A love letter

Everytime you open those doors

You ebb and flow like waves

Kissing my mind’s sandy shores

Pulling my words away 
You are my medium

My spirit spelling myself

Outside my heart looking in

A spectator of each of my doom
You are also my Sceptre

A glory otherwise unknown

Scribbled on ageing paper

Regailing folklores of a different time…

Obesity

Bring me the largest size in the store

For I skinned my heart and ate it whole

My skin is waiting for room to explode

But I wasn’t always a food whore
Mothers loved me as a child

For a never refused a morsel 

Girls hated my body’s guts

For it welcomed every kind of filth 
But it never showed
Now I roam the nights alone

Through the bright light of my phone

I’m too ashamed to explore

My body’s unsightly folds
When did it come to this?

That girl in the mirror wonders

I rarely see her these days

Can’t meet her eye
Because I never slowed 
I tell myself I’m not old

I still have time to atone

These sins of a skin too tired to hold

This bag of filthy food and bones
The girl she sighs – walking off the mirror

She’s given up and so have I 

Every time a void is filled

With chocolate muffins and cherry pies
But I tell my soul
One more bite and I will be done

One more cake and he’ll be forgotten 

Eat broken hearts and feel none 

Feed my anxiety to calm it down
The girl in the mirror is back with her evil smile

Telling me how vile and ugly I was at every bite

I’m down a rabbit hole now aren’t I 

For she was the reason I ate my pride

The Artist

She sits in the corner of the room

You think she is waiting

For some kind of life to start

But little do you know

She is not sitting waiting for life

For she IS LIFE

 

You see the emptiness in her room

She sees the wind

Carving a story in the space

A story waiting to be told

Through her weary body

For her body and mind are one!

 

I have always wondered what that’s like

Mine denies me every time I hold a pen

Hers just flows like the river

A constant stream of emotion

She only owns herself

For she knows she is the best prize

 

You have a word of the day?

She is that word

The first line of your favorite book?

She lives that line everyday

The world tries to drown her voice in its insipid silence

For that voice can only be heard by the brave

 

So I’m back in this room

Looking at her from afar

She gets up; walks on over;

And everything behind her is a shadow

She doesn’t know she’s a ray of hope

She doesn’t know she’s a star…

A Letter from my Childhood Room

You were ten when we first met.

You were fighting with your sister for me

I was the bigger room

It was always about bigger things – better things

Younger ones are like that among your kind

You were no different

 

But my four walls were never enough

At ten years nothing is enough

It was the first home you owned – all four of you

“You can scribble in these walls”, your father said

Admit it though

You were still scared of sleeping alone in your bed

 

I was there

When you father told your mother, she was a terrible cook

You wondered why you loved everything she made

But You kept quiet

He was more important to please

So you became his perfect little girl

 

I saw him, so did you

But you let your silence win

Each time he raised his hand

Your father was always right, right?

Your sister had made a mistake in math

She “deserved” the punishment

 

I was there

When you were angry coz your sister wouldn’t come out and play

She is being a snob, you told yourself, why else?

I knew why

Back then you didn’t know the meaning of rape, neither did she

Little girls aren’t supposed to

 

I saw you learning every prayer your father taught

You were perfect in your efforts of winning him

I was there

When he decided to leave the house for 3 years

He left to buy you a better life

I saw you miss him everyday

 

I saw her –

Your mother fighting your teenage self in vain

Your sister becoming the man of the house

She bravely chased the rats away

She was always your knight

Her armor would never grow a chink

 

I saw your mother confide

She wrote in her diary

“Am I a bad mother?”

At the age of 11, you had made her wonder

Were your lies her fault?

