There are monsters under Amana’s bed. They come alive when night descends upon her world like a dark blanket studded with white pearls, emitting a soft glow. She has not seen them but on some nights she hears long nails scratching the sides of her yellow cot. The scratches always disappear by morning. On other nights, she hears coarse, throaty whispers in a tongue foreign to her.

She does not tell abba or ammi. Even when they come to kiss her chubby, little face and tuck her into bed. Every night.

Even when abba lingers around a little longer to play a game with her before she goes to sleep. Every night.

Their game has only one rule: never tell anyone what happens in the room. Not even ammi. After an hour of relentless playing, Amana is in gut wrenching pain but neither a scream escapes her lips nor a single tear falls down from her eyes. Before leaving the room, abba kisses her gently on the cheek and closes the door leaving her alone with her thoughts, radium stars and spaceships on the ceiling and three drops of blood on the sheets. Coarse whispers and the sound of long nails scratching are not heard tonight (or are they?) as Amana dozes off into a dreamless slumber. Next morning, ammi curses the mosquitoes for the stained sheets and for the disturbance they would have caused her jaan. The day rolls on lazily as Amana worries about monsters and nightly games while reciting the tables; ammi about the dinner menu and abba about the scratch marks on every part of his body excluding his face.

Abba worries of his nightmares from his previous night. Nightmares of coarse, throaty whispers. Long nails scratching his hairy chest. Coarse, throaty whispers that eerily sound like his nine year old daughter’s name. There are monsters under Amana’s bed.



What lies in the spaces between words?
Yes, in the spaces.
Maybe, this tiny space
Contains emotions so overwhelming
That puts a writer to shame
For failing to conceive them into words.
How does something so vast
Fit into such a small entity?
They don’t.
They choke, stutter and gasp
And sever parts of themselves
To squeeze in.
Some of them survive,
While others ebb away slowly
And their remains are buried
Between the words.

How do I know this?
Oh, it’s no big secret!
Just like those emotions,
Sometimes people, who are pure but for a few blemishes
And cannot be defined by you and me or anybody,
Suffocate as the walls close in
And are found buried in the least cared for spaces;
Sometimes alive
And sometimes dead.

Dying is an Art

I let a wave of unsolicited emotions
Wash over me
And I cry alone.
You do not hear my violent sobs, 
That usually leaves me gasping for air
Like a dying fish.
This time, it is a single teardrop
Trickling down from my swollen eyes
Onto my cheeks and pillows
As I lay down listening to Sylvia Plath read ‘Lady Lazarus’.

Would this silent torment
Come to an end
If my wrists bled
As much as my eyes cried?
Would I be fine
If I hugged you one last time?
Or should I let a rope hug my neck instead?
Would you have cared 
If I enjoyed poison
The same way I enjoy my drink
 – slowly and relishing every drop?

Putting my morbid thoughts aside,
I try to drift off to sleep.
Even a dreamless slumber would do.
Maybe Plath was right!
Dying is an art, 
And I might have a calling.

Your Fight Song

You are weary of nursing
All the wounds on your back
From the incessant stabbing
And your own thoughts, sometimes
Renders you sleepless.
But do not give in, my girl
For you are made of sterner stuff
Like the ravaging seas;
Deep enough to swallow cities
And it’s petty mortals.
You are like the volcanoes;
That can burn not just flesh
But souls too.
You have the power to wreak havoc
But are wise to remain quiet.

The world will tie you down
With chains of self-doubt, insecurity
And most importantly, love.
Break them, darling!
They may tear your skin,
Break your bones
But your soul cannot be touched.
Because these creatures
Do not care to see
Beyond your swollen eyes
That has spilt many a tear
For the undeserving
And your cracked lips
That has not curved into a smile
For a long time now.
And the love these beings
So abundantly shower on you
Is a mere embellishment
To hide their decaying souls
Diseased with selfishness and vanity.
Do not be fooled, love!

You will find yourself
Locked up in a tower
And guarded by ferocious demons.
Do not wait for Prince Charming
To come to your rescue
Or the King
Who locked you up
To keep you safe not sane;
To free you.
Wield your own sword, my girl
And defeat the demons,
Not just the ones outside the tower
But those in your mind, too.

So when you are tired
But unable to sleep,
Do not listen to a lullaby
About mothers rocking their babies
To deep slumber,
For you are not a regular girl.
You are a warrior
Fighting battles for survival
That nobody knows about.
In the quiet of the night
Listen to your own heartbeat
And you will hear a song,
A fight song.
Your fight song.

Guilty Pleasure

    Your mere sight has me in raptures. You make me feel something that nobody can; something new, something exciting, something that makes my heart beat ten times faster. I look at you longingly, waiting to consume and be consumed in hungry passion. Maybe you were the muse for the thousand sonnets written by poets madly in love. Maybe you were the reason for men killing their own kind on battlefields. I am not a poet or a warrior but man; I could write a book just about your smooth, flawless brown skin and fight any formidable opponent just to keep you all for myself. My heartbeat becomes louder; so loud that even you can hear it as I come closer. I trace my fingers across your clothes that cover your sensuous, well-chiselled body. Only you posses the power to entice the strong willed and the self-disciplined without even batting an eyelid. I wonder what black magic lies beneath that innocent looking demeanour.

