Thursday, September 7, 2017

Muse

You search here,
I will look there.
Holler if you find something.
Anything.
Just traces would do too.
Or so these mindless mind conversations go on.

The aftermath of a crime scene
Disheveled, almost ransacked it looks.
This brain space sees old places, travels time
And walks hand in hand with someone
Who now isn’t even mine.

The sun rises and eventually, the days draw to a close.
How much I long for an inspiration
the crossed out crumpled sheets in the trash know.
I’ve exhausted playlists and instrumentals alike,
None has helped me so much to even create a tiny prose.

Years it has been
Since I looked you up & close,
When your chin rested on my head
And you drew me in your warm core.
And still today, you stop mid sentence
and your voice breaks at my ‘Hi’.
For the world, you have conveniently forgotten me,
But the person inside you refuses to even whisper a goodbye.

Life will change some more
Days will still start and end the same,
Cities may be different, time zones may be a challenge;
Ignorance, silences, our inflated egos we will manage.
Only to come back and confess the longings,
Only to stand at the very place our hands last met and drifted.

To so many questions and confusion in my life,
The sound of your name is nectar to my pain.
Why even in the most happening places, I am a recluse.
Why no hope is lost when the world is upside down, obtuse.
Someday you will be someone else’s man,
but forever stay in this parallel of my imagination
as my muse.

© 2017 Neha Choudhry

'Fuimos los mejores, fuimos los peores' by Sara Herranz

Monday, August 21, 2017

White Noise

It rained today.
And I slept with that same smile plastered on my face, the one you said you loved.
The one I coyly smiled when you offered a hug when I said I was so cold.
Who knew being all drenched and shivering would spark open a fire between us, the one that would warm my tomorrows, perhaps long after you are gone.
I've moved away. It's been years. Continents apart we are. You, hating my guts more than ever. Me, ablaze.
Still.
Still.

I wear my hair longer. Gray hasn't reached my roots.
Last week I met someone new. He said I had beautiful eyes. I looked away. Memories.
I've grown up. Or so I thought.
Until I found myself at a crossroad, turning around and following a stranger.
A whiff of perfume. A too familiar tornado of yesterdays. Was it you?
Maybe.
Maybe.

Waking up is tough these days. Maybe because I haven't ever been at rest.
I left my carefree self in your arms. I miss her but it's comforting to be hugging you still, in some way.
Just the way I interpret some of my actions so as to survive each day. Without you.
And you wondered why was there a distance between you and your girl? Why could you never be hers completely?
On my end of the line, I smiled because I knew. My silence, my alibi.
Hopefully.
Hopefully.

He cupped my face in his hands, curled a stray strand in his finger and kissed my eyes.
I kept my eyes closed. Letting him do things I wanted you to.
Sometimes I think I am sleep walking through these years. Vivid though.
Someday I would wake up and your shirt would still be ruffled on my dresser.
And to my right would be your messy-head, snoring away into the night.
Peacefully.
Peacefully.

No matter how much it kills me to see you, I never will close this distance between us.
I court the devil each night. I'm digging my way up from hell.
If sin is what might drain the goodness of you that runs in my blood,
I don't even bat an eyelash when he marks me as his.
Or so he thinks.
Wishfully.
Wishfully.

It rained today. And my pillow was drenched too.
Of moments we lived, dreamed of. The two splitting images of us running with their baby feet in the backyard.
Of so many tomorrows that will never be.
You're the white noise that no one knows about.
The one that I want, I need each night, year after year, to sleep.
Reassuringly.
Reassuringly.

© 2017 Neha Choudhry
Image Source: http://www.sara-herranz.com/

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Always

'Always'
A word stringing promises together
The assurance added before every forever.
With feet on the ground, it sets hope to flight
Sometimes appending anything with it makes things sound about just right.
No matter how your tomorrows may be
No matter the people shuffle but the promises you'll keep.
Life will throw curveballs and you'll bat them right and square
The dream chase may land you in places, on a map you can't point out where.
But what'll stay is this single word affirmation in itself
That whenever you close your eyes, you will have yourself.
The sources may at times be foggy or even invisible
The echo of all those 'Always' professed will keep you company still.

