Sad young girls by Durabikhya Gogoi
(After September is a weary month, By Yasmin Belkhyr)
Well, of course, I've tried warm tea And sleeping on invitations and disappearing on birthdays. And karaoke. And peeling oranges under the sun, sour-sweet in tongue, citrus vapours in lungs. And borrowing courage. And trading tears for sad poems. And painting bright colours . And thinking about fairy lights and fireworks and ice cream. And trading nightmares for dreamcatchers. And wish trees. And lavender scented candles. And falling face first in a Murakami Novel. And breathing. I've tried it. Of course have.
But grief throws ajar our front door and ends up in the living room,
Now there are pillow covers drowning in saltwater, promises hurled over casually like cheap crockery and your porcelain face.
Now happiness is so uncertain it disguises as fault lines in palm creases.
You should have seen the signs and tried not to trespass
But you arrived like Sputnik made its way for the distant stars
You should've known,
Sad young girls own too many diaries and have too many starred messages
Sad young girls cut their hair short
And try D̶i̶e̶i̶n̶g̶ dyeing them in the bursting reds of a fire alarm
Sad young girls push people away cause solitary sounds sweeter than free tickets to museums of their vulnerability
They'll write love letters for their hometown
And epilogues for their childhood
They'll make you buy tulips and carnations and baby breaths
There will be haikus in cafe tissues
Doodles in classroom desks
They'll make you write poetry and send flowers for keepsake.
Sad young girls are so beautiful
They will bring meteor showers down to earth's knees
And leave you right before you call this beauty exhausting.
(They always do)
A Time-Traveller's Tale by Aishwarya Roy
Sometimes, I sit in a bamboo chair, as the spent sun spills its tangerine into my eyes.
Sweat patches bloom like summer flowers on my brown cotton skin.
I realise I have mogra, to wear in my hair and genda phool, to paint myself yellow,
so that the next time I look into a mirror, I compare myself to the sunlight.
A montage of Begum Akhtar, singing, hamri atariya pe aao sawariya.
Dadra in Raga Bhairav – on a dangling white sheet, playing on a rickety old projector.
A holy book, which makes you believe in God, not in the form of Krishna.
But in the form of Meera.
An old but newly repaired watch, which a peon left at the post-office,
after his retirement.
Shahi Tukda, from the gullies of Ajmer Sharif.
Pictures of women, living under their men's rules and roofs,
a lie of love, but liberating themselves in the commas between the lines.
A home, made up of fresh gulbahar,
where we would speak in the language of jaggery and honey,
smoke dried roses, and cry ocean waves.
Henna, with which Maa covers the evidences of old age on her head – like a criminal.
Hearts, leaping clumsily into the custody of lovers without labels,
while watching the purple tones of the sun setting on their blurred faces.
My footprints and yours, on a forgotten road somewhere, marching together,
syncing the tip tap of the raindrops to the lyrics of Guru Dutt's masterpiece,
before people started misusing it.
It's too beautiful.
All this beauty, can be exhausting.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
"Wake up, Cinderella. Where's your other shoe?"