    You seem to enjoy my caresses against your well clothed body just as much as I enjoy my fingers covering every inch. You hesitate and hold on to your clothes as I try to undress you slowly but sweetheart, I know you well! I know how you love this kind of attention and want more. After many attempts you are finally naked in my hands, melting slowly from the rising temperature. The sound of your clothes falling to the floor felt like the harps of thousand angels playing from heaven. Words cannot describe how I am in awe of your raw beauty and vulnerability. I almost hear a moan escape my lips but honey, we have hardly started! I bring you closer to my lips and gently lick that delicious looking brown skin. I feel you quivering and shaking as my tongue touches every bit of your body but you love it too, don’t you?

    I slowly bite into your warm skin and you lose control of yourself and surrender to my whims and fancies completely. You are like the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden- unable to resist the temptation to devour you despite knowing that you will be the reason for my downfall. You are like the divine nectar churned by the gods- too much of you is poison but I simply do not care if your kiss kills me. Pure ecstasy envelops me as we finish satisfying each others’ hunger. I crave for your gentleness against my lips and bittersweet taste in my tongue. I long for your gentle kisses on my lips and fingertips. I want more but you are scared for me and ask me to take things slowly. It is like you have cast a spell on me as I nod my head in consent and watch you slip away into oblivion. With a heavy heart I say goodbye as I wash off the evidence of our encounter from my lips and fingers and throw away your clothes. Nobody should ever know about our secret moments of guilty pleasure. Cheating on my diet with a bar of chocolate never felt this good.


“You don’t have to work.
Your dad is rich
And your husband will earn enough too.”
You say.

Trying to control my seething anger
I gently remind you
Of my ninety percent in twelfth grade
And my degrees from the best universities.
I neither earned them
To be a fancy addition
Behind my name on a wedding invitation;
Nor did I study hard
To just slave away in your kitchen
And produce your family heirs.
I did not ace interviews
To be shown off
As the ‘obedient wife’
Or the ‘well-settled daughter’.

Shocked at my brazenness,
You feel ‘sorry’ for the man
I will have to marry.
But I do not pay heed to your words
Because they are shaped
On ego and insecurities,
While mine are products
Of an open mind and
A battle for an identity.

A Letter to all Parents

Dear parents,

I hope you are doing fine. I have been meaning to write this letter for quite some time but put it off for some reason or the other. This is an open letter to all the parents who read my blog and if you are not a parent then do me a favour and show it to yours. This letter contains things that your son or daughter might want to tell you but does not. Raising kids is not an easy job because there is no course in college that teaches you ‘Teenagers: 101’ or ‘How to Pacify Crying Kids’ and we understand that you have sacrificed a lot of things just to make us happy and see us shine. But there are a few things you need to hear from our side. So take your time and read this long but sincere letter.

    First of all, we are different from you and that is not a bad thing. Yes, our take on a lot of things can be very different from yours. For instance, some of us support gay rights, are atheists or agnostic, choose to be vegans, believe that gender is fluid and so on. We are exposed to a lot of different information that shapes our thoughts and opinions which might be of concern to you because they are not similar to yours. Well, let me tell you something. Your parents might have found your views to be ‘too progressive’ and ‘not in lieu with our culture’ but you turned out just fine. The same thing is happening to us and do not worry, we will be fine too.

Secondly, please do not compare us with other kids. I know you want us to be the best at everything we do but it hurts when you tell us that another person is better than us. All of us have something unique that makes us stand out and to quote Dr. Seuss ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’ Sorry to break your bubble but the cherubic faced, well mannered and studious prodigy who is the ‘ideal child’ is sometimes the craziest one. How do I know? Well, that would mean spilling secrets and putting some people I know in trouble and – someone just take this laptop away from me before I reveal anything else! Well, the thing is we love to make you proud by doing something that we are good at and it does not always have to be studies or sports.

    Lastly, be our friends. I know you have been trying to do that for the past five or six years but hear me out here. Try talking to us about something that we could relate to. For instance, talk to us about the pranks you played in school or the time you were suspended from college (we all know that happened!) so that we can open up about some silly stuff we have done without being afraid of being punished. Talk to us about the ‘forbidden stuff’ like sex, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, etc because if you don’t we might end up getting information from the wrong source and that can go wrong in a lot of ways. We are not little kids anymore so instead of threatening or scolding, why don’t you try being a cool friend?

Being a teenager nowadays is harder than you imagine. There is so much of peer pressure and though you tell us to ignore it, it is not that simple. I have to admit, that we have crazy fights and might not get along sometimes due to ‘generation gap’ but we love you know that you want the best for us. I hope I have not offended you with anything that I have said. If so, please accept my apologies. So these were some of the things that I felt my generation would want to tell the previous generation. I sincerely wish we would find great companions in each other for a lifetime.

Your teen on the verge of adulthood.