You may’ve been a child but you weren’t easy

 

You invented stories by the day

Yet you were scared they’d come alive at night

I saw you read your sister’s suicide letter

She had torn it up and thrown it away

You walked outside her closed room that night aching to hear her breathe

You heard her move about and then you went to sleep

 

At 14, you’d wake up in darkness every night

You’d see a shadow on your doorway

You were not really scared of a nightmare

You were just curious as to why you cherished them some nights

The shadow wouldn’t say anything

It just stood there – a silhouette of a woman

 

You left me when you turned 17

By now even the house wasn’t enough

You were angry at everything

Angry at your mother for her silence

Angry at yourself for yours

Angry at your sister for not being angry enough

 

I lost you for a while

You slept without dreams and nightmares for 10 years

You grew up

You brought up your heart

You trained it to forget the fights, the beatings, the masochism of it all

You grew out of the anger

 

You stashed your pain away in boxes

You only shed tears for your friends

Your own sorrows didn’t deserve them

Your sister was still your knight inside your temple for Athena

She’d passed on her armor to you

There was no room for weakness now

 

And here we are 

You are 30 years old

You peeping into me from the doorway

You fear the darkness inside

You think you see her – the ghost of a memory – that 14-year-old girl

You wish you could tell her

 

It’s not you, dear girl

It was never your fault

You see that’s why you were never scared of nightmares!

You know now

These shadows at the edge of the doors are just pictures of you years from now

Now you wonder why that silhouette stayed in the dark?

 

You didn’t know then what you’d look like now

You didn’t know then you’d forgive

That you’d promise to fight for your sister when no one fights for her

That you’d promise strength to your mother when she’s crumbling

That you’d promise forgiveness to your father when he’s lonely

Above all, you promise tears for yourself

 

I see you

You’re a woman, a little rough around the edges but mostly nice

You – you look beautiful

I see you

You were my child too, if only walls could talk

I’d say I’m proud, dear child

I’m proud!

looking back at time.jpg

Pieces

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

A silence broken only by pieces of our lives

Exhaled

A piece of you and a piece of me

Intertwined

By the dimming twinkles of the fairy string lights

If you squint

They would look like fireflies

There is a peace in this room

Darkness

That saves itself in shadows behind packed

Boxes

Our hands don’t touch

Each other

They aren’t supposed to after decades

Together

Our life has written all it can on our faces

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

These walls are looking new to me

Each day

Your face is slowly fading further into the fog

Everyday

But here is what I know in the depths of my heart

Your pieces

Have stayed in this rusty mind of mine

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

Fact: every time you exhale

You die

Your soul waits for a moment

For takers

Then crawls right back into your skin

Into life

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

Because my soul is slowly holding on

To yours

And every time I exhale it takes longer

To come back

As if deciding, whether

It’s worth it

Ah! But I forget the piece in this room

Tonight

The only piece of you my mind doesn’t

Let go

You see when souls are together

For this long

It doesn’t matter which piece goes to

The reaper

There is a peace in this room

Tonight

My life has been lived and your death’s

Dying

With creeping breath I now know what will

come to pass

Your soul will preserve mine inside your deliciously

Ancient skin

 

Dreamcatcher

Art by Julia Popova

blink and I disappear 

My heart only steps out 

For one slight minute 

For just that one second

I express a voice for you to listen 

A voice – my voice 

That very one you have tried to drown

Deep in the crevices of your mind

blink and I disappear 

Suddenly I’m an apparition 

No longer a constance 

But a heavy soul 

Weighed down in this word 

This world – your world 

The world that quietly sits head bowed in the corner of the bar

And swallows awkward conversations mixed in cocktails

blink and I disappear 

I feel myself fading 

With the first of the light 

My rage now a resignation 

Words breathe out their last

These words – my words 

The ones that were penned

On silent soulless nights 

You blink and I’ve disappeared 

Drifting away from a wasted life

You’ve walked away 

Like you always did 

Like it meant nothing 

This life – my life

That only dwells in your darkness 

And embraces your nights like a friend

****

An Afterthought – 

Nights are like ocean tides where I flow,

Your unending dream.

The Ressurection 

It was a resurrection that left millions of his fans in tears. And when Roland Garros officials played the throwback video during the award ceremony, for a second, I was my 19 years old self watching a fellow 19 year old win French Open for the first time. Friends have asked me, why I take his game so personally and why I have over the years defended his every game with such ferocity. Perhaps it’s because we share the same birth year or maybe, I, like the many million fans, was smitten by the passion and grit that had suddenly spring on to the court in 2005. It was an year when Federer’s machine like precision was already dominating the scene and comparison was inevitable.

