Shadows

What is hiding in the shadows?
Who is this demon? How have I not crossed paths with it yet?

I have been lurking around in this darkness since the dawn of this moonless night.
Who is this ghoul that managed to save itself from my quest? Has my search been hasty? Have I missed some corners?

I met a monk yesterday evening;
I met a monk on my way back home, as I returned from another day of running behind lost causes;

He told me I was naive;
that I didn’t know who I was,
that I didn’t know what I was made of,
that I haven’t found my light yet because I never embraced my darkness.

I paid heed to what he said;
I paid heed and began my pilgrimage in the wake of this moonless night.

I went through alleyways lined with the momoirs of my past;
some pulled me into a deep embrace,
others hissed back.

I traveled past the relics that commemorated my wins,
and past the broken records that were stuck- stuck at the songs of some bitter defeats.

I ran through the corridors,
walked through several old rusty doors.
crawled across floors,
searched rooms-
desperate to find the key.

The key to my heart;
the key that would take to my light, my love.

All of this seems like a trap now!

Each time I feel like I am done, another fragment of my darkness falls in front of me;
I have been picking up battles I never intended to.

These shadows don’t seem to end;
do they ever?

Don’t tear the wall down!

You keep a brick at its place, and you stare at it. You stare at it long enough for it to lose its identity for you, for it to simply become a mass of nothing, 
kept on nothing, 
for nothing;

In that moment, you almost want to smash the whole wall down; the wall that took you days to erect, the wall that made you feel proud of yourself each time you walked by, the wall that made you feel like yourself for the first time in years- that wall suddenly begins to mean nothing for you… and you… you want to tear it down!

Just like you tore yourself down,
when the storm approached; 
the storm that you thought you won’t be able to take,
or, was it for the shame that the possible failure could have brought along?

Regardless,
you tore yourself down before you could have tried,
you refused to fight because somehow you thought loath tastes sweeter than defeat;
you never gave yourself a chance.

This time around, don’t back away,
give yourself a chance;
don’t tear the wall down!

Stagheads and Castles…

Fires, when left burning, can bring the greenest forests down. Tangerines hanging in the air, wringing the fiery crimson out of lives, devouring upon the beauty, leaving behind corpses; what a shame?

Fires that can warm hearts, feed hunger, chase the dark away, can also cause an apocalypse when lit by the hands that are either too weak to control them or simply don’t want to. 

Each night, you travel down the forbidden paths of your mind, pick up stagheads on your way back home, and decorate walls with the rewards of your morbid hunts. You always knew there was something wrong about the way you saw the world, but when did things go so bad?

Roofs, when too dense, trap your light away from dawning onto the world. Worst… they make you feel comfortable with not having to shine as bright as you deserve to.

—–

You were once an epitome of peace; a serene brook making its way through a dense forest, flowing alongside the scants of poorly watered flower shrubs, nurturing them into beautiful gardens. 

Now, your tranquility has given into swamps; you don’t nurture, you swallow… you swallow the tiniest bit of sunshine that manages to make its way through the thick canopy standing overhead.

—–

The roof that once made you feel safe has, now, been holding you captive in a dark corner of your room, making you question all things beautiful. 

There are days you get up, walk up to the door you entered through, but immediately back away. Why? Do you feel guilty about abandoning something that once kept you safe? Do you fear being called ungrateful? Who taught you that choosing yourself was a crime? 

—–

Build castles! Back in the days, when kingdoms felt the need to put their power on display, they built mighty castles- mighty, magnificent castles that stood on top of the highest peaks- castles that spoke of nothing but strength and glory- castles that were not meant to scare the enemies away but to tell that this kingdom can fight and survive any attack thrown its way.

—-

Build castles! Tell them… tell them!

The Moon

I had sworn. I had sworn I will never write about the Moon. 

It did. It made me gasp at its beauty each time I looked at it; filled me with endearing wonderment for the silver it spilled; had me looking for a braveheart who had the courage to bring it down for me; 
I kept looking,
I kept running,
I never found,
I never wrote.

