Amruthavarshini Halugodu

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(Poem below)

BUILDING FOUNTAIN OVER MY COFFIN BREATHE because those lungs won’t stay young for too long. they say the air is turning wild unfathomable humans have woven their magic. the surface seemed too unscathed too beastly with untamed splashes of stains all over wrong places. We have this problem you see, we want our presence felt at a place we have laid our body parts on and footprints are only but a temporary means to leave marks. They started with red. Too much of red within and hardly a streak outside, yeah sometimes a splash across the evening sky doesn’t count. So they found a way. Why not, in the name of a better life a better world a better god, play the game of cutting each other? There! Earth has been tainted and coloured now. Pieces of meat strewn around, oh look at the rivers. They won’t boast of purity now. Red. They like things red. It has a primal force that no green blue or brown of the world can match. Wait. No. Something is wrong. This doesn’t feel complete. Something is missing Something. Yes! Her skin is too clear and ego rampant. The rage and storm is brewing faster than the Harvey. Let us mark her. Leave imprints of naked fingers over her empty arms and unmarked legs, complete the artwork with cigarette butt marks at other places. There. Now you can breathe. What were you saying about the air? I know you haven’t slept more peacefully. LAUGH Spread your arms wide enough to contain all the happiness there is. You don’t find it easy these days. Fill every ounce of air there is within those alveoli and let the vocal cords do their magic. Inhale happiness and exhale laughter. *breathe in-breathe out* Don’t forget the eyes. I see them happy today. Moments, like these is what I live for. Just let the feral take over your body and Let the wolves know you are home. No no. Don’t stop because they are looking. They always do. I told you. Happiness doesn’t come easy here. Remind them of sunny oceans and warm cups of tea in monsoon of Christmas lights and fairy tales because Claws of hierarchy have gnawed into their arteries and the veins too, haven’t been spared. You see, they are hurting everywhere. Laugh and make them believe in piggyback rides and mistletoe kisses of tooth fairies and sheer old good luck. Let them see you laughter and burn on a pyre built on their altar because they are way too high on vodka to remember how it feels to have heart broken and skin sutured to have the ground crack open beneath bare feet and fall. But more importantly, they have forgotten to swat away dust from the back of their khakhi shorts and find their way away from the riot to set the world on fire. CRY because you are drowning. And what better place to hide those useless, unwelcoming tears Than under water. You think you own yourself? You are the masters of your fate? Your destiny? You think you decide what’ll happen to you? Think again. I will give you two seconds. *1-2* there. I just proved my point. I made you think, made you hear me out. Everyday you get up to the drumrolls of feminism, secularism, nationalism and the likes yet, every frequency of those sound waves hitting your eardrums doesn’t manage to make it’s home inside your skin. You still hope that the guy whose eyes your eyes met at the bar of your friend’s funeral would text you. You expect piercing bullets to not leave marks and trees to offer you shade when you have cut them all down. You expect the city to offer gold when all you have showered it with, are your whimsical tears. Go on. Let it fall. It’s the least of yourself you can give. Cry, because a woman is raped every 15 minutes. Cry, because someone’s dies on the road every 4 minutes. Cry, because 21 children under the age of 5 die every minute Cry, because we are meticulously killing humanity to silence the holocaust within but we forget that Hitler, was one of us. SCREAM Because reasoning is light years away and emotion is hot metal over wet tongue. You are made up of star dust yet you aren’t shining bright enough. Frantic nights spent over long distance phone calls and equal number of days of being sprawled over the atlas Making paper dreams and combustible promises won’t leave any mark. G strings and polaroids done right may seem like a bloody paradise but oh it is all a facade, so do not remain silent. i see the blazing inferno behind monkey masks and plastic laughs so Stop. Stop with the filters and the god forsaken hearts. You are an incomplete page of an incredible book And you need to scream out loud. Scream, till words are forced to leave the comfort of A4 sizes and dear diaries. Scream, till it is not monochrome everywhere and shops don’t just sell the bedsheets red. Scream, because your laughter has left the distorted shadows that haunt the roads you once called home and threaten to wipe away a little more. Scream, till every syllable that never left your mouth finds a pyre to burn off ambiguity and bring back hope into newspaper headlines and shadowed baggy eyes. Scream with every father, friend and daughter till their demons are murdered in their own nightmares and they find a corner to lay their head to rest. SCREAM BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T SHATTER THE SCREEN AND BREAK THE GLASS INTO BITS AND PIECES AND TURN IT INTO GALAXIES AND THEIR STARS/ IF YOU DON’T TEAR YOUR VOICE BOX BUT LEAVE THE STADIUM WITH A SILENT REMARK, you will go with fall leaves sans epitaph over your cold tombstone. Build a fountain over your coffin while you still can because tomorrow no one would be left to mourn.