Soon the world was divided between those who liked the graceful aggression of a quiet, polite young Swiss and those who preferred the boxer-like demeanor of a raging bull from Spain. The traditional and classy courts of Wimbledon preferred the company of Roger’s quiet smiles and the loud colourful French crowd preferred the iconic raised fist pumps from a brightly dresses Rafa. Everything about Nadal screamed an aversion to convention. From his Capri pants (which had to be reduced in length for the Wimbledon – because – you know – the British!) to the sleeveless T-shirts showing off the flexed arm powering the forehand winners slaying scores of young women, from his obsession with his bottles on court to the countless pre-serve dribbling which tested the patience of his breathless opponents. He has often wondered out loud whether the success came too soon. He was barely speaking English in those years, but his body language spoke for him. He was here to conquer the court and any flaws that came in the way would be dealt with his trademark killer instinct.

The real prize for the world, however, was the 2008-09 season. He has often spoken about how little he remembers of that final set (6-0) against Federer at the 2008 French Open final. He was in the ever elusive “zone”, a place of complete invincibility few champions have reached in the past. For most Rafa vs Roger fans, this match was the turning point, the real coronation. He had come a long way since 2005, adapting his game, hitting flatter forehand and more precise top spins. Wimbledon – suddenly looked plausible. To all of his critics, this season was the answer, he wasn’t just content doing well on his favorite surface. He wanted to prove to himself and the world that while clay court was his kingdom, he could conquer any unknown land he wanted to. This was the year the soldier became the Gladiator. The Wimbledon 2008 final will go down in history as the greatest tennis match ever played. It was won not by talent, but with grit, hardwork and an unending love for the game. Amid rains, sweat and tears, the greatest player in the history of tennis admitted defeat to one man’s unconditional devotion to the game.

It is true his game was best suited for the dusty surface, a court that crowned him king at such a young age. This has been his castle and since 2005 when he first entered the hallowed grounds, he has never let anyone forget that. There were 2 blips in the journey, but they were exactly that, small kinks in an impenetrable armor. But he took the loss like he takes the  victory, with his usual air of humility. Working with the same coach since the age of 3, he has never forgotten his roots (uncle Toni wouldn’t let even if he tried). A tournament in Chennai in 2007 inspired him to set up his own foundation back home to help underprivileged kids in Spain. “I want a legacy beyond tennis”, he said.

“He’s writing checks his body can’t cash.” Agassi had said of Rafa back in 2005 after losing to him. We all know Agassi had never been a gracious loser so everyone took the comments with a pinch of salt. But, in 2014, the threat of a burn out became real. After injuries to left shoulder, left foot, left arm, tendinitis in both knees, both wrists, back trouble (the list could go on), he looked all but broken in 2016 French Open press conference. He was dropping out after a near comback story cruising through 2 rounds with ease. He conceded that the levels of tennis the world was used to from him were perhaps a thing of the past. It is the only time I saw him truly defeated and his opponent was no one but his own body. The fights and bouts had taken their toll and the battle scars were no longer just battle scars they were his demons. Mind you, 29 isn’t a bad age to call it quits (Borg did it at 27), he had achieved far more than his critics had written him out for.

“I can’t control how I play. I want to keep getting better. And the most important part is the head.” – he had said in 2009 in an interview to New York Times. And ironic as it may seem, for all the macho bruised hero appearance and his bulging biceps, it is his mind that is his biggest strength. It is this strength that brought him back to the finals of Aus Open early this year and led to the return to his beloved kingdom last week. He was back in the zone in the last set. There were shots where Wawrinka would just look at Rafa in disbelief and proceed back to his corner resigned to his fate.

The Resurrection of Rafa is a beautiful poetry of resilience and endurance. And yes I agree with Fedex fans that he is the greatest tennis player of all time but Rafa – is the greatest fighter of the sport of all time and perhaps his good friend Roger would be the first one to grant him the title!

Vamos Rafa!