Dyspeptalk #21.

“The only thing we know for sure is that no matter how hard you try, our plans are going to fail one too many times.

It could be that striped tee you had imagined yourself wearing on your date, and she’d have looked up and she’d have said,

this looks good on you

, and you’d say,

I’m glad.

But that never happened.

The tee shirt was probably sold a day before you finally got all the money together to buy it, or you tried it on and it was one size too small.
And whether you left it on the floor of the trial room in disgust, or bought it out of a desperation only to realise you’ll never wear it after you reached home, your heart irreversibly broke a little in that moment.

And someday, it’ll happen to you again.

Maybe your relationship never worked out, and you remain standing there thinking of a proper reply to her saying

it’s not working out

, and in that moment there’s nothing else to be said really.
You could tell her you had planned to show her your bare hairy chest one day, place her hand on your skin and tell her

you didn’t know how it worked underneath but it hurt a bit every time she cried


You could tell her

you had planned to elope with her.

Or just wake up next to her one morning realizing you’ve never loved as you are doing this moment.

But now she’s standing in front of you expecting a reply and it’ll be

I hope you are happier now.

It’ll always be

I hope you are happier now.

The only thing we know for sure is that our plans are going to fail one too many times.

Even worse, when you’re lying there looking up at the ceiling wondering what went wrong,

you’ll realize you don’t have anything to wear to the date anymore.


Art by Wasted Rita.


Dyspeptalk #20

Probably the worst thing after seeing a person dying, is seeing a person depressed.

They talk to me, and they try to make me feel better, but the weight that ties down my heart like a stone sinking ten miles below sea level, isn’t so easy to weave into words.

So they misunderstand me.

They give my darkness names.

Some call it ego.
Some call it denial.
Some call it vanity.

But the truth behind every drug addict curled up in a cardboard box under the abandoned bridge of West Harlem isn’t where they chose to escape, it’s why they chose to escape, why they had to.

Sometimes what others do seems really easy till you take matters into your own hands.

The first time I came back from college and saw my mother still struggling with an omelette that kept getting scrambled, I mocked her because I didn’t know how blistered the hands that poured egg yolk into the frying pan was.

Years later, sitting in a dark room at 4 in the morning, smelling of cigarettes and a fractured spirit because something I had worked my heart into had been rejected again, I got a text from a friend asking how to write a poem to impress his girlfriend.

At that moment I knew how hurt my mother must’ve felt that day, to be questioned on the one thing her blistered hand refused to do despite of her heart breaking all over it.

At that moment I knew, how blistered someone’s soul can be with the bleeding red gashes of rejections and failures, so long so that nothing comes out of it anymore.

I’m scared because I’ve been rejected so many times, I’m terrified of my heart that still holds hope.

I’m scared because the bottle in me has leaked from so many places, I’m terrified of looking into it and finding only a seeping last drop.

I’m scared because my friend never understood, my mother had felt really hurt that day.


Dyspeptalk #19

The best advice I ever got, was never to settle for something noncommittal, when all I wanted was something absolute.

You ask me what I want today, and I tell you, I want you.

There is no hidden meaning to it, no negotiations, no truce.

I want you, with your filthy mouth and your filthier mind at 3 o’clock every night.

I want you with your fiery temperament and sunny good mornings and it’s been a rough day frustration.

I want you at your extremes.

Don’t tell me maybe if you want to say no way in hell.

Don’t tell me I could behave better if all you want me to be, is less of a pathetic jerk who makes you cry some nights and smile on others.

I want you to be honest.

Don’t turn into those romantic movie characters if you don’t want to, with your entire heart in your palms.

Don’t say you wished for a boyfriend who’d write you letters if all you want is a guy who can rub his tongue under your ear like new denim scrapes your thigh.

Don’t say you want to hold hands if all you want is a day spent in each other’s arms.

Say it.
Say what you want, and let him take care of his own feelings.

Tell him you’d like a vibrator better than a pink sequined sofa cushion.

In the end, that’s all we ever want. To be honest to someone.
For someone to be honest to us.

