All posts by Jabberwock Online

The online magazine of the department of English of Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi.

Love in the Time of Memes

“Love is an exasperating farrago of distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies.”

Skeptic Tharoor

I once watched a Thai movie called The Love of Siam where the manager of the protagonists’ boy band dismissed their songs and said that they must write a song about love in order to sell more records. In other words, he was trying to say that love sells. In popular culture, romantic love has always been marketed as the most surreal and sublime emotion in the world. The obsession with romantic love has also given rise to a widespread perception that people who have not experienced it are missing out on something supremely important in life. In order to dismantle this notion, this Valentine’s Day, thousands of people gathered in Mumbai to shout “Pyaar Ek Dhoka Hai” and celebrate singlehood.

The event was a culmination of what had initially started as a meme, created and shared by the popular comedy group AIB.  Once the meme went viral, the makers capitalized on its popularity and began publicizing “Pyaar Ek Dhoka Hai” as a movement. A lot of millennials became a part of, what was being touted as, a “movement” by uploading pictures and videos of themselves shouting “Pyaar Ek Dhoka Hai” with their friends in college playgrounds, buses, cafes and so on. This campaign became an outlet for a lot of single people to express their distress and anguish over the concept of romantic love on an occasion which demands its consumerist celebration through the purchase of chocolates, cards, roses, teddy bears and other frivolous indulgences. Thus, love literally sells?

Consumption of culture on the internet is much like Jean Piaget’s sensorimotor stage of cognitive development in children. According to Piaget, this stage begins at around 18 months and lasts up to 24 months in children. For children, during this stage what is ‘out of sight’ is literally ‘out of mind’. This explains viral trends and memes on the internet that is susceptible to lack, or absence, of object permanence because this is exactly what is happening today. Last month, it was Anant Ambani who became a national meme after he delivered his first speech as the new generation of Reliance Industries. He was trolled heavily by millennials on the internet because of his constipated enunciation and evidently rote-memorized speech. This month millennials are impressed with #PyaarEkDhokaHai and Priya Prakash Varrier’s eyebrow gymnastics at the same time. They have converted one to a “revolution” and have catapulted the other to the pedestal of a national crush.

Once any trend goes viral, there will inevitably emerge people who will be quick to take offence at the same. The organizers humorously referred to the “Pyaar Ek Dhoka Hai” event as “a joke gone too far”. They came under the radar for this and had to defend themselves by saying that it was just a “celebration of self-love” because everyone deserves to be happy. Simultaneously, a complaint was filed against the song “Manikya Malaraya Poovi” starring Priya Prakash Varrier by a few members belonging to the Muslim community because they felt that it affected their religious sentiments. Nevertheless, these viral trends have a clear market value associated with it and during this Valentine’s Day, love became the selling point for meme-makers. This time they tapped into the sentiments of both lovers and non-lovers because they always seem to be at loggerheads somehow. I have always wondered so as to why people can’t let each other be. After all, love is also a matter of choice. You may or may not be anyone’s Funny Valentine.

The internet will, however, not let you be in peace. It will force you to take sides and prove yours better than the other, but it is also difficult to figure out what people are up to on the internet. This is intrinsic in the fact that, on one hand, people were vociferously chanting “Pyaar Ek Dhoka Hai” on the internet, and, on the other hand, they were also vigorously sharing clips of Priya Prakash Varrier’s viral video. This would make one ponder over how people put up a facade of their emotions on the internet because at the end of the day we are all just part of a consumer culture. We feed off of viral content on the internet and then comfortably forget about it in a week or so, because as long as the meme economy flourishes, nothing else seems to matter.

Written by Ankita Adak

Image by Joy Malsawmhlui



Litanies for a Past Love: A Tragedy in 3 Parts

“Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men.”
Ludwig van Beethoven


our love was a disaster in making
my sullen socialism was anathema to your fierce patriotism
I’m sorry the redness of my blood failed to turn saffron
I was looking for a comrade, and you for another devotee
don’t worry, baby
everything will be alt-right(?).


Even if I were to smother the revolutions I carried within me,
call you Daddy (and not Marx)
and learn to erase the contours of consent my womanhood etched all over my skin;
how could I let you venerate my altar
with the debris of others?
maybe I am different from other women.
help me locate my spaceship,
won’t you?


