top of page

Best of NaPoWriMo 2021

NaPoWriMo 2021

NaPoWriMo 2021

Sonography of emptiness by Srishti Saharia

the second paediatrician you remember them taking you to was because you refused to eat anything other than original flavour cornflakes and 200ml tetra sachets of amul milk. when your friends were busy feeding their jealousy over each others’ hannah montana pencil pouches, you were jealous of those around you with stable relationships with food. you remember being emptier than all the chocolate wrappers a week from halloween; how your weak hands were busy measuring your waist from the tip of your thumb to your little finger to that of miley cyrus’.

you imagine your illness auditioning inside your body; the new permanent teeth were motel rooms, waiting to be shared by hundreds of cups of tea and sugar-free gum. your throat was the super speed high way for the illness to travel down and up, up and down.

your body is the permanent address in the letters you wrote, addressed to your illness.

you wonder which meal did you eat your illness with. which breakfast or lunch was the state corporation bus that your eating disorder had the travel fare and ticket to?

you talk as if your voice box has ellipses programmed in for use after every row of continuous seven words that escapes your tongue. nobody suspects that you’ve been been biding adieu to anything other than the plethora of unimpressive alphabets that sound like an ant, wailing under size 6 boots. yet.

but the next time your bones do not turn into fish in an aquarium at the sight of pellete at the beginning of the day when they say ‘poem’, not ‘po-em’, there may be a serious conversation awaiting for you before dinner.

so, before that happens, and you and i know that it will, i want you to tell the parasite feeding off of you and leaving you behind hungry that the property lease is over;

i know a কবিতা कविता نظم po-em

who will pay you rent by healing your slits into smiles if you lend your body to her; says she will share her oreos and prayers with you, and dare you ask, she will conceive metaphors for your abdomen to birth.

she is the deep blue sea for your bones to swim in, and the hymn for your mouth and throat to sink in.

because, frankly, honey, i’m tired of looking at you, and finding myself stare at the sonography of your emptiness.

yours [if you let me], all the mirrors you pass by.

Rafaqat by Avni Aryan

I’m 21 but every evening I pull out my cycle and tie my laces like a fourth grader who ties their white PT shoes with a confident independence. My right hand can do the bow But it’s the left one sways and duck sand fastens it tight.

When I pedal down streets too busy to clear my head & let the wind play with my hair, It’s my right hand that hits the bicycle bell to create a clearing on my path (full of other wandering souls) But it’s my left hand that pulls the brakes when I am not able to.

I once pedalled all the way to an art gallery with a Nikon D3000 hanging around my neck to meet a boy who read The perks on being a wallflower under The starry night and I couldn’t help but ask if I could get a picture, He only subtly flashed his dimpled smile in agreement. While my right hand adjusted the lens and pressed the click button, It was my left hand that held the camera steady despite my heart racing at an F1 level.

The next weekend, I met him under a jamun tree And my cheeks went red Not because his right hand held me by the waist But because his left one cupped my face softly and we laughed while kissing when he told me(on our second meeting) that he could marry me.

If you’ve ever been to a proper big fat Indian wedding full with a fancy 5 course buffet, you entirely understand the struggle of huge white plates and big spoons. On such occasions, when my body struggles to coordinate conversations with strangers whilst standing in cold grass in an imperfect balancing act, If my right hand feeds me,It’s the left one that single handedly holds the whole and soul of the plate with a napkin tucked underneath.