14 NOV AT 23:08

People get all dressy and buy Rakhis in counts of decades on this day.

Me?
I stay home in my pyjamas and tie just one to the guy I am proud of. 
The guy who is the Batman to my Superman.
I love you.

For the love of the same song, Need of same last piece. For the fights and tears, Followed by hugs and beer. For all the things left unsaid, Yet reaching from even a thousand miles apart. For the brother, For the sister. Happy Rakshabandhan.

7 AUG AT 21:21

Validation 

"My validation was 36-24-36
Unattainability was not even an option."
(Read in caption)

The day I Took my first step I fumbled. I think I was most afraid about Falling face down and breaking my nose. (No. I don't remember it. I just assumed.) But what made me Take the second step and the third and the fourth Was the cheer! It sounded like a charade of happy music Being played exclusively for me. The Claps ; the wohoos ; The Yes- yes - yes ; the ajaa - ajaa - ajaa. And hence I took The first 7 steps of my life. And fell right into My mother's arms. That day, I experienced stardom. I was asked to smile, Repeat what I did. Cameras, flashlights! Paparazzi surrounded the 11 month old baby Who sat there Smiling foolishly, saliva Dripping down her toothless grin. My cousin sister was 7 days older than me. Yet. I took the first step. And not just one, but seven huge steps. That was the first time I realised the importance of validation. 2 years passed. I tried to smile the same smile. Well formed teeth poking out, saliva dripping. I was given a look, Of disgust. The look you give when you smell Fish being cooked in olive oil. I was told to keep my smile dry. That's when I realised not everything I do would give me The cheers. Unfortunately, I was dull when it came to potty training. Mom tried everything. Colourful potty seats With Mowgli and Chhota Bheem Smiling and encouraging me To do it right. It didn't work. She tried to show me Moving pictures on a small screen That apparently should have made Her life easy. I failed. Trust me, By then, i'd almost recognised The importance of validation. And I craved it too. But no amount of spites Or action could Control my sphincter's relaxation And the oozing out of the brown At the worst of the times. I think I finally got a candy when I was almost four. I learnt one more thing. Validation tastes like candy floss. First day at school was the usual. Every kid brawled through the window Looking at their teary eyed mothers. I was the kid Who usually didn't dwell Into the how and the why of things. I was the least curious. I didn't care. Like the drivers of Ahmedabad Who gleefully drive on Red - yellow - green ; None of it matters. What matters is the man in the white uniform. My man in the white uniform Was my father. Anyways, I cried too. Like how when you don't understand A pun but still laugh To fit in. Then I realised! Oh. The lady in saare, supposedly called a teacher, according to Cartoon Network Was distributing chocolates To every kid that smiled. I immediately gained my composure And stood there, with a magnificent grin. That day I realised, Validation also meant a free Kaccha Mango Bite. A piece of paper Was thrust right at my face. I was supposed to learn. Say it, Every day Over and over again. It was my gospel, my shlok, my Quran That had to repeated till I either understood it Or just knew it by heart. If I chant it out loud In front of a mic with 100 pair of eyes Staring at me Like we stare at the rainbow in this City. An infrequent guest With wide eyes and even wider brows Voice modulation done right I would win. And I won. That day I realised, a piece of fancy paper With my name on it Called the 'certificate' is what Validation looks like. Then began The clutter and clamour Of things and arms and thoughts and activities. It became a never ending abyss. Music Harmonium Chess Squash Dance Quiz Debate I was insatiable! You see, they all did this to me. They somehow successfully Fed, in the depths of my being That validation Will make you successful. That validation Will help you survive. That validation Should be the motto of your life. That validation Will let you die in peace. Peace. Was a far fetched notion In a world ensued in