Renewed

I have to go.

There’s no reason—
or one to stay for.

There’s no sense—
or sensibility anymore.

There’s no pride—
only prejudice reigns.

There’s no soul—
so bodies a wander.

There’s no air—
except mechanised oxygen.

I have to go—
for beach breathes life
into my suffocation.

Silence

Silence, when it came over, was noisy. Ringing in my ears, clacking unceremoniously, making itself known as if I’d somehow, god forbid, miss its entrance. As if it’s so easy to remain impervious to the raging, galloping rush of nothingness as it tumbled its way into my bare room. It pressed itself on me, pushing my face from both sides, trying to squish out whatever remained of my pale tear-dried cheeks. Compressing them as though they were a petty jpeg image of something larger, more significant than they seem.

Silence, when it came over, was unkind. Grabbing my ears by the edge, it pulled, tugging hard to make sure I strained. Fresh tears drained. It waited for the drops to drip, just long enough for them to solidify before forcing my eyes to renew the flow. Invading my comfort, it pulled the wind out of my lungs, extracting all joys, twisting, as it went, words that rumbled deep within my belly, croaked in angst, and crouched in agony.

Silence, when it came over, was swift. In one flawless motion, she swerved out of the road, and my world blackened. Cars don’t make good presents.

The woman who knitted

woman knitting

“Oh, it’s just nice to get away from all the noise at home. You know?” Her eyebrows had curved up while her fingers paused in mid air. I’d nodded politely even though I couldn’t possibly fathom why someone would go to the library every day just so they can knit. 

I’d just started working in the library when I met her for the first time. The curious stares never perturbed her, and neither did the incessant shuffling of feet.

People came and went. Since only a handful of them regularly spent time reading, the knitting lady soon became an icon you couldn’t miss.

In the following years, I spent occasions wondering what drove her away from home and into the library. I mean, I’d go when I wanted a book. Or to work or to attend a meeting. Theories constantly whirled my head—perhaps her neighbours were loud and rowdy, I mused turning on my cassette player at home one night. Or maybe her husband was a messy gardener leaving dirt marks all around the house to annoy her. Or perhaps, I wondered remembering my own grandparents, her grandkids were a pain in the ass and a torment to the ears.

But I never asked her.

“I should’ve,” I wrote in my diary the night after her funeral.

It wasn’t people that’d driven her way from home. It was lack there of.


Photo credit: Imani on Unsplash.

Troubling lovebirds

As I stare at the blank page on my laptop, I can’t help but get distracted by the birds chirping away in front of me. My new life in Australia started pretty well with great housemates and a cold Autumn. One of my housemates breeds lovebirds—not only because she likes them but also because they make good money.

She’s been doing it for a while now, and so it wasn’t my place to comment or raise eyebrows. She’s even sold a few birds, for about 20 dollars each.

Not a bad deal, I thought when I first heard of it. But the more I observe, the more I’m reconsidering. The marketer in me has begun evaluating the return on my housemate’s investment. Considering bird feed, the cage, nursing the eggs, nurturing the young, the cleaning efforts, and the constant attention, breeding and maintaining birds is an arduous task for which 20 dollars seems a laughable loss.

But it’s her business, and she’s been doing it long before I was in the picture. So I held my silence.

However, as I watched the birds today (for lack of anything else to do), I started wondering why people paid, however much they did, to own these birds. Why would anyone pay money in exchange for years of caring and, in a sense, servitude to birds they could crush in seconds?

Beauty—that’s the obvious answer to most problematic questions. But that can’t be all.

Some people, like my housemate, look at it from a severe business perspective. Of course, she loves the little chirpers and caresses them in her palms, cooing and cuddling even when not so appropriate. She likes spending her time with and for them. But when it’s time to give them up, she’s ready for the next batch.

Some others treat bird raising as a hobby. But even they who look at bird raising as a pleasurable activity still spend a lot of time, energy, and money on maintenance—which makes me wonder why. Why would they expend so many resources to observe caged creatures that grow so finicky the moment you make a sudden movement around them. I only switched my crossed legs, and the two birds in the cage wailed out as if I were slaughtering them. Their behaviour is understandable, too. If I’d been locked up all my life and only given food on certain days and times in a day, I’d become paranoid also. I’d feel so tortured in my mind that I won’t be able to think straight or trust anyone enough to share a conversation.

How is it then, I wonder, still watching the flustered birds, that someone who acquires these birds, makes them sick, and gains pleasure in watching them every day isn’t a troubled soul themselves?