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Thursday, December 30, 2004


long shiny silver acupuncture needle

punched through the forehead
pointy bits poking out the base of the neck

lancing through eyes
sticking out from back of skull

shoved under fingernails
protuding from broken knuckles

hammered into knee joints
shoved through hip points

puncturing walls of stressed balled guts
out through titanium spine

i take all of that silently
just please give me the right to whine

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

it hurts
just to breathe
walls closing in

cowering in the bed
fighting the choking lonliness

trying not to pick up the phone
spiraling back to stupidity

a mothers concern
just holding back the madness
for a little while
till i wake up

Monday, December 27, 2004


our lives are like gossamer smoke
speading in nooks and crannies we never know about
reaching people far and wide

people who inhale our smoke

acquire a shade of our hue

get tainted by our existance without us knowing

i have lost all color .. faded to that one distant hue that i picked up those small instances

how can the death of that boy haunt me so much?
how can the tragedy make my soul ache
when i have so much trouble feeling
in day to day jaded existance

what will happen when the few people i do let in these walls leave me?
i can't get hurt again
i'll break and shatter
like the last time

and i won't be able to put myself back together
i won't

Friday, December 24, 2004

death of the day

maghrib just happened. i've always hated the twilight, the fading sunset reminding me of one more day where i didn't really do anything. i used to love it when i was little, it flagged the moment to end the exhaustive breathless childhood games we all played in the street, where it indicated the beginning of the end of the fun art of playing outside, after which mosquitos would come out, after which hunger, crankiness and resulting spats would set in. it means nothing anymore. it singals the emptiness of our adult lives, the lonliness as the azaan echoes through empty rooms.

today was my last day on the job. packing up one stupid pencil holder and one fake plant felt more momentous than my final day after 12 years with the same school and the same people, after four years of intese college, or even the first day i walked after three months of lying flat on my bed unable to walk from my bloody orthopedic mattress to the pot and back without getting so out of breath that i would see black spots before my eyes and have to sleep four hours after that to regain the strength to keep breathing. for some reason, it was much more than that.

maybe because today is also coincedently the janaza and soyem of the 19 yr old kid who died in that car accident. the kid who i saw incedental glimpses of in those 12 years of school, the younger brother of the girl who's face i practically saw everyday in those 12 years and who i actively disliked in every instance of it. maybe because in packing up the stupid pencil holder and in the process of walking from desk to desk saying bye and getting into the lift; the chain of events that would lead me to be delayed those 15 minutes that would make me catch bumper to bumper traffic that would make me hear the first strains of maghrib singalling the end of the janaza as i drove past the last green light and neared home, 10 minutes too far away to join everyone at the janaza.

there are echo's of sadness in this sunset. and tragedy. and guilt. and tears of the people i love. tears of my mother who fed him cerelac with he and my own brother were babies. my best friend who danced with him this summer, who spent the last two days crying. tears for myself, because of those damn fifteen minutes where i could have left the damn pencil holder and just done what was important, not been side tracked by stupid maningless insginificance and lost the chance to feel like i did something to assauge the huge weight of momentous tragedy so i can get back to my empty empty life hoping to never feel.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Superman (It's Not Easy) - Five for Fighting

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naive
I'm just out to find
The better part of me

I'm more than a bird:I'm more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It's not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I'll never see

It may sound absurd:but don't be naive
Even Heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed:but won't you conceed
Even Heroes have the right to dream
It's not easy to be me

Up, up and away:away from me
It's all right:You can all sleep sound tonight
I'm not crazy:or anything:

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naive
Men weren't meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I'm only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me

I'm only a man in a phony red sheet
I'm only a man looking for a dream
I'm only a man in a phony red sheet
and its not easy

It's not easy
to be

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Ode to Sasha

Prologue: There are currently two categories of friends defined earlier, "1 - 3" and friends "A - F". Both categories are on different levels and equally important, and this third one "(i) onwards" are no different. I currently am only in the same geographical proximity of 3, D and F :)

(i): you know who you are. i respect that. you don't have an ounce of bullshit in you. if i was to slice through your center and dissect you, there would be flesh like a peach. Not over gooey, undercooked tissue like some oversentimental mindless reflections of people, nor the black empty starless void you would find in others. You understand me, appreciate me, make me feel sexy as hell. And smart witty and super intelligent. I am a dry sarcastic wit when I am with you. I am a beautiful heart breaking goddess when i am with you. I love it. I love the way you seem to bring out such a diverse secure sexy side in me. you are completely "safe". I will never fall for you, and you will never fall for me. you are a fantastic friend. you would be the perfect Will to my Grace (but you're not gay-hot) :) you're cool. you're like the natural born killers guy (a little overdramatic maybe, but a good analogy). we've weirdly managed to stay friends, and i'm at that stage where anyone who can understand me when i talk is a rare and precious commodity. so my rare and precious friend, i really really hope our relationship stays this way, or progresses to closer and better things. catch you on msn ok?