If I could contort myself
into nothingness, I just might be desirable for you again.
but my arrhythmia, when coupled with my anxiety –
already makes me feel that I’ll shrink until implosion.
when did the charred remains of my mental health become the shingles of your new home?
you became my saviour when I was simply being.
but then
did I ask to be saved from the burning house of your imagination?

Written by Aarooshi Garg

Image by Sheena Kasana

(Not) My Funny Valentine

Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson: “Sure, I guess I pay attention.”
Sister Sarah Joan: “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?”

I’m sorry I sometimes want more than insipid coffee and flowers in February.

I’m sorry even my words don’t know how to be flowery anymore, my intravenous cannulation didn’t blossom into roses under my skin, it just made my hand swell up the next morning. From a wallflower, I’ve now come to feel like a cobweb among the fairy lights at a terrace party, for the lack of a less sentimental simile. Just hanging on the wall, unspeaking.

Unspeaking and thinking how the men I’ve tried to love all seem the same, too caught up in the serious labour of being masculine to spare a moment. All the women I’ve tried to love seem like Lucien Carr, which might just be worse.

Have I really loved at all, to be able to call somebody my valentine?

I can’t seem to shake off the conviction that love is definitely waiting on the other end of the phone line or a text message while love only really seems to exist in the cup of tea that lets off steam at the end of the day when I can sit alone on my bed and worry about going back to the same infernal corridor bottleneck the next day. Maybe the problem is that we always talk of love in abstraction instead of context, as an idea or image rather than something real.

Maybe love is growing sunflowers on the window sill in an old ice cream tub or cooking spaghetti with my sister at night. Maybe it’s familiar voices telling me I’m not alone and how insipid the coffee really is, while barely conscious in the Emergency room. Maybe it’s the endless days I’ve waited at the vet, watching Misty slowly slip away and my mother who holds me when I can’t fall asleep on my own, night after night. It’s probably hearing “Don’t panic, we’ll go to Lodi Gardens,” in the middle of panic attack and the cup of tea the same friend made me when I couldn’t stop crying. Why can’t it be sharing sadness along with instant noodles at midnight?

You probably don’t have to try that hard when there is love. Maybe those who know a thing or two about loving do their best to make you feel like there’s more than insipid coffee and flowers in February.

Written by Priya Tripathy

Image by Aanchal Juneja



Comes And Goes

“In the shower, sweating under cold water,
I scrubbed and scrubbed.”
Ocean Vuong

the change in the object

when viewed from a distance
is far too great

If someone asks me
(which they obviously will)
I’ll say that
there will always exist
a moment in time
when your smile was so deep
that I could feel it
in my bones,
that I had mapped out the lines on your face
and its inherent disappointments and joys,
that I had bought a new couch
on which you hadn’t ever sat
or dropped popcorn in
or slept on peacefully
and that I hate it,
and that I love your
little habits, your little eccentricities
the way you ate Oreos or how your eyes crinkled when your
mother made that dish with aubergines every time we visited her
or how you secretly recorded trashy television shows for Saturdays
and how every Valentine’s day, I woke up
to a bunch of roses on my bedside table
that made my insides warm up
with happiness.
I’ll say that,
but I’ll tell myself that
it wasn’t like that at all,
It wasn’t like that at all.

a disease involving telephone
and alcohol at night

9 missed calls,
an accidental like,
21 texts full of gibberish,
a blocked number,
and an oath
to never drink again
(PS: never = 4 days).


Your breath used to stink in the morning
Your love for restaurants that served bit sized portions wasn’t cute
I was not okay with cleaning the dishes all the time or with
the way you left your dishes five centimetres
away from the sink
I hate that you slept with your socks on
and still hogged all the blankets
I hate that you take two-hour long showers
I hate that you never pick up the phone or call back
I hate aubergines
I hate how you twist Oreos and eat them
like a five year old
(Nobody in real life actually eats Oreos like that.)
and how you keep the spare key under the pot in a neighbourhood like this
and how you always leave the bedside lamp on
and suck at folding t-shirts
and how you keep watching that scary movie at night
even if it disturbs me and I can’t fall asleep
even after I’ve told you not to watch it
Why do you keep watching it?
Why do you never listen to me?
Why do you never listen to anybody?

please, please, please let me get what i want

If you wanted,
I would’ve written sonnets about the time we
met in that stupid bar,
learnt how to cook well,
chosen what I wanted to order on the first try,
gotten a puppy even if I like cats more,
learnt to appreciate metal music during car rides,
worked on my habit of planning and organising everything to its last detail,
started leaving cute little post-its for you everywhere,
given you flowers,
surprised you at work,
given more time,
given more truth,
given more love.

