A portrait in blue

So you think you’re an emotional black hole? I’ll tell you what you are: a survivalist. I know that description pleases you more than it should. You are wrong, though. I’ve known you since you were four. You were a fairly unusual child. More often than not, I’d see you look at old books with remorse in your eyes. I know you read the front covers, and wondered about their previous owners who’d left a few lines along the spine. What frightened me, though, was the way you looked at people you liked. You never seemed to realize that they were alive. Or maybe they didn’t. You never seemed to be able to feel what was ordinary. So, late at night, when the screams of the only person you cared for in the world pierced the stillness, you never went to her side. You were afraid to, I know. Hence, you just let your heart break, and your fingers, write. You always said that befriending objects reaped richer rewards than befriending people. You were right. Those words you always read flowed onto paper through your pen, and you succeeded in killing the human being inside of you. There was a surprise! People seemed to like what you wrote! Soon enough, people fell hard for the world in your words, and you found a sinister new side. You cannot deny, though, that you cried tears one night! Looking from my balcony into pouring rains, I saw you at the piano that night. When no one knew where you were, I know you were singing in a voice soft with passion, “I dream of Paradise”. I know you left the piano to the rains that night. You were attractive though, kid! Impaired by inhumanity, you had beauty to compensate for it. You had still, that perfect profile. Clothed in blue, sitting still in an old, stuffy room, there was no one that could look you in the eyes! Those chameleon eyes. Good looking and ever innocent, the onlooker could never tell that what lay behind was contemplation of their undoing. You had charm, though. Women loved you, and you attracted all the wrong kinds. Needless to say, you left the place in ruins. Some time later, you were quavering. You had found frightening new direction, and had lost good friends. One more delusion, you thought you never could sleep at night. There was too much pent up grief. To evade the crushing familiarity, you sought out the ones as broken as you. In this new place. And one night, you swore you saw sparks in the sky that were blue. Never fear, I knew you were always here. I knew who you were from the day the old women saw spirits on the streets. A lot of other people saw them too. You were the one who claimed they were your friends, you were not alone. They say spirits communicate with us through unprovoked writing. Maybe there was a reason that the only unprovoked sentence you wrote was “I am Sin. I am the Devil. Steeped in ruin, blue on blue”. Maybe there is a reason behind someone’s thoughts always speaking to them in the second person. But on silent evenings, across the road from towering lights, I’ve seen you quicken into flight. Do not even you, run for your life?

-Ratula Bannerjee

The Chance of an Afterlife

Words swimming in your head can be painful. Unless you give them an escape route, they torment you; make you pronounce them over and over again. And then when you stare out of the back seat window into the orange vapour lights, the wind whipping your hair about your face feels like your failure in expressions slapping you around. You recoil, until the fragrance of the night jasmines remind you of the mute girl with eloquent eyes looking out of her second floor window, waiting for you to come home. She traces starry paths with her fingers, painting the route you searched for so desperately in your dreams, the stairway to heaven.

You throw your head back and laugh at this thought. Heaven, for you, there existed none. You didn’t believe in an afterlife. You knew that if there was a Hell, you’d be the queen of that place. With a bittersweet sneer on your face, you fish out the blood red lipstick out of your clutch, and apply it, pouting at your reflection. Your face glows in the orange light flooding in through the window. You look down at yourself. The lithe body wrapped in the sequined dress glitters like a million little stars. She loves the colour red on you. Her face lights up when you wear red just for her. Maybe she felt as if you were fire, burning everyone that came your way. Maybe you should tell her sometime that you feel pacified when she clings to you in the blue sweatshirt. She is the water that calms your fiery self.

You think in disparate words again. You know why they are relevant to you. Could you call yourself a poet? What was a poet who had no poem to write? Did words, just words in your head make you one? You sneer openly, making the cab driver start. You were no poet. You were a whore, the mute girl’s darling whore who tore lives apart. Did she know yet that you were only toying with her? Would she ever know?