Friday, November 26, 2004


Note from author: This post is s sequel to "How" published in this blog on July 2004

I stand outside the apartment with mixed feelings. I have a curious reaction to parties, and being co-host amplifies my ambivalence. I loved planning the party, the guest lists, the invitation designs, the food, the décor. I loved getting dressed for the occasion, the makeup and break from everyday sober colors and textures. I've loved dressing up since I've been very very little. I rediscovered the rituals of makeup and dress up in college, where sleepless nights and constant high grade chronic stress drove me to insane avenues of release. But the downside of the entire rain dance of getting dressed was that I get to the event itself and am suffocated by boredom within the first five minutes. I get out of my car, and people around me are already trickling into the apartment.

Shrieking pre-partying couples making me feel old, and remember the times when I too was once part of the same heady giggly carefree bunch. I am the host, I should run in and see if there is stuff to manage, things to fix, DJ's, waiters or bearers to organize.

I hesitate outside, don't feel like plunging in as usual, and decide to get a drink from the terrace first. I stumble into the dark patio, contact lensed eyes unadjusted from the starkly lit guarded porchway. The party planner in me double checks the fairy lights twinkling behind the bar (normal tape wasn’t strong enough to hold the up earlier in the evening). I had asked one of the other hosts to get duct tape and think about going to kick him for not doing the job. The lights seem to be holding up, even though some of the white tape is visible. I consign it to hell, no one but me would ever notice anyway. I can see the dance floor from where I'm standing. My immediate friends are all tearing it up in one big happy herd.

Some things never change.

I greet a couple of acquaintances around the garden, settle onto a sofa. I start people-watching from my vantage, enjoying the cranberry juice that never seems to be around on normal days. I notice a group of three a little to my left, a couple I know, and someone they’ve brought along. I’m slightly amused, because the stranger seems to be noticeably a third wheel. He bends down to the girl’s ear, and I get a flash of the side of his face, and my eyes narrow in weird recollection.

Could it be? I'm squinting and trying to focus, glass paused halfway to my lips.

I watch him give a friendly jab on the guys arm, and turn around.

Well well well. I think to myself. It is him. But how disappointing. No skipping heartbeat, no heart jamming in my throat. After all these years. The sonofabitch. I try to feel anger, I try to feel disappointment, excitement, anything. Can just come up with a dull sense of nothingness. How weird. For my first love, for my first kiss, for all the good memories and the bad, nothing.

I decide to not bother getting off the sofa. I'll probably bump into him and catch up at some point in the evening anyway. I'll enjoy my party watching for now. I continue happily with my cranberry juice, then decide to try to signal the waiter for some of the hors d’oeuvres.

“Hi”. I hear from somewhere to my right.

“Oh hi! Its so good to see you!” I exclaim. I hope that doesn’t sound too fake. I have a 32 smile plastered on in full force. Small chitchat with people who don't know you is so painful. “I’m here with work buddies.” He gestures to the couple behind, gives a little roll of his eyes. For the sake of appearance, I look and then give an “Oh” of polite comprehension.

Awkward silence.

Strange and disappointing again. We never ran out of conversation before. I stare at his chest. It looks good in the gray t-shirt. He's still wearing that taweez. He always did manage to look good in an other-side-of-the-bridge kind of way. And also always managed to look so much younger (immature) than the old bored has-beens guys the "appropriate" age used to be. I look into his eyes, and he's just looking down at me, a little dumbfounded, probably as awkward as me. I still can't tell what he's thinking though. I never could.

"Well I'll see you around then."

I guess I should go back to making sure the bartender is not stealing any of the alcohol and the DJ is keeping the dancers happy.

I turn around and get back on with my life.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to find someone who I won't be able to step away from so easily. It’s a question I've been pondering on for a very very long time.

And the answer still scares me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

chronicles of the super, sexy and single:
Tuesday/Day 3:
well its tuesday and i guess i'll stop counting the days Past Disaster Party (PDP) now
have a good job offer from yet another boring company
when i was in a school i didn't like.. i would cry and come home three days out of five (the days when friday and saturday were holidays and sunday was the beginning of a working week... how weird that that is now weird)
i feel like doing the same now (crying and going back home.. not starting my week on sunday)

when i eventually got enrolled in the school i wanted to (the one my sisters said was 'cool') i actually became the extremely well adjusted brain that i am today

I'm scared that i'll never get a job like that
a job i really like
a job i really want to do
what if it enforces poverty and hardship and i'll have to do it because i love it but i'll be miserable
can i love something that'll make me miserable?
i'll stop loving it
i'll lose it
i think i'll lose everything when that happens
thats all i've defined myself by all these years

so i continue to keep myself hidden away from the world
so the world can't destroy it

its pretty much destroyed everything else
i guess i *used* to be well adjusted

dysfunctionality creeps up on us all

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I try

Games, changes and fears
When will they go from here
When will they stop

I believe that fate has brought us here
And we should be together
But we're not

I play it off but I'm dreamin of you
I'll keep it cool but I'm fiendin.

