I walk out the door

for 20 min at 8:10 every evening

descending the stairs


Wondering the origin of preoccupation

From the war?

Pakistan occupied Kashmir perhaps?

What’s your occupation? – I was once asked

By a stranger

I occupy every space I find – I had said


Walking through broken streets

but lit up in red and green

Transparent water reflections of

Iridescent films

I, preoccupied about my vendor

Motorist almost runs over me

Startled, angry he looks at me

I stare expressionless-ly

Kill me, or don’t

Don’t you dare give me the look

Preoccupied again by a woman

Who takes my side

Walking ahead on the footpath

The motorist in the wrong –

Why didn’t I tear his eyes


The river flows ruthlessly

too lost to appreciate the beauty

I wait for my eggs at the shop

but when did I even reach my destination?


I gorge on them like Kabir Singh

his alcohol

That’s heartbreak they say

No heartbreak is just pouring rain

And empty heart

And empty stomach

Preoccupied mind

But who cares

The spice hits the slits opened in my tongue

Everyday the man looks at me and

Asks the same question.

I say – PalTi Nakko karu

The only sentence I can say without

Fumbling in a language -not native to mine

But preoccupied with a man looking

He brushes his hair

And I look through him

For a black cat that’s missing now

Probably gone forever

Rain intensified

The white tarpaulins hold leaves

and the light pours

I leave and traffic is haphazard

And a standstill

Preoccupied I walk across

Same conversations

Same puddles

I ascend the stairs

Afraid that I will be berated again

The doorbell is loud

The door knock is not loud enough

The insanity

Of living on charity

I enter preoccupied

He screams like he’d anyway

Over smart educated people he taunts

I throw the umbrella at his face

Inside my head

Outside I feign a bland face

Preoccupied again

With being preoccupied

And I wonder

the origin of preoccupation

From the war?

Pakistan occupied Kashmir perhaps?

What’s your occupation? – I was once asked

By a stranger

I occupy every space I find – I had said

Every space away from the present.


Wallflower in the resistance

I was a wallflower in the resistance

ever present in the background

but I didn’t belong,

Some said I was in the right

Others that I was the right side

I watched naked

from the bathroom window

As men shot men in the head

Mildly arousing I confess

I let my fingers slide

into my own abyss

This irony tastes like a bad whiskey

that I snuck in the bathroom

A species that hurts it’s own

is a watchdog for all else

I was but a wallflower in the resistance

Parading with the revolutionaries

Most of them hypocrites

Some plain crazy enough

My mama told me

I belong to the one that’ll hold me

In matrimony

But my body, I sold me

To the vagabonds

To the reckless

To the Government

To the gestapo

All men, all the same

I was a wallflower in the resistance

With the suffragettes

Reason your dresses

don’t have pockets

But they didn’t see me

My first lover said

Darling if you only dress up

You’d have the town turn heads

And I shaved my head

Painted my lips in three coats of


You look like a hooker, he said

I wept as I stabbed him

From my memory,


Till he walked beside me as

A living ghost

I was a wallflower in the resistance

Fending on the streets for my life

As the others were dragged away

Mildly arousing I admit

But a girl has to live

So you know

There was a resistance

And more than that there were women

Who were nobody’s girls

The revolutionary said –

Your body is a weapon

I know – I said

As I suffocated him to death

Against my breast

I was a wallflower in the resistance.


Conversation Snapshots.


‘You’re the first girl that has stood me up.’

‘Not used to rejection – interesting.’

‘I can get any girl I want.’

‘Yet you’re here.’

‘I know that dude you are with – Yet you are here.’

‘Out of courtesy.’

‘I am a 9 pointer.’

‘I lost 3 subjects this semester.’

‘I saw.’

‘Why were you checking my results?’

‘Because you are not dumb. I don’t get it.’

‘I hate this wretched place, I am dropping out this year.’

‘Ah! Don’t. We just met.’

‘All the more reason.’

He was my ego, at 6 feet, proud, eyes of a cat, snarky, witty and obnoxious. Maybe we were perfect for each other, but our egos would have fought to death.

March’ 2010

‘Leave that boy for me?’


‘I can in the next minute get a girl.’

‘Go ahead then.’