Picture Credit: Pinterest (Hometalk.com)

A deep black cloud, the wrath of a thousand thunders, scents of far-fetched rain-drenched soils, and me… I sat under the sky- naked, poisoned, cloaked, and redeemed. 

Magic for the hearts who wander, set camps at nights, travel afar in the days and wish for homes at dawns; magic unbound, magic unfound- the magic of the phases of the Moon. 

It waxes and wanes, grows upon the darkness of each heart, only to fade away later. 
Sorcery for the lone wolves to bask under, and a nightmare for those who could never befriend the downhills of life. 

The Moon is an alchemist, weaving dreams for those asleep, and visions for those awake; Merlin to the wizards of the night and Helios to the worshipers of the day. 

A totem of beauty and an omen of emotional warfare, both at the same time. 

The Moon is what you look forward to and despise sitting with, when the world leaves you alone to suffer. 

I see faces…

People leave homes behind. They move away. I wonder if their stories ever do.

I wonder if, as much as we believe, have we ever been powerful enough to rip memories off the walls that boast them.

Or, is it just an illusion, yet another desperate attempt at gaining power over time?

Will we ever know? Do we even care?

I believe when homes are abandoned, they aren’t really left alone. They are left behind with tales, hiding underneath the faces that dwell in the random patterns of their marble floors.

They are left behind with faces, with eyes full of questions, and mouths too numb to answer.

And, each time you feel like someone’s following you, it’s often just an old memory, trapped in a plain white wall somewhere, waiting to be lived again.

The One about Rains and Hearts

I spilled colors on a rather blank canvas. They dripped off the edges, down in a puddle of water, giving colors to a rather blank sky… An illusion some people so need.

Rains mark my favorite time of the year. Those few minutes of Earthen fragrances sent afloat by the happy soils… The beauty of the greens hanging in the air and rustling every now and then to sing songs of merriment. Dancing hearts, joyous smiles… I don’t know what could possibly make one hate such raw charm. But then, some people do.

Some hearts who had to let another go in one sad monsoon don’t find their bliss in the rains anymore. All they can think of is the way their heart burnt like a forgotten lamp waiting to die before someone remembers it. All they can hear is the sound of their tears falling into puddles that the rain must have filled. All they can find is the melancholy trapped behind the blue hues of water ridden clouds. All they see, all they smell, all they feel… is bereavement.

Bereavement of the rain washing away the last few marks of the last walk they had with their beloved; of new life growing from the old flowers they had buried underneath; of trees falling and withering away, taking along the marks of their journey; of a traveler traveling farther away from her childhood home.

Separation leaves hollows where once life was, and just like an abandoned crevice, these hollows fill with memories when rains fall, but the water dries away- memories don’t.

They stay behind, adding shades of sepia to the neons of joy. Adding rust to the sheen of gleaming metal. Adding gore to glory and pride to prudence.

They tell stories like a charm and make you forget others like magic. Before you know, that void is like the Sun shining upon your midnight fog. The one you can’t resist following, not once in seven moons.

The one about Butterflies and Hope

Have you ever seen a butterfly grow out of her cocoon? Her wings are the first to greet the first Sun of her new life. 

Do you know why?

It’s a victory ritual. A token to celebrate everything she survived. To celebrate all that made her into who she is now.

The last of the thins of her cocoon break soon. Her struggle to break free ends sooner. The light at the end of the tunnel flows out of her daydreams to bring charms to her reality… A reality she once wanted to run away from. She eventually did… She ran, but only to get closer to who she was. 

Have you ever noticed how often writers sell hope wrapped in this exact same tale?

Have you ever wondered why? 

It’s a peacemaker’s chant. One meant to make you believe in the power of fallen joy. Meant to make you believe that one day you will wake up to realize how you had never fallen prey to the dark but had only been pulled into its embrace till you got stronger to face the world again.

It’s a poet’s favorite metaphor; her favorite choice of weapon to spill beauty in a world that is threatened by it. 

It’s an intricate piece of abstract art, with love spilled all over- a little to see and a lot to feel. 

But mostly, it’s a reminder, a letter speaking about all our lost smiles and addressing them back to us, exactly where we had lost them. 

Have you found yours yet?

To the one who is yet to bloom

To the one who is yet to bloom, 

I see you…You have waited! You stood your ground when the Earth began to shake, you swam through the roughest of waters, you held your home when a storm took everything away… you waited through all yet never yelled a single curse!

I see you… and you are the strongest I have ever seen!

Now you have begun to run out of patience. Little things don’t dawn smiles over you anymore but leave you behind with risen haste. 
You have lost faith. 
You have lost strength. 
You have lost hope. 

The thick skin that you once grew, is now into ruins and you… you know you can’t take the pain anymore. 

So, what do you choose now? Defeat?
I don’t blame you… Neither do I blame the darkness. 

But I do blame something…
I blame those mouths who kept telling you how you must have achieved glory by a certain age. 
I blame those minds who came up with a structure to confine people’s lives. 
I blame those hands that had the audacity to strangle you into these chains.

But you? No, I don’t blame you!

Instead, 
I am standing by your side and cheering for you, making sure that my voice is louder than the taunts yelled at you.
I am waiting for you, on the other side of the finishing line with my arms wide stretched, ready to pull you in an embrace the moment you reach.

Who am I, you ask? 

I am the one meant to show you the right path.
I am here to hold your hand and guide you as you walk.
… and, as long as you follow me, I promise everything will be alright.

Just don’t stop! For me… don’t stop!

With love,
Your heart.

– Gauri Walecha

To the one who is afraid to heal…

You know, our ego does this strange thing. It tries to build an identity around our traumas. It wears scars as badges of honor and flaunts them in front of carefree smiles. We define our worth from the tears we shed each day. Pain validates us, we go around collecting it just like a kid with a newfound interest in collecting pebbles. Except, for us, the jar never fills. Our heart is like a deep well where we keep throwing stones just to check if it has run out of water yet. Sadly, it never does. No matter how many years we spend trying to empty it out, each thrown stone makes it weep a little.

Such identities are scary though. Not only because they are too fragile when built on loamy grounds but also because they are afraid of losing themselves in the web of their own lies. Lies about how our beloved trauma is our ultimate story, about how what was once broken can never be healed, about how the grudge we pamper each day is the lesson our trauma left us, and also about how letting go is a crime against our heart.

But the question is, do you really want to spend the rest of your life hurting yourself like that? Isn’t it an act of self-harm to be clinging to pain longer than how much we can endure?

Don’t get me wrong! I am not asking you to stop feeling what you feel. Rather, I am asking you to drown deep into your emotions once and for all.

Reach for the deepest parts of your heart. Take hold of every string that connects you back to your pain. Hold it with love, kiss its broken ends, knit it back where necessary, and break it off where not; do that and a lot more but once and for all.

I know stories of pain are strangely celebrated. Scars are decorations in our strange strange world, but you don’t have to follow suit.

I don’t want you to live a life full of agony. I don’t want your trauma to define you. Instead, I want your smile to be your sigil in this world of royal battle flags; I want your smile to shine not only because it speaks of a prettier story, but also because it celebrates the spirit with which you overcame everything that fell your way.

Yes, life is a war and you are a warrior, but even the most ruthless of fighters are allowed to return home once in a while.

Then, why do you feel the need to build your home on the battlefield of a war long dead?

– Gauri Walecha

The Truth

Memories have a strange habit. They fade away… and they do so faster when you don’t want them to. Maybe that is why people came into the habit of writing whatever happened around them. Writing was their helpless attempt at trying to hold quicksand.

Words lose meaning once they stop carrying stories around… but if they truly wanted to tell those tales, they would have. Why didn’t they? 

Every heart in this world speaks in the tongue of an artist, and yet you don’t have many to celebrate; mostly because they are afraid to scream and a world that is full of noise fails to hear their whispers. 

Why whisper the truth, you ask? What would you do if you were standing in a crowd full of thieves who prey on secrets?

Truth is not lost, it has simply been silent. 

– Gauri Walecha