I want to tell you I would want to kiss you every time I hear a poem in Persian.

I want you to know you are special, and you are intelligent, and you are a good kisser too.

That these aren’t disjointed qualities.

That you aren’t disjointed personalities.

I want you to know that you are a lot of things, and each of them is important.

That you are wanted, for who you are.
That I want you, and I would, no matter what.


Dyspeptalk #18

There are all kinds of things you can say on your deathbed.

Honey, I think I left the oven on.
If I trusted anyone with my heart transplant, it’d be you.
I know you stole my inheritance, but I forgive you.

There are literally millions of sentences you can end your life at, some impart the much demanded closure for someone dear, some speak of forgiveness or remembrance, some simply go out with a last

‘I love you naked on me’.

There are millions of sentences you could  have ended your life at.
Did it really have to be ‘

no one is responsible for my death but me’


We tend to treat death as a phenomena.

The suddenness of which overwhelms us, relieves us of a survivor’s guilt.

We couldn’t see that coming. That was unexpected. That wasn’t anyone’s fault.

We want death to be a heart attack, a hemorrhage, a kidney failure.
So that we don’t realise until it’s too late.

But the truth is, we did.

It was there, in the 3 am phone calls when sleeping pills didn’t care to work, in the midnight highway 100 kilometres per hour drive at a reckless pursuant crash,  the cigarettes littering up the empty dented cans of beer, the forgetting to change dirty shirts, the forgetting to pack your sandwiches, the forgetting to write or call or say hello.

It was always going to end this way, and we knew it, and we never accepted.

Who were we fooling?
Who is left to be fooled anymore?

In the story one man lives beside the Australian cliff where 231 people jumped to death in the summer of 2002, and greets people with smiles and a tray of tea and snacks and patience to listen to their problems.
In the story, no one jumps from the cliff anymore.

In the story, tea and snacks and a smile is more appealing than quitting altogether.

Because a thing that’s already dead is magnificent.
It’s when it starts dying that’s dreadful.


Artwork by Steve Daniels.

Dyspeptalk #17

“Because sometimes, you have to question how much the world really knows, sweetie.

They’ll keep telling you, love is the strongest feeling in the world.

They’ll keep whispering it into your young nubile ears till the words became your earrings and eardrums and you can hear them echo when you hold your head too close to the broken seashells.

But it’s true, is it, sweetie?

Love is the most fragile thing you can hold in your heart, it melts at the touch of warm hands, it runs through your fingers like the water that rushes away faster when dead goldfish are gasping in death at the cup of your palms.

Love is fragile because it happens at coffee shops or barber quartets, and suddenly your thoughts aren’t yours anymore, they have been whisked away like some toads are, when hurricane strike cities at 200 kilometres per hour.

Love is fragile because you can never tell someone you love them, even when you know you are sleeping on heartbreaks every night and in your dream, her hands are the only things you see as you fall of that cliff.

Love is fragile because you can’t tell her, because if you did, she might not love you back, and it’s better to hurt but not know, than to know and hurt all the same.

Love is fragile because it is afraid to walk through the fire.

It is afraid of pulling up flames beneath a hostel window on the third floor and filling the room with smoke hoping someone looks up at the curdling fumes and realises they have spelt your helplessness without them all along.

Love is fragile because it can happen to you anytime, like a shark attack, or an email scam, because you could be ordering patties and cola one moment, and the next you can’t walk a step without hearing her say,

yes, yes I’ll walk with you.

Love isn’t strong or heroic, sweetie, it is your hands in someone else’s, your eyes under someone’s chin.

When you have it, you’ll know.”


Artwork by Trash Riot.

Dyspeptalk #10.

“Being nice doesn’t mean holding out cab doors for beautiful girls to step out,

Or letting others dictate what your life should have been like had you listened to every advice thrown your way,

Or giving in to people who only hold you when their loneliness craves company and never return your calls six days into your gutless feeling of hopeless desperation.

Being nice means not shattering every single shred of hope a person holds that you wouldn’t betray their trust just because they gave you the power to do so.