I try to say goodbye and I choke
I try to walk away and I stumble
Though I try to hide it it's clear
My world crumbles when you are not near

I try to say goodbye and I choke
I try to walk away and I stumble
Though I try to hide it it's clear
My world crumbles when you are not near

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


why can't you understand what i say

why can't you make witty jokes

why can't you have a conversation

why can't you make me laugh

why can't you say what i want you to say

why can't you?

why can't i trust you

why can't i talk to you

why can't i connect with you

why can't i laugh with you instead of at you

why can't i?

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

My friends

friend 1:
you really pissed me off today
you can't take it when someone else has a different opinion
in your mind there's your opinion and a wrong opinion
you're a spoilt princess and have an aboslutely skewed vision of the world
you're way too harsh with people.. they're either with you or against you.. get over it theres a middle ground
don't think you know everyone and everything.. you really don't
you should appreciate lives of people who aren't so pampered, spoilt, materialistic and (it hurts to say it) shallow
recognize yourself?

friend 2:
i gave up waiting for you to be the friend i expected you to be
it was somewhere in the middle of those expected phone calls and the missing sence of fun and adventure
the chip on your shoulder insecurity complex really doesn't hurt either
we had so much together.. thats all we have now.. memories.. you're not genetically built to understand me or be like me or hang out with me
i'm not going to try to return your calls now
you're five years too late
recognize yourself?

friend 3:
i don't know how you managed to make it to number 3, it's kind of like the low burn approach you have to life... failing most of your courses.. being the shadow friend... silently sitting in the background of every conversation...
slowly coming up the ranks when there were missing gaps
we've never had a conversation where we've understood one another
we've never watched a movie unless i'm in the mood for a dumb chick flick
you seem to have such little expectations out of life i don't know if i should pity you or envy you
recognize yourself?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

why the hell? am i?

why the hell are all of you so shallow, pretentious and materialistic?
why the hell can do I look at you and see all our snotty, fuzzy adolescent faces and get annoyed
why the hell do I wish that I could be dumb and stupid like I was ten years ago and be part of your crowd or desperately want to be anyway
why the hell can’t I have a normal conversation with any of you?
why the hell do we have to try to yell over deafening speakers and ask about out jobs when none of us could give a flying fuck about what we’re talking about anyway
why the hell must I end up dancing with you when I don’t even know anything beyond your name?
I don’t even like dancing
I don’t even like you
why the hell do I sit with fifteen of you and still feel alone
why the hell do I feel fat, poor, badly dressed and middle class when I’m sitting with all of you?
why the fuck do I hate you and still continue to hang out with all of you
am I stupid masochistic and absolutely brain dead?
am I that desperate to have a life?
am I that desperate to pretend that I have friends? I have friends
other deeper more meaningful friends
they’re just not friends like all of you

Friday, August 27, 2004

INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Monday, August 16, 2004

other side of the fence

I step outside, and immediately wish I hadn't. The wind knifes through my clothes, cutting through flesh muscle and bone and slicing my soul to ribbons. I take a step backwards in defense, taken aback as always by the bewildering ferocity of the winter in this strange city. Every ounce of energy cringes away trying to hide behind the clothes barrier, bruising with failure. My eyes are about to water, my nose immediately numb. I already have to pee. I put my head down and scurry across the paths, mind intently fixed on the centrally heated auditorium that awaits me.
It's the only thing gets me to actually walk all that way.
Winters are miserable sometimes, despite the inner awe I always have because of my temperate weather childhood.

grazing on home turf

I try to sit comfortably, but the heat is unbearable. Sweat trickles down my back, a moist sheen covers my face, every breath brings about longing for a cold cold pool to knife into.
I stand near the window, the frog sounds deafening. I bang the shutter, hoping to scare away some of the creatures. The obstinate chirping and croaking continues.
A faint breeze from some sail miles away makes its way to my sweating forehead. I close my eyes and can only pray for winter.


sitting in front of the glow of the familiar screen an unfamiliar lifetime away
trying to keep it quiet
snores rustle the silence
the clacking of this small keyboard unfamiliar to my ears
as strange as the conversation I am having with a person I do not ever remember talking to
in my adult life
how bizarre
I look beyond the glow.. and in the shadows leaps an age old fear of objects animating in the night time
a fantastic momentary vision of an umbrella leaping and spearing my throat
blinked away
something familiar at last
unwanted yet strangely welcome
strange strange strange

Thursday, July 08, 2004

its surprisingly difficult to come to grips with your own mediocrity

you would think that with the entire human population wallowing in it someone would have come up with a way to make it easier to deal with... a pill or something

or a drug...

or a drink...


