Remember me?

“Remember me!” It’s your last wish as you pack your bags.
As you place the muffler your mother knitted for you along with the green tie your sister bought you.
As you safekeep your travel documents and your passport in the leather purse.
Remember me…the words echo as I see you move towards immigration, and the last of you disappears.
As I drive the car back home and park it in the space of our building.
As I drink tea alone after five years of always having shared it with you.
Remember me… the memory floats as I water the plants that you so lovingly grew.
As I make a meal for one, instead of two.
As I start settling into a rhythm where I have no one to answer and no one to question.
Remember me…I surprisingly recall as I leave a dinner I had with friends after ages of dodging them.
As I pass my number to an old college friend I see years later.
As my heart races when he smiles at me while calling the waiter.
Remember me…it’s the drag of my conscience as I slip into the dress I had only brought for your eyes.
As I hold some one else’s hand and whisper sultry lies.
As I unbutton someone else’s shirt and unravel someone else’s tie.
Remember me…is just another phrase as I share my nights with someone new.
As a new number starts receiving my I love yous.
As I very conveniently forget you.
Remember me…it’s the startling reminder as I see you after a

thousand days.
As I clear the remainders of my past mistake.
As I slip my hand into yours again.

Krishna’s pen

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You’re the only one I truly love
Don’t you know that you silly girl
When I’m pulling away
Their pots of water
And drying clothes
They’re pulling away
At my cheeks and ears
Cursing at me and shouting
Do you pause then
To see who they’re shouting at
Or do you go on your way
Resolutely carrying the pot of water
The mole below your lip
Droplets of sweat
Dance on your neck

Your hips swing
Carrying the weight of the pot
As you struggle to keep
The dupatta on your head
Do you stop then?
To look at the mischievous boy
Who has all the gopis
Huffing and puffing
And feeling flushed

Why do you still sit that way?
Not meeting my eyes
Still jealous and angry
Not letting me hold you
Making me restless
How can you abstain
From air and from water?
Now do you understand
This predicament of mine
How can I abstain from you?

Stubborn strong willed woman
I keep telling you
These gopis were my tools
To catch your attention
Oh Radha,
I’m a fool
I still am that young naive boy
Who used to seek your attention then
And still seeks it now 

This poem is based on the mythological lore of Radha and Krishna, both of whom are avidly worshipped in the Hindu culture. They were portrayed as childhood lovers who were later separated (in popular mythology).

R.S.

Two Feet, both ugly. Feat. Two Feet.

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I’ve always struggled with my shoe size
Large manly feet
Protruding fingers
No women’s shoes can keep

It’s a subject of embarrassment
The laughter on the seller’s faces
I hate buying shoes
It’s tormenting to find my size
Try the men’s section ma’am
I’ve heard it about a hundred times

I always bruise my fingers
And the edges of my feet
And my cumbersome feelings
All because of my feet

They’re great to kick people with
Stamp one on their face
But ugly karma gave me ugly feet
And now it’s just too late

R.S.

When you walk.

When you walk
I walk behind you

I do not follow you
I’m admiring you

Your footsteps leave their print
On the sand before me
I don’t try to fit my feet in them
I leave mine besides yours

You hum a song I can hear
So I snap my fingers
Not so that you look behind
But so that it accompanies your tune

That’s all I do really
When you walk
I walk behind you

I’m not following you
I’m falling in love with you.

R.S.

Dal Chawal

                       Dal chawal 

            Hopelessly in love with it

                            I am

          How will I survive without it 

                       In my plate 

                      I feed myself 

                Morsel after morsel 

                       Dal chawal 

                      It’s fragrant 

             With my mother’s love 

              The rice is the proof 

              Of the ceaseless toil 
                 On marshy lands

                How will I survive

                Without dal chawal 

   That’s reminiscent of my motherland 

                   I feel deep love 

           And lingering nostalgia 

    For the food that is a peasant dish 

  That keeps me tethered to my roots 

That let’s me chase my dreams around the world 

But keeps me grounded to the soil of my sweet home

Dal chawal: Lentil and Rice

R.S.

Hunger.

Sometimes I am absolutely disgusted by my own lack of sensitivity.
A week ago,
In the language school where I go, one of my classmates brought some food for all of us to share.
A savoury accompanied by tamarind sauce.
After the savoury was eaten, he went on to dispose the sauce,
To which I said,
“Don’t waste the sauce, think about all the children in Africa.”
This elicited the expected response, chuckles and laughter.
But from the moment I said it, to right now nearly a week later, I still feel miserable about it.
How could I so casually mention the plight of millions of children in some other continent for some cheap laughs when in my own country the situation was just as prevalent if not worse. How could I make, the struggle of survival for all these people a punchline to my joke?  How? When the mere change in my birthplace could have meant I would have been one of them.
I think a lot of us do struggle with these things, understanding and adopting a sensitive attitude, not belittling other’s difficulties by disassociating ourselves with it, especially when these are social difficulties of a huge scale, something that all of us as humans must help to abate.
I have no pointers to offer of course, no method to follow that I can share,
I wrote this piece only to calm the turmoil up to a certain extent in my own heart, this is my letter of apology.

R.S.