phantom limb
(a minor fall, a major lift)

One step forward, two steps back
lingering on
all the things that are now just mine my
rumpled up side of the bed
my sheets which don’t smell like your green apple shower gel
my living room which doesn’t feature you dancing to classical music
my playlists full of our songs
my plate filled with crusts of bread
my mug from which I drink coffee during sleepless nights
my couch which is new and unused
my spare key which lies in the cupboard
my friends who will offer some comfort
my calendar mocking me with
anniversaries and trips we never will have
my cleaning supplies that can’t clean out your
touch from these surfaces, your smell from within these spaces
and me,
How do you un-plan a life?
How do you clean away an existence?

cough syrup

It’s 14th now
but it’s just a day now
in a year full of days
blurring together
till they start losing meaning
Another day of being stuck in a job that I dislike
Another day of eating out of a takeout box
Another school shooting on the news channel
Another day without you
Same old, same old.
At least, it’s sunny.

hand covers bruise

I do not miss it.
I open the door
to winds of guilt and shame
reminding me of all the time we spent
on building this
and on how little time it took to break it
but I do not miss it.
We hear so much of what love should
look like, sound like, feel like
but I know that was not love.
This isn’t love,
That wasn’t love.

freudian slips
(when you mean one thing but then you say

I miss you)

How are you?
Good (I don’t know)
Does it hurt less?
Yes (I don’t know)
Do you miss it?
Every second
A bit but it will get better.

apple, apple, apple

These days
I wake up early every morning
and run
and eat an apple
to give my life
some structure
and remind myself to
breathe, breathe, breathe
Your roses died early, anyway.

Written by Pragati Sharma

Image by Chetanya Godara



‘There are days when outside your window I see my reflection as I slowly pass
And I long for this mirrored perspective when we’ll be lovers, lovers at last’
Death Cab for Cutie

Things were different that day.
You, for one, were far too enticing.
I could almost feel the breeze
That your eyelashes stirred across
The planes of your cheekbones.
I envied them-
They got to caress the silky softness
Of your skin.
There was something bewitching
About your dress, too,
As it fell in soft drapes
Across your curves.
I could almost hear
The words it whispered
Across your body.
Perhaps it spoke
Of the damask roses
On your countertop,
As their heavy musk
Sweetened the sultry evening breeze.
Your ignorance, too, was alluring,
For you never knew
Of me. You never knew
Of the scars upon my fingers.
You never knew about the neighbours, either;
They were unhappy
About their barren rose bushes.
I hope they realised
That love needs expression,
Love needs manifestation,
And Damask Roses are far too tempting.
Things were different that day.
Instead of wooing me
Through your silhouette,
As it danced delicately
Across the creamy warmth
Of your curtains,
You seduced me
Through your unconscious naivete,
As the evening breeze
Flirted with those wretched curtains.
You should leave the windows open more often.

Written by Avani Solanki

Image by Radhika Aneja



From Delights to Dilemmas: Days in Delhi


1) Savoring the Skies

The skies of Delhi have an imperceptible way of surprising and disappointing you at the same time. Because after a particularly long day of monsoon having reigned over the skies, you would be least expecting a scathing sunshine to simmer down your cheery mood, and that’s if the puddles run over by cars don’t. And then, right in the midst of February when you would be dreading the transition from goose bumps to a light sheen of sweat over your skin, you’d be rewarded by no signs of the sun’s sorry face.


2) The Means of Traversing

Metros have finally grown on me. Ever since the day I dreaded stepping inside the doors that seemed to close without any prior warning, felt like the crowd inside was closing up on me, held onto the pillars and panels for dear life lest I  be jerked into an embarrassing fall to the day when the inertia beneath my feet holds me still, the risk of getting inside just before the doors close gives me thrills and the feeling of cold emptiness on seeing strange faces everywhere is replaced by the complacent ability to get lost in my own world within a compromised space – I have come a long way, and I’m glad.


The whistling past of metros as you wait for a friend flutters beneath your skin; as the wind plays with your pants around your ankles, the clock blaring digits in pixels of bright red and people hurrying with earphones declaring their unwillingness to interact- metro stations feel like the tinge of freedom on your fingertips as you navigate your ways towards yellow, violet and blue lines on stairs that move and some that don’t with the bittersweet feeling of being surrounded by people who are strangers but only in faces and the way they acquire spaces.