I always thought I’ve a good balance in life until last night My body lost all balance as he said he couldn’t do it anymore Last night, I couldn’t go to sleep. My heart fell into a dark, bottomless pit and my lungs gasped for air, And when my right hand was all sweaty and shaky, It was my left hand that held it tight and whispered”It’s gonna be okay”

Describing the color Yellow to someone blind from birth by Vimal Sangam

the man I am in love with is blind by birth and the first time he plucks a few dandelions growing out of the cracks in the pavement

in spring and asks ‘what color is yellow?’ as he tucks a lone strand of hair dancing with the breeze behind my ear, I catch his palm and let it rest gently on my warm cheek until my smile causes my eyes to crinkle and I say’this is yellow’ I tell him yellow is how he tickles my abdomen in the middle of a conversation about why fries at McDonald’s are better than those else whereas we secretly lie with each other in my hostel room the sunlight streaming from the broken window in the corner right onto half of his face as the old fan whirrs slowly and makes the baby hair on his forehead dance like a delicate ballerina tiptoeing in her opening act

yellow is instinctively reaching out to hold his hands when the lights are off the simple intertwining of fingers before bodies the callouses in his palms, yellow is soft and charming like the way he wiggles his arms to get out of his sweatshirt, it is the smell of butter popcorn when he waits in the queue to buy movie tickets yellow is how he comes to a theatre and sits through three hours of chaotic sounds just because I want to watch a film with his arms in mine, it’s him wavy dancing on my bed when I’m crying and my burst of laughter right after

yellow is unadulterated joy in the simplicity of existence the grandiosity of everyday things emanating from something too secure to need validation like us so when he asks ‘what color is yellow?’ I tell him to write in Braille the happiest memory that comes to his mind and just when he’s about to put an exclamation mark at the end of his sentence I tap his knuckles and say ‘this is yellow.’

Tryst with destiny by Aishwarya Roy

/the universe tends to not care. Disappointment is the side-effect of caring. So she decided to become a dark, cold void, and called it 𝘭𝘪𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘴 (an ache to let things go)/

There’s a great distance between Maa and Baba when they sleep on the same bed. I didn’t quite understand the reason so I called it dark matter,

— 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘌𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥, 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘵𝘺 𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨.

/the only time the universe ever changes is when something unfortunate happens (the universe is forced to feel something; even 𝘴𝘩𝘦 can’t escape from it)/

Maa picked up 53 moons of Jupiter and Saturn each, and strung them into two individual braids. The cosmos stayed in my hair the entire childhood, till it got combed out and fell like lice on the custody papers.

— 𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘧𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘵.

/two planets collide, a meteor kills off an entire species, black holes take everything from the universe and give nothing in return/

Love doesn’t come easy to the divorced family. It comes with the dirty pink walls of childhood, that look like the inside of my pulsating chest.Our existence becomes a cosmic glitch of epic proportions. We stop seeing people as they are, we see them as we are,

— 𝘢 𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘦-𝘴𝘢𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘶𝘯𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴.

I marinate my frozen lips in cheap red lipstick that smells like pickle (𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘰𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘔𝘢𝘢. 𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘪𝘯). In the crooks of my body my lover finds political resistances, chanting the sound of its holy unit, 𝘰𝘩𝘮 | ॐ.

And when I sunbath everyday with the nectar of pain and baba’s leftover aftershave,He tells me,

“You look so happy.”

— 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘮𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘐’𝘮 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘺𝘰𝘶.

My teacher never taught me how to use words to describe emptiness by Resham Sharma

We chew on prayers before we stuff our mouths with cereal, ma says empty hearts are deadlier than empty stomachs. (my mouth is getting heavier with absences)

my face reflects better in spoons than in mirrors, because i am the carrier of grief and love and all the things that never stay in the cusp of my soul. i watch ma carry an earthen pot back home, the water leaks through a crack. (i curtain my arms with sleeves, wondering how many of them i can hide)

my fifth grade teacher asked me to write about ma and punished me for leaving the page blank. i came back home with a hollow smile and she fed me her share of joy with the last piece of bread. (she emptied herself to pour into hearts, my teacher never taught me how to use words to describe emptiness)

i sleep with all the lights of my room turned on because the presence of things to hold onto makes you feel less lonely- the only shame is we don’t know how to outstretch our hands to take. i water the neighbours’ plants every morning, by dusk, the tank runs out of water. (i turn my eyes away from the garden in my backyard)

we are fed emptiness before we get hungry for food, ma says hungry souls are deadlier than hungry mouths. (my heart is growing more hollow with every spoonful)


bottom of page