At 9 my life was a straight road
A highway with no turns
At 11 my life could have flowed
A people misguided me despite my yearns
At 16 I found a second road
A strange path but on the same terms
But then the road curved
It turned to a river
Eroding these walls
Allowing me to see clearer
Just another queer poem
originally written about my sexuality and gender, if anyone has any other interpretations, just comment them :)
to Smita we be .. in greetings with glee .. be happy with birth, be happy with more .. we are with you today that is for sure ..
And the day .. the day has passed by in the glory of its celebration and good cheer .. a drive down to a friends’ place for an ‘aarti’ at the banks of the Ganga .. a serene and divine feel .. but the memories of those visits to the same location by the Lachman Jhula, in the late 50′s and then for the shooting of ‘Ganga ki Saugandh’ in the mid 70′s makes one realise how rapidly the horizon and the environ and the surrounding ambion has been inundated with infrastructure and housing and hotels of somewhat lesser star and restaurants of different cuisines, of traffic for miles on the curving mountainous roads, of the divinity and its serenity almost snatched away from those wonderful quiet, not so crowded days of yore ..
A pity ..
BUT .. divinity never fails to surprise us .. it still breathes the purity of the region no matter how intense the invasion from humanity .. humanity in search of the ethereal heavens or the heavens of commerce .. that really is the factor that destroys all debate and discussion .. hearts
that strain that alaap that ‘dhun’ again .. haunting and sublime .. those notes that invite them to look into the eyes that beseech .. give me emotion that beats within hearts .. two of them .. among a crowd, but alone .. space and time without boundaries .. long lengths of what cannot be described .. what cannot be expressed in any other but that rhythm of those who feel .. those .. they .. them .. not many but two .. two who hold each other with that invisible ether raised air of expectant wonder, at its binding .. once bound never to be separated .. separation that causes pain and hurt, but never in this realm of distant touched caress .. caress not of the physical but one of infinite air, felt and believed by them, the two, the ones now in sublime bliss .. nothing between, but the softness of the crucible, within which they entrap themselves ..
let it play in repetition upon repetition .. allow it to imbibe the soul, the skin of the truth between them .. that binding which seen but unseen, invades not any other about but them that hear its power ..
that strain again .. again .. and again ..
let it be in again and again .. fade within softly, now in complete oblivion to any other, but them ..
but them .. but them .. but them …
who them then .. ?
would it not be I .. the I of all .. for all .. with all ..
they that shall possess the I, shall prevail within ..
No matter what time you leave, it is always just too dark to be twilight. The streetlights are always on. It is always just a little bit chilly.
You are sitting in the bus station. The bus is so late you hope they’ll honor your ticket for the next one. The bus is so late you wonder if the interstate changed directions again. The bus is so late it has lapped itself and come too early. Either way, you think you missed it. You sit in the bus station and you wait.
You watch the road outside your window. The white dashed lines flash by. The road curves and the lines keep going straight ahead. They paint themselves over cornfields and farmhouses. They bleach into the mountains. They shave segments into cows. They are Morse code. Not there yet, they say. Not there yet.
There is a man smoking on the corner. He holds a phone in one hand and a zippo in the other and his cigarette in another. You take off your headphones and stop a kind-looking woman with a grocery bag. Excuse me, you say. What city is this? She nods approvingly and says, Yes it is.
Someone asks you a question. When you answer, nothing comes out of your mouth but the smell of gasoline. You haven’t used your voice in weeks. You try tapping out morse code but all you manage is road stripes, dash-dash-dash-dash-dash–not there yet.
You have been on a layover for an hour. Your phone battery is at 42% and you hope that is enough to play music through the next leg of your trip. Someone has carved the name sam into the corner of the wall where you sit. You trace it over and over with your hands. sam, sam, samsamsamsam. They finally call for boarding. You get on to the planebustrain and fall asleep. It lurches to a stop several hours later and you depart blearily, slinging your backpack over one shoulder. You find a place to sit and hunker down. Your phone battery is at 42%. Someone has carved sam into the wall where you sit.