3) The Meandering Matters of the Market

Markets in Delhi are one of those peculiar places that refuse to be contained by dimensions; whether it be the ones that are surrounded by cubicles of glasses reflecting the yellow fancy lights of a mall or the ones where the stalls have encroached on the streets so that you would have to walk in compromised spaces displaying the fanciest replicas of branded clothes. Then there are the ones where the shine of oxidized silver pulls at the strings of your aesthetic soul, the jingles of little bells and reflections of small glasses promising to go with every traditional wear. And just when you thought that by barely skimming through the streets of Chandni Chowk you have had a taste of the real Delhi; you land in Majnu ka Tilla – a place that takes your breath away with its culture, tradition and a disciplined behavior of the inhabitants. The little Tibetan Colony would make you regret spending money on visiting Dharamshala or McLeod Ganj with the prominence of culture coming in the form of streets that diverge and distribute into cleaner, quieter and peaceful spaces.


And that’s not all. Similar but broader lanes of Khan Market feel of a totally different time with buildings of colonial designs, looming and tall in their sculpted and whitewashed glory of a million cafes with their expensive menus. Even the IPhone cases hung against the walls feel posh and unaffordable, but you let yourself splurge for the sake of guilty pleasures and treating yourself in the form of fancy pizza places and fancier confectionaries. Finally, as the streets with their turns and stone clad roads carry you forward, you realize window shopping never felt better.


4) Cut to the Cafes

The cafes in Delhi are everything but isolated, they pop up almost unwittingly in all the possible places that people frequent. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find one Big Chill or CCD hiding sneakily behind inconspicuous streets. Nevertheless, there are some standing out amidst the monotony of those or some, that are as promising from the inside as they seem from the outside. The décor of these places is one of the main attractions for me, for they work on bringing out a comfortable, aesthetic as well as cozy feel that makes people want to come again. Whether it is the murals on the walls, or the fancy chandelier with a twist of casualty of dried flowers or empty wine bottles glimmering with fairy lights or even books kept on the shelves to give a book lover’s heart some respite- all of it makes a person’s experience 10 times better.


Sometimes it feels like Delhi tries to compensate for its unpleasant outdoors by trying to capture all the beauty within four walls, as can be seen in the context of these cafes making the best use of flowers, trees and terraces that let in natural light. But sometimes the authenticity is lost in the chase of aesthetics as one gets bored of the artificiality of it all. Nevertheless, what is extremely essential is also to identify places where you can find cheap as well as savory food, the décor and the interior aside, because you cannot visit the Big Yellow Door every time you crave a burger. (Just some of the perks of studying in South Campus.)


5) Matter of the Monuments

But of course, how can we forget the time when all of this didn’t exist and when Dilli had its original pride in all the minars, mosques, tombs and forts that formed the very core of the city. Ranging from Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb to Lodhi Gardens, the sandstones and marbles inscribed with verses , the feeling of rough stone under your feet immediately satiated by the cool of perfectly manicured gardens and the passageways and entryways echoing with the noise of school kids on a field trip contrasted by the accented voices of the foreigners- Delhi levels its history and contemporariness on scales made of ages of sacrifice as it limits and expands for more and more people.


The crowds here are an interesting mixture of foreigners, tour guides, the locals and then the daily wage workers selling food items at prices double than the actual rate. Not to forget the (young) couples, lost in their personal spaces created behind the ancient walls scratched with arrowed hearts and initials of their names. But, these monuments do provide Delhi a dimension with the way they hold their own space, harboring isolation and indulgence, as well as commercial benefits all within their ancient structures. They lend to Delhi an ancient feel, as if it has just sat down to weave a tale that our history textbooks missed out upon.

6) Gamble of Goodbyes

I have come a long way when it comes to carefully introducing the idea of Delhi to my limited notions of home. Nevertheless, each time I leave town for a short break I feel unhinged of responsibilities tethered to me, each time I feel the burden shift a bit from my shoulders as the bus covers 162 kms of distance and then to get comfortable again as soon as it’s time to come back. For that time always arrives a bit too soon for my liking.


