Poems for Everyday Use

Cover Art

I have been working on a really fun project this month and I am so excited to finally share it!

Poems for Everyday Use is a series of poems about ordinary, everyday life. The project traces the course of one day, from morning to midnight, with poems about home, food, flowers and other simple memories. I don’t write enough poetry anymore, so this is an effort to create more of it. I have collaborated with some beautiful artists and I am very excited to share their work with mine!

I’ll be sharing the series on my Instagram, come read and spread the love:


what Love reminds me of

7. Quietitude 

In the summer, we used to visit my father’s coastal hometown. The first evening, my cousins and I would spend hours sitting on the terrace. Long after the conversations died, we stayed, just sitting there. Lying on my back on the roof, I first learnt to distinguish between twinkling fireflies and stars. 

I have found many things in the quiet. The time to listen to a favourite song over and over again. The comfort of a silence you can share in half with a friend. Sometimes I replay old memories in my head and try to remember exactly how I felt then.

Sitting there, still and quiet, I realise how slowly time moves. Yet so much could happen in a second. It could grow darker, I could remember something old and funny, our hands could touch. Maybe somewhere, slowly, a star could flutter, grow yellow wings and begin to move.  

The Stranger


My father, who passed away when I was ten, would tell me the same story every night before putting me to sleep – When he met my mother, they were strangers, yet the stars couldn’t keep them from becoming each other’s best parts. He told me to never be afraid of living, of going out there and looking at a stranger across the street, and hoping to marry him. ‘Don’t you ever be afraid to get your heart broken, my dear. You never know, your life might pass right by you, and you might be afraid to touch it,’ he would smile warmly and kiss me to sleep.


My entire life has been the search for a voice. This voice belonged to a stranger, a stranger I met in Paris, and had hopelessly fallen in love with.

A very particular baritone, soft, yet strong. Fresh yet experienced. Bruised but not spiteful. A voice I had heard years ago, that seared towards me from across the thick drawing board, while the silhouette of a man carved my face onto canvas, powerlessly yet without effort. I was getting myself sketched, and I had no idea that that day would change my entire world.


Paris, they say, is the city where you find love. But I never believed that love is something you can find, or search or discover. It remains there, like a tulip in hyper-sleep, in the deep crevices of yourself. It is free, and childish, and eager to grow. It tinges easily, and smiles at the vaguest hint of sunshine. But what it really needs, is the rain. It is only the sound of thunder which truly reigns its heart, only the promise of shower that lets it bloom. I had gone to Paris with my friends, when they were truly convinced I was depressed and ‘was in desperate need of change’ (read: love).

I, on the other hand, always believed that Paris was, truly, the city of art. Not because of all the wonderful museums and the tall articulate structures of modern art, but because of the people, and their ability to build little pleasant worlds around themselves. Their ability to love openly, and dream freely, and to believe.

I sat across a bridge as a man on the other end doodled something onto paper. This was ordinary. Yet there was something about him that made me curious. He was doing nothing, just sitting across a big sheet of canvas, sketching, while the world around him flickered like bonfire. He was doing absolutely nothing, yet seemed to be painlessly occupied in holding the universe together.  I excused myself, and heedlessly crossed the bridge, unaware of the impact this would make on the rest of my life. The wind played beautifully with my gown – autumn leaves weaved onto cloth danced with the spring air.

“Is this seat taken?” I asked. I couldn’t see him, as the drawing board rested between us, and he was engrossed into his work.

“Do you wish to get yourself sketched?” He asked without nuance.

“Yes. Yes, I would love that.” I fumbled as I took a seat, and he without once looking at me, began his work.

Fifteen silent minutes passed by us. The wind whirled, and the cups in the restaurants around us clinked, soft violin played somewhere far, and I could hear, intertwined in it, the rustle of leaves.

“You know, the best lessons in life always come from strangers.” He spoke.

I was amused, “How is that?” I asked with indifference.

“They do not know you. They aren’t afraid to break the truth to you, even if that damages you. A stranger is practically the possible image of God.”

I was quiet. He went on. “Nobody who knows you ever really tells you the whole truth. They’d tell you to not fall in love, to not get married, to not take that career risk, or fight that risky war, but no one tells you that you are your biggest threat. Nobody prepares you for that. No one tells you that the strongest bullet has already been fired…the most lethal grenade is inside of you. No one protects you against yourself.”