*tubelight flickers*



A large man, chest glistening black, head gleaming, stands in the direct sun. The desert stretches far and wide, in it wisdom and peace, winds that whip mercilessly past dry mouths, blow ever present sand into unwary eyes. This is his domain, these are where he discovered his powers, where he had always knows the truer purpose of his path.

This is Sheba. Her clothes are made of gold hammered to softness, her hair has been washed in blood, lemon and milk, to mirror light like her clothes. She is regal, her posture, her stature, her cheekbones. Her eyes are as black as her skin, but it matters not because she lives in a time long before mankind forgets the colors of the soul. Her eyes reflect uncommon knowledge, her brow bears the weight of a childhood spent in learning to fill the role she plays now. She also bears the weight of her crown, mode of solid metals extracted in newly discovered ways from the earth. A person not expecting the crown would not be able to hold their heads upright with the symbol of the curled snake around their brow. She manages without a ripple in her serenity, not even clenched cords in her neck showing the strain. She is always regal.

He came to his powers like most of the people like him. Slowly realized over time, meditation, patience and guidance. His prayers unlocked not the calm inner peace that other people felt, but opened up a blinking beacon of light that shimmered and was visible to the souls of believers. Those who saw with their hearts, not their eyes.
For a long time, he, like the others, thought his powers were the usual occurrence in all lives. But, even when he was Told of his Gifts, he did not fall down in helpless overwhelmed-ness like the others, though he was deeply and truly grateful. He looked up to the voice in his head speaking from the heavens though the Angel, and said, “Could I also have this gift my lord. I am not sure if it has been granted to me.”
And God, the Almighty, the Knower and Seer of all things, the Master of all the Worlds, roared with laughter (if such an emotion is possible) and granted his wish with benevolence. The world smiled, and the cosmos lightened, for that one moment allowed it.
That was how he became the King of the Other World.

Her advisors had a throne created for her that reflected her stature, with silks flown in from the distant desert lands and jewels excavated through the blood magic of the damned. It towered in the middle of the considerable sized room, as intimidating as it was awe inspiring. Grown men trembled before her, struck as if by a vision, kneeling in deference and uniting clans that had warred for centuries. Proud peoples had been humbled by the mere sight of her, and those that weren’t were fed to the lions immediately. But for as long as she sat on the burnished gold, she never forgot the higher powers, the sacrifices, the voices that spoke to her, guiding her through her people’s lives. For a while, she suspected the advisors of duplicity, almost suspecting they were trying to elevate her to beyond the gods, so that the priests would not have such an influence on state matters. Advisors rarely had one reason for anything, and never the reason they openly stated. It was at the peak of her time, this queen, and her chair was the center of her power. Yet she had dreams, dreams of when her people would be beggared, where the metals and gemstones and wisdom would be crushed under the heels of a hellish race, where they were being slaughtered like cattle in the heat, and never to rise again. She would wake up afraid, and even the priests could do nothing to save it. When she heard of the wise man and his followers in the encampment a days journey away, she knew she must follow her dreams there.

He heard of her coming. The birds whispered it, the wind bore it, his messengers, his special messengers, reported it. He picked the best one, the most loyal and the strongest. And he prepared for her arrival. She would be dealt with like the others, queen or no. He was a messenger, and he had a duty to disperse.

The beginning

His head was smoothly shaved except for two unnaturally thin lines. They centered on his Chi, a thin square at the crown on his head. The symbol was echoed on his chest, the external area that marked the point between the ribcage and backbone, where the soul was said to reside.
Humanity, still in its infancy and unaware of complications of wisdom, had set this man on the expedition to verify the existence of this man who more and more people were claiming to be the prophet of the visions.
There’s a fist in my chest. I think its made of lead. The lead is spreading to my limbs. I know I won’t be able to move soon, in fact, I can’t even move now. A part of me is screaming in terror, another part is wondering how I could let this happen, how it could happen, but I still can’t move, still can’t be interested in anything other than just lying face down in the mud, spread eagled, till slowly the water seeps past my nose and mouth and I can’t breathe. I have constant headaches, before I sleep, right after I wake up, till the slow almost unnoticeable pain wears me down, wears down my resistance and my ability to think or act. And then the wee black devils that are always poking their little shards from hell do their most damage. I think I’ll go sleep a little more now, my head aches. I can’t seem to remember very well.