The distance between leaving and coming back or coming back and leaving could be made into a circle. Each part of it is tinged unequally with satisfaction and disappointment. Yet, nothing is more prominent than the strength that surges up as I leave behind all that I have been familiar with, with a debatably straight face in order to go back to whatever I have been trying to familiarize myself with. I suppose the ability of being able to limit emotions too personal for people to yourself is relieving in all its strength.

Written and Photographed by Ananya Vasishtha

Feature Image by Ananya Vasishtha


Dear Diary

The pages aren’t yellow yet – not yet, not yet, not yet. There’s years to go before things fade, before the ink begins to look like it was out of another history – before the pictures begin to tell stories that no one has heard.

And there it is. Someone wrote this. Someone cared, almost definitely.

Diary Entry:

 “All I am is a man,
I want the world, in my hands.”

Image: Silhouettes against a reading lamp, in an unknown territory. In the background a young couple reads a book while suppressing their smiles. They are both reading a different book.  

“She knows what I think about and what I think about”

Image: Walking by the beach; hair, hair everywhere. They’ve just bought a puppy. They’re looking at each other – ‘Are we a family now?’ Noses scrunched up, they laugh over the wind.

“Sometimes the silence guides our minds to move to a place so far away”

Image: Faces looking directly at the camera, wide-eyed, just before they were about to smile. This is an in-between. Heads on laps, a rumpled blanket of warmth – more warmth radiating from them.

“The minute that my left hand meets your waist
And then I watch your face”

Image: First couple photo? Let us make it candid. Someone cracks a joke. The image is filtered with fake laughter, heads turned towards each other. 

“Inside this place is warm
Outside it starts to pour”

Image: Another one of the complete family. A five month old puppy in one’s hand, the couple smiling inside their house; chilled beer in the other hand. Fairy lights buzz in the background. Camera quality is bad; the lights seem like fireflies, until you focus. 

“One love, one house”

Image: Nothing screams family photo more than one with the friends.

“Let’s have an adventure”

Image: Grey hoodies sprawled across a couch, phone charges and deodorants. A few other essential items, all in pairs – except, ironically, the shoes. 

“Cause it’s too cold for you here,
So now let me hold both your hands
In the holes of my sweater”

Image: Hands, holding each other. Snow in the background. The cold can be a good place too. 

Written by Samidha Kalia

Image by Radhika Aneja



“For several hours my heart ached,
but I woke up—smiling.”
– Ha Jin

Seven minutes and nineteen seconds
Before the digital clock starts beeping
Before I kick my blanket
open my eyes
wear my socks and
shiver as the first wave of cold air hits my bare arms.

Seven minutes and nineteen seconds
with my bed holding me
with the world outside still not awake
Seven minutes and nineteen seconds of
seeing and hearing and
feeling and thinking about –

How the scar remains from when the
steaming cups of coffee had burnt our hands
How the dog is sitting, panting at the foot of the bed,
wearing an ugly sweater your grandmother will keep
on knitting for him despite refusal, after refusal, after refusal
How the heater refuses to work for ten minutes
till you curse and yell and promise yourself that you will buy a new one and
will then start when you don’t need that warmth anymore
How the gloves lie on the table,
a wide array of colours and patterns
and how I pick up the black ones every single time
How the windows of the cars are shut tight and
glazed with fog, random things drawn
– a tree here and a heart there and a name scribbled all wrong by
tiny hands and old ones too.

How the dogs howl and growl at each other
while a stranger shrinks back from them
shoving his hands into his pockets
casting shadows all across the street under the lanterns
How the workers grumble and whisper complaints
disappearing into the fog and
how their families make homes on the frozen pavements
with a fire warming them through the endless nights
and the days filled with grey skies
How the people will rush outside as soon as the sun comes out and
sit on the foldable chairs and beds
eating oranges under the slanted rays.

How the old lady in my building will sit outside,
soaking the last bit of the sun
her grey hair scattered across her face, her hands knitting mittens
she hasn’t completed in three years
How the crying child on the first floor
with a running nose and a fever
is asked if he wants soup every five minutes
with his mother whining,“Oh god, it’s flu season!
into her phone every time I pass by
How I long for the soup my mother used to make
and how it would’ve been easier if I had just
agreed to this last night
How the boy in the neighbouring house
will come outside in the evening to play
his violin, the tunes getting more melancholic
as the air gets harsher
How the soft music flows
and how the winter blues enter each soulit
will be months before they come out
How the remains of the tune still remain
in the air in the mornings for me to catch
if I listen closely enough.