I was spellbound. In the voice of my artist, I heard a respectable eloquence – one which you cannot defy even if you wish to disagree. In his voice, despite the nature of his warrants, I had discovered comfort. I sat there, tilting my head, lost in the dewberry layers of his thoughts, admiring how someone is capable of thinking such things, and speaking so deeply. There was something honest and true about him which I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

I sat there amazed, and breathless, having been torn apart and brought together all at once by a stranger, as he left me my painting, my most magnificent self till date, and pretended to have forgotten to sign it. I sat there, as my world was shifted by an artist I met in Paris, and though I did not even know his name, I immediately knew that he was so much more than a mere stranger.

The Apple Picker


 When I was young, I would do the same thing every Sunday without fail. I would get up at the first hint of a sound from the bedside clock, which I waited impatiently for as I twitched and turned and tossed in my bed having woken up early out of subconscious eagerness. As soon as the shrill of the alarm would meet me, I would hop out of my bed and tip-toe to the other end, and nudge my sister with my elbow. As her eyes sparked open I’d see in them a lucid gleam – calm and at peace. She would get up and slowly hold my hand, and we would walk outside the house, without making a noise, to the apple farms.

We lived on the outskirts of Alabama, in a little town called Bridleway. There weren’t more than twenty houses in the entire village, and the apple farms were not very far from ours. So before the sun woke up, we would leave our cottage – two young girls skipping to the woods; a red figure and a white.

Once we reached the woods, the routine was very simple. We would wait among the boughs for the first ray of the sun to hit the turquoise grass. The sparrows would soon start chirping a beautifully knit symphony – this was our beacon call. We would suddenly become alert – I would position myself in the middle of two alleys of giant apple trees, the hem of my skirt staunch in my hands, while my sister skidded around picking the ripe apples that had fallen from the branches on becoming heavy with juice and pulp. In about fifteen minutes, we would be jumping back home, my skirt heavy and full of round apples that bounced playfully as I ran.

As we went to and fro from the apple farms every Sunday, I loved how my sister’s cold fingers held me in the warm sunlight of the summer months, and how she insisted on walking barefoot. I distinctly remember her fair face, strikingly white, as if she had spent a lot of time playing in the snow. Her pretty black hair shone like a silk drape in the glitter of the morning sun. She was every bit beautiful. Strangely so, I do not have any memory of talking to her; I do not recall any conversation we had and remain in doubt whether we had any at all. Nevertheless, she was my favourite person.

As I delivered the apples in the kitchen, Mother would consequently cook apple flavoured jam, pie and tart. “I pity how Mr. Noward lives in oblivion of the wonderful harvest of his farms; fortunately or unfortunately my brilliant little daughter gets it home just in time!” Mother would joke. In days of childhood, this feat made me feel eccentric; only in my later days did I learn that Mr. Noward was always secretly aware of our mischief, and mother underhandedly paid him the fair price of every apple stolen and collected. Yet, I am glad that she maintained this secrecy with me, for had she not, it would have robbed me of one of my greatest childhood experiences.

I disliked however, how she never made a mention of or glanced at my sister. I loathed her for looking right through her and telling me constantly that my sister died a long time back. No matter how much I insisted, she failed to understand my heart. How could I tell her that she wasn’t? How do I explain that it was she who helped me pick the reddest, most ripe, crunchiest apples from the bough?

When I was young, my mother paid no heed to the truth, so I kept my own mysteries from her. Thus, each Sunday my sister would hold my hand, and we’d walk soundlessly to the apple farms. This was my own little secret.

However, my sister’s memories are tougher today. The faint recollection I have of the sparrow’s chantey is a mournful note. Every speculation of my retention reduces the figure of my sister to a shadow, turning her translucent day by day; all that remains shining clearly is her white shroud.

Over the years I have come to terms with the understanding that maybe, this is how locked memories get back to you. Thus I have stopped recalling those days; else her memory might fade away altogether. Instead, I wait, but as I wake up on Sundays, more often than not, I find the other end of my bed empty and naked like a funeral bed.


Bring Home Some Sweet


Have I ever told you that my father subconsciously has an excellent taste in sweets? Probably not.