The cab pulls into a halt. You walk out, realizing that your destination is on the opposite side of the road. Somehow, even in you late twenties, the fear of crossing the road alone never really went away. It was late at night; the road was vacant except for a random car now and then. You stepped forward on your pointed heels, waiting for the approaching pair of headlights to pass by. That is when you see a whitish figure on the opposite side of the road, approaching you. It is her, of course. She saw you hesitating from her window, and ran out to take you home. She smiles shyly as she threads her fingers through yours and guides you. You sigh. Why is it that the touch of a girl who is a mere pastime for you, feels like nothing can go wrong anymore? You were not thinking of her when the blond muscular man stroked your thigh while nipping at your neck at the bar tonight. You were not thinking of her when you let him explore you. Then why, why does her touch have this effect when you know that sooner or later, you would break her heart?

Her room is dimly lit with fairy lights. The music system plays violin instrumentals, and she turns around to look into your eyes. You look at anywhere but, knowing that is one slip you cannot dare to make. Even when she lies spent beneath you, even when you kiss the little mole beneath her lower lip, you avoid looking into her eyes. It has been six months, and you never allowed yourself to remember what hue her eyes were, not after the first time you made the mistake of looking.

She turns your face at her by the chin, and you sigh again. There is not enough light to reveal the whites of her eyes, and you, reassured, follow her wish.

….

The sunlight streams in through the skylight, falling on your eyelids. Your slowly open your eyes, conscious of the melody in your mind. It frightens you out of your wits. You never let your words come out in sentences, much less in music. You turn your face and find a pair of blue eyes fixed on your face. The sand colored hair makes a halo around her face, and you know your downfall has begun. You sit up and pull your phone out of the clutch on the night-table. Some contracts need to be cancelled.

– EvePunk95

Coloured Perfumes

Isn’t it fun to leave behind messages for someone to be discovered later, or never, sometime in the past or future or present, or to be remembered unexpectedly when the sun smells blue, the moon smells pink and the coffee smells like a newer shade of purple from tomorrow, while your hands smell like yesterday, because you never realised that they were unattended then. The air might smell like burnt sienna, because the memories are supposed to be brown, or charcoal black, or some other colour I never could have thought of, and while they read, the coffee cools to a pinkish shade, while the aroma seems orange, and the air flows like an yellow scent , rooted deeper than the golden odour of a public restroom. The silver aroma of the pollution seems far away, as they read with a half exasperated smile, a letter full of letters for later, because the only thing we can really be is late. you will see that the puns smell funny, and the air suddenly smells leaf green, as the city chews breath mints to smell a dazzling white.

