Tag Archives: pain

Happy Birthday, Mom.

I remember the birthday we spent together three years ago. It must have been a few weeks into your chemo; but the scars of your struggle were now starting to show. For the first time in so many years, you and I didn’t stay up late. For the first time in so many years, there was no childish, excited wait. For the first time in so many years, there was no birthday cake because no matter what you ate at that point in time, your head would spin and nauseate. It felt sad, having to celebrate your liveliness so quietly.

The next morning, I overslept. So when I woke up, the first thing I did was sprint up the steps to your bedroom door. I imagined you would be sleeping so I quietly pushed it open; hoping that I’d be the first face you’d see as you woke up on your special day. But as I stepped into your room, I felt this quiet, impending feeling of gloom. One experienced in the countless hospital trips that conditioned you and I to feel nothing but doom. I saw an empty bed, and a rush of blood to my head said- something’s wrong. I knew you couldn’t even walk straight without me by your side to take your weight. I could feel my hands shake; I could feel the insides of my head ache and throb and about to break. I called out your name, again and again and again and then suddenly, I heard mine in return. A sigh of relief as I immediately turned to where it came from.

As I pushed open the bathroom door, I saw you slouched against the wall, sitting calmly on the floor. Trying to maintain a fine line between livid worrying and escalating dread, I just stood there with a million thoughts inside my head, and you, you just looked at me, and you smiled. Typical of you, you know? Everytime you knew there was tension you couldn’t dilute, you just flashed a smile so adorably cute hoping I would forget. I almost did. But I asked again.

You smiled once more. And then you spoke. In words I wish I remembered, so I could put them in quotes and show the entire world how you saw it with so much hope. You told me how it hurt to be a burden. How on days that hovered between bad and worse you felt like an absolute curse that just refused to go away. You told me how it felt, when you needed me to walk two metres or less, and how it made you feel absolutely helpless, every single day. So on your birthday, you decided to be different.

It hurts my heart to imagine how you swayed across the room to where you fell, but for that one day living in hell made you feel a little more at ease, even if it meant falling to your knees, at least you did it all by yourself. I didn’t know whether to smile or to cry; but these things you said were like invisible forces pulling me from both sides. I heaved you up, and I walked you back to your bed. You were smiling, but your eyes were wet. I tried to give you the warm hug that you’d mastered over the years, one that had so often given my tears a reason to change into something else. If only you knew how much I live that memory, even today.

Three years later, I celebrate your birthday the same way you and I did back then. There is silence, and a quiet birthday wish in this letter; and an empty realization that things could have been so much better. What I miss far outweighs what I have found; but that balance would tilt so drastically if you were around today. Today, I wish I could borrow your shoulders to keep my head; I wish I could kiss your cheeks and tell you everything I never said, instead of writing things you will never read, unless heaven has a speed post service (which it desperately needs.) What I would give, to have you live, not in memories but somewhere real. Every second spent wondering how that would feel suddenly, be worth the time, and the energy.

Anyway, this isn’t about my wishes, its about how hard it is loving you from afar. I only wish I could find the words to define these feelings of mine with a beauty that was half as perfect as you are. I hope you have fun there (for heaven’s sake) and that God employs the best bakery to make your cake. Stay as lively as you’ve always been, remember to lick the icing from the bottom of the cake tin, just how you’ve always liked it.

Down here, Dad will raise a drink and we all will keep you in our prayers and think about the countless reasons you gave us to call happiness our own. We’ll keep missing you, even if we are three parts of a broken mess; and we will love you, alwaysthemore, nevertheless.

I miss you. I love you.

Happy Birthday.

Love,
Shamir.

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The Devastated Dreamer.

“I have always been a dreamer, you know? But in a world draped in illusions, I have always tried not to let it show. I think it’s the only place I can be myself anymore; where I can wrap myself in all my fears and firmly lock the door. But I do realize that there are these little windows; some, that inadvertently betray me. Sadistic smiles that grow wider as my memories force me into submission and flay me. I try not to let it break me, but I can’t hold out for long. The world needs to realize this is wrong, and that I’m not strong enough to drag my feet along the lines of sheer agony. This isn’t right. This can’t be right.

