From a mother to a daughter

Dear daughter,
This poem’s for you
Because I know, just like I did,
You will also have questions for me
But unlike in my case,
I don’t want you to be unanswered.

So if you ask me what I wanted to be as a kid,
I told everyone that I wanted to be a doctor,
Just because your grandmother made me do so
But as I grew up, my aims kept on changing
With every TV series, movies or books that I was reading
Sometimes I wanted to be a nurse, other times, it was a scientist,
A princess, singer and once I even wanted to be in army.
But deep in my heart, I always knew no matter what I became
I wanted to travel and write
Go far and wide and tell stories.

If you ask me if I have always loved rain
Then the answer of course would be yes,
Rain has always calmed me down and
Made me feel alive.
I hope I still get out in the rain
And splash water all over you, every chance I get,
I hope I still have the time to stare outside the window
Counting the colorful umbrellas, with a cup of tea in my hand
And that we still get to eat tato tato jhol momo
And I get to tell you stories of how
I used to come home to the smell of those momos
During a rainy day after school.

And if you ask me about my love life,
I have my heart-broken of course,
Once by a man who was never mine
And the other time by a man who couldn’t make up his mind
About what he wanted from his life.
And both of them pained like it was the first time
I’d spend so many sleepless nights
Crying
Sobbing
Thinking
Wishing
Hoping
But nothing hurts more, that being heartbroken by a man
Who was supposed to be my superhero
I was heartbroken
Each time papa didn’t show up when he was supposed to
And I kept blaming myself for it, thinking it was all my fault
For expecting too much, for wishing too much
But baby, your grandfather, just like your mother
Is a person full of mystery
I guess it’s in our gene
To push people away
Especially those who means everything.

And I have broken hearts too,
Something I am not proud of,
But a girl had to do what a girl had to do
Put herself first
And not ruin her happiness for others.

The other thing I want you to know
Something I didn’t know back then
Is that you can fall in love with someone when you’re just 20
And still be with that person for the rest of your life
As long as you both work for it
And you will somehow find your fairytale
Maybe not happily ever after
But a rollercoaster of relationship
The key is of course not to give up
And to fight for what you want
If that’s something you want.

But the most important thing I want you to know
Is that no matter what happens, everything will make sense one day
And no matter what has happened or what will happen to me,
I, just like your grandmother, wouldn’t mind living all of these moments
Of happiness and heartbreak, again and again
If that means, I get to be your mother, again.

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Memories.

I am imagining myself sitting on the top of this cliff. It’s brown in color, yes just like in the cartoons and it’s hard. The bottom part of my body that touches this rock has gone numb because of the very reason. The wind is blowing fiercely trying to make me blow away with it. But I don’t. The 48 kilos me is now wighing almost 60, thanks to the backpack that consists of more number of books and diaries and pens than clothes. I am staring at these tall white mountains who make me feel so tiny that I don’t think I exist. But I do, because I am suddenly panting for my breath.

I find myself not on a cliff watching the breathtaking mountains but on my favorite spot in Mangalbazaar. I am panting for breath because I am choking on my own thoughts.

This is the very first place you took me too. Because it was your favorite spot to. We held hands. My tiny hands fitted perfectly in your big hands that it disappeared. The memories of you running after me because I tickled you flashes by. We passed this spot at that time and many times after it. I also see myself once again holding your hand, pulling it towards the chiya pasal in front of me. The shop has always disappeared beneath the vapours of boiling water and noises of people from all over the city. And we’ve always loved tea. You always wanted the one with lemon. I, with milk. And we would always argue on which tea is the best, giving numerous stupid reasons we’ve lost track of.

But now, I am sitting here alone. Wondering about things, wishing I was far away instead. Like probably staring at that mountain. Mainly because you are not here. And you will not be here from now. You have left me alone without a proper goodbye. “But I deserve a goodbye, no?” I had once asked you. “Well, probably he doesn’t have guts to see you cry if he’d said his goodbye.” You’d told me. An almost best friend ghosted me because he didn’t want to see me cry. Instead, he left me with sleepless nights because of worry, sadness and mainly a shattered heart.

