So dawn goes down to day, nothing gold can stay.

Let me tell you a little story.
(I would have walked through fire for you.
You would have crossed the seven stormy seas for me.)
The thrill of the chase, the throbbing heartbeats. Erratic breaths, rosy cheeks, raspy voices. Tantalising, daring, alluring. Show me your hand, I’ll reveal mine to you. Show me the tricks you’ve got hiding under your sleeve, and I’ll show you a few of my own.
(But we were just waiting to be caught.)
The ensnaring. You’re mine,and I’m yours, and the balance of the universe is finally set right. We’re each others’, hopelessly, infinitely,colossally. Unbreakable.
(Or so we said.)
The intertwining. Your words tumbling from my mouth. Phrases from my dictionary slowly blending into yours. I begin to hold my coffee mug the way you do,you begin to knot your tie the way I do.
(And we both still do.)
Like the threads in fabric, like the weaves in a basket, we intertwined, by the day, everyday. Slowly. Surely. Weaving our own tapestry.
(It was more beautiful than any I have seen in all the museums.)
Your breath becomes mine,my heartbeat becomes yours. It was magic, it was insanity.
(But such sweet,sweet insanity.)
We would take bullets for each other. Unquestionably, gladly.
(But what we didn’t know that for either of us, the other was the one pulling the trigger. Fire away, honey. Fire away.)
It was ripe gold, it was gleaming silver. It was the mellow,glowing sunrise, it was the burning, bleeding sunset. It was all the colours of the spectrum and a million more.
(But darling,such perfection could never last.)
And it didn’t. We were contraband, and we were paying the price. We were the tingling thrills and shivers, we were the restricted paradise, the illicit ecstasy.
(And,oh, did we pay the price.)
And now we’re torn apart, each with a gaping hole in our soul and heart. Our tapestry in shreds.
(Irreparable, irreparable.)
And all that is left is the memories.  Beautiful, terrible memories. The mocking echoes that remind you of what’s lost, what will never come back again. The taunting jibes that poke at your heart, goring new holes every time.
(Now you know what a fire being stoked feels like.)
And the little keepsakes no one means to leave behind remain. Your scent on my sofa. My hair tangled in your jacket. Your shirt in my wardrobe, my toothbrush in your sink. The unforgettable taste of our first kiss, strawberries and champagne.
(The bubbles and the fizz, the sparkling taste of fireworks.)
We try to forget. I delete your number. You unfollow me on Instagram. You stop shopping where I do, i wash the sheets we slept in, curled up together.
(But I’ll never quite wash you out of them.)
And when we stumble into each others’ paths, see each others’ picture somewhere, by some cruel serendipity; i can see your heart break a little, feel the old crack widen some, for your heart is still mine, and mine still beats in your chest.
(And you know it too.)
But we brush off the pain,walk away, scroll past. You drown it in pints of alcohol, I swamp it in ice cream and chocolate. Because broken hearts keep beating somehow, even the most battered and bruised hearts still march on. The mundane, the routine, the everyday still goes on. Mechanically, automatically. All the while, concealing, ignoring that nagging pain.
(Trying so hard to make it look like it’s easy.)
What if we had lasted?
Maybe we weren’t meant to. Maybe you and I were meant to melt into the forevers that were destined never to be.
(Like all our promises- broken glass and splintered wood.)
Until one day, it recedes to nostalgia and a distant, ancient ache. A bright, burning love, reduced to glowing embers and ashes. Ashes,dust, and the smoke of memories that we both tried to burn away.
(Not all love stories have a happy ending.)

-Gautami.

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Distilled memories.

As the tears streamed down her cheeks in a silent rush, she tasted some of them.
They tasted like the sea spray on a golden day on the sands. Running and dancing wildly with the waves, the winds tossing her hair, sharing her spirit of joyous abandon. Digging her toes into the warm sand,the grains clinging to her feet and toes.
They tasted like endless conversations under the silver light of a million stars. Sharing things she could have never told anyone else. Basking in the diffused,delicate glow that the moon and the canopy of stars provided.
They tasted like days spent doing nothing but spend time absorbing each others’ essence.
They tasted like the last slice of their favourite pizza they used to order; sharing it over some movie they had watched a hundred times before already.
They tasted like drives in the late evening, chasing the salmon clouds as they flurried across the sky. Like the glorious sunset, the enraptured watching as day melted seamlessly into night, their hands intertwined.
Like the things they communicated without words.
They tasted like regret; regret over things said and unsaid, over the thousand what ifs that plagued her, day and night. An infinity of questions ricocheting in her mind.
They tasted like all that they had meant, had been distilled in countless memories, never to be lost.

-Gautami.

Run

Hold your stance. Take a deep breath. Let go of your surroundings. And run.

Run,run,run.

Like the wind is your sole companion and guide. Like hot,red flames are licking at your ankles. Like your lungs,your heart,your body is just a glorious machine built for nothing but this.
Like you’re melting,dissolving,disappearing into wisps of air.

Cut the binding ropes,tear the shackles and chains away and break free. Till your lungs and calves throb from the anticipation,the adrenaline and the pain. All indistinguishable.