As I write this note, I realize I’m the only person who sits alone on in one dark corner on a rusty bench. My classmates all look at me with contorted faces like they inhaled a shitload of stench. It’s hard not to break; it’s harder not to let it take a little part of me away, everyday. But inevitably, it does.

I remember how the boys around me looked at me when I came here first. One by one, they tried their luck as I punctured their bubbles until they burst. Some mistook it for aggression, some mistook it for bitter pride; others said if they looked in my underpants they’d find a dick inside. I didn’t mind. I thought with time it would subside. The voices outside and inside my head have since, never died.

Only if humanity had learnt to empathize a little. Only if it could recognize the irony of a rough exterior protecting something brittle. I had never paid heed to chances: rejected all the advances not to be a holier-than-thou iconoclast, but only because of what I had to go through in the past.

I remember my 7 year old body being overpowered. I remember watching him standing over me as I cowered; pleading with him not to rape me. I remember screaming until I wanted to bleed to death, I remember wanting to drain myself of every last breath until I begged to God himself to take me. That pain. Never again.

Since then I have tried to build my defences for an eternity. I have locked myself inside and wallowed in self pity. No one will understand the rage I feel, or how it feels like to never heal. No one will feel the goosebumps on my skin, or feel the blood in my body boil from within when anyone mentions the mere concept of intimacy. All I do is close my eyes, take my mind back to that time; for the wounds to open, and for my hate to push me into overdrive. If only you could taste this hate.

So as I write this, I maintain that I still like to dream. It is what I am, it is what I’ve always been. Call me ignorant, call me a lesbian cunt, call me something sharp, call me something blunt; but that will never change the sheer brunt that I carry on my shoulders. I could lift one shirt sleeve up far and show you the ugly marks and the scars, the reminders of a dark and distant past, but I wont. Your simple, plain lives will never grasp the essence of something so animalistic, so gory. And to think everything around me would have been so different had people only asked me for my story. But if you can’t understand devastation and its themes, I suggest you leave, and leave me to my self and my devastated dreams. I have illusions to break, I have delusions to chase, I have memories to confront, I have nightmares to face. I promised myself I wouldn’t whine, I wouldn’t moan; but just sometimes I can’t do this alone. I hope sometimes that people would be different instead of being indifferent. Is that too much to ask for?

Until that happens, I’ll choose to live a little like this. In a world where silence is my sanctum and ignorance is bliss. My demons can pummel me into living hell with an iron fist, but with a cold heart and steely nerves I can resist and nurse these wounds that hell has kissed. And I swear to every single one of you that nothing will be missed; all I ask, is that you let me dream.”


Happiness.

A big shout out and a bigger hug to Shasti Jain for being the muse. I owe you one.

“Write something happy” she told me.

Only if a statement that seemed so bafflingly simple was actually that easy to understand in reality. For hours I let my fingers hover over my keyboard, drawing invisible circles hoping to encircle thoughts and memories that I could hold down long enough to decipher. I figured, that for the longest time ever, I had never thought about this.

They say happiness is fluid. I’ve always believed that the definition differs like we all do from each other. Happiness isn’t a constant, it is dynamic; and after a certain incident or point in time, you feel its essence evolve into something completely different.

At 14, happiness was biting into delightfully soft homemade buns made by my Mum and losing myself to the molten cheese melting me and every little taste bud inside.

At 18, happiness was perfectly putting the idea in my head on a little piece of paper, watching countless hours of crumpled paper and wasted ink unfold and give way to something better. Happiness was finding a reason to be satisfied with yourself.

But then Mom’s cancer happened. Happiness was an invisible and frustratingly elusive thread I spent ages grasping for in the darkness. Happiness was compromise, it was settling for something less; happiness was knowing your Mom didn’t have to take the next chemotherapy, but never knowing if she was out of danger.