Being nice means being honest to their trials and tribulations, not patronising or sympathetic, just telling them what happened to them would happen to a thousand more souls and they aren’t damaged only a little rusty at the spot they used to touch their hands and feel a beating heart.

Being nice means smiling at strangers so they get a reason to smile back at you, because trust me, they want to, and saying something funny no matter how stupid it makes you look because tomorrow people won’t remember the look on your face or what you said but they’ll always remember to smile when their lips feel too taut over their teeth.

Being nice means knowing you can be rude and some people will always confuse rudeness with gruffness and applaud your efforts because somewhere down the line we taught ourselves it’s okay to hurt people as long as it makes for a good show, but the person who was hurt that day shall always remember, and they’ll always wonder if niceness is something they have to earn, not take for granted.

Being nice means listening to those who had days when they took the metro to work or drank shitty coffee at a cafe downtown or sat in the corner of a room with their hands on their lap and ghosts of their depression hovering over their minds, and all they waited for was a word or a smile, and you could have given it to them if you didn’t have your head up your ass from binge watching misogynistic sex comedy all night.

Being nice means knowing, yes, you can take all the time to hurt someone and bully someone, but in this moment, you can be kind to them,

Because being rude, can always wait.”


Dyspeptalk #9.

Every week, I hear someone complain about how the world around us keeps losing its innocence, and I’m compelled to ask them if it’s only us.

At 14, I wasn’t scared when my best friend of 9 odd years pressed his lips to mine and I drew him closer till I could taste his moans in my throat. Years later I saw a documentary on how a flower embraces a bee in the dewy warmth of its petals, and how it liberates the flower in ways untold, and in that moment, I was reminded of him.

In high school, I didn’t find it unnatural when I walked into a seemingly empty classroom and found two guys with their hands deep down each other’s pants.

And it was beautiful and fascinating, in ways only an erotic Picasso could turn on our senses, or an almost made up poem could make us ready for war in the name of undying love.

What scared me, was shock therapy for teenagers who dared to venture out of the proverbial closet, or lobotomy, and if they were lucky, a handful of sleeping pills, or 4 feet of nylon rope.
What scared me, were men ganging up and breaking cheek bones and ripping apart ribs of the guy who wore scarves to work everyday and had a boyfriend for 3 years and gave up his seat on crowded buses for pregnant ladies to sit.

What scared me, were footnotes in local newspapers about  the girl whose family raped her to cure her homosexuality, and how she killed herself, and how someone I knew, had jerked off to the story.

What scares me is a religion which condones penetration of men by bullets and shrapnel, but condemns penetration of men by a few inches of flesh.
What scares me, are the laws of love, which govern who to love, and how, and how much.

Every week, I hear someone say, honestly, I hate homosexuals.
Honestly, they don’t care.
Honestly, its a proud thing to be. Honestly, they are in love, and they know how to paint the sky at dusk, and they read poetry on rainy nights, and they write letters to friends who need to know things will be better soon, and that’s all that matters anyway.

Honestly, the road to celebrating yourself, is seldom straight.
Honestly, go fuck yourself.


Dyspeptalk #8.

“You reach out your hand and scoop a moment out of someone’s life- just a moment, out of anyone’s life, at random- and what you’ll find glistening at the tip of your finger, could be called the ghost of things that could’ve been.

Because honestly, every moment of our lives, is a chance to be something else, to be someone else, and every moment we don’t, there’s a year of sadness we add to our heavy lives.

Its hard to take a leap of faith, or just tell anyone how you feel and what you want and if you believe in God and whether you ran to the shop of tricks or exploding balloons first when you visited the village fair.

It’s hard to open up your heart to someone, allow them to touch the cracked ribs that shift and scar every time you take another deep breath, and let them know how many people came and left from your heart and how you kept breaking pieces of your chest to make space for more.

It’s not easy to tell someone what you want, what you really want. It takes courage, to tell a person whether you like them enough to want them to be a part of the best moments your life might have, or not have anything to do with them till you turn 40.

