2008.

As I saw him pull up his socks under his pants, gently push his feet into the brown shoes and tie the laces with his shaky hands, I felt as though I was time travelling. Physically I was in 2019, staring at him but mentally I was somewhere in 2008. Suddenly, my mind was relaxed, a hundred things did not run through my mind, I had no deadlines to keep and I was not consciously blocking out my stress. I half expected my aunt to come down, wearing a colorful saree, smelling like the yellow- staining majanta perfume and say where all the food and snacks were kept and insist that we eat all the chocolates in the fridge- then wave us goodbye as then she would proceed to get on the scooter behind him with her bag around her shoulder and the pallu of her saree tucked on her lap. We would keep waving and standing by the gate until they turned around the corner, common courtesy I suppose. The radio in the room is still playing old Malayalam songs. The radio itself was very old and I cannot remember a time without it playing these old songs, waking me up in the morning while my aunt is in the kitchen whipping up some breakfast.

Thus began a long 8 hours in my summer vacation. Some days we would go shopping during the day. Mostly for books, otherwise we would not be willing to leave the house. Travel in the rain to buy chips and pickles? No thanks. Travel in the rain to buy chips, pickles AND look at books? Yeah, alright. (Now I understand that kids are easy to manipulate.)

And some days we would laze around watching TV, eating all the aforementioned snacks, reading books (a simpler time, before the era of smartphones) and wait for them to come back. By evening, my mom would wake me up from my nap, scolding me to not sleep at dusk, and then she would proceed to light the lamp and start the evening prayers. By the time she’s done the sound of the gate opening would be music to our ears and both my aunt and uncle would be back with a whole lot of treats. We would make Tea and coffee and sit around the table talking about our day. And without fail, every year, whenever I go there, they would never forget to buy me the traditional snack Bholee. I don’t think I’ve eaten it from anywhere except their house.

These memories felt untainted and happy. I could stay in that moment forever.

However, I was snapped back to 2019 by the sound of the door closing behind my uncle. For a brief moment, I was back to being a 11 year old with no care in the world. So much has changed-

The radio starts to play old Malayalam songs and my aunt hums along in the kitchen whipping up some breakfast for me.

But somethings, remain the same – comforting and familiar.

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The Unknown Battle

Walking with him out of the store, she felt grumpy. “Why was I the one who was chosen? Out of all those animals!”, she thought to herself wide-eyed. Harry looked at her excitedly, but she didn’t share the feeling. Harry Potter, the famous baby boy and all that jazz, was there, carrying her to be his companion. Anybody would have killed to be in her position right now.

But our dear old Hedwig was not just anybody.

When a giant man and a boy entered Eeylops Owl Emporium, which had been her home for almost 7 months now, she was eager. It was high time that she spread her wings and flew about. With the increasing onslaught of muggleborns bringing their technologies with them, the owls were finding it difficult to get sold to new owners. “E-mail”? for heaven’s sake! Will it match the happiness of getting your mail or package flown to you? People!” she huffed every day with her disgruntled kin. Until the boy with the lightening scar caught her eye. Oh no, anybody else, please! She had a terrible inhibition that this boy was Bad News. This inkling of hers would, of course, turn out to be spot on; 

Both Harry and Hedwig arrived at the King’s Cross Station, looking expectantly for the Hogwarts Express. Hedwig was the center of everyone’s attention, without a doubt; And she was, of course, used to having all eyes on her snowy white exterior.

Why is he running into the wall! Oh lord, stop! She hooted loudly. However, there was no crash like she though, and they were suddenly in a station- inside a station! Okay, now I’m excited.

Throughout the years she spent with Harry, she grew a love-hate relationship with him. He treated her as his friend and seemed to constantly forget she was still, just an owl. She couldn’t provide Harry the emotional support that he sometimes desperately yearned from her. And boy, did he yearn. She would constantly sit in the Owlery and tell the others, about the reality show that was “Harry Potter” and without fail every owl would think to themselves what a lucky owl she was. But, Hedwig? She was tired. She, honestly, just needed some person who would send occasional messages to their parents asking for new robes, or some Galleons to buy sweets and butterbeer from Hogsmeade. Harry’s life was a lot for poor old Hedwig. Her worst couple of months was when Harry was home in that nasty house of his muggles, and the elder male muggle did not let her leave her cage. She was stuck in that small room with Harry. They soon got pretty tired of each other, with her constant hooting and his constant sulking. She often wondered, if he were an owl, they would most definitely be friends. Unfortunate for him, he was born human.