© 2016 Neha Choudhry

Image by: Oriol Angrill JordàArtist website: https://oriolangrill.comImage source: https://instagram.com/p/77eHsArRXE/

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Rainy Morning Realization

There is a place inside us all where we are at peace, where it's you who decides what comes and goes. There may be passageways to your own version of Hogwarts, there may be those corridors in your school where you hung out a little too much to catch a glimpse of your crush. You may find that chain necklace you lost or the street cat you loved so much but it ran away. You may see familiar faces of the people you lost, relive the very instance when a moment became a memory, the little things that make you smile to yourself when you are sitting in silence. You may get to see all those times when life rewarded you with happiness when you weren't even looking for it, when that one guy you loved like anything said he felt the same, when your best friend hugged you in a time you thought the whole world is against you, when you see your mumma papa after almost a year of being far away, when your never-expressive brother sends you a random 'I miss you', when you listen to a song you loved for years but stopped listening all of a sudden because it reminded you of someone you didn't want to miss, when you wake up in the night and see it's raining and sleep back with a smile plastered on your face, when someone hugs you when you need it and says 'Thanks! I really needed that' and you are in a happy confusion saying 'All thanks to you' in your head, when you remember lyrics to a 90s song as soon as it starts playing out of nowhere, when you cook something better than your mum cooks it and then send her images to prove your point or when you dress up all cute and send her pictures saying 'See, I resemble you'...

They say a list of remember whens is way better than if onlys.

I wish the latter list always stays short and the remember whens take up all the space on the canvas of life...

There are many people who can take you back to their place. There is only that one person who can take you back home. Your home. The one inside you, your happy place. His eyes are like fairy lights and his smile is your favorite little blanket, the one you wear all day long. You hold on to a person like that.

© 2016 Neha Choudhry

Image source: http://bit.ly/20qWWLe

Saturday, January 23, 2016

An Expat's Querencia

It's been a while since I let words bleed on paper. Maybe it's the fear of an uncontrolled fission reaction happening deep inside or just the insecurity of a closet-writer: not making much sense. Or the most unconventional one: making way too much sense and not being able to take it from there.

Do you have days when you get to a point where you know you have to move a muscle but you are too tired running all the scenarios in your head that you just throw your hands up in the air and grab the blanket and hibernate for what seems like forever only to wake up more tired than before because you slept too much? Welcome to a writer's block. This is a terrible, terrible place to be in but with unlimited coffee and colored papers strewn around it just might be your Google office for the Lazies.

"How does it feel like to be away from everything you have known and everyone you love?", I have been asked. "How's it gonna be this time?", I ask myself when mid-air, when no land owns me and thousands of feet below, the frigid waters of the Pacific rage. It's a vague void, for starters. You try so hard to put a finger on it but nothing defines it well enough. Vacuum state would be something like this, certainly not empty but not enough energy to carry on with day-to-day living. It only gets better. You wake up one day, put your jammies for laundry, dress in something lady-like, put on some red gloss and there on it's more or less 'God bless your phone's selfie album'. You fluctuate in these two states for days that turn to months, sometimes, and one day you get up and take charge of the situation. "I am going to fight the dementors", declares your inner Hermione and you actually stay sane for that week. Kudos starfire! And the whirlpool shifts back and forth. Days begin and days end. Sometimes you sleep, sometimes you don't.

"How are you guys handling the distance?", some ask. I smile. That's what I do to basically pass the question to Time. It better have some good excuses. Every time you see him on the other side of the world, trying to make you laugh with all the funny faces he possibly can make without tearing up, is a treat. He witnesses all your cooking experiments wishing he could grab a spoon and taste it for once or when your phone dies and you are incommunicado, he flips through your pictures wishing you were around. Every home karaoke session is a default dedication to him and all the couple holidays are pre-decided Skype dates. And then there is also that once in a fortnight 'leave me alone' *slams imaginary door* scenario that doesn't matter when you clearly know that's not going to happen. He is the screening process for everything new in your life and you are the overseas Mogambo he has to keep khush, come what may. Songs from 2007 suddenly seep into your play list and while the Bose speakers are crying for a change, you practically hum Maula Mere Maula all day long, bathing cooking dreaming.

Home calls are an every day thing. "Is it foggy yet, Papa?", "Did you have boiled egg today, Mumma?", "So what am I getting to distract ma-pa from the Internals result topic, Bhai?", "You remember the pen drive argument Anu, or the time when Mansi won't stop laughing when were playing along a lie we made up?"... Your name twin would just message out of no where, being all sentimental and when you ask her what's going on, she would bombard you with emotional question bombs while you try and talk her back to sleep. And then are some friendships you would rather let be intact in silence than wink and lose in a blink because you can't ever say goodbye to her. One of your girls is new to the whole Away from home world (read: wedding gift) and you just want to make sure, off and on, that she is keeping well.