the day the music died

I didn’t ask to be beautiful. At least I don’t think I did. My theory is pretty clichéd, I was a bodiless child-like spirit in heaven and God in His grandfather image asked me if I wanted to be born. I said yes, and He told me that I had chosen two people for my parents. I looked at them from up there, remembered them from when they were in the place I was in, loved them beyond any depth possible. And it was with that feeling of overwhelming thankfulness, where my cup brimmeth over, I was born.
I used to think I would die after class 6. That was because for as long as I could remember I would have images, ideas as to what I would be in the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. And those images always came true, when I would be playing in field, when I would look at a friend, when I would pause at an end of a sentence and feel like I had said that same thing a hundred times before in that same place. Those memories were like small markers by the wayside, like those bonus points in a Mario Nintendo game that you can pick up, if you pass through a certain point on a path. Other people call the feeling déjà vu. I would learn that from a Readers Digest article years later. Whenever I tried to see beyond class 6, I couldn’t. It was like some great void, and I could only equate it with death, and be distantly afraid, but not really.
Class 6 came, one of the best years on my life. I realized it then too, even though I would stare in the mirror every day and whisper to myself “You are ugly. You are ugly”. Till I would believe myself. It was something incredibly naughty and vain to think of myself as pretty. I would hate myself when the new boy sitting opposite me would tell his friend to tell my friend that he liked me. I would hate myself because I would like the feeling I would get when he said that, it was a warm glow that was alien and secret and exciting. A feeling I would find rarer and rarer to recapture as years went on, twinge with regret whenever I recapture those memories.
So when the boy and I finally grew up and realized what that glow was, and he asked me to dance at a party, I made up some silly story and told him I couldn’t because I was scared of myself. When countless boys did it, ones I didn’t even like, I would still turn them all down, because even when I didn’t like them I would still feel proud that out of all the girls in my entire class they were picking me, and that was a horrible thing to think.
I was messed up. I still don’t know it happened.
I don’t even know how I got over it. But I think it had to do with things finally building up to a point where a dam burst, when I finally screamed and shouted in anger and frustration, when I kicked and broke things, when I wore my brothers boxing gloves and punched the wall. When I stopped trying to please people I could never please, when I stopped trying to live by a God that was as bigoted and misguided as the people who told me about Him.
When I hated the people I had loved so much, when I stopped praying in thankfulness to God, because I didn’t like how it made me feel.
When I said the word “fuck” for the first time, and then got hit on the head with a football. When the Pepsi bottle I was holding came between my forehead and the ball. When I dripped blood to the sick bay, took the day off, and got my first two stitches under full blown howls and screams of 12 year old lungs.
That was the year I think I died.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Would you?

Hi. I don’t know why I’m calling
There is this perfectly nice guy interested in me. he’s asked me out. I think I like him. He’s nice, rich, funny, I’m really attracted to him. For some reason I can’t say yes. Theres this thing in my head. I cant get over the memory of that damn summer 5 years ago. I keep thinking that maybe that just felt better, that by settling with this guy I might be losing out on somthing more special. i don’t mean with you, so don’t get too flattered yet. But if I could be capable of liking someone more, then I think I’m wasting time with him. But I havent liked anyone as much as you that summer ago. I know it was a long time ago, and it seemed to mean a lot you, and I know nothing happened and we left a lot of stuff unfinished, and I should just not be doing this like everyone’s advised me not to. But I want to make this call anyway. You just dissapear, and then you come back again and I get interested in you again and then you dissapear like I just don’t fucking matter. I don’t know what it was.. you’re scared of rejection? you’re scared you don’t know me and I might be psycho? I don’t know.
And so I was wondering
Would you like to come out for ice cream with me. Just to catch up. See what youre up to? It won’t take over half an hour. Just want to see you and clear things up so I can get closure and move on with my life.


I stand outside the apartment with mixed feelings. I have a curious reaction to parties, and being co-host amplifies my ambivalence. I loved planning the party, the guest lists, the invitation designs, the food, the décor. I loved getting dressed for the occasion, the rituals of makeup and experimentation with colors and textures. The dorms in college are even more fun, full of frantic activity, halls with blaring music, general shrieks punctuating the atmosphere of high strung expectation. After being caught up in the preparation, I usually get to the event itself and am suffocated by boredom within the first five minutes.

I get out of the car, and everyone around me pours into the apartment. The girls practically run up the stairs, laughing and giggling like kids, the guys laughing right along with them. Pre-partying started a long time ago for them. I hesitate outside, decide to get a drink from the terrace first.

I stumble outside, eyes unadjusted from the lighted staircase to the darkness of the starlit patio. The party planner in me double checks the fairy lights twinkling behind the bar (normal tape wasn’t strong enough to hold the up earlier in the evening). I had asked one of the other hosts to get duct tape and think about going to find him. But the lights seem to be holding up, even though some of the white tape is visible. Should I should fix it? Maybe I should stop being uptight and forget it.