Happiness, however, also meant having to appreciate life a little bit more. It was going out for a quiet family dinner so often taken for granted, where the food on the table was for once, less important than the conversation that happened over it. Happiness was baffling, it kept changing and I couldn’t understand what exactly it meant to me.

After Mom passed away, the definitions blurred and faded. For the longest time ever, happiness was living without any more pain. Happiness was learning to curse at the storm and spit venom at the rain. It was about shielding yourself from anything that threatened to come too close; happiness was learning to fortify your own defenses.

Those defenses never break down. Those memories never leave but yet, happiness learns to adapt. Sometimes I sit at home and watch my fighter pilot of a Dad try so hard to fill a space that will never ever be filled again. Awkwardly, he cuts cheese into uneven pieces struggling not to murder his own fingers, but somehow that selfless effort to hide our pain makes me smile a little. It hurts, but perhaps like our experiences become a part of us, pain becomes a part of happiness and how we perceive it.

So, as I write on happiness and what it means to me, I can’t really give you one particular definition. All I can tell you is that no matter how fast the world around you spins and throws you off, you will find a reason to gravitate right back. Perhaps it’s something we are conditioned to look for.  Maybe it is how it keeps us afloat when we’re drowning in everything around us that we seek it; so desperately, yet ever so quietly.

Is happiness learning to make the best of circumstances? I can’t tell. But what I can tell you, is that it will change again.

 

 


The Days I Dread.

I will never forget,
those days of dread.
I blinked back tears
a million fears,
saw crushed veneer,
I was almost dead.
But I lay hanging
by a thread,
Dangling, dangerously
like the thoughts in my head.

Pain, rejections,
Drugs, injections
Confusion, haze
A never ending maze.
I thought, fought
dried up like a drought,
never wanting to wake up
again.

And then you walked in,
Through the pain, the sins
and you made me smile,
from within.
I learnt to live,
I learnt to give,
A part of me wanted to breathe
again.

You shone bright
All in spite,
of dark rooms
with flickering lights.
You were the best thing
I had ever met,
How can I forget
those days of dread?

And now you lie
In a hospital bed,
Not a word, no sign
of anything said.
Your skin untouched,
but your soul has bled.
You are quiet,
But I can hear you cry out for help.

They told me why,
silence is your drape
6 monsters,
took turns to rape.
Used, abused,
no escape.
Battered, shattered
You screamed for help,
It never came.

How I wish
I could save,
Your life, your essence,
from a fate so grave.
Something, anything
to keep you brave,
as your hope, your senses cripple
and give away.

I hate how much
I couldn’t do.
Couldn’t give back
how much I got from you.
You wiped those tears
when I was crying,
Now I’m alive
and you are dying.
But I’m going to sit here,
and wait.
And keep trying
to delve just once
Into your head
Repeat every single word you said
Hoping, praying
It brings you back from the dead
But right now
as I sit beside your bed
Time inching, crawling
limping ahead,
I can’t help remembering
those days of dread
The ones that I
will never forget.


The Mask of Shame.

His eyes darted around like a pesky housefly, trying to survey every corner of the bus,

trying to look for an unwary target in the crowd, amidst all the commotion and ruckus.

All he wanted was a small window of opportunity, in which he could use his skills,

As soon he’d see someone with his guard down, he knew he would go for the kill.

He’d trained for years as an expert pickpocket, he had mastered the art of stealth,

He had used it wisely over the years, and that had got him a fair bit of wealth.

He loved the thrill of every little crime, it made him more eager for the next attempt,

No longer a passion but an obsession now, it was all he breathed and of what he dreamt.

He saw scores of people come and leave, but he knew they weren’t the ones he’d seek,

His hands were itching to get to work, as he felt his excitement hit it’s absolute peak.

And then he spotted a figure to his side, and suddenly he knew his chance had come,

He was looking at someone evidently fatigued, his shoulders droopy and eyes were numb.

He put on his most sincere, innocent face, as he sneaked carefully to the bus’s rear,

He couldn’t help, but chuckle a little, this would be the easiest heist of his career.

As soon as the bus braked he threw himself ahead, and gave the man a powerful shove,

As the man fell down in a heap he rushed forward, the ever helpful stranger filled with love.