The biggest thing that happens is that you cling to the little things in life. These tiny babies become the foundation atoms to a whole new you. You keep screen shots of something touchy Mumma said, voice mail from Papa asking you to take care and sleep on time, picture collages your best friends made as a farewell gift, miniature bottle of the cologne from your novio's favorite collection and countless memories where you couldn't breathe because you were laughing too hard. "How lucky I am to have known somebody and something that saying goodbye to is so damned awful.", wrote Evans G. Valens. Truer words were never written.

And life does pick itself up, day by day. You spread your wings and soar towards the sunlight. You meet like-minded people, chat a little and eventually sign a lease together and an 800 sq ft. apartment becomes your home away from home. Thanks to your roomies, Saturday mornings you wake up to the aroma of Rajma Chawal and they make you feel like the next Master Chef when the Chicken curry you cooked is devoured by smiling faces. Sometimes you can't sleep and they stay up to troubleshoot your turmoil over one of the Bournvita sessions and tuck you to sleep. You work in a place where people greet you in a very different pronunciation of your name that you somehow end up liking. Sometimes you come across strangers who are interested to know more about your country or you meet a few who enthusiastically tell you about their vacation in Goa. There are days when you binge watch Bollywood movies in a Cinema complex where people are queuing up to see Star Wars. You bike to Starbucks and spend the day at Barnes & Noble store, trying to find your new curl buddy. And in no time, you are already booking a ride back home.

And here comes the FRIENDS reference I was waiting to fit in somewhere; Survival 101 by Monica: Welcome to the real world! It sucks. You're gonna love it!

© 2016 Neha Choudhry

Image source: http://tinyurl.com/z8texxg

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sweater Weather

September 03, 2015
02:43 AM

Bring back the laughter so I can box it, stamp your name on it and tuck it away...
Bring back the weather, that monsoon, my second guessing self stealing glances at you since forever...
Bring back the courage you gathered to hold my hand and flaunt me as your precious little treasure...
But before all that, just stay real close, I'm shivering cold, be my favorite sweater...

P.S. Writing prompt of the day: the cute little flutter in the sound of the word 'sweater'.

Previously posted on Facebook via my account.

© 2015 Neha Choudhry

Image source: Google Images

Flame shot

He liked his scotch neat. Sometimes straight up. He would let it stay around, talking, grabbing some munchies, gradually letting the alcohol absorb and building up for subsequent rounds. He let the molecules play with his taste buds, almost like a long conversation happening every time the glass left his lips. There was some heat, yes, but this is what every other drink could get him. He is always looking for something that can engage him, keep him guessing. Every time the back of his throat burns, he loves the way it almost starts a wildfire in his heart. He himself has no idea what the next sip would bring. The first sip may remind him of his first kiss. The one he stole sharing a piece of chocolate with his cute crush back in grade 7. While his nose is all absorbed in the citrus vanilla aroma, his soul is doing somersaults in the chocolate haven mouth of his. And then it descends down the throat and burns like a hundred suns, a million heartbreaks all at once. "Where's the orange?", he thinks to himself 'cause there is a subtle tangerine-ish tingle to this burning. He lets it trickle further more, like the first set of tears when she left him; this is one cascade he controls. Oh the taste! There's a party in his heart and a bonfire in his mouth. His voice slurs a little saying her name, his eyes could put embers to shame. Smoke! It's finally hitting home, he presumes. This should be the last taste it will leave him with, the smoky sweet caramel gift to the palate, the warm fuzzy love-like at heart.

She liked her tequila neat. Never in a cocktail. Never staying on the table for long. If it's here, it will be sculled down, with or without lemon slices. Food can wait. She never had the time. She never really gave it much time or thought. Her pointers were clear: the instant numb, the meteor-in-my-throat burn, the vanishing memories, the light-headed happy she. Don't laugh when she begins to define it as "evolved" instead of "aged". The more evolved the drink, the more unevolved she begins to act, which mostly involves translating Spanish names on the Tequila bottles to English followed by crazy uncontrollable laughter; "Casa Noble Añejo" is an old/mature noble house. Depth of flavor eventually comes around. It hits you like a truck in the middle of freeway. A few such happy accidents and she is practically floating mid-air, refusing to be normal, rather questioning normalcy.

