What dreams were made of

Home
With you and me
The two of us
Enough to be a family

How long have I waited
Not for a white dress
Or a knight in shining armour
Or for a red poofy skirt
Or to throw puffs of rice

Neither did I long for the yellow tattoos
Nor for the henna to darken
The big special day
Never trumps the normal decades that follow
Not for me

What I wanted was
The weekly trips to the supermarket
Fights over monthly expenditure
Small wins over who gets the remote
And then sleeping halfway through it

My dreams were full of
Sunday morning drives
Followed by a simple breakfast in a corner stall
Then came the lunch
Cooked with last night’s leftovers
And a deep fulfilling nap

No romantic roses made the cut
Nor did vows of forever after or the impossibles
I only wanted the daily routine
A partner to witness and share
The meagre vagaries of life

Was it too much to ask for?

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How was your day?

How was your day

You complain

I never ask

You narrate the top headlines

The unruly maid

The unkempt help

The untimely call

The unnecessary gossip

The untidy laundry

The unhappy husband

The unseen sorrow

The unwell joys

The undoing of your mind

And if time permits

The tidings of the neighbors

Of siblings, cousins and nephews

Of promises broken and words unkept

Of those long lost

And the silent goodbyes

In my mind

I narrate the same

With words

Punctuated by silence

And then you complain

I never speak

A clean house

A clean house

Things in place

People in quiet corners

Stuck to their poison

Laptops, mobiles or television

It’s a clean house

No sign of anything amiss

Bedsheets tucked, clothes folded

Utensils washed, windows cleaned

It’s a very clean house

Donned with polite smiles

And goody small talk

A diplomat couldn’t be prouder

One step in

And you’d be wowed

The open floor

The gleaming surfaces

Except for the cobwebs

Hidden in the corners

Or under the table

Or the dust beneath the carpet

Open the closets

You’ll see the grime

The rust that rots the iron

And the rancid acid

That dissolves from the inside

Within the wardrobe

Are stuffed

The broken hearts

Dreams and trusts

Inside the mind

That’s forgotten kinship

Empathy and compassion

Only apathy lies

Behind a face plaid with make-up

Designed to beguile

Designed to dazzle

But it’s a very clean house

Oh, yes indeed

Thoughts

Thoughts
Like shards of glass
Pinch
Pierce
Draw blood
Break through
The perceived numbness

These thoughts
Like Jasmine petals
Spread fragrance
Soft and smooth
Bring joy
Comfort
Hope

These thoughts
Swell
Recede
Happy
Bitter
Relive joys
Dread

These thoughts
Like a stone
Drawing waves
On a still surface
At a soul-less place
Just a hint
Of the currents underwater

These thoughts
They’re all we have

Displacement

Impulsive hair cuts

Expensive evenings shopping

Idle days online

Replacing the hollow

Inside one post, one picture

One dress at a time

Busy days, jittery nights

One more project. One extra glass

One pitcher of wine

Or whiskey on the rocks of hope

Maybe liquid will do to the gaps

That solid can’t fill

Science class from school taught

Displacement

Tectonic shifts

Earthquakes

Quiet aftershocks

But as they also taught

Mass & energy can only be moved

Neither destroyed nor created

So where did it go

That which filled the hollows

In search, travel

Pictures on Instagram

New friends, large smiles

Adventure. Excitement

Momentary joys

Shedding ties. Burning bridges

Blurring the way home

Losing track of time

Displaced emotions

Replaced objects

New hair cuts. Beautiful dresses

Monies spent

Renting happiness

How much did life cost?

The accountants count

X moments of joy

Long and short

Y million dollars

Your balance sheet of life

Written over your shroud

As it hides

Your fresh haircut, your bright new dress

Someday

Regularly
We clean up
The debris
Around
The eye of the storm
And sweep it
Under the carpet

Regularly
We take out for a wash
The skeletons hidden inside
Dust the wardrobe
The bleached bones old and new
And put it back in fresh as a dew

Someday
The skeletons will see
The salvation they seek
Resolutions
Absolving of guilt

Someday

Until then
Regularly
We clean

Who teaches you to come back?

Travel—it’s a common theme these days. So many of the inspirational posts doing the rounds these days are about letting go of the vagaries of life and travelling.

Travel to your heart’s content. Travel until your feet can’t move anymore. Travel until your heart expands to fit the whole world in. And then, travel some more, they say.

It’s a beautiful concept. And travel one must.

But who will teach you to come back home?

Home with it’s chores and daily schedules. Who will remind you of their urgencies and the reason why you withstood the painpoints?

Home with it’s shackles and binds, heating your skin up that was, until a split second ago, cold from the breeze blowing against you on the tall cliff.

Home with it’s dull grey skies and polluted city centres, where only the young and foolish think they’re free. Wasn’t it not too long ago until you were one of those?

Home, where the parties have come to an end and the after-parties only rise and ebb in the chorus of the sonorous snores.

Home, where the 5.00 am alarm rings you, and you don’t jump out, excited about chasing the sun rise from the east. No, instead you drag your feet to the bathroom and drape yourself in the anonymity of dreary clothes.

Where all texts you get are from colleagues and a handful of friends left in the drainage pipe, ready to ride away the time train. Not, from friends made a few minutes back, making excited plans to discover a pristine hidden beach or get up close to a tall mountain peak.

No. How do you get back?

When all you’re faced with is the list of compromises you made to stabilize reality. When you have to relive the decisions—the friends cut off, the people you retain; the habits newly formed at the behest of old ones gone. Everything that formed the new skin you sew for yourself over time, shedding bits and pieces of the old one again and again, minutes and hours at a time.

Will you agree with each of those?

Would you take the time to mourn what you left behind long before you travelled? But adhere to what’s left?

Or will you rethink your life, change the compromise that’s no more comfortable, and chase after what you decided to leave behind?

How do you answer all your questions about yourself, the people and the world around you, when all you’re expected to do is be normal…again?

And so, you escape. You relive your travels again and again in your mind, avoiding the realities unfolding before your eyes. You forget the life you’re living, and love the past, holding onto it with a desperate vigour, all the while being painfully aware that those memories are fading.

Going, going…. Gone.

There. Now you’re back to reality.

Or are you?