“You ok sir?” He asked ,as he pulled up the man slowly, quickly sliding his hand onto his wallet,

“If you’re hurt really bad, we could bring an ambulance, just give me the word and I will call it.”

The man stood up, obviously dishevelled, he just flashed the smallest hint of a weak smile,

He smiled back and then got off at the next stop, and then grinned at his own genius and guile.

He walked to the nearest deserted corner, as he eagerly emptied the wallet he’d just flicked,

Laughing at how the man’s face would look, once he discovered he was so cleverly tricked.

As he overturned the wallet and shook it a little, two pieces of folded paper jumped out,

As he unfolded the first one with his nimble fingers, an astonished gasp escaped his mouth.

He was looking at a cheque for 2 lakh rupees, for a second he wouldn’t believe his eyes,

He shouted out in pure, unblemished ecstasy, it was the dawn of a new day in paradise.

He hurriedly grabbed the second piece of paper, praying for more money that he could claim,

But as he opened it he realised it wasn’t a cheque, but he just kept reading on all the same.

“Dear Mother, I have finally hit the magical number! And I did it with just a day to spare,

Now I can finally pay for my cancer surgery, and move immediately into intensive care.

To think the margins of death are so slim Ma, the doctor said a day more and I would’ve faced death,

But don’t worry I’ve toiled and got it in time, I’ll soon begin the long road to recovering my health.

I’m going to give the cheque to the hospital today, I knew you’d love to know it before hand,

I know we don’t have a house or any money to spare, but Ma today I feel so overjoyed and grand!

I love you, so do wipe off those tears now please? Your son is going to be alright I swear.

I promised you, I’ll always be around didn’t I? See, even God knows I’m going nowhere.”

Horrified he tore away his eyes from the letter, he couldn’t find the strength to read any further,

His obsession had cost someone his life, he was no longer a mastermind of theft, but cold murder.

He felt his tears of happiness fade into the void, the guilt was pummelling his soul into a hollow,

He destroyed not one, but many lives at once, the facts were true and difficult to swallow.

He renounced his thieving ways once and forever, he’d never again indulge in this terrible game,

The mask of a thief was one he could no longer don, he’d now wear for eternity a mask of shame.

 


The Meaning Behind.

The wind was blowing my cloak away, but I wasn’t the least bit bothered

The events of the past day were flashing by, it had left me firmly smothered.

Last afternoon before he left to board the flight, I had taken all my anger out

Let all my ire and emotions out in the open, leaving not a single shadow of doubt.

 

I was tired of being told what to do time and again, so I decided to make my case

Whatever frustrations lay dead and buried, had been revived when I saw his face.

“I’m just done being your son for now, all right?, I want to be the master of my own free will.

How will I learn to live and fight for tomorrow, if you keep me bound to the same old drill?”

 

“I swear I hate you like I hate hell Dad, I regret I didn’t stomp my foot down

Thanks for making me feel like a humiliated jerk, no better than a circus clown.”

I remember all that he did was turn around, and tiredly shake his head

His pale eyes gleamed right into mine, and this is what he said.

 

“I’m sorry if I hurt you in all these ways son, I promise I meant no pain

I’m sorry for the times I stressed you out, if you don’t forgive me I’ll ask again.

Thats when he turned around and closed the door, and everything went quiet

I went to swim in my pool of anger, all his theories.. I wouldn’t buy it.

 

And then my eyes grew really heavy, and they slowly drooped until they closed

I didn’t know how much time had passed, so much pressure it had posed.

Then I saw my cell phone slowly blinking, and I stretched my arm to reach

Saw “Message from Dad” on the screen, what did he have left now to preach?

 

But on impulse I pressed the read button, half of me not wanting to browse it

I decided if it got too lame and boring, I would just immediately douse it.

But as I read the first line of the message, I couldn’t take my eyes off the text

My eyes were staring at my phone in disbelief, all I recall was pressing “next”.