It was one usual day at the bar. They stepped in to escape the rain. She was cold. He was nervous. It was just the two of them today.

He ordered his usual. She ordered her usual.

"Wanna try something new?", he looked deep in her eyes and asked.
"Sure", she said, passing her shots to him in exchange.
"Remember, this is not a shot. Take it slow. Give it time", he smiled.
She smiled.

It's been three years and now she understands. She didn't just switch drinks that evening. She switched the way she loved things, people. She became what he is with his drink: patient. What was always head-first, urgent and sculled down, with or without lemon slices, became almost like a long conversation happening every time his eyes met hers. She now waited to let it grow on her for she knew what followed was a party in her heart and a bonfire in her soul. This should be the last feeling in her heart before it stops beating, the warm fuzzy love-like one.

© 2015 Neha Choudhry

Image source: Google Images

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Can't kill this sparkle

Never did I know,
somehow,
I had learned your freckles
the way children learn constellations in Astronomy
Or the lines in your hands
the way people know their way home.

Never did I think,
even in passing,
I would have to learn to live through skipped beats and sighs
in the mere mention of your name and not by looking into your eyes
Or that some morning you would find yourself unknowingly humming the tune to my favorite song
while oceans apart I toss in bed with hiccups.

Never did we stop and see,
closely,
What we had once, possessed the power to raise castles in dust
and the love I loved you with would make you coming back to me in some way or the other
Or that after we crumple and burn each other in our hearts
our hands would forever hold crushed stars to the world we once started creating.

Never really.
Until now.

© 2015 Neha Choudhry

Monday, June 1, 2015

Iris

So you did exactly what your heart asked of you
You picked her up, that mess of a little rebel she was and placed,
a tiara of hope on her head
some embers in her eyes
watch her bleed poetry
and bloody beautifully so.

Day after day
There she lay painting pictures of you in lights her world might never see
Who said it has to happen to be able to live it?
She could walk the blindfolded you through the roads she traversed
a thousand years in those numbered days
and gleefully so.

Do you remember her?
If you do, what about her?
Do you miss that innocent face of her while she sleeps?
Hard to believe what a mini-monster she is in the day, ain't it?
I eavesdrop her every now and then talking to herself about you in her sleep
and smilingly so.

I like the slope of her waist
and how the ice cube glides on it making her toss around and hug me
But I'm not sure how to feel about her
Were you?
I wish you were
and honestly so.

The long happy honey waves she wore are short to a grim pixie now
When was the last time you saw her?
Did she smile?
Of course she would have
then left it right there with you
and willfully so.

Steam rises and she walks out with a towel crowning her head
Everyday she scrubs some part of you off of her
or so she thinks.
And every time she closes her eyes
she remembers the spokes in your iris
and vividly so.

© 2015 Neha Choudhry


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Coffee diaries

Time introduces things and gives you an impression that you are the one choosing. It builds you up making you believe that you are the one who gets to choose the color of the ink your destiny will be written in, the perfume your senses would wake up to as if you are born again and the gaze that will tear you down or build you up.

False. It's just an impression. Time handles it all anyway. It just rolls the credits well in time for you to know what all is going to be there, either for a while or for the entire lifetime.

But then again, some choices are left to you.

Like taking that first step off your porch in the rain, picking hydrangea instead of rose, preferring bitter dark chocolate over milk chocolate, ordering salad dressing on the side, reading your favorite book with torch light under covers when you have state-of-the-art kindle on your desk and who among the world you chose to love and be loved by.

It looks tempting. The way colors go around in a whirl when you stir it is beautiful. But that first sip is bitter of all the bitter put together. Now that's black coffee #101 for newbie. You keep the mug aside and vow to never try it again. There is stays on the counter-top for minutes while you go about doing your chores.

And then you pass by it and choose, "Let me try again" and sip it.

"NO! Never!", you say making a disgusted face. But you don't really put the mug down. And you sip it again. And again. And yet again. It's a new taste and hence is taking its time to grow onto you.

When you put the empty mug down, you already know it was worth the try (unless of course you just somehow went bottoms-up with it and didn't really like it or you are a tea person. In that case the argument stands for black tea w/o milk or sugar).

Black coffee is different.

And you choose it.

So is love.

You know it's bitter.

But you take the next sip anyway.


© 2015 Neha Choudhry

image source: http://bit.ly/1zN5Kev