You will never smell colours again…

– Goth Sunflower

Old Acquaintances

Walking along rain scattered roads usually makes me think of that odd line between happiness and sadness. For on days when the sky looks majestically grim and enchanting, things can happen. A girl walking along the side of the road, carefully making sure to press her feet down evenly, her pink Bata rubber slippers glistening in sandy water, may smile ruefully, remembering an exasperated voice explaining why slippers are impractical for monsoons. A rickshaw wala yells at her to get on the pavement, but she can’t as the gritty pitch of the road is the only thing her weak soles can hold on to. Water drips from her bangs, right into her wet-lashed eyes but she can’t push the hair away because of course, she chose today to wear full, billowing pocket less pants that threaten to slip off her waist unless she holds on. She is happy, a gentle contentment evident after a day well-spent.Frustrated at the moment maybe, but she knows once she can put her bag down, the smiles she has been keeping back the whole day will erupt like she knows the sun will erupt tomorrow, having been denied today. The city shines and shimmers in an aqueous magic of it’s own making, like it’s winking and giggling at the sudden bustle and dismay of the regular pale blue synthetic salwar kameez women who are disturbed by the sudden mood swings of the usually placid city.
Yellow lights flicker coquettishly engaged in a risky game of quick lovemaking with the electric-tinged rain that drips along their faces and lights them up in a loving purple glow; can you imagine their surprise at being the receivers of light for once? One blinks out of existence, above her head and she purses her lips at the spent guide. A baby brinjal rolls down the mountains of roughly plastic-sheeted vegetables on either side of the road, the owner grinning sheepishly from under the awning of the now very full tea shop. The young boy there, busily measures out tea in earthen pots and the rising steam is quickly chastened by the now misty ilshe guri, engulfed and snuffed out like a precocious child about to defame her family. She steps on crunchy cabbage leaves and skids a little on the road strewn with once vibrant now brown and squelchy ganda flowers and bel leaves, thrown out by the flower shops because so what if they are not humans? They are subjected to their own forms of discrimination where the ochre gets precedence over the lemon yellow and the saffron is chosen over the milky orange.
She spots a garland of both kinds swaying in the sudden buffeting winds and sniffs in a hidden laugh at the thought of a pair of eyes that wouldn’t have known the difference and probably wouldn’t have cared anyway; after all their owner doesn’t like flowers. Schoolgirls with skirts hiked up to their waist, squealing about the unfair weather pass her, packets of salty beguni in their hands and this time she really laughs, realising that they have neatly packed umbrellas sticking out of their bags, put in probably by adoring guardians who hope that THIS monsoon at least, will be by passed without 4 antibiotic bills.
But not even the scare of amoxicillin can put out the delighted sparkle in the eyes of the young girls, thin and ungainly ducklings yet, deliberately stepping in puddles, and not having to worry about whether their white shirts will leave them naked to the eyes that hunt for such pleasure on wet days.
Another rickshaw wala passes, a plastic packet on his head, shoes dangling from the handle of the contraption, he cannot risk his job, on the simple luxury of wearing chotis in the rain. The bell in his finger jingles as he jogs carefully past, avoiding potholes, that have been emptied by the huge splashes owned by car wheels as they zoom past.
She walks past the red cart that heralds doom for the itchy thirst that is an accompaniment of getting wet in the rain. Like the throat sets up a gherao, a protest march, against the unconventional drinking done by the skin, unusual and unprecedented. Images of orange juice imbibed ice coating her tongue with shivery bliss, dance in front of her water-logged eyes, but she stomps past, curling her drenched black dupatta around a raindrop studded hand. A little boy, climbing up the steps of the pool looks longingly at the whistling quality-assuring man near the cart, while his mother brandishes a tupperware box of sugared chhola towards his unwilling face.
She remembers that she has seen a man, probably dead, today on the road while the winds rush in around her, lifting her soul in her old favourite dance, her anticipation making her heart quicken and face turn up to receive whatever the sky has to offer. Worries crowded in even then, horrors of paint running on natural dye clothes, and cherished books on the perpetually water-filled Sundarbans, now threatening to acquire hidral pools of their own…
But she pushed them back, in exasperated laughter at this playful childhood friend, whom she has never been able to best, but maybe does not really want to. Her friend who covers in an all consuming love like no other, kissing her coldly, yet setting her veins on fire.
Rain, covering the gradually slumbering streets of the city, golden and grey, laughs in her ear while she is walked home, by it.
– Upasruti Biswas

Good Things

Wind in hair. Licking cake bowls. Singing out loud. Crying out loud. Reading new stories. Rereading old stories. Dancing, lots of dancing to those ridiculous tracks from the seventies and eighties. Pink nail paint on toes. The colour yellow. Cold coffee with ice cream. Hot coffee with sunshine. A favourite poem. A favourite song on the radio. Sleeping like a baby. A nice dream.

The last bit of Nutella on the butter knife. Letting balloons go. Warmth of your pet. Smell of old books. Libraries. The smell of new books. That sacred, unbroken spine. Cool drinks on hot days. Hot drinks on cold days. Winter. Woollen clothes. The soft comfort of blankets. Rain on roof. Rain dripping off your umbrella. The sea. The sand crunching under your feet. Breathing in. Breathing out.