How you drove from the library, your coat covered with snow
and your face smiling
at the passages in a book you found
How I can still see the smile and
can still feel my hands brushing the snow off your coat
How your nose and eyes were red
as we sat on the edge of the grass that warm winter afternoon
and I told myself
it was just cold and not tears
and how I believed myself
How the polaroid pictures
stuck to the refrigerator
are beautiful and necessary
and not brutal and unwanted
How the months in the calendar are now filled with X’s
and when did the year pass by – so suddenly, so quietly?

How you can faintly hear the birds screeching and shrieking,
flying across the horizon
I wonder if they are cold too
but deep down, I know
none of us are warm
at least not warm enough
But I also think of the little boy who
hated winters here
looked at pictures of children playing in the snow
and said, “It’s cold here but not cold enough.

How after
seven minutes and nineteen seconds
of this and that
of life turning and twisting and tossing
and settling,
my weary hands will go all across the bed
past the empty space next to me
and the empty space within
to shut it off completely.

Written by Pragati Sharma

Image by Chetanya Godara


Coping Mechanisms / Things You Don’t Say Over the Phone

“How hot is it in Delhi now?
You had better be
Drinking lots of water,
Eating the right food,
Wearing the right clothes.”
(We wish we were there to take care of you.)

“It’s okay, mom, dad, I’m taking steps.
I have
A full water bottle,
Yogurt in the fridge,
Light cotton clothes,
Knowledge of what foods will heat me up from the inside.
I have all the wisdom borrowed from you.
I am taking care of myself.”
(I wish you would come and do it for me.)

“Mom, the weather was actually nice today.
For once, I didn’t feel sweaty the whole time.”
(I’m sound much more excited
Than I actually am
For your benefit.)

“Oh, really? It’s so cloudy and grey and depressing here today.”
(But I’m vicariously enjoying
your pleasant day.)

“Mom, I had to wear socks today.
It’s getting chilly.
By the way,
when should I add the tea leaves
to the water on the stove?”
(I’m trying to keep warm here
The same way I keep warm at home.
But I wish you would make me tea —
I always tend to overbrew.)

“Make sure you ask your Delhi friends
What kind of covers will be enough.
Will you be able to go buy it on your own?”
(I know you’re putting off these essential things
And I hate that
there’s not much I can do about it.)

“Dad, we were all choking in college today.
The masks I bought are just fabric,
They keep out dust, not smoke.”
(This experience was so surreal
And so scary.
My description doesn’t do it justice.)

“Please buy better masks.
Should I order them online for you?”
(I’m cursing the strange, faraway city I sent you to.
The city which is so fast and harsh,
With a survival code of its own.)

“Mom, dad, today I went to Lajpat Nagar
and bought a nice, thick razai.
Dinner was quite sad last night
But my roomies and I made eggs.
My new masks arrived in the mail,
And my friends are taking me sweater-shopping soon.
I have to go now–
The tea I made is getting cold
And I have a reading to finish for tomorrow.”
(I have a lot on my plate
But I am as chipper as I sound
And I think I am doing okay.)

Written by Madhuboni Bhattacharya

Image by Aanchal Juneja




“The hills, they’re glowing with warmth,”
You’d say
As you shivered
Underneath the hand-knit sweater
That Nani had compelled you to wear.
You’d be loath to admit
That the sharp winter breeze
Left you
“The sun burns earnestly this time of the year,”
You’d say
As you’d sit staring at the river,
Lost in the decaying memories
Of places you’d almost forgotten.
You’d come out of your musings
With songs that would speak
About the glory Of the rains.
“There’s something comforting about this weather,”
You’d say
As you nursed the scalding cup of tea
Thrust forcefully into your hand.
You’d sit in the balcony,
Prolonging the sunsets
With your delicately short
And sparse
“Conversations are cozier in winters,”
You’d say As you gasped for breath
After a coughing bout.
You’d barely manage a croaky hello,
Yet we’d hear you the most,
Within your muffled coughs.
You’d feign good health
For the sake
Of words.
“It’s unnaturally cold for this time of the year,”
You said, that day
As Nani reluctantly turned the fan down
On a sultry, August evening.
That day, within the orchards
Of your private world
It snowed.
Icy snowflakes kissed
The cherry trees
That watched you grow old.
Soft gray clouds beckoned
With morbid comfort,
And silence,
Gnawing silence
Enveloped everything.

Written by Avani Solanki

Image by Sheena Kasana