What a wretched coincidence – we both entered college at the same time, sometime walked one behind the other. Sometimes in parallel, sometimes we walked through each other. As if we never met at all. As if we didn’t exist.

July 2010

[On Text]

‘The 9-pointer seems to have scored lesser.’

‘Who’s this?’

‘Scarlett Witch.’

‘If this isn’t Jean H. Dmello, I’d be damned.’

‘Haha – peace offering?’


Aug 2010

‘I am in love with this girl, long hair, innocent face.’

‘I don’t know her.’

‘She dislikes you.’


‘She believes you are a crackhead.’

‘Insane or cocaine.’

‘I think you are insane, she thinks it is cocaine.’

‘I am glad the mutual dislike for me is bringing people together.’

Feb’ 2011

‘I am breaking up with her – I am done.’

‘Okay, when?’

‘Now, here I am telling her.’

‘While sitting next to me? No thank you – I am already infamous enough in this college.’

They break up.

‘I am done.’

‘Give it a week – you will be back with her.’


Day 3: [On text] Jean tell her to come back

‘Hahaha, 3 days is all it takes.’

Day 5: [On text] You and I should date

‘My boyfriend is still alive.’

‘I don’t know what you find in him.’

Day 7: [On text] We should not date

‘Haha – as you wish.’

Day 9:

‘Fuck You. You reconcile and somehow or don’t think it’s important to let me know.’

‘You care?’

‘Not anymore.’

April 2011:

‘Jean – ‘





‘What a wretched workplace, this?’

‘Welcome to my hell.’

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘I didn’t want to suffer alone.’

In April 2013 we both broke our contracts and quit.

June 2016:

‘Wow! Hey.’

‘We are working for the same place – again.’

Some coincidences are just events – we entered workplace at the same time, we spoke to each other those two minutes from the parking lot to the gate until I quit.

Maybe someday we will meet again.



The words that aren’t spoken

Out loud

Stop short of pouring from the eyes

Now closed

Like the buildup of pressure

But no rain

Heat post the last rain

The overcast


It burns my skin

And I walk into the middle of

The busy street

Chaos ensue

As the horns blare

I scream in madness

Adding to the noise

As passengers stare

Why were you here

when you had no intention of being there…

I shriek at the skies

Like the earth at the sun in the night

Walking naked barefoot

Heart on the sleeve

And I run a knife through your skin

Do you feel the pain

It’s lesser than what you caused me

I say to your dying breath

as I kiss your lifeless lips

I open my eyes

and there are just strangers around me

and stone cold silence

Feels like I am only screaming

Inside my head

But you refuse to die

Even there.



And her trembling fingers

Crawl on his feet

Evoking sensation

her fingers curve

to move upwards

When he tugs her curls.

She a delicate

wet Gulmohar flower

separated from the tree falling

on the rough edges

of his tarred skin

the breeze sweeps her

sending her cascading

through his crevices at an

uncomfortable pace

Afraid of being trampled

she shivers.

Too late to escape now

Dangerous to run

she places her charred lips

On his latent skin

for they have nowhere else to go

And he burns them

all over again

Seeking refuge in rain

she opens the last knots

Of her yellow gossamer skirt

He feasts on her

Always run over by everything

he stands his ground

but she isn’t used to

this passion and destruction

So he holds her

the vehicles zoom past

She trembles

his eyes roll towards the sky

When it pours like never before

and they are one in this moment

and she fades in the next

as he stands there numb.


I come to you…

I am not a writer

When I come to you

I come to you

as me

As the words that

don’t spill on paper

They leave my throat

But stop at my lips

I come to you as words

That stop short of seeing the light

I come to you as words

That don’t escape my lips

But scream through my eyes

And I come to you in between

moments when I shut them

So you don’t read them more

Than you should

So they run down

And peek out of the breasts

Asking for attention

you take note

And I shove you away

Not letting my words carry

your handwriting

I come to you

Just words that churn

To disguise as butterflies in my stomach

And escape

I am the warmth between my legs

That wrap your head

When you are away

I am the words that rush back

To the brain

And explode

Into stardust

And dazzle you

I leave you

as a melancholic poem

that I made out of the words

I never told you out loud.