I cannot sleep.
That is nothing new.
It has been months, years since I slept without help.
Tonight, the lights are blinding
Even when my eyes are shut
Forcefully drugged, they still open in alarm.
The past three days have been like a dream
Or to be mot juste a nightmare; a cauchemar blanc
With no relief of colour in sight.
Conversations in loop like over-bright circling lights
Is there anything more tedious than that?
Unless it is fulfilling the concerns of those closest to you.
Those that love you, know you, and yet refuse to understand you.
For your own good.
And so a blameless, guiltless existence is never to be had.
Yet there were moments of light that twinkled and shone
Unlike the serial lights that refused to burn
Always a loose contact, always a wire erring
The serial lights take away the glow of the show
Upsetting an angry decorator further
And wounding his uneager assistant some more.
A God was welcomed with silver lamps
Who knows if we pleased him?
He left taking a lit camphor on a betel leaf
The water doused the fire; the wind scattered the ash.
And no one knew if it was good or bad.
In the meantime I watched a movie
Midnight, in complete darkness.
As everyone laughed and counted glow-worms
I cried away my pain and thought only of Kamala Das.
In Chaplinesque moves a hero wooed a girl
And found love in mime.
I laughed and cried and then we took the dappled road
Argued about desire and delight.
But I only thought about how hungry I was
And how I was to sleep the night – alone.
In the dark. Or maybe with a bed lamp.
The next day under a golden bulb,
A dog and I became friends
In that moment where I bawled
And she licked away my tears
In unadulterated compassion.
A dog and I became one
Part of the brightness of the universe
When helpless we stood at a door
Communicating through whimpers and only our eyes
About the people who had walked out of the door.
And left us groping in the dark.
The city too shut down on itself that day
As if it couldn’t allow the crowded commute anymore
To those corporate jungles with the endless traffic jams
That nevertheless sparkled from a pent-house terrace garden
Like a necklace getting done for a bride.
In peace we smoked – our cigarette ends the only spark in our lives
A sister and I, we shone from the tears we’d cried.
And watched a city flicker to life.
And talked about how the lights undid us.
The phone blinked hope
A promise to continue nothing
In the darkness of my soul
I grabbed at the shadow
Hoping somehow someday it will lead me to light
Rekindle those fires and that ever elusive feeling
That beautiful unbearable lightness of being.