My immediate friends are all tearing up the dance floor in one big happy herd, and I’m wandering around like a lost sheep. Big crowds just seem to make me lonelier, more so than a small group of close friends which can make me forget it. I greet a couple of acquaintances around the room, settle onto a sofa. If I was still in school, I would have died rather than be caught sitting alone, but somewhere along the way I started seeking out sitting apart, maybe because it seemed to match my feelings of isolation. I know my friends don’t understand it, get irritated with it sometimes, but melancholy seems to come out on absolutely inappropriate junctures.

I start people-watching from my vantage on the sofa, enjoying the cranberry juice that never seems to be around on normal days. I notice a group of three a little to my left, a couple I know, and someone they’ve brought along. I’m slightly amused, because the stranger seems to be noticeably a third wheel. He bends down to the girls ear, and I get a flash of the side of his face, and suddenly I can’t breathe. Glass paused halfway to my lips, I watch him give a friendly jab on the guys arm, and turn around. My heart, surprisingly still beating, jams my throat. It’s him. He starts walking, towards the door. He’ll have to cross past the sofa where I’m sitting. I can’t move, terrified if I start breathing, he’ll look my way and notice.

I shrink back an infitismal inch into the cushions, and that’s all it takes.

The movement makes him give a casual glance towards my sofa, and immediately , I can feel his eyes on my face. I stare at my glass, pretending to be lost in thought. Sure enough, I see a pair of jeans walk into my line of vision. I take a sip. The brown shoes are an inch from my feet. I cant ignore them. Making the best of it, I look up. Take slight satisfaction in his pole-axed expression. Do a mental inventory and am glad I wore my sequined silver top and not the boring black one. I pretend to be surprised, say hi. I’m still sitting, craning my neck up, decide to stand. Regret the decision immediately because he doesn’t move back, and I’m slightly off balance stuck between the sofa and him. I try to sidle out. I wish he didn’t look so intense. God help me, its so good to see him.

“Hi”. He barely gets the word out.

“Good to see you after so long, how come you’re here?” I hope that doesn’t sound too rude.

“Work buddies.” He gestures to the couple behind.

For the sake of appearance, I look and then give an “Oh” of polite comprehension.

There’s a little silence, and I stare at his chest. It looks good in the grey t-shirt. It’s like he just rolled out of bed, but it looks good to me anyway. I can just imagine my cheek pressed against it. He looks so miserable, I feel like hugging him, hugging him and then kissing him, and then never letting go. I feel like screaming at him like a madwoman, and ask him why I still can't let go of him, why I keep looking for him in every room, in every event, every day. Why if I don't get over him and move on, I will break into a million shimmering pieces and never be put back together by any other men in the years to come.

I can’t bear the silence another second. “Well nice seeing you, I have to go do some host-ly duties”, and I sidle past and make a run for it. I’m almost out of range, but he grabs my arm. “Wait, don’t go.” I tug at my arm, embarrassed, aware of curious speculation from people here and there. To my horror I think I’m going to cry. I tug at my arm, trying to pull away and hoping he never lets go. I break free, and ignoring the speculative glances, almost run out the door, onto the dance floor because I know I’ll lose him there. I almost wish it wouldn’t be so easy to do that, but I can’t, can’t forgive him again. Damn his soul.

I feel like I’ve run a marathon.

I drag one of my friends off the floor, and beg him to drop me home. I cant stand this anymore.
I sit alone in the dark in my room, identical blue fairy lights turned on in the dark for the first time in a year. I’m raging curses inside my head, because just seeing him, just avoiding him, just the fact that I was standing near him, I feel like my life is suddenly worth living again, excitement and anticipation all back. I try to bury my head and my thoughts into my pillow, but my stupid soul yearns to forget all silliness and just go back. I know where he’ll be waiting. But I’ve been there before, forgiven too much. I hate myself.
I replay it all in my mind. I can’t stop torturing myself. Then suddenly, I can’t think. I’m back in time, watching from inside myself.

I’m setting up my fairy lights on one side of the room. He comes in , and my heart stops, like it always does. He comes straight towards me. With my sweaty hair in my eyes, covered in scotch tape and dirty clothes, he looks at me and I feel beautiful. He stops, then takes a step closer towards me. My toes curl. My hands, glue, tape and all, press against his chest as he leans in. We’re both laughing. He takes the string of fairy lights, wraps them around me so I cant move, and then plants a big kiss, right on my mouth.
He was the first boy I allowed to do that.

Fast forward. Home video number two ladies and gentlemen.

We're all listening to an impromtu jam session in the yard, when he walks in. I'd heard he's back but I'd managed to avoid running into him till now. I sneak a look between the crowd from my sitting position, and see the side of his jaw, and my heart hurts with memory. His hair is longer, brushing past his collar. I'll be leaving tomorrow, and I'm so close to avoiding meeting him entirely. But then he’s passing in front of me and some stupid girl a couple of feet to my left shrieks at some joke. He looks over automatically, freezes when he sees me. Trips over his own feet, momentum carrying him to my feet. I can’t help it, I burst out laughing. I lean over, help him scramble to sitting position. We’re almost eye level. And like every time we’re together, its magic. In mid kiss, with people I don’t know pointing and snickering, and people I do know sighing and giving me thumbs up signs, I forgive everything. My soul speaks to him. That was the first time I realized I love the bastard.

