Cotton Candy

Abstract, by Linda Woods

Some days, I feel like the apartment is incredibly suffocating. I stretch and hit a wall; my head slams against the window that is much too old to be opened and I find a tornado within my chest. Some days, the room is an entire ocean and I feel like a bird that cannot swim. I hate Brooklyn, I think. I hate its narrow alleys, the fire escapes, the possibility of the fire. I already smell the smoke. Continue reading “Cotton Candy”

Instructions on Falling in Love.

ariyathe

Love in secret, quietly, with an overlay of silence over the violin dub.  Hell, don’t even voice the word until it’s dark enough to see your shadow. Even then, whisper it. Cup your fingers over your lips, breathe in deeply and slowly let it go; let it flow into the insides your lungs, allow it to linger in your mouth like minty cigarette smoke on cold winter evenings. Continue reading “Instructions on Falling in Love.”

കാത്തുമ്മയുടെ ആട്

Click for Flickr by jeffjose

“നീ വല്ലതും കഴിച്ചോ?” എന്നത്തേയും പോലെ വേനല്‍ അവധിക്കു വീട്ടില്‍ വരുമ്പോഴുള്ള  അമ്മച്ചിയുടെ ഈ ചോദ്യത്തിനു തലയാട്ടികൊണ്ട് ലിവിംഗ് റൂമിലെ വെല്‍വെറ്റ് ദിവാനിലേക്ക് ഞാന്‍ ചാടികേറി. കുറച്ചു കാര്‍ട്ടൂണ്‍, പിന്നെ ഒരുറക്കം, പിന്നെ അമ്മച്ചിയുടെ വക വഴക്കും ഡിന്നറും- പതിവൊന്നും തെറ്റിക്കാന്‍ പാടില്ലല്ലോ.

“കാത്തു!!”

അന്ന് പക്ഷേ അമ്മച്ചിയുടെ വിളി ഒരല്പം നേരത്തെ ആയിരുന്നു, ടെക്ക്സ്റ്റര്‍  തുടങ്ങിയിട്ട് അധികം ആയിട്ട് പോലും ഇല്ല.. ശോ! ഈ അമ്മച്ചി.

“എന്തോ?” ഞാന്‍ ഉറക്കെ അലറി. “ആ” എന്ന് അലറിയാല്‍ അപ്പച്ചന്‍ വഴക്ക് പറയും. നല്ല കുട്ട്യോള്‍ “എന്തോ” എന്നാ വിളി കേള്‍ക്കുന്നേ എന്നാ അപ്പച്ചന്‍ പറയുന്നേ.. ആ, ഇനി ആദ്യത്തെ ദിവസം തന്നെ വഴക്ക് വേണ്ട – എന്തോ എങ്കില്‍ എന്തോ.
Continue reading “കാത്തുമ്മയുടെ ആട്”

What Will Never Be

flickr by jitenshaman

If I were a boy, I wonder whether my dad would drink with me. I wonder whether he’d sit me down, and offer me a crystal glass with a bit of golden whiskey and jumping soda. When I grimace at its bitter taste, he’d tell me, “son, this is good for the heart. It’ll make you a stronger man.” And I’d stay with him on weekend summer nights with my feet on the kitchen counter, watching the blurry pirated Malayalam movie playing on a flat-screened TV, sipping and savoring the spicy chasers with circular onions on the side. When I drive with him sitting next to me, the smiling photo on my permit would wink. Continue reading “What Will Never Be”

In a Stranger’s Mind

fic·tion /ˈfɪkʃən/ –noun
1. the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form.
2. something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story.
3. an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.


Naseemah. The layers of kohl she applied this morning had gathered on either ends of her eyes, giving her the appearance of a warrior after his hardest battle. The ends of her straight black hair had found its way out of the tired bun she had made and hung instead out of every curve, prying open her breaking head. Her fringed bangs had, however, stayed in their place, adding the sole bit of order to her system. What had she done today? Her thoughts found her voice. Well, not much, the writer answers.. just buried a stranger. Continue reading “In a Stranger’s Mind”

A Journey with No Destination

I quickly shut my eyes and took a deep breath. The open door of the bus allowed for two minutes of real fresh air as a woman slowly descended the fraying steps, her purple sari rising just enough to display her edemic ankles and puffy little feet. The conductor tugged on the rope and drew the door shut. I couldn’t help but lean forward and watch the woman waddle back into the darkness between the dusty-white buildings.

My sweaty hands were a constant irritation. One tightly clutched the iron bar above my head while the other was bound to a plastic shopping bag. I alternated hands, carefully wiping the sweat off onto my cream-colored churidar top. There were three layers of people squished behind me. I could smell the coconut oil from the hair of the lady closest to me. I shut my eyes and composed myself. I’ll make it through.

To be a Girl.

 

All you need to do is learn how to fly.
All you need to do is learn how to fly.

A monologue. Partly true, partly fictional. I imagined myself performing it.. at a “feminist”s monologue night. But I don’t think I will. Maybe one day, I’ll get the courage. Maybe, maybe not.

And the stage lights rise. A spotlight focuses on that figure in the middle..

I found out when I was four. My grandparents had argued a lot that day. After it was all over, Ammachi, my grandmother, was sitting in the kitchen muttering something. At first, I couldn’t make anything out. I was just sitting there and playing “teacher” with my teddy bears. But then, I began to recognize words- especially one of them.. rape.

I had learned the word a week before, when I was watching a Malayalam movie with that weird balding guy with the long hair.. I forgot his name. Well, he was hugging and pulling a girl on a bed and then blood started to come from her mouth and she was crying and then, she died. I asked my cousin what had happened and he said that she was raped. I thought it was like a gun. I knew a lot about guns. Dishoom! Continue reading “To be a Girl.”

Borderline Sanity

          “Why do they hate me?” she looked at him. Her big brown eyes reflected the view out his window. There were tons of people there, staring at her face without smiling. She saw the anger in their eyes and flinched. “What had I ever done?”
          “They don’t hate you, Leksh,” he shook his head with a laugh, “They hate You, in italics and capital letters.” Continue reading “Borderline Sanity”

Of her Character

Image from mhoye

The girl bit into her lips as she stepped onto the bus. No, not here, not now. She didn’t like those things that were forming in her eyes. Blinking hard, she rummaged through her bag for the yellow slip, a bus pass- to take her home so that she can cry. The writer pauses at these 0verly melodramatic words. When had she become this kind of writer? Je ne l’est comprends pas, the girl’s thoughts continued, paying no attention to the writer’s apparent deviation. These days, she doesn’t understand much. The writer acknowledges that perhaps she never did. The bus driver gives her a slight nod and the girl dutifully curls her lips up. That’s all she can manage right now.

. Continue reading “Of her Character”