Onward

Hi,

You know that one jacket you bought when you were fifteen? It had sequined collars and zippers on the shoulders and made your mother wince a little when you sashayed outside in it.

It makes you wince now, too. For old times’ sake, you try it on every now and then and all of a sudden you’re fifteen again. Sequined and zippered. But it just doesn’t fit anymore. It’s time to let that jacket go.

This blog – Catalysts and Poisons – is my sequined jacket that I’m letting go of. I now post every week on: https://deekshabhat.wordpress.com/

I hope you find the time to give it a look and maybe leave a comment or two. 

Letting this blog go is bittersweet to say the least. I don’t think I’ve ever had a space like this. A space for honesty, growth and work that brought meaning to my dullest days. But the jacket just doesn’t fit anymore. And I’m letting it go. 

I hope and pray that you’re having the happiest new year. And if you stuck around, thanks for reading this all the way through.

God bless you all, you beautiful, beautiful people.

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The parrot

Madhav came back seven months later, but his voice had taken on a strange, foreign lilt and Jagan was reminded of Peechook, his little green parrot from when he was ten.

Peechook had fallen in love with the sound of the brass wind chimes and tried to squak along whenever the wind blew. He would exhaust himself in the boiling hours of the afternoon, trying to simmer down his cackle into fragile, metalic shivers. It was pathetic really, but he never seemed to give up. He’d gaze longingly at the gangly tangle of pipes and wooden stars until his cage was taken back into the living room at dusk. 
One night, there had been a terrible downpour: windows shuddered, and the thunder rolled overhead like a charcoal beast, hungry for its next prey. Jagan had sidled closer to his grandma and buried his head within the folds of her saree. Eventually, he fell asleep. 

The next morning, Jagan’s father found Peechook’s cage empty. They searched for him high and low, but their feathered friend was nowhere to be found. Sometimes, the wind blew the door of the cage open and Peechook would waddle out for a quick flight over the courtyard, but he would always be back before sunset. They dismissed the disappearance and the day crawled on.

Twenty four hours had swept by and Peechook still hadn’t returned. The scent of rain hung over the threshold like a newly knit blanket, clouding everything with cold drops of water. Jagan stepped outside to feed the squirrels with a handful of salted peanuts. 

On the threshold, scattered between twigs and storm blown leaves, was a mangled web of brass pipes, string, and wooden stars. And inextricably entangled within this web, was the limp, green body of Peechook. His eyes looked like little brown beads of glass, and his beak was open wide like an opera singer about to deliver the highest note. His feathers were soaked through. 

And now, Jagan watched carefully as Madhav pecked at his lentils and bread: the curry was gingerly scooped and was never allowed to touch his fingers. He wore starched shirts now and always carried a floral, silk kerchief. His voice shimmered and tinkled as he spoke of how there were at least five different flavours of popcorn at the movies and did you know the discos were open all night? All night, Jagan, can you imagine

When the bill arrived, the waiter placed a bowl of salted peanuts on the table and slipped the square of paper beneath it. All of a sudden, Jagan didn’t want to be at the restaurant anymore. He hastily crammed a wad of bills beneath the bowl and scurried away. Madhav called after him, but he dashed out of the door and in his hurry, collided against a branch of low hanging wind chimes. 

The brass pipes and wooden stars began to sing, but all Jagan could hear was the squaking of a hundred green parrots. 

– Picture sourced from Pinterest –

Marigold

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On Sundays, we lie flat on our stomachs and watch Marigold trap sunlight inside her orange scales.

She swims placidly in Mobius strips of water, each fin throwing hundreds of glass shards across our walls. We count them all. They flit between our toes, hover over our cold blue noses, slip through unguarded, berry stained lips. We stretch our fingers out to catch this piscine illuminance, to close our palms around these eely needles of light and swallow them in one quick, winter gulp. The shards dart away; their edges soften and dapple our sweaters as Marigold pirouettes within her water globe.

Sundays smell of gooseberry shampoo, basted chicken and durva grass.

Still splayed on our stomachs across the old Kashmiri carpet, we turn thick, grey socks into muppets, weaving esoteric conversations about apple soda and Mini’s new collection of tin blades. We slither our arms back into our woolly sleeves and bat at each other silently with our deflated paws for a good ten minutes. The wool begins to smart.

Sundays feel like strawberry mint bubblegum being stretched between Time’s willowy fingers; pink, soft and endless. Like slow cotton candy cloudburst. Sugary, wispy, and fuzzy to the touch.

On Sundays, we lie flat on our stomachs and watch Marigold trap sunlight inside her orange scales.

For one breath of a moment, there is a ripple.

We blink,

and it melts away.
Image credits

Tale

If I began 

with once upon a time

would you have me washed away?
Tame yourself.

Gather your blue skirts 

around starfish studded ankles

And for once, 

Listen.
I will tell you tales of mermen who sold their scales to the God of Salt for one dusk away from your tides. 

Of genies drunk on absynthe, tottering on wispy blue tails and chasing after the phantom of freedom. 

Of handmaids who grew seashells from their scalps and left trails of coral in their mud homes. 

Of fishermen who lit bonfires on your skin, only to be whisked away into the gaol of aqua absolute.  
The bards sing of sirens in your lair. But it is you. You are the siren. The seductress. The scream. 
All these years, I have listened to the wailing of your voice. 

And today, you have heard the wailing of mine.

– The sea was once a home –

Image credits: Manan Dhuri