monstrous & magnificent

On my flight back from Dubrovnik,

I looked out into the night sky, trying to

make out the line between ocean and land

and instead, fell into a reverie,

marveling at the enormity of the things we’re surrounded by.

 

At

How infinite the universe is,

ever-expanding and stretching invisible boundaries;

phenomena and numbers that constantly

eclipse our faint existence.

 

At

How limitless the oceans are,

ebullient life at unfathomable depths;

calm and catastrophic at the same time,

in all its million shades of blue.

 

At

How diverse the human population is,

7 billion faces  and 4 new every second;

that one day our paths will entangle with

someone special hidden in this multitude.

 

At

How incalculable the number of cells in our body are

each of them a robust machine,

crucial in our strife

to human and to exist.

 

At

How many roads and rail-lines there are,

spread across unknown lands,

connecting people we know nothing of

and kindred spirits we know everything about.

 

And at how,

the universe and the ocean

and humans and roads and cells

have nothing in common with each other

and yet, are united by their colossal magnitude.

 

image-4.jpg

 

~ Ushashi

 

Photo by: Haseeb Ahmed (https://www.instagram.com/homesick____alien/)

 

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sunflower saturdays

To the green-eyed, blonde-haired surfer boy downtown,

I wish I could tell you how beautiful you are. Most of what I would tell you would be lost in translation but if, in this lifetime I got to tell you the things that come rushing to my heart every time I see you, this is what I would tell you:

There’s a glitter in your eyes that blinds me when you brush past me.

Your dirty golden curls that’s been growing out remind me of a movie where you would be the prince who’s too good for this world.

You radiate like the sun finds its home inside your lean figure.

You have a smile that makes me smile for days; you have a smile that, alongside your rose-red cheeks make me want to look at you for days – take in your pure beauty like it powers my soul.

You look and feel like you’re brimming with youth and happiness like you’ve never known what it is like to be sad.

I could count the times I’ve met you on my fingers and yet you never cease to occupy a little corner of my otherwise crammed head.

I cannot calculate the chances of us meeting again and of you remembering me, of you smiling at me like my smile lights up your day too.

There are too many people in this world than we can fathom and you and I are too distant for my passing feelings to matter but –

I just wanted to let you know that you’re like a sunflower that I want to pluck and keep, but also a sunflower I want to watch grow even more beautiful.

car crashes

car crashes are strange things;

before you call me an absolute nutter,

just listen me out – i promise it’ll make sense.

car crashes are inflicting death upon yourself

but unbeknownst to you and entirely unwanted.

It’s not a heart attack you had no idea would come your way,

or cancer slowly gnawing away and you preparing for impending doom,

or stepping off a ledge atop the glistening city, because you want to.

No, it’s being tangled in a mechanic mess

that you didn’t want to be in.

There’s no predicting it, except perhaps in the last 30 seconds,

where your entire life – light, laughter, failure, success, a chaotic madness  –

is flashing before you, and you can do nothing anymore

except for maybe, steer in panic,

hug your partner

or protect your daughter.

You’re suddenly living life by the second

staring at Death in his eyes, helpless

and you know you’re going to combust into flames

along with the petroleum, the gas and the shards of glass,

like your life meant nothing;

but you could also brace yourself,

crumple into your foetal position

or push the brake right on time and continue,

like you didn’t just see Death pass by in a split second.

Nevertheless,

through penning these gory thoughts, I realised that

car crashes are like the epitome of how uncertain life could possibly be.

 

~Ushashi Basu

 

An Invincible Adolescent’s To Do List.

 

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Hi there. If you’re alone in a crowded room somewhere, parting the seas of sweaty, swaying bodies I want you to read this. I want you to inhale the putrid scent of booze and pheromones and ask yourself, “Do I really want to be here?”. Here goes.

