Coming of Age

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Patan Durbar Square, Nepal

All things in life
With time, intertwine
Happiness and hardship
Water and wine.

Health and illness,
Despair and delight,
Days when you give up,
And moments when you fight.

Clarity and confusion
Go hand in hand.
With insight, you’ll see
A million castles in the sand.

Strangers become lovers,
Lovers turn to friends,
Every journey in life
Must come to an end.

I hope as you grow,
You learn to treasure
Sadness and joy
In equal measure.

In boredom or in revelry,
In bliss or in pain,
May you always have the courage
To try, and try again.

As days turn into months
And months give way to years,
May you never be burdened
By prejudices and fears.

I hope that every moment
You live, not just survive.
I hope you never cease
To be truly alive.

“Not a Pretty Girl”

IMG_20151218_095725212 “I am not a pretty girl
that is not what I do
I ain’t no damsel in distress
and I don’t need to be rescued
so put me down punk
maybe you’d prefer a maiden fair
isn’t there a kitten stuck up a tree somewhere?IMG_20151220_101733704IMG_20151220_101749193

I am not an angry girl
but it seems like I’ve got everyone fooled
every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear
and imagine you’re a girl
just trying to finally come clean
knowing full well they’d prefer you
were dirty and smiling
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and I am sorry
I am not a maiden fair
and I am not a kitten stuck up a tree somewhereIMG_20151224_130914128IMG_20151220_102108348

and generally my generation
wouldn’t be caught dead working for the man
and generally I agree with them
trouble is you gotta have yourself an alternate plan
and I have earned my disillusionment
I have been working all of my life
and I am a patriot
I have been fighting the good fight
and what if there are no damsels in distress
what if I knew that and I called your bluff?
don’t you think every kitten figures out how to get down
whether or not you ever show up
IMG_20151228_124844024IMG_20151228_144749
I am not a pretty girl
I don’t want to be a pretty girl
no I want to be more than a pretty girl”

Ani DiFranco – Not a Pretty Girl

(These are traditional fisher-women of a small coastal village in Andhra Pradesh, India. They sell fish for a living, buying the fresh catch from fishermen, distributing the catch among themselves, and then selling the lot at market price at nearby towns.)

Little Girls

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Little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice.
At least that’s what she’s been told.

A little girl is her father’s princess, his joy
Except on days when he’s had a little too much to drink,
And as his palm strikes her tender cheek, she flies out of her house
To seek solace in someone else’s arms.

A little girl is her mother’s best friend
She accompanies her Mama every morning
To gather firewood for the kitchen.
She proudly tells her that she’s strong enough to fetch water on her own
And so she does, with aplomb,
Balancing the bucket, filled to the brim, atop her tiny head.

A little girl goes to school everyday,
With bright red ribbons in her hair
And brilliant dreams in her mind.
Until one day, she’s told to stay at home
Because school is now too far away
And because she is her father’s pride,
She is safer inside than on the streets
Filled with prying eyes of strange young men.

A little girl is taught to dream,
To cook, and to clean
Trained to become somebody’s wife,
Somebody’s daughter-in-law
At the tender age of fifteen.
What is the use of sending her to school anyway
When her destiny lies with another family someday?

A little girl grows up
To be the master of her own fate,
Do many a things that are great
So believes the young woman
Who now has a little girl of her own.

Nights

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My nights
Are filled
With sounds;
The chirping
Of crickets,
The barking
Of dogs,
The distant
Roar of
The river,
The static
Of television.

How I
Long for
The nights
When the
Only sound
I hear
Will be
That of
Your heartbeat
As I
Lay my
Head on
Your chest
While we
Fall asleep.

How I
Long for
The moment
When our
Dreams will
No longer
Be the
Only place
We see
Each other.

The Tree of Fate

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The tree of fate stands gloriously tall.

We are but mere mortals, pretending that we own it all,
That we know everything that is to be known,
That we have unlocked the secrets of the universe.

We do not realize that everything, and everyone, is at the mercy of fate.
The people we meet, the ones we hate,
The ones we fall in love with, the ones we forget.

Love and loss, rise and fall, life and death, bridges and walls
That we “decide” to build,
All these and more are parts of a web of a story woven by fate’s dexterous fingers.

Just as we think we have found the key to unlock every mystery,
Fate decides to change the lock on the door.

