Gajrewali by Abhijith Nair



Railway Sickness

Do you hear that? It tickles the folds of my brain. It brings me back to life, after the daily alcoholic death that I die at night. It whispers to me; tells me the same old thing that Frost had heard. I’ve got miles to go before I sleep. I’ve got promises to keep. Blah blah. That’s my problem. That’s why I hate the wind.


Would I cry for you?

Would I pretend to bear the bruises that I caused you myself?

Would I force the bubbles in your chest to fit inside

the ten by ten by ten chamber that I had squeezed mine in?

Would I pump more air into the lungs long dead

and wait and watch the explosions?

No, this is not about you.

This is not about you or her or him or her or him or them.

This might be about helplessness.

This might be about carelessness.

This might be about haplessness;

or the hopelessness I see lurking in every pair of eyes around me.

This might be about those memories of absolute happiness

which serve no purpose now,

other than the manufacture of darkness.

This is not about me and my depravity anymore,

because my pain belongs to this moment, and just this alone.

When I wake up tomorrow morning,

I would be narrating my theories of the Odyssey.

But the Odyssey was never mine to tear apart.

Answers on their Way

Finally, the film.

Finally, the film.

The Story of Sympathy


Now you got the golden fingernails
that spell a wispy world on its way
to take you in its arms and fly away
to the land of eternal youth;
mermaids and mermen who feed on plankton
will strangle your tarred throat
until eyes don’t see specks of angels
behind heavy fleshy covers;
and you know how that will feel
because books of death have built your brain
nerve by nerve, until all spectra collapsed.

This winter is not what it promised to be;
it’s wringing you dry from the sides
and you will see the flakes of your skin
when the sun rises next year;
sunken cheeks and hollow eyes
will greet you from the mirrors in the street
and try to smile and fall apart in strain
and emit a fog you’ve never felt
until your mouth is torn apart.

Kisses from the birds
caresses from the dogs
and all the other animals of the street
who fed on your food
will feed on you now
and love you more for the grand moment
of this twisted universal creature-hood
that makes a broth of exaltation
at the cost a friend or a brother;
but you shall be dead enough
not to bother with such banalities anymore.

Maybe there was an Adam and an Eve
and a serpent and an apple tree
and a really photogenic garden
that could have been our petty planet
had not the woman decided to be one;
also, maybe, there was a hill with a hidden cave
with hidden secrets for widowers;
or a mother who never had sex
but gave birth to a fair-skinned fool
and all those poisonous cookies they gave
and asked us to swallow without tasting;
but how does it even matter?
Maybe I should not ask;
maybe I should buy a mirror for my room
and comb my hair and oil my face
and look into curious eyes
and ask them to get lost
and shoo the birds and dogs away
because I have a right to be someone else
who’ll scowl at tobacco-stains
and cough at misty cityscapes
and celebrate every degradation
because that’s the secret of life.

Desecration of the colours


I know this tune, this particular melody;
it’s just a few years old.
Our gardener hummed it in those days
when eyes had not yet learnt to put up a dry face
when hose pipes lost control,
I remember almost all of it
but in monochrome
but almost all of it
is a B-movie being played on a screen
torn apart by an angry mad man
in a fit of self-indulgence
with things that should not matter
more than material itself;
‘leefey, leefey’, he cried
and I stood with my back against the freshly painted walls
of an old woman’s dreams.

Then the musicians packed their instruments
in shiny leather bags and cases
and started on their way to Nazareth
where they feed you with things
your brain craves for
when you are not so well
in the chromatic sense of things.
Paints did not care though.
Nor did the old woman and the gardener
because they had tangible floors
and tangible roofs and tangible walls
and tangible people within all of it
waiting for visible audible declarations
of things that humans lack.

It’s very funny if you see the world
through Newton’s prism
and acknowledge the role
that grey matter was supposed to play
but lost to the universe
for another ice age or fire age to come.
But nobody needs to listen to these sad absurd tales
anymore, because sad absurd tales are
very commonplace since the mushroom outgrew
the whole throbbing ball of nonsense
and drowned the red lips forever.

We wait for a fast and fury-less end
to everything we deign to be fake
including ourselves, for most of the time
for most of the time, yes,
we are swerving across U-turns without electronic help.

Maybe it is nice, maybe it is vice,
but nobody needs to care
as long as men and women
have wings and fins
to fly or float or flow or swim
or just succumb to the current
that doubtlessly goes downstream
to meet the blue nothingness
that meets blue nothingness
where everything else metamorphoses
into blue nothingness like everything else.
The blue nothingness, my friend, is another achievement.
The blue nothingness, with all its pain
and itching sensations of emptiness
and synthesized gestures for a disguise,
which will serve to swerve the man at the wheel
off his bloody U-turn for once
and see the sunlight glistening through the dark treetops
and blacklisted faces and fingers
hanging from the branches
unto fresh meat for the waiters
to take to the kinless kings
of breathtakingly beautiful valleys;
the very purpose of the grandiose
of this revered blue nothingness.

