#108

little heart, will you ever learn to sing?

the twang of metal turned sour on my tongue, i fidget late nights, pulling long strings of bird-blue notes- outside the pond is tumescent.

if i write you a letter, will you write me one?

tell me a lie but tell me you will. years condense on my window like rain. along the rim, there is the fire of bougainvillea in spring. then there is summer when afternoons robed like brides jump at me from the shadows. startled, i sink in amniotic hope.

i heal.

i break.

tell me your favorite poem. tell me why it breaks your heart.

©Mohana Das

#together after a long long time

March 1, 2015: The most memorable day in a long long time. #together

Aranya, one of my best friends was home after years. And that was reason enough to celebrate.

I’ve had few, very few friends always. So after school ended, I was suddenly left all alone in the heart of an empty cornfield. Evening seemed to close in rapidly and I was frightened. Every night after returning home from college, I rang up Barsha, Ankita & Aranya and after they had reassured me and my nerves felt less taut, tiredness would overtake and I plunged into cold sleep. It wasn’t that I didn’t make new friends but my new friends were, well, new and between us were miles and miles of unexplored stretches.

I missed school.

Life unfolded the usual way. Studies and exams and failed relationships kept us busy. Both Ankita & Aranya moved to different cities. Barsha and I hardly saw each other though she lived less than half an hour away. Soon it was the last year of college. I was supposed to start working in the fall, in a new city. Everything was fine until September.

After just a week, I quit.

In addition, I week after that, I was diagnosed with scoliosis and suggested surgery.

As if, the scaffoldings were giving way. My organised life had suddenly developed numerous cracks and I had no idea how to heal myself. I felt broken. I felt defeated. In addition, worst of all, I didn’t have the heart or the guts to call up my friends and ask for those old reassurances.

In the last week of February, Aranya texted that she was coming home and we had to had to meet. And this is how a gorgeous day, resplendent with budding leaves and scarlet flame of the forests, unfolded.

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Barsha joined us & after lunch at a Tibetan eatery, we strolled through nondescript streets, past crumbling buildings still wearing their colonial pride, stalls selling the famous Kolkata kathi-rolls, past phuchka sellers and kids licking ice creams before plopping down on the grounds of Victoria Memorial Hall. Stories were shared. Heartache folded into origami birds and flown away. Forgotten days of school reminisced with sweet nostalgia. I hadn’t smiled so much in months, I felt. I hadn’t spoken so much in months either. The air around me had suddenly stopped crushing my lungs.

It took less than 3 hours for my heart to feel whole again. I told her why I hadn’t called her up in so many months. I told her how small I felt. I told her why I quit my job. I told her everything. The things that hurt and the things that had stopped hurting. The things I was afraid of. The lack of motivation that was drowning me with ruthless cruelty.

No advices were given but I was reprimanded for not telling her all of this earlier. And when my best friend hugged me after all those years, with all my imperfections, life felt perfect again.

When I walked home from the station later in the evening, I felt hopeful – somehow all that laughter had brought back a hint of that optimism and strength I had lost.

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And I love you gals because no matter how dark it is, you bring in the sun. All the heart-ache, all the crying, these terrible months don’t matter. And it doesn’t matter if things are still unsolved and bad and hopelessly convoluted. It doesn’t matter if I am still hurting, if I still have to cry to sleep every single night. It doesn’t matter if things are never whole again. I will still have you to bring me smiles. To bring me flawlessly sunny days like this. And I can live waiting for them.

Written for We are Together in this Journey
Official Link: https://housing.com

#107

Winter is half-way across the sea. There are butterflies on every bough. Each day, they unfold another water-colored wing. Crap. Those are leaves and this is pretentious spring.

The scent of hope between our lips. I want to ask if this was your idea of fun. I stay shut. Ask me why when fraternizing exhausts you. Days blow like cotton candy. This diaspora of virtues. I could shoot you point blank. Tell me you care.

Stain my mouth with yet another sulphur-lie. Teach me shades of pink.

But first, come here. Spell singularity.