That, however, did not mean she hated Harry; Because of him, at least she was the star of the Owlery every night. That poor kid really needed some love in his life. She was grateful for that Weasley boy. He kept Harry sane, even in his darkest times. Her favorite, though, was Hermy. She was so precious and loved her as much as Harry did. And her cat! Hedwig loved Crooks. He was so cute and incredibly smart for a cat. But she hadn’t heard of an owl and a cat being friends. And she wasn’t bothered enough to be the pioneer for that. So, she ended up befriending Pig. When that awful rat of the Weasley kid was gotten rid of on account of it being a man waiting to kill Harry (Why does he always end up being around the worst possible human beings and make everything so dramatic?) he got another Owl. Hedwig did not fully understand that friendship because Pigwidgeon was always so pigwidgeon. But it was fun talking to someone else, outside of that stuffy Owlery.

The one good thing the rat-human-pet scenario brought into Harry’s and in turn, Hedwig’s life was Sirius. She loved delivering letters to Sirius. He was always so kind to her and as little as he had, he made sure she got treats whenever she flew over there with Harry’s letters to him. She was also secretly glad Harry finally found a father figure he desperately needed and deserved. Also flying that stretch was something she absolutely loved, because of the strong cool breeze coursing through her feathers, while she breathes in her long awaited freedom.

Being part of Harry’s life was almost always exhausting. Every year, he went back to Hogwarts, he was thrown into a dangerous situation. The Boy Who Lived, they called him; Only she knew, somedays he was not living. He was just surviving. He came about the owlery, took her out and sat with her in the grounds, and talked to her. What does he expect me to do about this? Was the only thought running in her head. Nevertheless, she was always happy during those afternoons, because that meant she could be out and about. Listening to the Chosen One’s dramatic life was a small price to pay. Sure, Hedwig would have been happier elsewhere, with any other wizard leading a normal life; however deep down she knew that it was not a coincidence or a series of unfortunate events that led up to this. Hedwig always believed that she was destined to be found by the boy with the lightening scar, that day, in Diagon Alley. As adventurous as Harry’s life was to plain old Hedwig, she knew he needed her there more than she ever needed him.

She did not understand why everyone assumed that the worst person in Harry’s life was Lord Voldmort (just like her owner, she was not afraid to say his name. She hooted his name all the time. Little did they know.) Did they all just forget Umbridge? The monster in pink. She once got hold of Hedwig, while she was returning after meeting “Snuffles”, with a message from him. She tried to fight her off from taking the message attached to her. Lady, it is not for you! Let me go! However, Umbridge read the message and almost caught Sirius talking to Harry. That was the first time she felt as though she failed in her duties as an Owl. I had one job. And I could not even do that properly. She spent a whole week sulking.

Harry’s last year in Hogwarts was coming up and she knew somehow that they wouldn’t end up going back to Hogwarts. She was preparing herself for dark nights and long flights ahead.

One night, she looked over at 17-year-old Harry, he sure is not the same innocent boy that walked into the emporium. Life has gotten hold of him and shaken him up pretty rough. Is this pity I’m feeling? Or worse, love? Hedwig’s inklings are usually always right, and that fateful night, she felt it necessary to show some love for her owner before taking off. Does he need it, or do I? The flaws of being a snowy white owl always affected her, because it meant always being on the lookout and this time too, Harry thought it was too dangerous to let her fly alongside him and placed her in the cage and held the cage tightly.

Bad Idea.