And now, you’ve done the same.

***

I wonder what I will tell my daughter when she will ask about you. She wouldn’t know what you looked like even if I am sure people will tell her, “You look like her Maa.” She will be dark skinned and pretty, with short curly hairs. She will have your eyes. Now, she wouldn’t be able to come to you and complain about me. You wouldn’t be telling her stories and singing her lullabies if she too cannot drift back to sleep. She won’t know your favorite spot to sit in the kitchen, she will never know that you’re the best cook in the world. She will not hear your stories, or the ones about your mother or the grandmother from your voice. I might tell her all of these, but it will never be the same. Her winter vacation will not be the same like mine.

I know that I’ve told you millions of times I won’t have kids. But this is all because of seeing you toiling around for me. I was always the first one you’d think of. I was always the first one you’d keep. I grew up seeing you giving up your favorite things for me. That last piece of the bread. The rasbari. The last sip of tea. And how you’ve always worked so hard to make sure I didn’t need to do the same. You wanted to give me things you never had – toys, books, Barbie dolls, copies, pencils, frocks. And you worked day in and day out for it. You washed the dishes at Kancha Uncle’s place and washed clothes at Rashmi Aunty’s home. You cooked dinner for Santa Ram and his family. In your free time, you would knit caps and mittens to sell during the winter.

I don’t think I will be able to do the same for someone else. I don’t think I can give up my favorite food or work so hard that I didn’t even have time to settle down and rest. Because I don’t want to end up being you. I don’t think I can love someone better than me or put that person first. But I know, if you had another chance and choice, you would do everything happily again.

I also didn’t think I would ever have kids because I don’t think I will ever find a man who will love me deeply. And even if he did, I am sure will just push him away. I don’t think I will find someone who had the same insecurities and who loved me not because of how I looked, behaved, worked, created or how I am abused by myself but for something I don’t know at the moment. But now sitting here, watching the sun finally settling down, staring at the brick road paved with patterns and watching at the people rushing towards home, tears run down my eyes. In case I will ever find a man who will make me fall in love with a dog, you will not meet him. He will not meet you too. You will never see his handsome face, wavy hair, green eyes, freckles in the nose and the hard bones. You will never hear our story, the first time I saw him and how my heart skipped a beat. How we were in this expedition together, staring at the tall mountains and feeling tiny and how he told me some clichéd line and I liked it. You will never get updates about our dates – the chiya pasal I took him to, the momo pasal he took me to, the kisses we shared inside the galli of Paltan Ghar. You will never hear me babble about how I asked him to leave or how I wanted to leave or how I almost left or how I did leave but he still waited for me. Outside my office, sitting on a pavement, looking at a window with a flower in his hands. And how I let him in again – because I saw how his eyes twinkled when he saw me, just like yours did. And how he was always there when he said he would be despite of having his heart broken by me many times. How he always took me back even when I ran away from him. And you won’t be able to laugh at me and say, “You’ve finally found the guy you will stay with.” And I won’t be able to laugh at you when you’d say that. “No mama, I finally found the guy who will never leave me without a goodbye.”

But little did I know that you’d be the one to leave me without a goodbye. The one to heal all my broken hearts, scarred cheeks, wounded knees and shattered minds. The one to listen to all by rants and pants, mumbles and grumbles. The one who would be the first one to know my newest crush and my ever-changing dreams and the people I’d come across. The one who would cook me tiffin because the food from the canteen always tasted horrible. And the one who soothed me, singing me lullabies when I couldn’t go back to sleep.

***

Today, I woke up to find you gone. Disappeared from my life. Well not exactly, because your body was still in your bed and you looked like you’d gone back to sleep. You were sleeping, but just never to wake up again.

I stared at your swollen face, not being able to cry. I touched your cold body. I combed your hair like I used to do as a little girl whose hand were tinier comparing to your big ones that it fitted perfectly. I even thought about putting up lipsticks and eye-shadows and doing up your nails but I stopped. I couldn’t do it. You’re the one to leave me without a goodbye, I won’t do it. So I ran away to our favorite spots and started to dream about the tall white mountains. Before I was panting for the breathe.