chaos. Chuk, chrrr Aaaa, brrr Tring, click Tak tak tak. Even in sleep, My dreams seeked to make me the protagonist. Seeking for some form of recognition. Like the plant That needs sunlight. Validation was my Raw material for photosynthesis. Just like How summer arrives gradually after The spring and One does not realise till It's half way there. Or like how one half of the ice cream Drips down the cone Because you were taking care of the other half, searching for validation everywhere My eyes could see, Became a natural phenomenon. My validation turned into The number of likes My Facebook profile picture had. Crossed 200 - 'Umm, okay'. Crossed 300- 'This is goood'. Crossed 400 - 'That's definitely my favourite dress'. Crossed 500 - Ego and self appreciation Will go on hibernation for a while. Thy have had enough! Traveling didn't just involve Exploring, living and breathing the place, Or carrying home One or at max two Fuji films. It involved pictures with the same frame Taken a thousand times To find the perfect one To be shown for More validation. It involved showing the world For 24 hours, my paradise and Checking if the views have Reached my mark. It involved Getting more hearts And a couple of more hashtags To show the world that This is the #ootd during my #summerof2017 Which was #epic and #ineedmoresuchdays Because (I need more validation). And just like that, Validation became numerical. The two digits ; beginning with NINE ending with probably a FIVE or more Which ended with a slash with two circles. Percentage - a word twelfth standard Students are too familiar with was all anyone cared, for a while. The spine erect posture My parents took to when the neighbours asked 'The Number' or The new phone I received Owing to the days of erect spine, sans stoop I had rewarded them with Was the my new definition of Validation. A year. A couple more. My validation now, looked like me walking In a pair of stilettos To hide my mediocre height Because the world needed me to be taller. Genes failed me. But I shall not let Such mere errors Scorn me. I didn't care if they Slowly, meticulously Killed every one of the ten toes That my feet possessed. Validation, that day became painful. My validation was 36-24-36. Unattainability was not even An option. The magazines, the matinees The malls, the moms. They all expected it. I needed the 'beach body' validation To satisfy my social media validation. Months went by ; To no avail. The chest and the torso and the butt Had their own equation going on. One of them ended up being too small Or too large! That day, validation became a realisation. I am no Scarlett Johansson. Marriage and the usual shenanigans Came into picture. The Manish Malhotra Lehenga The Bridal Photo shoot The 5 day rasam riwaaz in grandeur The honeymoon in greece passed in a jiffy. Every step taken with one purpose - Seeking to please. Please the eyes that saw the affair, Please the eyes involved in the affair, Please the eyes who demanded the affair. Please the photographer Who would be uploading it all To make it to the 'WeddingSutra'. All of it came down to one fight A fight ignited by the absence of the fuel. The fuel named Validation. That day, I realised Validation also meant heart breaks. My poetry is like Adhrak and pudine waali chai. I brew the words with metaphors Add the perfect amount of Pauses and a tinge of heav vocabulary Simmered to perfection; Poured into the best of the ceramic Served, enjoy ma'am. I don't want my cup to be forgotten In the corner, Layer of cream shrouding the top. Standing here, doing spoken word poetry Because *click click* Validation. Keep going with that. I'll keep performing. Validation was definitely woodoo! It changed forms, evolved Like an animagus. A chain reaction set up Right within me that Denied to cease till it's consumed All of me And all of you. It asked me to want more. I wanted more. If only, I had stopped. When I was eleven months old. If only I'd fallen face down, Broken my nose. If only I was never given The candy floss. Today, I need Validation for survival. It's almost as precious As my breath. The need for Validation Has made me like plastic. It has made me plastic. I AM PLASTIC.

6 AUG AT 20:22