 

“Dear son I won’t be here for long now, I certainly don’t have time in my pockets

My plane slid off the runway 2 mins ago, in a few the temperature will soar like rockets

All I wanted to say was that I’m really sorry, I never meant to cause you pain

I was just worried about your future, cause there are millions who miss their train.

 

All I ever wanted was to see you standing, on your own two feet with pride

To have everything to you ever wished for, from God and fate by your side.

I know there were times I was blatantly rude, moments when I seemed incessantly rough

I did it all to make sure that when you get the call, you wouldn’t fall short of being too tough.

 

So if there was any way I could pray for forgiveness, I’m doing so in my final seconds

Before the hand of destiny lulls me to sleep, before death’s shadow finally beckons.

Do always know I’ll watch you from above, to guide you whenever it is required

I hope I have enough experience in my armoury, which in 40 long years I acquired

 

I love you a lot son and always will, don’t you ever even dare forget that

However bad and horrible things get between us, however ugly our spat.

Tell your Mom I love her a lot too, please don’t think I’m leaving you in dearth

You’ve had my love and utmost respect, ever since the time of your birth.”

 

The message ended there but my finger kept pressing, the button hoping there was more

knowing I was reading my father’s last thoughts, made my heart break and mind go sore.

Even though we had our share of fights, his last message filled me with pride

Because he wanted only the best for me, right until the moment he died.

 

So thats how the last day had passed, the wind still breezed through my cloak

The clouds grew darker by the minute, the rain fell on me and I was soaked.

I have no grave to pay my respects to, his body wasn’t found they stated

The fire from the plane had done his last rites, by God’s own hands cremated.

 


Happy Birthday.

“Happy birthday” said a hushed whisper, as a wave of cold froze her veins,

That voice was too familiar for her to forget, it resurrected her withered remains.

Sleep deprived brain and a cocktail of cocaine, she knew she was thoroughly drained,

But deep inside she felt that this was happening, so she rubbed her eyes and then she strained,

To look into the pitch black dark around her, and she could see him standing and glowing,

Her hands started to shiver, her eyes now a river, she doubted the reality in what life was showing.

So slowly  her hand reached out towards him, and groggily said “Love, is that you?”

He stood right there in silence but smiling, and as he nodded she cried “FUCK YOU!”

“You died. You’re dead.. Why did you leave me?” her sobs were now at hysteria’s peak,

Torn between the joy of seeing him again and a disfigured sanity telling her to freak.

“Why did you come back?” she whispered, the cold was now making her body sore,

“I just came to wish you a Happy Birthday.” he looked straight at her and smiled once more.

“I have something for you, a birthday gift” , he walked towards her and said “Walk with me.”

She sat up slowly not knowing what to do- follow a dream into the dark or just let it be?

Her feet on impulse got off the double bed, as he turned around and started to walk,

Strange that she’d prayed so hard to ask him questions, but right now she just couldn’t talk.

He walked out the dark corridor into the living room, his eerie glow lighting her way,

She followed as if in a trance, the drugs and the sleep making her tremble, making her sway.

He walked out the main door and turned to his left, as he started climbing the stairs remarkably aloof,

20 minutes of walking, a 100 hours of silence later, he held open the door that led to the roof.

She clambered into the wide open space, and the fresh air engulfed every inch of her soul,

After a year of rotting alone in emptiness, the suffocation was gone and so was the hole.

“There it is” he said, pointing into the distance, a glowing letter suspended from a thread,

It gleamed like the moon against the starless sky, just a few feet above the parapet.

The light in her eyes shone brighter than him, as she climbed the parapet to grab the letter,

Drops of happiness dribbling down her cheek, she knew things would now get better.

20 floors above the city’s skyline, she could see her destiny finally resting in her grip,

But then she looked down and saw a never ending drop, her head spun, then she slipped.

As time slowed down for those couple of seconds, she looked in horror at him as she fell,

His face as stoic as a dead man’s grace, where his smile was she couldn’t tell.

All she knew that she was falling into the night, closer to the ground and away from her pain,

Just seconds before she hit the ground to her death, she heard “Happy Birthday” once again.