Mountains. The cool wind in your face. The green, The blue. Singing along to oldies rock. When your favourite artist drops a new album. Smell of freshly baked bread. A new nail paint. A new friend. A new dress. Old paint. An old friend. Old pyjamas. Goosebumps. A bird song. Wagging tails. And puppy eyes.

Gelatos. Ice cones. And cakes. Long drives. An unexpected call. A hopelessly expected call. A happy movie. A sad movie. Freshly washed jeans. Whispered words. Hushed giggles. A rainy day. A sunny day. An in-between day. Standing ankle deep in a stream. Swirling skirts. The colour red. On lips. Nails. And feet.

Marshmallows. Caramel. And toffee. A Fitzgerald novel. Dragons and elves. Faraway lands and Fairies. Believing in magic. And miracles. Grass tickling bare feet. Long walks. Long talks. Long hair. Sunsets and sunrises. Old pictures. Old memories. Yellowed papers. An heirloom. A box full of nostalgia. Love. And being loved.

Fireworks. Autumn. When the goddess descends for those three days. All the lights. Tram sounds in the dawn. Madrugada-when night meets the day. A soft purr. Hiding in the crook of his neck. Hearing the heartbeats. Sparrows fighting. When the cloud has a silver lining. And sometimes when it’s tinted a crazy orange. When the eyeliner is perfect. Long sleeves on a sweater. Flowers in your hair. A tentative kiss. Twinkle in those eyes. Twinkling diamonds in the sky. Finding beauty in life…

– Sabarna Sarkar

In Tune

Shakya Bose  I am pretty sure mid night drinks my blood and makes me high… but I am so fucking happy to not be alone when I want to be alone, and yet feel alone, as if spending time with myself… you, for the lack of a better image, are part of my skin…

Upasruti Biswas  One of the most awe-inspiring and joy giving things I’ve read…

Shakya Bose no wonder people think we are lovers… we ARE! just not in a way people will understand!

Shakya Bose and liking my own quotes…. i should go and sleep…

Upasruti Biswas Because people only ever look for love in the conventional ways, in a rose and a kiss but not in the clasped hands quivering in laughter, and in conventional places like the heart, but not the soul, from where love itself is made..

Upasruti Biswas I think the right word is – attuned. I’m “in tune” with you.

Shakya Bose so in tune that i can hear your thoughts like the machinery in a slot machine? and i never have to wait for it to hit jackpot!

Upasruti Biswas So in tune that I can hear you even in writing, and off-key notes make me frown, when they play on your face..

Shakya Bose so in tune that i anticipate your mistakes, because they are mine and not mistakes at all; and your silence is the gateway to the frown that is me…

Upasruti Biswas so in tune, that a piece of life seen out of the corner of your eye, makes me giggle in wonder, a whisper of unease in the air is mine and yours, mingled at an eyelash fall of either…

Upasruti Biswas Incidentally, one of my top 10 favourite lines is the one you just wrote. Ei prithibi te ki shobai amar theke bhalo lekhey?  gajor rao jaadu kaali te bhorti aajkal.

Shakya Bose so in tune that we can never figure out why the other likes the letters of their brain, when the words are the same only written from left to write, to be read from right to left… ^ this, i think, is the problem!

Upasruti Biswas And also why, the moment a thought unfurls a bud in one’s head, the thought has already blossomed full in the other… ^etao chaap!

Shakya Bose the flowers were never meant to be tamed… the heads are just the branches, isn’t the fall that really matters?

Upasruti Biswas But the fall could have been fatal, petals scattered in the wind, yet they all came back home to grow up from the same old place…coincidence? I THINK NOT.

Shakya Bose coincidences are the second best inventions of life… because coincidentally, it ends.. May friendships remain sunset golden, long past twilight.

– Shakya Bose, Upasruti Biswas