Cardboard boxes

My grandfather calls for dinner. My grandmother says he will get none, its only eight-
“Its eight o clock!”
“You have done nothing today, you slept the whole afternoon through and now you want to eat?”
“Well! Now do you see how your grandmother treats me?”

An Indonesian batik painting emerges from behind the worn sofa my mother and I move to the living room. It’s the third one in the house, caked in dust, its thin protective film of plastic torn.
“What will we do with all of these?”
It is a question for my grandmother to ask and for us to give no answer to.
My father has the answer, but he’s not in the country for the next week, so there is only silence today.

There is little my father does not share with his friends, and into this small box of the untold goes another truth.
So, he lies into the phone and says that he’s here in Kolkata on holiday, and yes, the family is here too. No, he’ll be back in Bangalore next week, sure Venky, they can meet up then.
He hides much from us and is who he really is with them, so when they aren’t told it cannot feel like this decision is a good one.

(They are people who excel in their fields, so secrets from them like this cannot be good, but we cannot suggest it.)

We set up new house with our old things, and with every new house I see these things are unfamiliar to me altogether.

It hasn’t been a month, but I already  associate a different anxiety to the roads that lead ‘home’. This time, it is shame. The city lights are beacons that tell me there is no time left, and that the box of truths is too full, its metal lid can’t sit without pressing down on it.

My grandfather helps himself to a second sweet after dinner, and after telling him off, my grandmother lets him. I think this is how it should be, not the constant quiet that lingers over food between my own parents.

(it is as it should be)

 

The flowers in my grandmother’s balcony bloom, and she can’t contain herself. She limps into the room and reverentially places the three small flowers before the framed pictures of her blue god.

 

 

 

 

I look at them and hate it.

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green

The lady had green hair threaded with black and droop down eyes that said, ‘if you do something you don’t want to for the rest of your life it becomes a shoe bite that eats away at you forever.’
She’s tall with collarbones that branch into shoulders which hug my mother.
‘Earning money? Your parents must love what they do to have been doing it everyday for all these years, and theyre very luck for it.’
She has green hair and a flight to florence the tomorrow evening.
We pull out the museum guide books.

‘Dont take all of them down, she doesn’t need to see all of them’
No, behind our nameplates and chipped plaster walls, I don’t think my parents are lucky. Not when father is yelling at arsenal half the world away because its the only thing that really matters and not when  mother yells over dal and rice that she never wanted to be one, that this is all a mistake.
She’s sat on the grey sofa with a glass of our apple juice in her hands, flicking through medieval Italian art and a hidden hurt in her voice.
Father won’t be home till midnight and mother is alseep, so maybe this is the time to breathe.
Shes gone, but not really. My head hurts from the memory of her in this house, and there’s the threat of bringing dinner back up at the thought of her coming back.
Is she right or a lucky delusional, is my mother true or not, does father really know what he’s doing as we pack the house and mark the boxes and ourselves with fragile warnings again.

I can’t see anything through this mask in which my face grows hot and my head pounds, the sound of my breathing and gasping roaring loud against cardboard.
Shes the green the hair I wish I had and the downward turn at the end of my eyes, but I am too scared to take off these shoes so I shall walk with the bite.

1136

There’s a strut in my walk I’ve found for the first time in five weeks, and I’ve left all rationality behind in math books when I decide to walk down eight floors just to watch the sun shimmer over the lake and the fields vanish behind the compound wall, enclosing pink bougainvillea. The red is muted as the afternoon dampens into evening and the jazz doesn’t seem half as bad while the sun is still up.

The car smells of something between coffee and cigarettes but I won’t ask any questions.

Winter

via Daily Prompt: Moody

There’s something horribly melancholy about your face. You’re meant to be painted in pastel shades in dull light and framed in wide screens of rolled film, stacked in shoe boxes in the attic for ‘later use’.
You’d know that doesn’t really make sense but hell, you’re not real and I’m not as great as I think I am. For now it’s okay that you’re only the ghost of contentment and the temptation of comfort that seeps like a mist through what the reality is, scattered on my desk.
You’re forever pulling me with an arm around my waist, away from the real world while I desperately cling to the table, knuckles bruised from rubbing against the wood for too long. Sometimes, you win and the chair falls back with a snap, and I resign myself for wherever you take me. I lose hours. When I’m back, the sharp stabs of an insatiable want for just a little bit more of you constantly nags at me and pulls my hair until I’ve done enough to buy me another day.

There should be a passionate goddamn it in there somewhere, I think.

It’s a bit silly that I write of winter hurting me when cities are burning, so I’ll stop here.

 

 

 

 

I may never be great, but I want to be good.

2125 hrs

You cant read stories if they’re not on 480 by 800 pixels of digital screen and an empty comment section beneath. Picking up a book is just too much to ask because at some point between two years ago and chapter 13 did you realise that the words aren’t real anymore and that they’re just…..there.
No, words only exist when they’re coming from character XYZ without quotation marks before or after, kicking you where it hurts, because until he’s feeling worse you’re not feeling at all. So, the skies are ablaze at dusk before the unpainted pots are drowning in what you think are the last showers of the season.

We waited for the rain to stop, but were still drenched by the end.We laughed and screamed to the care of no one else. Your eyes are beautiful under clouds hiding sunlight, which is when I first paid attention to your beauty. Its a pity its only a deceiving mask veiling the ….misery you hide underneath it. 

I  was sat among upturned flower pots waiting for the rain to stop, still drenched by the end, where we had once laughed and screamed to the care of no one else. I’m pushing metaphors into words which mean nothing. My words are abstract while my paintings are torn if they are not real enough. The smell of coffee which follows your ghosts in my house is strong. I’m painting on the last pages stained by the filter-decoction you had made, but you’re not dead yet, or gone yet, so why are you in third-person?

Things were supposed to be fine, not the fucked up mess it is now. But then, it always has been and I just didn’t know. Its disappointing when I can’t let the watercolours run as they should, I turn them into poster-colour pretenders.I can’t help but wonder if I’ve forced you to do pretend, my same. Ah, I’ve found it – ‘watercolours pretending to be poster colours, like you pretending to be fine when you’re really not.’ 

You’re awake listening to the dogs barking on the night a small proportion of the usual traffic dares to use the highway on a bandh. Chaos, like under the tectonic plates of the earth 16 storeys too close to you, is threatening to pierce through your skin. There’s an itch left over from yesterdays bout of extreme energy. That, and an exhaustion you cannot feel, one that elusively tugs on the insides of your eyes and behind the knees.
It was funny, because it was merely screaming Beatles lyrics at the ceiling of an empty house. Somewhere in that addled mess in your head, you hoped to god the delusion of content lasts, but god doesn’t arrive for another week until kali pujo, so its gone before the hour ends.
Its back to weariness in your elbows.
You should feel either action or slumber call, but neither does. You hate this.
The mosquitoes in your head nip at your skin;  they’ve been at it since Thursday and show no signs of retreat, especially not if you have to go and hang the clothes your in the veranda tomorrow as well,  running across the doorway before the spider twirling in its web full of unfortunates sees you.
But that’s tomorrow.

Normalcy returns with a headache and a tossing in your chest that had run away with the drums and into the lake with the clay idol, now nothing but brown at the bottom of water.