Backup for Bad Times by Vama Gor
It begins with you setting up your own alarms
Dreading that if you miss it,
There is no one to blame but you.
Your clothes don’t come crisp and ironed
You hunt for an iron and then an ironing board
saving yourself from burning your fingers.
The fridge isn’t a safe haven for cravings
But a house for half-eaten meals
Stale milk and rotting vegetables
You wish you had a car
And then that you never had one
Just had someone to drive you till the ice cream parlour
School seemed so much better
You dealt with the satan called Mathematics
But you at least laughed wildly…
Only if mother was around
Running after you with her rolling pin
You would kill for that right now.
And just like that
In dreams & broken realities
We enter the threshold of adulthood
Waving childhood goodbye
Preserving the little child in you
As a backup for bad times.
Adulting doesn’t come with a manuscript by Utkarsh Kumar
As you lie down on
your filthy bedsheet
after your thirty-fifth birthday
adulting doesn't come
with a manuscript.
that there are still questions
jobs that drain out every
drop of blood left untouched
pending bills inside your
first shelf you open every morning
and your mind unequipped.
that the brainstorming session
you walked out halfway because
your mind failed to register
even a tiny bit of information
will not be the last thing
you will reluctantly break out of
that there will be more chances
from the boundaries you chose
for there at your home
your mother needs your
help like a baby now
the interminable guilt of your
failures will kill you
a part of you would still be alive
tending to her.
that most of the bedtime stories
you every night demanded
as a child
make absolutely no sense now
that their exotic worlds
never worked on rigid rules
and they don't teach you
this in schools
that by the time your childhood
under the ever-changing sky
you fell into this beautiful trap too
that adults have every path sorted
that your parents are not
but society's restless hostages
and they don't speak about this
until you're fit and warm
inside your colleges.
you learn yourself.
you learn that not having
successful decisions about everything
is a little disheartening but
as normal as it can be
that your father was fascinated
by the thought of living a
perfectly happy life so even though
the traces of his bruises
he didn't let you see through them
that now you won't find
your lamentable blue toothbrush
already replaced with a new one
having stickers from your
so you resistingly
crawl out of your bed
to buy a new blue one
that when your mother
sits with you for the morning tea
wrapped in her favourite shawl
you gifted her from your first earnings
she is not yearning for tea but you
because there are incalculable
vulnerable parts inside her
and she wants you to know
that a fragile part of your heart
never grew up
never has to grow up
because it hoards all
the nursery rhymes
the childhood times
and the fairy tales that you now
watch with your daughter
with needed trigger warnings
and you know all that
keeps you sane.
and those romantic movies
you imagined yourself in
with your first love
kissing you loudly behind the doors
while it snowed outside
now stay as reminiscences
for your first love taught you love
not by loving but by leaving
while the second one
stayed back with you
and every day teaches you
what family is
so you realise today
that love and heartbreak
are a part of life.
and maybe everything is
because this time when you ran into
your best friend who slept
with your first lover
you don't push yourself away
but hug them while
they tell you about their experiences
so slowly you cut through your fences
and ask them to meet again
because this time when you
found your father cursing some
you don't feel ashamed
you help him
because this time when your
mother asked for a chocolate bar
you brought her two
like she used to
because now when you want to cry
you don't hide rather
you curl up in your lover's lap
and realise that
adulting doesn't come
with a manuscript.
you still walk out of those
ridiculous brainstorming sessions
and you read out your
favourite story to your daughter
you teach your father how
to open up and dance like he never did
your ex-best friend calls you to invite you
to their wedding
and you don't hesitate to accept it
when you grew up you suppressed
all your useless flames
for your mother told you
that it's wrong to take anything
with yourself in death.
and then you get to know
during your tour
that your mother
has lost her will to live
so you come back home
and celebrate her birthday because
she always forgets it after all
at night when she tells you
to take her favourite shawl
away from her
you laugh and kiss her cheeks
what she wanted to tell
she wanted to tell that the next morning
when you sit for your morning tea
please, only make one cup.