She didn’t see the green flash coming her way, but suddenly-

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Perfect Two

I wanted to write something sad, to reflect the mood I’ve been feeling, but as soon as I opened a new document, my phone started playing Perfect Two by Auburn. And man, that song took me back almost a decade. Mouthing along to the song perfectly, I was suddenly in 8th Grade sitting with Jemi and Liya. Thinking back, boy, did we take 8th grade for granted. For me, it was always something that would never live up to 7th. But it wasn’t that bad. I mean, I had my fair share of drama, laughter and boy problems. 8th grade is so underrated. I get why, at that point of time I thought it was the worst class ever.  After the “famous” 7th-I, nothing was good enough for us. However, right now as an emotionally unstable college student, I wish I could go back to Sasikala teacher’s social studies class, or Savita Teacher’s “physical science” or Tilottama teacher’s biology class. Not going to lie, but 8th grade biology was extremely interesting and controversial.

It’s strange how playing a specific song floods your brain with memories you forgot you had. 8th grade is always represented by Perfect Two and When I Look at You by Miley Cyrus. It was when my friends had boyfriends. What! Didn’t boys have cooties? I still remember Jemi taking me to meet her “boyfriend” for God knows what reason and, me awkwardly standing there. He offered me some chips and I was so self-conscious that I quickly replied “no!” and turned away. Later Jemi asked me why I blushed when he offered me chips. And the one time, my friends “fought” for me(!) in that dingy classroom of Nehru Block. Gayatri screaming, “She’s my friend! I’ve known her for 2 years” and Jemi saying “So what? I’ve known her for lesser time and I know her more than you do!” Did I have actual people who wanted to be my friend back then? Wild. Most importantly though, it was the foundation of my friendship with Liya, I think. I mean I basically shamed her for being more close to Ritwika than me, and made her tell me everything in her life. But, she should be glad I did that. Who else was going to break up with “Chris Edgehead” for her? Certainly, not “Rtiwi” or “Sangu”. I’m still convinced he was not a “student in New Indian School” like he said and was a middle aged man. Boy, were we foolish. Through all the secret codes and journal entries and Sasikala Teacher catching us saying that her actually very interesting civics lecture was boring, and making me cry(?!) and first crushes and first fights- I made friends for a lifetime. I don’t give 8th grade the value it deserves. I think, it started the mold of the person I was going to be today.

I always wanted to get out of school. Even when everyone said I will regret it as soon as I am out, I thought I’ll be the exception. But now, four years and being emotionally unstable later, I just wish I could go back and sing When I look at you, in class with Jemi or Liya and have silly crushes that don’t mean anything and cry about drama that I don’t even remember now and sit in that dingy room in Nehru block with a few friends who truly care for me and write my journal, because writing journals were the coolest thing back then (I think. I wasn’t very popular.)

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Her.

She laughed at my joke,

Loudly,

Her mouth wide open,

Crinkles formed by her eyes

And if someone could look away from that masterpiece

And look at my face instead,

They’d know what love looked like.

I smiled softly,

– her laughter

That sound made sense to me when nothing else did.

The first time I met her,

my eyes locked into hers

Her eyes held the sunset

She smiled and asked me my name

why was my heart beating so fast?

everything I thought I knew ,

I didn’t anymore.

I think my life was in the Stranger Things Universe

Because it was upside down.

And suddenly,

All my happiness seemed to radiate from her presence

all I wanted

Was to talk to her

Sing with her

Take stupid poloroids with her

I wanted her to hold my hand,

Stroke my hair

I craved the taste of her soft lips against mine

But I knew

Every part of me knew this was wrong

I should not feel this way

it’s not normal!

the world shouted.

And I tried to stop myself from feeling anything at all,

But God,

Everytime I heard her voice

Everytime I felt her skin brush against mine

That look she had when she got excited

The way she moved her hands through her long hair-

With every little thing she did

She made the ordinary , extra in my mind.

I’d never felt this way

It was new

this is wrong! it’s not love

Everybody seemed to say

Yet the butterflies in my belly told me something else.

if this wasn’t love,

well then I didn’t want love

I wanted her.

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For A Legend

Dear Chester,

Yesterday was the concert. A concert for you. A tribute to you, a legend.

A lot of your friends sang for you, a lot of your fans sang along with them from the Arena and watching it on their screens. Everybody was so strong. It was so nice to see. We missed you. A lot.