My Greatest Pet Peeve

This blog post is about one of my greatest pet peeves – double standards. Those who have read my previous posts would have noticed the serious manner in which topics like suicide and freedom have been dealt with. Unlike them, this one is going to be light hearted and satirical. Google defines double standards as a rule or which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups. In layman’s terms, it is basically having different rules for our sons and daughters. Growing up Indian that is something we have all been exposed to.
Before getting started, I considered meditating for a while to calm my nerves in case I pass out due to excessive anger and or high blood pressure because double standards for men and women infuriate me. But the idea was dropped because when I tried closing my eyes for some time all I could hear was the ‘Clubla Mubla’ song in my head by the Jallikattu hero, Mr.Adhi a.k.a Hip-hop Tamizha and that was enough inspiration. Men and women are two different but equal beings, so why different rules? ‘A good woman does not drink or smoke.’ We have all heard this statement at different points of our lives, haven’t we? People usually justify this statement by playing either the culture or the health card. Apparently our ‘progressive’ culture says that men are permitted to drink and smoke while women are not and it seems pretty funny that only women have lungs and livers that would be damaged by drinking and smoking and not men. Alcohol and cigarettes are bad for health, not just for women but also for men.
Take the instance of marriage. While the woman is expected to choose between her career and family, the man is not put in any such situation. Both of them have studied and worked hard to reach to get where they are but why is the woman’s career at jeopardy? Is it because women are nurturers and caregivers while men are providers and breadwinners? If I have read your mind correctly, then congratulations! You have just won yourself a free time travel to the Stone Age because that’s where this kind of thought belongs. In this age and era, it has become a necessity that men and women work together to run the family. I could give millions of examples for double standards like curfews, dress codes, etc for men and women but this is not the only group we are focussing here. All that I am trying to say is let us not set standards and be quick to judge.
India is a country of millions of languages, religions, castes, gods and what not. Despite being such a diverse country, we have double standards when it comes to racism. We have seen Indians being prone to racist attacks in various countries like USA, Australia, Sri Lanka, etc. When I read about these attacks, I was very angry and felt that Indians are humans too and deserve to be treated like one until I heard my neighbours, relatives and every Tom, Dick and Harry use slurs against a particular caste or race. No matter how progressive we claim to be, we have all been racist at some point in our lives. Be it making jokes about a particular community or stereotyping people of a caste or religion, racism is so inbuilt that it does not seem wrong until one of us becomes a victim. I am against racism but we cannot expect others to treat us as equals when we ourselves are yelling casteist and racist slurs at our fellow citizens.
I know how it feels when an educated head of the school tells you that girls have to wear longer skirts not to ‘attract’ boys or when your teacher jokes about a particular community in class like it is not offensive. What is the point of spending huge sums of money on education if it does not teach you to treat all humans equally or question unfair rules and practices? The world is already chaotic with clowns for world leaders and climate change and clowns who think climate change is a hoax. Do we have to make it worse by being judgemental and treating people differently because they are different from us? Let us treat everybody the way we would like to be treated because it is not only right to do so but also what makes us humans.


You plaster a fake smile
Across your lips
Pretending to be happy.
While the entire world
Believes your pretension,
I know differently.

How would I know?
You wonder.
I see your eyes
Tired from sobbing into the quiet of the night.
I hear your muffled cries
Dying behind locked doors.

The cuts on your wrists
And the rope marks on your neck
Are invisible to this world.
But I can see
The number of times you have died
Or been killed, rather.

You cannot take it any longer
So you decide to tighten the noose
For real this time.
But something stops you.
You wonder how I know you this well
So I share my secret,
“You are not the only one
Battling against this ghastly world”.

Unconvinced, the noose is still around your neck.
So I try one last time
And show you
The cuts and marks
That are invisible to this world,
Not on your wrists or neck
But on mine.
And whisper,
“I was here too but I chose to live
And change what drove me to the noose.
You should live to do the same.”

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers in India and depression is one of the main reasons why many are driven to commit suicide.
Sadly,depression is not even considered as a mental disease by many. Some think of it as a phase or something that would go away eventually but it will not. In advanced stages, only proper medication and counselling can cure this deadly illness. If you feel depressed, talk to somebody who is willing to listen. Suicide is not the answer to everything because life is beautiful despite that fact that it can punch you in your face or knock you down continuously. If you ever feel like giving up on life, think of all the people you love and remember that you deserve all the happiness in this world and do not let anybody tell you otherwise.

The Answer

“You never seem satisfied
With the abundance
I have given you.
What more do you want?”
You seek an answer.

The red lipstick
That cost you a fortune
Feels heavy on my lips,
Blocking my words.
A thin strand of shiny metal
Studded with sparkling stones
Embellishes my neck.
Feels like a feather to you
But I know its weight.

You drape me in rich silk.
Beautiful yet heavy;
So heavy, that it nearly chokes me.
But I brave a smile and
Appreciate its finesse.
You put me in a mansion and
Fill it with the air
That you were made to breathe.
But you and I both know
That we breathe different air.
So I suffocate
And struggle to breathe
In my own nest.

You watch me like a hawk
As I try to answer.
Yes. What more could I possibly want?
The answer demands to be
Loud and clear
But it comes out as a pathetic whisper
That sounded something like: