You deserve better.
You, with your chubby cooks pressing dolma into the hands of “skinny” Indian girls; take it, taste it, come back tomorrow!
You, with your warm garlic-perfumed mamas kissing cheeks & giving blessings like a gift.
You with your magic alleys filled with genie lamps and flying carpets.
You, who smile through hardship&poverty, drinking tea in delicate china almost too lovely to hold.
You, with your gelato that could rival Italy’s, with your warm bread dotted with toasted sesame.
You, with your frothy waves, ferry boats and blue seas, seagulls daydreaming in the sky.
You, with your orange sunlight, blue walls and white cotton candy clouds.
You, with air so pure and cotton so crisp, wrapping me in comfort not elsewhere found.
You, who didn’t get the prayers of Paris or the grief of Brussels.
You, who made few headlines and appeared on few news tickers.
You, who made no Facebook profile pictures or safety checks.
You, so good of heart, so wide of smile, so lacking in complaint, so content in your own perfect slice of the world.
You, who shield the homeless, robbed in your own home. Again.
You, who bled as the world watched & did nothing. Again.
You, who left your heart wide open, only to have it broken. Again.
You deserve better.
Skinny legs, wide hips.
Small boobs, big bum.
None&neither are a reason for you to look at me.
You do anyway.
Because I’m an Indian woman and you’re an Indian man.
And that seems to give you a free pass.
To look me up and down.
To leer, to lech.
To do that ‘thing’ with your eyes so I feel unclean inside.
We’re not in India.
We live in a country where you’d be punished.
Severely. You don’t care.
I swear at you. You smile.
I bend down to slip off my chappal.
You inch closer. My anger is a turn-on.
You only notice when another Indian (man) towers over you.
He threatens. You run.
Not before sending me one last lingering look.
And I was left feeling nothing.
Because I’ve had worse than a look.
I’ve had the attentions of Mr. Grope.
Mr. Arm Graze. Mr. Boob Swipe. Mr. Ass Pinch.
What I’m left with now is anger that I wasn’t angry enough.
How easily I shrugged it off. Pretended it never happened.
When it happened outside my own home.
What I’m left with now is a secret hope that I see you again.
So I can take your head. And bash it against the dashboard of a car.
So I can grab your arm. And stub my lit cigarette on it.
I’m an Indian woman and you’re an Indian man.
I think I have a free pass.
I'd like to make you coffee, watching
as you stir, foam balanced on your lip
waiting as you sip, gulp and then again - sip
Or when you're away or at work,
I daydream of the cigarettes and chitter-chatter
that accompany your warm mug, of the mundane that matters
I like the questions - sugar? - milk? -
and the answers I don't know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget
Arabica, Robusta, Chemex, Canephora, Kappi,
I love coffees brews. What kind would you like? I say
as long as it's with you, I'd love it any way,
As the blooms burst to beans
with the roasted aroma wafting across Chikmanglur,
I am yours & infatuated, sipping coffee & never unsure
For and inspired by Carol Ann Duffy. I'll tell her how & why in person.
And for the S.O. Who makes better coffee than I do & for giving me the chance for the above.
It turns out there is nothing more ugly or exhausting than anger.
Anger makes you smoke more, eat less.
Anger makes you less tolerant of illegible fonts & bad kerning.
Anger makes you stomp feet and slam doors.
Anger makes you less inclined to do your hair in the morning.
Anger makes you cancel plans, cancel plans, cancel plans.
Anger makes nights longer, darker & full of terror.
Anger makes enemies of previously-friendly security guards.
Anger makes you look like a stranger, etching strain on your bones.
But the worst thing you can do is hope for anger to go away.
Because anger is a vengeful bitch.
And she leaves anger-shaped holes & scars in everything you wanted for yourself and thought you could get.
To rub salt in the wound, she tells you everyday, that you’re an idiot.
So you’re left skinnier & nastier.
Friendless & sleepless.
Heartsick & heavy-hearted.
Just as angry.
Only with more holes.
– The patience I had 10 years ago.
– The 26″ waist.
– The black strapless dress that used to be my favourite.
– The confidence that I could do anything, and go anywhere.
– The fuzzy turquoise comfort-socks.
– The SIM card that welcomed me home every year.
– The friendship that wasn’t really friendship after all.
– The memories of that night of too-many-pitchers of unrecognisable-too-sweet-alcohol.
– The time to write what I want to.
– The voice that begged me to not light that (first) cigarette 5 years ago.
– The time I spent mindfucked over you. Douchebag.
– The willpower that led me to buy a 15-month gym membership.
– The love of floral prints.
– The faith that some unexpected life-changing magic is hiding in a corner, just waiting to go “Boo!”
– The right words. But they’ll come back eventually. Better written.