During the concert, Mike sang In the end, and before starting he asked “You guys know which part to sing right?. It broke me; because of course, we knew which part to sing. Your parts. The ones where you bellowed your heart out, or sang with so much emotion that literally saved so many of us. The ones which you’ll never sing from here on now.

You had to be there Chaz. So many people came out to honor you. You walked away from life feeling sad and lonely but if you were there last night you never would’ve felt that way.

When you passed, I cried. For days on end, I cried at various points. It felt silly to other people. He was just a singer from a band. He doesn’t even know you exist, why are you this upset? 

But little did they know how much you meant to me. Every song you sang was for me. So what if you didn’t know me? You were always there for me. Your music saved me. I started listening to you because of my brother and we’ve shared so many memories because of the songs. Whenever Linkin Park released new music, we couldn’t wait to listen to all of them and discuss which ones were our favorites. (Spoilers: I always loved the songs where you scream the most.)

And even now, whenever I feel lonely or sad I just listen to Numb or In the end or What I’ve done or even Heavy. They mean so much to me and I feel like, they meant so much to you.

I still miss you and I still cannot believe you are gone. You are gone without a chance for me to meet you, hug you and thank you for, well, being you.

You saved thousands of lives, but nobody could save you. We’re sorry. But we love you so much and hope you’ve finally found the peace you wanted.

The sun set for you Chester, but, God, I wish it hadn’t.

Love,

Someone who wishes you were here with your bubbly face and screaming voice to sooth this pain.

 

 

 

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Untitled #3

Standing there pouring sunscreen onto my face, 

I look at the oh-so-wonderful hanging gardens of babylon 

Working my way up the 7 wonders of the world, 

I should’ve felt happy;ecstatic. 

But I felt like I was in the Sahara Desert, 

Walking around for some water, 

To quench my thirst. 

But this thirst, 

This thirst didn’t go away so easily. 

It was difficult to explain- yet easy to feel

This thirst, that’s been there with me for so long, 

It had been my silent partner, 

Some partner, I didn’t even ask for. 

But partners were supposed to make you feel nice and warm and protected

I felt the opposite. 

This feeling, had kidnapped my conscience, 

I couldn’t  let go, 

I may have had the Stockholm syndrome  – to a feeling

A feeling of never being satisfied, 

You laugh, but it’s a serious one. 

Satisfaction is difficult to come by for me

I wandered  around the world, 

I went to the most amazing places 

And I felt nothing. 

The seven wonders of the world? 

Overrated. (Of course, I saw only the 6,until now) 

The wanderlust in me wanted to continue, 

But every other inch of me said,

 go back. 

This was my life, in a nutshell. 

I could be anywhere, in the world

Doing the most amazing things, 

but I would still wonder about the place I’m not at. 

What am I missing out? 

Ditching the plan, apologizing to the wanderlust, 

I was back home, as usual.  

Never satisfied could be a good thing, 

But not for me. 

I am never able to be satisfied, 

Whatever I did. 

And I convinced myself, I never would be-

Or so I thought. 

Then

one day, 

The day I met you

My brain stopped whirring

I didn’t think of being anywhere else. 

My mind didn’t want to be anywhere else

Instead, 

I was occupied by the brown in your eyes, 

The curls in your hair

The charm in your smile. 

Suddenly – 

Any place other than your arms seemed unnecessary to be in. 

And now, standing in front of the Great Pyramid, 

I look down at you and whisper 

‘ Yes. ‘

Because, 

Since the day I met you, 

I was never satisfied

Of Being anywhere

Without you. 

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books. 

When buying new books, was your addiction 
Reading new books was pure joy

Smelling new books made your whole day

When did that change? 

Reading books is a task now

I am ashamed. 

Picking up a new book, 

Liking it

Reading it

And being obsessed with it

I miss that

I miss the book lover in me

She starved?

I starved her to death?

I’m scared. 

Going to second hand books stores

Returning with more books than I can carry

That happiness

That happiness brought on by buying cheap good books

When did that change? 

Who do I blame? 

Queen that rules my life-Time?  

Or my best friend-laziness? 

I am disappoi-

Oh, is that a new book by (x author)? 

Oooh, can i borrow it? 

Well, 

What can I say- 

Book lovers don’t really change, 

They’re just waiting for the right book. 

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