I’m trying to eject the tape people, it seems to be jammed. I’ll try pulling the plug. Oops, too late…

I’ve gone to the roof of the library. There was a astronomy lab up there in the evening, so I know it’ll be unlocked till morning, unbeknownst to the guards patrolling the campus downstairs. I know he’ll be there. I see the entire city, the yellow pinpoints stretching out to the fields that continue on in breathtaking view. A airplane goes by overhead, deafeningly loud, so low I can see people in the windows. Its winter, and we’re very close to a landing strip. I hear him behind me.
“I wasn’t sure you’d come.”
I suddenly feel like crying. Maybe its PMS. I turn around, and my heart takes a picture. I know, I just know, that no matter what happens, that whenever I will picture him it will be like this, just simply standing there, looking at me.
“Yes you did you bastard”. I smile, because I feel like doing anything but that.
He grins, and as always, my heartbeat pauses, then picks up slowly. If this was the movies we’d break into a slow sultry song and dance under waterfalls right now.
He comes closer, and wraps his arms around my waist instead.

Ladies and gentlement: All the memories apprear to be scripted and have no bearing on any persons real or imaginery. Reality couldn't have been as picturesque. I might as well try to remeber the true picture. Thank you for your patience.

Oops there seems to be a technical fault.

How am i supposed to playback reality again?


The cold grey of the blade hovers near my wrist. In my minds eye I see the cold edge push past my skin, grow warm with the blood flowing out. The steam rises from the hot water in the tub, condensing on the blade. My wet hair grows cold while I’m sitting in hot water, hesitating. The goose bumps on my arms are almost painful. The towel is fresh newly laundered cotton, within hands reach.
The warmth my submerged limbs and torso almost makes me feel like I have two bodies. Two lives. Two paths which I could take. I close my eyes, and imagine flying through the air, the wind flapping past ears as I sail down, past the building windows, smashing to freedom below. I almost wish for it, but the Memory is too new. Standing on the rooftop, the wind that seemed liberating in my thoughts uncomfortably cutting through my sweater and knifing my bones. Standing with curled toes hesitating on the edge, a far cry from the thumping run up and the leap to freedom, like some long jump athlete. The towel is within reach; I take it.

I’m drying my now frozen hair when the phone rings. I know who it is without picking up. The psychic radar all mothers seem to have as far as their children are concerned. I wait for three rings, willing her away. Then I sigh and steel myself for the platitudes of my charade.
My hair pleasantly warm post blow dry, and with contentment that only warm dry clothes can provide in winter, I sink into my squashy pink sofa and automatically reach for the TV remote. The memory of the cold grey on my wrist makes me pause though. I stare at the red ‘on’ button, wiling myself to press it and relax back into routine. To not think of the first fifteen minutes of the Will and Grace rerun I missed in my ruminations in the tub. The red button blurs, and I clench my teeth to prevent them from falling. I click on the TV, determined to avoid the dull weights that smother my chest.
The bells sear through my soul. My heart skips a couple of beats as I fumble under my pillow and don’t find reassuring cold steel, but then realize what the sound is, and cut the alarm off with relief. Thank God for snooze. My heart beat slows to normal, and I relieve an itch on my stomach. The delicious feel of the blanket keeping me toasted from the chill outside my bed, the pleasant stupor of stretching. Unwilling to get up and face another day, I lie there for a bit, staring at the clock ticking over my bed. Without my glasses, it’s a blur of white on an off-white wall, the tick tock unnaturally loud. I remember the dream, flickers at first, then the whole story. Laughing in the bed of a lover, sharing inexplicable tenderness and caring. I didn’t see his face. Will I recognize his soul if I ever meet him? The snooze startles me. I forget the dream and get ready for work.

I choose to walk up the 5 flights of stairs. On the way out, I always stick to the friendly lights and elevator staff though. I remember my first week in the building, with the air conditioning in the staircases turned off at 5, the unventilated air choking by the late hours of the evening. The sound of my breathing deafening, not being able to hear if someone was following. The innocent creak of some nighttime scuttler paralyzing my lungs.
I don’t use the stairs if I’m working late anymore.