We can’t fight fate, nor negotiate with it.

But perhaps, we can create our own fate, weave our own stories, write our own rules.

We cannot choose the people we are destined to meet,
But we can decide who gets to stay on in our lives.
We can choose love over hate, choose to celebrate the lives of the dead, choose to build bridges instead of walls.

Perhaps there is a story for each one of us, but maybe we get to choose our own endings.

Perhaps, each of us plants our own trees of fate.

Scary Poetry!

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Image Courtesy: http://www.youtube.com

“Scary” is a scary word.

Bugs are scary,
So are bees.
So are the lemurs
That live on trees,
And the sharks that swim
In deep blue seas.

Some people are scared
Of giant snakes,
While some are scared
Of the people they hate.
Others that are simply
Scared of their fate.

Are you scared
To push and shove?
To fall from a building
High above?
To fall in love?
To fall in love?

Like bees and bugs,
Love is scary;
Like snakes and sharks,
And a spider that’s hairy.
One moment you’re laughing
The next, you’re teary.

“Love” is a scary word
So is “scary”.
Together they walk,
Never are they weary.
People who truly love
Are very, very

Un-scared.

A Letter to My 16-year old Self.

Life will not turn out to be quite the way you think it will.

You think that by the time you’re 26, you’ll have a successful job in a big city, fabulous friends, and a great fashion sense. You couldn’t be more wrong.

Oh, and that dream of a gorgeous man whom you’ve been dating for the past 2 years who just put a ring on your finger? Forget about it.

You probably won’t get married by the time you’re 28 either. Because at 26, sometimes you still show the maturity of a 16 year old.

But you know what? That’s okay.

It’s okay if you don’t do well in your 12th grade exams. Life is so much more than the marks you get in high school.

It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to be in the future. You’re 16. It is high time people around you understood that, and remind themselves that they too at one point were young and clueless.

It’s okay if you went to culinary school and finally realised, and had the courage to admit to yourself that making soups and sauces and roast chicken in a professional kitchen isn’t your thing.

Your health will fail you, and at times you will feel like your 16 year old self – unfocused, unsure, unemployed.

You will be grateful for your old job though, as it will allow you to travel to different cities, see new sights, live on your own, and gain different experiences. All of which won’t be pleasant.

Your fashion sense is far from trendy. FAR FROM IT. That pink crochet top you bought on your recent visit to Kathmandu? It is still lying somewhere in your cupboard. Which is still messy and unorganized. So much for being a grown-up, huh.

You might be surprised at the friends who choose to stay in your life and in whose lives you choose to stay. And there are only a handful of them, and that’s wonderful. You’ve never had much patience for small talk anyway.

You’ll fall in and out of love a few times. You will see your friends, colleagues, batch-mates, acquaintances, ex-boyfriends display their love lives on social network (which, by the way, is HUGE right now), documenting them in the virtual world for all eternity. You will feel bad sometimes about your own love life (or lack thereof), but trust me, it’s better to be in love with yourself rather than with someone who’s not worthy of your time.

You’ll perhaps be surprised with what you’re doing in life right now. It’s probably what you’re meant to do, what you’re meant to be. But that doesn’t mean that you stop doing other things. Just remember to love what you do, and never stop doing what you love.

You will change. You’re not the shy, timid little bespectacled girl anymore (yes, you got your eyes fixed). You will be cynical, suspicious, and sometimes even selfish. You will have burn marks on your arms and stretch marks on your bum. Life will teach you to be more guarded. But you will also be brave, and strong, and outspoken, and confident. Of course, there will be times when you are so scared that you can’t speak, but you will find your voice. You always do.

Life will turn out to be quite different from what you think it will. And it will be awesome.

Impermanence

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To love, and to lose,
Hellos and goodbyes,
Ebbs and flows,
Such is life.

Life – it’s unpredictable;
Its ways, ever-changing.
It ensures you stand out
As soon as you blend in.

It strips you naked
When you’re just about warm;
Then scalds you with the heat
Of a million suns.

You’re led to believe
That love is eternal;
When life itself
Is truly ephemeral.

Tormenting and melodious,
Is life’s perpetual cadence.
Vows of forever
Wrapped in evanescence.

Bittersweet moments
Comprise a life, transitory.
The best way to live it;
Be the best that you can be.