You stretch your legs and want a cigarette. The moon is bright and bright and bright. You rummage in your purse for your lighter. You hear the freeways because of the cars. You hear the cars because of the freeways. There is a lighter somewhere in your purse. You rummage in your purse. You rummage in your chest.
The person in the driver’s seat gives you a nudge. You take your feet off the dashboard and your legs are asleep. Rest stop? they ask. You nod. There is no one else in the parking lot. You run cold water over your hands and take your hair down. You put your pen on the sink. You leave and buy chips from the vending machine. Forty minutes later you realize you have forgotten your pen. So it goes. The next time you stop, you just buy a soda. Your friend uses the bathroom and comes out with something in their hand. You forgot this, they say. They hand you your pen.
You are counting license plate states. You find a new one. You shout. Your co-travelers curse. You tally into your notebook. The tally is number two hundred and three.
You buy cigarettes at a gas station chain where the lights flicker on/off/on/off. The clerk behind the counter has five-o'clock shadow on his eyes. The whole place smells like beer and the liquor fridge is empty. He asks to see your ID. You look different now, he says. You look at yourself in the convex mirror behind the counter. You watch yourself blink. What state is this one? he asks. It takes you five minutes and an entire cup of lukewarm coffee to realize he’s asking about your ID. You have been standing here for much too long. The line behind you is getting impatient. You mumble an answer. He ignores you and waves his co-worker over. He squints and points at you.
There is a coffee shop where there was not a coffee shop yesterday. Tomorrow there will be another, somewhere else. You will try to return and it will be gone. You think it is following you. There is only ever one coffee shop.
You are driving and there are trees. They are all the same. You drive past miles and miles and miles of trees. You are driving west, you know that this is the only way out of the trees. There are only trees. There are always the same trees.
In every city you visit, they ask you where you’re from. You say from the other side of the mountains. They are confused, they do not trust you. Everyone knows there is nothing on the other side of the mountains.
The road curves and curves, always in the same direction. The road is infinite, looping back to its own start. You do not know where you are and you do not know how you got here. You follow the road.
In the cities, you hear seagulls. You hear the rush of the ocean but you cannot see it. The smell of salt air stays with you always, in your clothes and in your lungs. It clings until you can no longer detect it. The cold ocean is never far. It waits.
It is raining constantly. Clouds and fog obscure the sun and you cannot remember feeling its light, only striped layers of shadows through the trees and buildings. In the next town over, the rain has vanished. There, they do not know shade. Drive to another town on the endless road. The weather will be different there.
You have seen the same man walk by you in the same direction countless times each day. He is always wearing the same clothes. He is always holding the same drink. Nothing ever changes. The people all look the same, and they never look at you. You are afraid, but it would be worse if they were different.
To the north, there is nothing. To the east, there is endless empty space. To the south are only mysteries and whispers. The water is to the west. The water is the end.
A steady rain falls on velvet green terraces, releasing a powerful scent of newly harvested tea. A ripple of voices tumbles down the hillside as a man barks orders.
The tea pickers, all women, many in bare feet, expertly navigate the leech-infested slopes. Balancing hampers on their backs loaded with freshly plucked tea leaves, they descend for their morning tea break.
It could be a scene out of the 19th century, when the estates of the southern Indian state of Kerala were first cultivated on the mist-shrouded highlands of Munnar. Today, the manicured tea terraces sprawl across the landscape.
The verdant bushes grow year round, spilling down the hills to meet the curving roads. The beauty of these gardens belies the hardships of workers, who produce nearly 50 million pounds of tea a year here at the Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company.
For all the timelessness of the place, there’s a very modern twist — the tea pickers have defied the male hierarchy of trade unions who represent tea workers and stood up for their rights.
Indeed, life on tea estates reflects the economic and social challenges facing women across India.