Because if this that we drew is a map, then you darling, are an insincere home and I am just another name in your book of names. Nothing less.

Nothing more.

©Mohana Das

#106

The rivers have forgotten their way home. There is rain.

Do you ever wonder why I never ask you to spell out my name? I like the way it tastes in your mouth. The sweet of salt estuary. The salt of sweet moonmilk. Mud creeks squelch in delirium.

Let me craft you a boat.

This is mirage and wetland. Deep green puppets slither behind shadows, their voices raspy with isolation. I know you hate crocodiles. I hate them too. And I hate how you outline your trees and horizons with your egg-headed crayon. You must always let your paints bleed, percolate down to the underbelly of the paper. Tell me now, must I draw you a map back home?

The mangroves awkwardly stick their roots out to breathe. Tides swell higher. You turn the map around, pretend to read coordinates, and crash in into my homeless arms, pockets full of infected affection, talking of death and drowning and prettiness.

And before I know, the river has erupted in a blaze. The stillness is metal.

©Mohana Das

Once upon a time, there was Candy and Dan. Things were very hot that year. All the wax was melting in the trees. He would climb balconies, climb everywhere, do anything for her, oh Danny boy. Thousands of birds, the tiniest birds, adorned her hair. Everything was gold. One night the bed caught fire. He was handsome and a very good criminal. We lived on sunlight and chocolate bars. It was the afternoon of extravagant delight. Danny the daredevil. Candy went missing. The days last rays of sunshine cruise like sharks. I want to try it your way this time. You came into my life really fast and I liked it. We squelched in the mud of our joy. I was wet-thighed with surrender. Then there was a gap in things and the whole earth tilted. This is the business. This, is what we’re after. With you inside me comes the hatch of death. And perhaps I’ll simply never sleep again. The monster in the pool. We are a proper family now with cats and chickens and runner beans. Everywhere I looked. And sometimes I hate you. Friday — I didn’t mean that, mother of the blueness. Angel of the storm. Remember me in my opaqueness. You pointed at the sky, that one called Sirius or dog star, but on here on earth. Fly away sun. Ha ha fucking ha you are so funny Dan. A vase of flowers by the bed. My bare blue knees at dawn. These ruffled sheets and you are gone and I am going to. I broke your head on the back of the bed but the baby he died in the morning. I gave him a name. His name was Thomas. Poor little god. His heart pounds like a voodoo drum.

― Luke Davies, Candy

#105

Disgracefully, this iteration is emptying itself. I want to sleep. My mouth hurts from the unfamiliarity.

And I want to write you a poem about flowers. Their dyed skeletons. Their plastic tits. Instead I stuff a rag into my throat. Nothing happens. The night reeks of kerosene.

Tell me how to set fire to us.

Each of the trees that line our alley is obstinately bare. I unfold myself, squint at the brilliant slut that is my heart. Then everything is ash.

I beg. You plead. Together we dance the dance of death.

Under my skin, prickling veins burst into dawn. Tear me apart, I want to hiss. But there are promises. There is anachronism. An expletive called love. My 9 year old poem sneers at me from the corner of his eye.

I laugh.

The ceiling judders, spits venom. There are scars all along the entirety of me. I am lies and thorns and immiscibility. And I want to hold. I want to arrange. I want to align every glass thread that gives you a shape.

The moon is just a ball of lightless rock, dearest best friend. Look at my hands. Look how they bleed.

©Mohana Das

Because some cities are absolute poetry

And yes I am missing Melbourne like a lover, the kind of missing that creates an ache right next to your heart, and all you want to do is fly back, wrap yourself in that unfamiliar drizzle, search out the gravity pulling you back and let it hold you inside its Soul, like a secret, like an old love story. (At Changi Airport, 4th August ’13)

Since August last year, I’ve always thought of Melbourne with a wishful sigh. My four days of wintry whirlwind didn’t quench my thirst – it left me wanting more. When I sat at the airport watching an infant sun run her tongue on the metal aircrafts, my throat burnt. I wanted to run back into the speckled shadowy arms of the Victorian buildings under the sweet smelling star-lit shawl of the Yarra. I discovered the city on the my last night, a little tipsy from all the wine at my first tasting at the Yarra –