Go ahead, tell them. They are looking at the same stars across the sky tonight and you’re reading the pages of the same dusty book together and if that’s not sign enough, I don’t know what is.

Tell them whether it’ll be a coffee and a discussion about your favourite music or losing your virginity to them on an autumn afternoon when your parents weren’t home and neither of you were ready for the pain. Tell them whether it’d be your heart in their palms or their tongue between your lips or your hands under their top or their hands on your credit card.

Tell them all of this, so they know what’s coming, so they can decide before hope starts breathing in vain.

Tell them all of this because there’s beauty in being desperate.

Tell them all of this because in this moment, they deserve to be told, and you deserve to be heard.


Dyspeptalk #5.

All this talk about marks and scores and results, it gets to you eventually.

No matter how far gone you are, what you’ve made of yourself, or how old- the thought of that exam you flunked, that semester you scored lowest in the class, that test score you hid from your parents- reminds you of an opportunity missed.

I believed that time would heal my low test scores, that once I’m old enough, my father wouldn’t remember the day he took a leave from his office because everyone would wait to ask him about my results.

My father, who never missed office even when it rained bitterly for weeks and we had only moths for company in our dark, damp apartment,stayed at home that day.

My father, who was never afraid of going out amidst thunderstorms to get medicines for my toothache, was afraid of what the person behind the next desk of filed papers might think about his son’s results.

There’d be a  look on your uncle’s face when he reminds you your family expected better, there’d be a shrillness voice of your neighborhood aunty speaking of her son’s rank with pride- little things you never thought would matter, now does.

It’d remind you of the moments you let everyone who believed in you, down. ”

What is the worst part about bad scores?

“When I was in high school, I won this interschool competition, and I was so agitated till the moment the results were announced, that I never noticed my pen was leaking ink from the back.

There was a thunderous applause as we were swept up our feet and positioned in the middle of the stage, a smiling principal handing us wrapped boxes of what we found later was an Oxford Dictionary, and all I remember thinking in that moment was how I was going to wash off the stupid ink stain spreading across my shirt from the pocket where I had kept my stupid leaking pen.

That’s the moral of this story, I guess.

If you care about an ink stain more than the applause, you don’t need to be applauded.
If the thought of annoying neighbours and dejected parents is the only things driving you to score higher, you don’t need higher score. Because it won’t make you any happier, and that’s kinda the whole point, right? “


Dyspeptalk #4.

If I had to fall in love, I wish I could fall in love when love was a lot simpler.

In May, we got cards to the wedding of my cousin, and I wondered how two people could be such strangers to each other one day, and be in everlasting love the next.

I wish I could fall in love the year a bomb went down in London.

That year I met a girl at my tuition with long hair and slightly mismatched pair of front teeth. She wore orange frequently, and carried a sequin studded bag to class when it was about to rain and the sky was silver outside.
Our hands never touched, but we looked at each other and smiled when there was load shedding and the entire area was dipped in darkness all of a sudden.

I question myself how we both knew we were smiling at each other even when we couldn’t see, but love is probably more to be felt than touched with.

Along the way of growing old, our love matured in meanings that were too alien for our 20 year old sensibilities.

Measures of love ran in words and rhymes, and simple things never sufficed anymore.

As the guava tree in our backyard grew every passing year, my fear of love spread branches and roots amidst my heart.

There was news, of a friend whose boyfriend had got her pregnant and ran off, and now she was about to birth a child into this world and teach her how every lover who promises you of growing old together only ends up terminating your 18 year old puberty ridden youth with the screams of a newborn that would have no name.

I questioned her if this is indeed the right world to bring her baby into, but she said she loved her, as she had loved him, and I couldn’t figure out which of it was logical and how much.

I knew of houses devoid of blades and needles and poison because a heartbreak had left people dead within long back.
I knew of eyes that had cooked themselves in their own hot tears till they could see no more.

I wish I could love when love was more melodramatic, when people told you when they loved you, and passed beside you unknowingly in marketplaces when they didn’t.

I need a love that would grow between lonely strangers, and make me and you, feel.”