***

I still can’t breathe. I feel suffocated, choked inside. I try moving but my hand has gone numb. I can’t move my body either. There is something blocking me. I try opening my eyes because I realize I am not staring at the temples and the bricks at all. I have been just dreaming about them. I realize you are probably still there back at home, waiting for me in the kitchen and whatever I had been feeling was just my thoughts and not the reality at all. I try to remember where I am. The last thing I remember was walking down the mountains and slipping. I remember falling into a block of ice and plunging inside the glacier that was slowly melting. I remember that I was stuck inside glacier, slowly drowning. And I realize, I am the one who’s leaving, without a goodbye, this time.

On the shores of Shunya – I

On the shores of Shunya,
as people talk about poems, words and writings,
I suddenly remember the time we’d spent,
counting people and feeling home,
in the middle of Mangal bazzar ,
where the brick-red tiles were un-neatly arranged.
We would talk about everyday life,
my craves for momos and yours for coke,
and our silly big dreams
holding each other’s hands without holding at all.

The black coffee strongly reminds me
of the first tea I had with you
sitting on a steel bench
amidst the crowd at People’s Plaza,
on the birthday I couldn’t celebrate
and all the teas and coffees we had afterwards
at that cafe in Basantapur we always went to
and one at Lagankhel
and how you’d always been there
through ups and downs
the smiles and frowns.

Now, waiting for the crammed micro to turn up at Soaltee mod,
I wonder how your journey has been,
in the uncrammed big bus.
Have you reached where you wanted to reach?
did you find what you’d been searching for?
the dreams you wanted to have,
the life you wanted to live,
the stories you wanted to hear
the songs you wanted to sing
and people you wanted to be with?
Am I there with you?

I wonder if you think of me at these times,
while you’re busy doing something else
discovering and uncovering yourself.
When the lushes of greens pass you by
or the banners that read best chiya found here .
Do you wonder if I ever wonder about you?
Am I there with you?
Breathing in your thoughts?
Beating in your memories?
Am I there with you?
Are we together without being together at all?

Love – I

Yesterday as I laid in my bed
I wondered if you loved me for real,
or is it just some game our mind is playing with us.
We both think that you love me,
but actually or may be,
it’s not love its something else,
something above the cloud.
Because you never tell me what I mean to you
or how much I mean to you
you only say that you love me in letters and mails
and not in a public place
when I ask you
because what’s there to love me,
actually,
I ain’t pretty or smart or creative,
I ain’t that girl from your dreams
all I do is build a wall around me with words and verses.

But today as I checked your desktop while you went to make tea (the third cup in a row) for me,
I came across few lines I had read before.
The poem I had written sometimes ago now sits as your desktop wallpaper.

I don’t like this at all.

I lay on my bed closing my eyes, counting 1..2..3.. “Any seconds now,” I tell myself waiting to fall asleep. But I fail. Another day, as I fail again. To fall asleep, to write. My insomnia and writer’s stuck moment is back on track and I don’t know if I’m to be happy about being normal again or sad that I don’t have that I need to write vs I need to sleep moment anymore. It’s going to be like this for another few days to weeks, so I guess I better get hang of it.

What I wish right now to have is Caffeine. I would prefer milk tea but that’s not possible. I’m on my tea limit so I have to be okay with a cup of mango juice. I wish I was not though. I wish I could gulp down cups of tea or rather enjoy each cup with precise moments cherishing on the drink. The juice ain’t that bad but I would rather have what I wish. But I’m sure that won’t help me either given the situation.

And it gets worse you know. When you are being an insomniac and not being able to write, these ideas and stories come to your mind. The images of a girl with plaited hair and white dress walking down the damp, small , spooky gullies of Kathmandu Valley comes in front of your eyes but you can’t seem to do anything about it. You can’t get up and write because you have no idea what to write about. Nor can you go back to sleep.

And now I can’t think of stuffs to write about. I still wish to have tea though. But I will have to be back in my bed because tomorrow, I need to be an early bird. And tomorrow hopefully, words will find their way back to me.

Goodnight Folks!