coffee arrived. This time, the waiter served it with a smirk on his face. She stared right back at him, her eyes defending her lover’s absence. She kept staring at the door, wanting to catch his sight sooner than anyone else. The coffee did not taste good this time. Or perhaps her foul mood had spread through her taste buds. She blew the froth away as the agonizing wait started killing her bit by bit. She tried his number again. Maybe eleventh time would be a charm? It worked. The number rang for about a minute until it got disconnected as no one picked it up. The sadistic bitch, this time, said he wasn’t picking up and asked her to call again. Damn! Well, at least it was ringing. That could be a good sign. He was probably driving and on his way. Good thing he didn’t pick up. It was never right to pick up calls when driving. What a sensible man, she thought. Funny how anger turned into admiration. And it took only twenty minutes, two cups of coffee and eleven call attempts for that to happen.
As she blew the invisible froth for the hundredth time, she practised several versions of speech in her head. How much that sadistic bitch on the phone irritated her; she called him to hear him, not her. How the waiter always questioned her choice by his smirks; she should not be feeling answerable to anyone but she somehow felt compelled and defensive. How the plump guy kept reading through her restlessness. How agonizing the wait was and what it did to her curious mind that leapt at the slightest trigger. She had finalized every single word and every single emotion of her speech. But they all drowned and faded into oblivion. He was here. And all she could think of was to envelop him in her embrace. Nothing else mattered. Not those speeches. Not the smirk. Not the stare. Not the judgment.
You are restless. You are unable to focus your mind at one thing at a time. You are in the middle of a lecture on how the Planning Commission of India determines poverty lines. You try listening to the theory intently. You make notes on your register. You are writing with your blue ball point pen. You’re doodling your name on it. You draw the picture of a tiny heart and colour it blue. You don’t like the look of it. There’s something weirdly fake about that picture. And that ink. It’s fake. There isn’t any ink on your hand. There isn’t any ink on the back of the paper. There is no smearing and smudging either. Is the paper lying? Or is it the ink?
You tear the paper and crush it away. You feel restless again. You muse about the silent death of the fountain pen. You scold yourself for bringing in that thought. You then wonder about the ink pot that seemed to have gotten lost in oblivion. You contemplate about the nib of the fountain pen. You get goosebumps as you think of red ink. Red ink spread all over white paper. Oh, the chill! You imagine the sight of your hand with ink spots on it. The satisfaction of seeing that. As if each stain told a different tale of your accomplishment.
You wonder whatever happened to the fountain pen. You realize you don’t own one anymore. You realize you don’t even have an ink pot at home. You make a mental note of going to the nearby stationery store to buy them both as soon as this lecture is over. The professor is still critiquing the poverty line. You doodle your lover’s name this time. In Blue ball point ink. Blah! Fake again. You promise yourself to buy a fountain pen as soon as you can.
The lecture is over. You heave a sigh of relief. You check your wallet. The single 100 rupee note gives you immense satisfaction. You know you can easily buy the pen and the ink with that amount of money and still have some to spare. You silently smile at the realization that the “real” things in life aren’t really pricey. You head to the stationery shop and demand a fountain pen with much confidence. Your poise is hit by the shopkeeper’s mockery and laughter. He asks which era do you live in. You don’t understand. He explains that they no longer sell fountain pens because no one really uses them anymore. You are too shocked to respond. It takes a while for you to get over this. You shoot him an indignant look and ask him where might you find it. As if it’s a lost key from the museum of innocence. He shakes his head with nonchalance.
You are disappointed. Your hundred rupee note is staring at you. You head to the nearest mall that boasts of a fancy stationery shop that sells fancy paper bags and notebooks made of hand-made paper. You can smell the pages of new books from this bookshop cum stationery store. Your hundred rupee note suddenly turns shy inside. It feels too left out and puny in a land where everything is priced at a higher rate. You quickly crumple the note and hide it in your pocket and head to the ‘pens’ section. Pierre Cardin and Parker glare at you. You glare right back at them. You approach the sales guy there and humbly demand a fountain pen. He hands you a Parker.
Parker smiles in amusement in your hand. Amused at you holding him. Like someone just gave a chiffon sari to the woman who never betrayed Bengal cotton. You hold it for a while and examine its nib, only to realize it doesn’t have one. You protest and state that this isn’t really a fountain pen if it doesn’t come with a nib. The sales guy explains the “new” system of cartridges to you. Your expression turns into a question mark. You are too ashamed to ask for an ink pot after having listened to someone explaining the technology that erased the existence and prevalence of the poor pot.
You look around some more. You finally spot one wrapped in fancy paper. It’s Pierre Cardin and the box reads ‘Fountain Pen Black’. And you had high hopes of smearing the paper with red ink today. You surrender at the circumstance and decide to go black instead. You pick up the box to check the MRP. It screams rupees three hundred and sixty-five. You can’t believe your eyes. You are surprised at your own naivety and ignorance about prices and values of things in the world you inhabit. The sales boy now gives you a suspicious look. You seem to have just established how much you do not “belong” here. You walk away slowly thoroughly dejected.
It’s been a week. You’re again sitting in the middle of a lecture. Your thoughts meander as the professor explains theology. You are not taking down notes. You frown at your ball point pen and write ‘nonsense’ with it on your notebook. Your classmate sees that and chuckles. She isn’t taking down notes either. When the professor turns to the blackboard, she looks at you with an unforgettable spark in her eye. She reaches inside her bag and digs out a thick, white-coloured pen. Your heart skips a bit. Is it…? Yes, she says. My uncle who lives in France gifted me this yesterday, she says. You open the cap with much anticipation. You spot the nib and moan in delight. There it was. Looking at you with so much admiration. Like the lost cat that finally found its way back home.
Holding your breath, you pull out a plain blank paper to write something on it. Before doing that, you press your finger against the nib for just a second and it screams red all over your fingertips. You start breathing heavily. You doodle an odd-shaped heart on the paper. The red ink spreads and smudges the back of the sheet. You collapse in pleasure.
I smile like a lovesick moron every-time I read you.
Imagining yours when you read me.
Not what I write. But me.
My face. My body. My memories. My thoughts.
The smile vanishes soon.
Because your letter seems to say something else.
Perhaps I understood it all wrong.
Yes, it is my fault
that I felt you could…
But the letter was imaginary
The one I weaved in my heart
To quench my irrational desire
To answer my uncontrollable curiosity
To create a fictional possibility
And you always stood there
Nothing but a broken shadow
Poem dedicated to a former crush and to everyone who’s had a crush someday