I’m back in the tub. The steam wafts up, rolling through the cold that seems to be battling to freeze my exposed skin. The bathroom window in the improbable setting above the foot of the tub is steamed up. I can see the blurred orange street lights in the distance, hear the muffled whuzz of passing cars. I hold my breath and submerge my head, pushing myself to the floor so my feet stick out of the water at the other end. My toes curl in the abrupt cold. I hear the total underwater silence, the clanking of the metal chain of the drain plug sounding eerily foreign. I quickly open my eyes, reassuringly see the white tiles above my head through the stinging soapy water. But then I see the cheery green of the razor handle perched on the brink of the tub, blocking out all else. A bubble flies up past my nose, breaks on the surface. The silence becomes deafening. My lungs will start pleasantly burning soon, and I dispassionately wonder if its possible to drown oneself. Probably not; the survival instinct would take over. I whoosh out, the water streaming down my head, past my arm as I reach for the towel, puddling on the tiles below. I resolutely ignore the green double blade ‘safety’ razor, perched at the edge of the tub, as sinister as a radio or a hairdryer. The empty apartment beckons.
I fall asleep on the sofa watching TV, don’t hear my alarm faithfully sounding in the bedroom. Daylight, the Morning Show and habit, wake me up. Completely disoriented, I stare at the offensively pulled back curtains and floods of diffused light before realizing where I am. My eye are painfully trying to focus, then I realize my glasses are askew, and put them right. The dream, if somewhat explained by my location, still leaving a residue of chagrin, ill-used ness and general grumpiness.
I was seeing it through the someone else’s eyes, some long dead soul reaching into this realm and reliving its experiences though my body. A concept I woke up with one day, and haven’t been able to shake off since. I hate days of waking up remembering someone else’s memories, feeling used, feeling the eerie similarity between lives of people long dead and their loved ones, and my own world. Maybe things don’t really change a lot with time and its physical trappings. I was in a house, with my best friend and my sister, and having a seemingly normal dinner and conversation with a family we are visiting. Small unnatural undercurrents, a feeling of threat under the surface, a glance that doesn’t seem right, a background sound that doesn’t fit in slowly work their way into the theme. I am constantly looking over my shoulder, constantly in threat, constantly jumpy. This family is not all what they seem, not all what they should be. We are not safe, but we have no where to go.
Its not a pleasant dream.
I cant help feeling like I relived some poor girls last moments.
I shake off the uneasiness, for once eager to get outside, to get into contact with real, living, people.


We all sit together to watch the final episode of the TV series. It’s the culmination of the season, and fitting because most of them are on the eve of graduating and leaving the idyllic surroundings of the supreme freedom and shelter of university curriculum. I’ve already graduated 6 months early, and am visiting the city again with my family. Everyone sits in comfortable recline, like a mass of puppies, tangled and contented, in various stages of undress or nightclothes. I’ve just come from my grandmothers house for a concert by the local band, which they - my friends- are refusing to attend. For me it’s an opportunity to catch up with a life I’m losing touch, an opportunity to pretend that nothing has changed and I’m as unconsciously part of the crowd as I used to be. For them its yet one more occasion to forcedly mingle with people they see everyday and would rather avoid in their free time. I bow to their will, when before I would have wheedled and cajoled and gotten my way. I would have started work on trying to convince Saima, who’s decision would rule her boyfriend Talha’s, and if the three of us decided to go then everyone else would just tag along because it had become a group activity. The others would grumble about “everyone wanting to go and forcing them along” but come nevertheless.
I don’t do that, because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to convince them, because they won’t care about what I want. I’ve been away for 5 months, and am no longer aware of the pulse of the group psyche, of how far I can go, of how much I can convince them to do.
I sit and watch the show, the last of the series that would ever air, and feel sick with nostalgia.


The unutterable comfort and security of lying beneath the cool sheets, my mother on one side, the other half of my life, my father, on the other. The blissful reassurance of unconditional love, the inexplicable knowledge that while I was with them, all would be right in the world.
It was odd, that long before I knew that the cadences of voice were words or language, I still knew what they meant, understood love and life and indescribable comfort and security.
My earliest memory was about being upset in the place that was foreign and dark. The room was huge, the lights were only present on one end, the shadows shrouding the edges. I stare at the black, it creeps forward, snatching at me.
The voice from behind calls me back, to light and warmth and familiarity. I don’t understand the words, don’t need to, I can see the brightness of love shining through the soul. Its telling me not to cry, that everything will be ok. It points to the light-bulb above, my line of sight follows the arm, the lifted finger, the brilliant colors of the chandelier. A little person grabs at my feet from below, and I am startled. I am taken into someone else’s arms, closer to the ground, closer to the shadows that will get me. I make my protests known, but am even more upset when the loud voice yells at the little person. Can he not see the aching misery in her eyes?
There is the photograph of me, as a baby, in my mothers arms, when our skins were an identical shade of milk white. She’s pointing at the chandelier in the drawing room of our new house, and I’m gazing raptly at it. My sister stands at my mothers feet, reaching only knee height which is surprising because I always remember her being much bigger at that time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I push away the wooden slab of ennui
Enter a room full of glittering strangers
Looking down, hoping they won't notice
I'm walking in with naked feet