The Journey of Adulting by Khatija Khan
the journey of adulting is not
a one-day affair.
it is rather a roller coaster ride
into a million zigzagging moments every day.
you will not master adulting
when you turn eighteen
or with a right to vote any political party.
but while you learn to use jaggery
when you run short of sugar
and boil milk before your mother
without letting it spill.
you will have Sundays
when you wake up before the sun,
when peace will sit on your lap
and squirrels will guide you to their
you will also have Mondays when you
miss the college bus
and your hair will be full of chaos
resembling a tailor bird's nest.
your eyes will be kohl smeared,
full of tears on the lamest jokes sometimes
and sometimes, you will cry all alone,
without a voice.
the journey of adulting is neither
composed of Earnshaw's theorems
nor based on Fayol's principles.
it is neither rigid nor full of flexibility.
it will constitute the difference
between bolts and screwdrivers
and the art of holding the torch
at the perfect angle
for your father while he
bandaids electric wires.
you will turn sad young boys
into happy poetry sometimes
and sometimes you will breakdown
and go silent like an old film cassette.
you will give your heart
to complete strangers
and even side-eye your closest relatives.
you will try to fit yourself
within people's good books.
but then one night, the stars
will forget to shine
and you will realize you are the moon.
the journey of adulting is smooth.
your lover will win your heart.
your best friend will call you the best.
your favourite cousin will ignore
everyone else just to gossip with you.
you presence will be awaited at
reunions of your schoolmates
until darkness eats all the colour
and you are replaced by some other human.
the journey of adulting is also harsh
your mother might lose her eyesight
your father might lose his teeth
your kindergarten teacher might lose
her memory to no more remember you.
you would lose races, competitions,
exams, friends and lovers
until you find out that when you
cannot save the world
saving yourself is enough.
because you are the only home to your life.
you soul belongs in your ribs
just like mountain peaks belong to the sky.
I am a book of life by Shivaani Dushyanth
I have lived in the rusted coconut of
a jarring afternoon collecting the giggles
Of forlorn tongues, as a stainless steel
Vessel is stumbled inside a kitchen upstairs.
In the midst of yellow badam-halwas
Sliding inside my mouth like an obedient
3 year old, violet sunsets would willingly
Hold the crows so that the tall trees
Would lend them branches for nests.
The still-in-construction streets are a
Mausoleums of dead shopkeepers and
Owner changed business malls,
Claustrophobic marriage halls and
redolent flower stalls, three or four
Stationery shops which were the lifeline
For second-standard kids like me,
Plazas holding the banner of a lollipop
That children could seldom ignore,
A mall devouring the neighbourhood people
At 250 rupees per hour, traffic signals which
Were synonyms to eye-blinking games for
Our small group of kids and the grand sweets,
Dress shops, and footwear stores that were
Embedded in my eyes like apple seeds.
Evening's rules were abided like the constitution
To play police-robber in the broken lifts
That foreshadowed our hearts now,
Parks painted in the mere sweat of apartment
Kids living in a bubble of hope that was
Bursted as the football dented a BMW car.
For my body is a museum of childhood artifacts
Which my adulthood visits every Sunday,
Because the walls of laughter were set
Ablaze with smiles hanging on my lips,
Friends slowly left the evening shadows
And I could see mine alone, and
Somewhere in between shifting houses, I grew up
To be a product of almond icecreams and
One sweet tooth.
The fingernails are still bitten in lazy classrooms,
My hair is still pulled by them in early mornings,
But I have learnt to color the strands
And trim my nails, prioritise my playtime
As a game of survival.
Life changed in shuttle corks flying across
The tenses but the players on both sides remained the same,
Invaders holding college applications are
In my food now and I wish to starve,
Stipends are added in my tea and I spill
It by mistake every day,
The forlorn idea of loneliness holds my
Umbrella on normal days and it's pitch black,
It's over my head all day, recklessness
Peeks by the window and my alarm clock
Scares it away, the badam-halwas
Are on a long vacation for it has borrowed
My summer holidays and left me with
Deadlines in the office, responsibility