Well, every time my dad comes into the city, he makes it a point to bring us two or more boxes of sweets. Traditional, Indian sweets to be precise and not any mushy candies or chocolates. And somehow he always knows the right kind of sweets to buy! He would never buy those syrup laden sweets gushing like valleys filled with jaggery streams or those sweets irrationally sprinkled with sugar powder. The sweets he buys are always neat. A nut or two or sprinkled saffron atop and not much fancy about it. They are dim coloured and juicy on the inside, but taste homely and wholesome at the same time.

I have always had a very deep attachment with opening presents. The speed and frills about me just come to a halt whenever I have to unwrap a gift. The wrapping paper ends neatly folded and fresh as ever, and the box remains candid and unscratched.  You can imagine the delicacy I would treat a box of sweets with. Ironically enough, I poke a fork right through the middle of yellow coloured decorative film over the box and cut it to strips and snitches like a cat with a ball of wool. The lid however is always removed slowly and steadily, revealing neither too early nor with overwhelming and prolonged suspense the contents inside.

I would like to take this moment to mention that in India, like in many countries, there is an immediate link between happy occasions and dessert. Sweetening is never missed in any good menu. Exquisite desserts are always a part of special occasions. People in Indian families are born attached with a sweet tooth. In tradition, sweet curd is eaten before starting any venture, and kheer is cooked on birthdays. Spending strenuous hours preparing time-consuming dessert recipes becomes a matter of the day. This is what I had always picked as an idea of a typical Indian family reading rooted novels or storybooks. Alas, against all odds, I am not a person with a taste for sweets. Hence, the only way sweets get into my house is when my father buys them while coming home.       

But as I eat the spongy nameless yellow puddings he brought home this time, it occurs to me that it is only the sweets that my father gets home that I ever tend to eat. Had the same sweet been presented to me by anyone dear or at home I would have never considered robbing a bite into it. It is perhaps the sentiment attached with the homecoming present which gives it its exclusive taste. It is the happiness of my father being home that thrills me instead of the perfectness of the sweet.

Yet this realisation does not lessen the beauty of the sweets. Anything that indexes a halt in the endless retreat and arrival of loved ones is a boon. And if sweets shall be it, then I can gallop quite few. 

February Evenings


Aren’t February evenings a beautiful part of the day? After a long tiring day of work, when the sun has set having given us the most picture perfect closure, there is nothing better you could ask for. The sky is painted a beautiful light carroty, the colour of orange skin, and it gradually melts into brush strokes of purple and mauve translating into the blackness of the night, harmoniously giving way to the starkly virgin lights of the celestial! Ah! What beauty! The sky, especially on beautiful evenings, is like the canvas of a daring artist- offering unending possibilities.

For many, February evenings mean the right time to sit and recapitulate- pen in diaries, cook a meal to fit the mood, stroll when pensive, and make plans for the next day. While for others, it is a time to reunite and joinder with family and friends. There is the tale from office of a project saved at the eleventh hour, a metro incident, a story from the past, a joke shared and the interesting gossip about TV sitcoms. And how can I forget evening munchies! The crisp of chips sprinkled with green onion and cheese grilled under caterpillar tracks. The spoon stirring into cups full of soup and coffee only to release hot vapour the shape of dragon breath – yumminess gets immediately associated with the idea of an evening. 

Another reason why February evenings always amuse me, is the very idea that there is still another part to the day. That the end is far, and redemption quite near. That there is still unmissed opportunity to create better memories for today. It is like the clock is taking its own time to wind, and for the first time in centuries, it is savouring its passage slowly, and it is in this period, that we have the aleatory chance to do the things we couldn’t. Evenings offer much needed breaks, a time to pamper oneself and look back to what the day has given you. It has a certain adventurous tranquillity about it, a much enjoyed paradox.

But over all its perks, I love February evenings most of all for it makes people feel good about themselves. Self-indulgence and luxurious expenditure become happy ideas. The weather is bliss, the sun- a blessing after killing winters, and things fall into place for people who shudder and stumble often at January’s kick-starts.  For reasons unknown, I can always associate the month with safe pace.

February evenings fascinate me. The cool wind gushes by, and the trees sway as if they are having a picnic of their own. There is a boat sailing somewhere in the fictional river near my window. The cold of winter is sweetly waving goodbye and there is the chatter of cars returning home. And then there is the moon, pancaking and dressing itself in makeup, before it gleams in the clear night sky that the evening has given it. The money plant looks fresh as ever, and each star ray is a unique spotlight on the damp road. The world is beautiful for just a moment. And then, quicker than ever, the 28 days pass me, and the clock gets running again…