I am not talking about death or starvation
or sorrow or salvation
or anything that I am thinking of,
because I am caught in a spider web
with the eight-legged innocent creatures
staring at me in disbelief
and pleasure.
I am talking about the journey
I completed
before I undertook all
these enterprises to unfrighten myself
of all that matters more than material itself.
I am talking about never-ending strings of words
inhabiting the caves of binary secrets
that array themselves upon my command
and never demand a holiday.
I am talking about the poor sacrificial goat
who died with a tragic misunderstanding
with love, god, sanctity etc.
I’m talking about numbered packages
of numbers and numerical jigsaws
that wrecked households in the days of heat
and flags and loudspeakers and shit.
I’m playing the same tune on my private piano
that a gardener had taught me
in those days when I hadn’t thought of depravity
as an essential accessory to all that is fair
and fun and forever, but I had known
how salt tasted outside meals
and beyond blue nothingness-es.
Salt it was, alright, but not of the depraved kind
that choked the old woman to death
on the very day I was born.

I watch the lights leaping at my fourth floor window
and the birds feeding on their own poop
and the men jumping off roofs and flying away
to come back next winter, maybe,
and I dig my nails into the scabs
and re-discover the fragility of my age.

Someone ran the doorbell
and reminded me to breathe.

Rockets that freeze mid air

and melt at the touch of a delicate finger

and disintegrate and disperse to forms fresh stars
and juicy planets and asteroids;
decided to do all of that
at the roadside coffee shop
while I decided to steal the bottle of sugar
from that very shop that very night.

I hit the bottom, but it wasn’t made of rock
it didn’t hurt
it didn’t bounce me back upwards
no, none of that;
it was this slow sinking feeling
almost surreal
like merging into quicksand
for good.

On this other side of the factory
they don’t have the concept of uniforms.
It’s such a relief to untie the knot at the neck;
you wouldn’t know what I’m talking about
unless you have fallen, drowned and resurfaced
on the other side of the factory
where they don’t wear ties
not as a rule, at least.

Now, for that non-existent’s sake,
spare me your illegible formalities
and freaking celebrations of anniversaries
of births, deaths, love-registrations etc
because I’ve got wings now
real tangible wings
which make me lighter than air
so that I can float in peace
and sunbathe and sip on lemonade
or whatever-ade I thirst for.

Someone reminded me of what songs were like
on the other side of the factory
I remember the heartbeats only.
He talks about things I remember hating
and running away from
with bruised under-feet.
Maybe, he is a robot too.
You never know these days.

You don’t need to pay heed
to the queer noises across the alley
because you’re better off
being held in ocean-sized cocoons
I’m sorry; I have no bitterness,
just honest envy,
as much as I’m entitled to,
because I’m not entitled to much anyway
having broken my own cocoons
ten years back.

And what joy that was!
The sound of it:
fire crackling and salsa-ing
along with dry twigs,
on blanketed nights
to warm drier palms
and weave nasty designs
in that hell of a nightscape
where owls fear to tread.
We lick our lips in unison
at the mere memory of it.

This retrospection will end now
because while you’re busy
making love or baking love
I’m busy flying
like mother wanted me to
like astronauts who evaporate in space;
so be it, you got it.

Waiting, Dying, and some ash-blowing for the night

Go back to alchemy.

Don’t question whether it’s animate or animal or any of it.

It’s the only honest mirror after all.

Everything else is just the same.
Like she said,
like I replied,
like we need to throw our personal justice away
and embrace that ridiculous universal perspective
and just let it all be
like the rumble of the empty stomach
like the remnants of torment that haunt after midnight
like a routine
like moonlight
like the birds living inside my room
like all notions of normalcy and death and damnation
and bitterness and profanities and sickening ways to live
in a world that conspires to sicken you more than you were born as.
I don’t remember the last time I was not going through any temporary phase.
They must have censored my brain as well.

I call it love when it looks like freedom
I still call it love when it’s worse than a prison.
I still obsess over the nomenclature of things
long after they’ve crumbled away.
That is what is wrong with the entire picture;
you know you’re in love only when it begins to become a source of pain.
Now tell me would you ask why, again?
Because, this is just the answer.

But I know
that as long as I sense Death tiptoeing around my bed
I am still horribly alive.
Although the notions of life are quite lame;
like dried and shriveled reeds of rotten asparagus,
like those empty classrooms where corpses teach courage,
like those could-s and should-s and would-s that start rotting
until they become garbage and smell sweet enough to attract attention
until, until, it has all crawled up to your bed
and started making tiny hut-shaped cuts
on your cold flesh.

Remember those obese shadows?
I saw them today.
They were playing baseball in the lane between the dentist’s clinic and the meat shop.
Amidst the noises that the merchant of sharp edged red round suns
hate to hear, the autist hollers too.
To each his own, the man with the broken jaw whispers to me.
I place a brutal claim on the joys he radiates
and kidnap him for no ransom
so that he gives me company
while I wait for the blue feet to detach themselves
from the queues of thick-rimmed-bespectacled-atheists.
All that is beauty burn someday
and all that is sacred smirk
and we continue to sweep the shards of glass away
after the lovers part.

The trees and the brown leaves
and the breeze that brings them all
disappeared an hour ago
So, I am looking for a roofless room
to heal my limbs in.
War is less than a week away.

Knuckles are good stuff.

The basic crux of the matter is that
you gotta choose between being you and being you
and you cannot be both
and you cannot choose
and you cannot know that the crux of the matter
could be as silly as this.
But the crux of the matter remains
that both are you.