  1. Stop drinking. Just….stop it. I know its elixir in a bottle, ambrosia, youth juice, and whatever the fuck it is you call alcohol to coax others into drinking but it isn’t worth it. The objective of life is not to numb the pain but to feel every single thing that comes your way. Stop stopping yourself from feeling things. God knows nobody believes your Ray Of Sunshine act.
  2. I want you to be alive: I want you to laugh in your best friend’s arms. I want you to dye your hair all colours of the rainbow. I want you to stand chest to chest with your lover. I want you to get a degree. I want you to take enough pictures to fill every gallery in this world. What’s day without a little bit of night? Don’t fight it. I want you to live through the pain.
  3. Who are you?I want you to stop lying yo yourself. You know you’re an artist, the family knows you’re an artist, the neighbour’s cat knows you’re an artist. Why do you keep running from it? It makes someone else happy but how long do you think they’ll be around for? They’ll be gone in a flash- like the rest of your life. The ink will have bled through your words, rust will bloom on your favourite camera. Very little of your soul will be left, so stop ripping it out now. I want you to look in the mirror and recognise who you see, for the first time in many years.
  4. Eat. It isn’t that difficult. You know you want to.
  5. Free the nipple: How much longer will you be afraid of what’s underneath? The same hands the held your dad’s when he lay in bed, unable to move. The same hair your mother stroked as you sobbed into your pillow. The same body that has been loved yet pillaged. The same body, with the same heart, with the same mind with memories worth nineteen long years. You aren’t stardust or a deity or on the cover of Vogue. You’re you and for whatever it’s worth, you’re beautiful. Get naked. Free your body, free the soul. You may be hiding but the world still sees.
  6. Seek, don’t settle: You come to seek a Great Perhaps. So do not settle for Maybes and I Don’t Knows. Bukowski said “find what you love and let it kill you.” You are dying either ways, might as well be at the hands of someone you love. So don’t settle. Seek.
  7. Pick your fucking camera up. Pretty self explanatory. You may not be the best. Yet. Art doesn’t compete with art. Art chats with art over a cup of coffee. Art makes love to art, bare naked in the moonlight. Art screams at art in the middle of the street. Art cheers art on from the crowd, teary eyes. So don’t let Instagram steer the course of creativity. You know you love what you’re doing. So, go ahead. Take that shot.

-Adrija Dutta, 30.03.2019, in the midst of exam panic.

22 minutes

// 12.16 am 

 

Lately, time has been flying

faster than you could ever imagine;

everything that you ever lived for was already a week ago

and you’ve been standing still in a photograph

in which the shutter speed was so long that

life behind is blurrier than a blur.

 

Lately, you’ve been feeling heavy

more often than you want –

a burden on your heart

that you cannot get rid of;

and some days a part of it comes out like a barrage of tears

but never completely.

 

Lately, falling apart is something you do with ease, like its a hobby

and if you blink hard enough

you could cry

and you wouldn’t know why;

maybe it’s because you feel empty,

maybe it’s because you just want to go home to comfort and love.

 

Lately, you’ve been shrugging a lot

and “I don’t know” comes out of your mouth

easier than your name;

An hour ago you sang about being the life of the party

but for the rest of the week, you cried in your bathroom

unsure of how it could possibly get any better.

 

12:38 a.m. //

~Ushashi

 

Second Best

Is there perhaps a word for the fear of people

only slightly more successful than you and

a way to describe only a subtle feeling of worthlessness?

What does it take to accept that there will always be people

smarter, prettier, fitter…better than you,

and how, pray tell me, do I get this point across

without sounding like a selfish prick?

How do I explain the gnawing feeling

hovering on top of my head

with its unkempt nails clawing into the soft skin of my shoulder,

telling me I’m not good enough for this

as my mouse quivers over the Submit Application button?

Or the stone cold whispers that mock me for the bland outfit I put together

telling me I look terrible anyway?

 

Let me paint you a picture –

This feeling that returns every morning, dressed in dread,

with a dark bag slung over her shoulders,

a bag full of promises I made to myself but couldn’t keep:

The promise to accept my grades as part of my minimal intellect,

but also the promise  to continue working hard;

The promise to not stare at my jeans for ten minutes because it has a weird shape,

but also the promise to not care about what I look like;

The promise to be a new person tomorrow

but also the promise to pick up the pieces of my shortcomings and accept them;

and then imagine me under the warmth and approval of my blanket

turning off the alarm at 7:30

in a room colder than the snow that quietly fell last night

begging her “not again, not today.”

~Ushashi

 

 

Go Figure

This year I heard this one phrase

perhaps too many times,

“I’m figuring it out”. Pushed away

Over and over again by people saying

“I’m figuring it out” like they were looking

for a plan, a cheat sheet.

 

But what, pray tell me,

Are you trying to figure out?

Is it a destination?

A goal you’re certain of?

A definition you know

like the back of your hand?

 

You stand before me

shuffling your feet

Ready to go and figure it out

but before you leave

Answer me,

What are you figuring out?

 

Who do you think

has it figured out?

Is it every one in a socio-economic status above you?

In a life where every second brings uncertainty

and every day is a tide taking you in its flow,

What are you figuring out?

 

One moment your career is going somewhere

and the next moment it’s not,

one week you have your feelings sorted out,

and the next you’re not so sure anymore;

In a life that’s crazy like that,

What are you trying to figure out?

 

Please, I beg you, tell me what’s there to figure out,

On a speck of dust

floating about in vast nothingness;

On a speck of dust

bound to be annihilated without a trace; tell me

What are you trying to figure out?

 

~Ushashi