With a map in hand, I had started walking down Exhibition Street in the blooIMG_3611ming twilight. Flinders Street was gorgeously lit. I remembered the previous night, the glitzy South Bank, dinner with my friend Kerryn at Guiseppe Anoldi & Sons, the fiery heat of the fireballs lighting up the chill that clawed down to my bones. Tattooed trams whizzed home and away.I found my way past the Yarra, over the lovely Queen’s bridge and to the Eureka Towers. The view from the The Edge was mesmerizing. I remember sitting quietly, staring out at the pulsating city below, traffic moving in dots and dashes, trains pulling in and out of the station.

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”

Later I found myself listening to the mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Something fragile in me wanted to cry.

Most of the other three days were spent travelling. The Great Ocean Road was a symphony in azure. I do not know how else must I describe it. The impossibly blue Antarctic beating against stretches of unexplored beaches, against walls of rocky IMG_3053mountains. The twelve apostles in all their regalia, a rain-lashed ocean and cold grey skies – not the conventional photographer’s choice you might say, but art nonetheless. Lorne with her restless rainbows arching up at leisure, yellow combed cockatoos dotting acres of grasslands, the Doug Stirling trail that snakes along the ocean. And the shimmery sunrise from the pier. I walked down desolate streets, past fences borne down with wild roses. I walked along the boulevard, past shut boutiques reflecting my sparkling eyes. Everything was bathed in the scent of fresh coffee mingled with eucalyptus-essence and sea-salt.

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And ofcourse, Yarra Valley! It was winter and the vines were gnarled. Fuzzy yellow wattle heads were just beginning to show. A beautiful old lady from Tasmania told me, “You must come here in all seasons to know how truly magical the Yarra Valley is!” It got me thinking of clusters of grapes, the pink sakura, peaches and pears and apples and set me longing painfully. Even the stillness was so perfect.

I want to return. In summer. When the city is throbbing with life. In spring. When the flowers are battling in millions of beauty pageants. In autumn. When the russet of leaves line the sidewalks like a page from a crumpled poem. I want to explore the by-lanes and alleys of Melbourne, discover her chic and quirky street art. I want to unravel her carefully preserved secrets. I want to taste the aura of her cafe-lined streetscapes- with the sun in my hair, and pink lemonade oIMG_3426-001n my tongue. I want to sit at the Arts Centre and pen letters to every person I have loved and to every person who has loved me. I want to experience the bustle of the colourful Queen Victoria Market. I want to lose myself in the charming suburbs of Fitzroy/Collingwood and gape at the buildings that grace Carlton with its Italian vibe. I want to lie under a burning sun at the St.Kilda beach, laugh like a 10-year old at Luna Park and go squint-eyed at wonder at the aquarium. I want to lie under the southern stars on the verdant parklands, recite an ode for every constellation I can name. I want to ride in a hot air balloon at dawn, watch the city rubbing her sleepy eyes in the red-gold glow. I want to watch Federer play at the Rod Laver arena. I want to see the penguins at Philip Island. I want to see the sun rise from behind dollops of creamy clouds at Mornington. I want to see the Twelve Apostles standing tall in a sun ravished sapphire sea.

This list might be breathlessly long. But more than everything, I want to hear Melbourne telling me that she loves me too. I want to feel the warmth of her breaths deep under my skin.

When you ask me my reasons for falling in love with the world’s most liveable city, I lead you out in the moonshine and in a whisper tell you to listen to my heart. I promise you will know how certain cities are absolute poetry.

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This post has been published for the Indiblogger “What’s your reason for falling in love with Melbourne, the most livable city in the world?” contest in association with Tourism Victoria.

Watch Tanmay & Rohan in the worlds’s greatest street art capital:

Official link: Tourism Victoria

Contest Alert!

Answer a simple question “Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?” on my blog and the best answer wins an INR 500 shopping voucher!

Deadline: January 4th, 2015, 11:59 IST