Run from the people who tie you up in their petty little knots. Run from the belittling,the mockery,the insults and the taunts.
Run from those who make you feel even a fraction less than yourself. From those who diligently chip away at your self esteem,piece by deliberate piece.

Because,honey,if you don’t run now, you’re stuck in those shackles for good. You’ll drag the exhausting ball and chain ,your hands bound behind your back. You’ll let doubt,maggot like,eat away at the very core of your being. You’ll let them win,with their manipulations and selfishness , their words like jagged shards of glass,tearing at your bleeding soul as you grasp them close.

Run now,I tell you.

Run for the hills.

-Nayantara

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The chinks in the armour.

There are people who genuinely, truly like other people.
Me? I have grown to dislike most of them.
I have grown to detest the way their minds work, they way they judge people, rapidly, baselessly.
A bright blaze, sparks flying, smoke, and the burning sear of the brand. The brand, the label, that you are classified as , quick as a wink.
If your mind works in a different way from what is expected, you are labelled “dumb”.
If you are fatter than what society considers beautiful, you are labelled “obese”, have to endure nicknames like “elephant.”
It goes on. No matter what, no matter how hard you work, it is always those niggling flaws that are brought into sharp focus, dragged into the limelight to be ridiculed and booed until all you want to do in melt into the shadows that have crept into your soul.
The positive facets of your personality are never considered as much as the negative parts of you are. It is always the imperfections that are thrashed over, again and again, until you are ready to scream in frustration, tearing at your hair with wild, restless fingers. The rose crushed beyond recognition, bruised, trodden over until all that is left is blackened, tattered petals.
Criticism comes so easy, doesn’t it? Always at the tip of your tongue, ready to roll off at the slightest instance, the smallest provocation. We, as people, love to gloat over other people’s failings; letting barbed words fly, releasing them like bullets in the chinks in a person’s armour. Enjoy some twisted, warped satisfaction as the words lodge themselves firmly in a person’s insecurities, notice the pain bleeding into their eyes even as they try to laugh it off. Those insecurities. Those niggling doubts, never far from the surface. Needling away, slowly chipping away at the last vestiges of your confidence.
At times, it’s bearable, in the sense that it’s become part and parcel of your existence. The perennial questioning if you’ll ever be good enough. The countless times you realize you never, never ever will. The ceaseless, constant pain that brings; it becomes part of the daily routine.
At other times, it just swamps everything else, coming as a tidal wave of despair. The neverending poke, jab, needle, stab that the insecurities bring. And no matter how hard you try, you can never get out of that vicious cycle.
We don’t stop to think what effect our words could have on a person; for we do not know of sleepless nights spent writhing, agonizing over how we fall short, over all the insecurities that have been poked and prodded so much that they are raw, infected wounds, sickening your entire soul. We do not know of damp pillows and red eyes washed hastily so that no one notices. Of the constant feeling of not being enough, never being enough. Because even if you conquer one flaw, there’s always another one, a new one, that will be dragged out.

-Gautami.

Writer’s block.

If I could put into words
They way you make me feel
Not just the clichéed flutterings, flights of butterflies wreaking beautiful havoc
The hastily downcast eyes,for god forbid, they speak too much
The delicate,telltale roses splashing across my cheeks
Or the desperate, aching longing
Or the sum of suppressed jealousy and passion
But the laughter and light you bring to me
Goofy smiles and shining eyes,
Curved lips and aching cheeks
Believe me, I would.
But my eloquence,which flows well enough otherwise
Fails me when it comes to you.
My hamartia,my kryptonite.
Call it what you will.

-Gautami.

Happily ever after.

Why do most great love stories lack a happy ending?
Romeo and Juliet. Hamlet and Ophelia. Hazel and Augustus.
What is it about love stories making us cry over death and strife that tugs at our heartstrings,playing them like the strings on a harp?
What is it about hearts rent to shreds, torn asunder, that fascinates us?
Because I believe the greatest love stories are the ones which end well. The ones which end with withered,wrinkled hands clasping each other,supporting the weight of the years with the other. Which end with fading eyesight and damaged hearing and creaking,rattling limbs and thinning hair but a love still as fresh and vital and young and alive as the decades before. The ones which weather the years together, standing strong through thick and thin. Which survive all the worst things life could cook up for them, no matter what. Fighting, arguing, yes, but still together in the end. That no change in physical beauty could ever alter.
Loves that no vice in the world could corrupt or pollute. Loves that never succumbed to the allures of the twisted path of temptation. Loves that played their own tune even and danced on, even when the world around them seemed to have forgotten what music was.
The ones that endure. The ones that struggle through it all, through the swirling winds and the treacherous tides and the relentless flame and the dizzying heights and sickening ends.The ones that dodge quicksand and crackling lightning, bleed from a thousand cuts and scratches,but come through beyond the rainbow, across the universe,traversing infinities, together. The ones that come through it all,battle-scarred, but head and heart held high. The souls which don’t let life or anything in the world unravel them, their fingers intertwined until the very last.
The ones that aren’t just fireworks against the dark sky, exploding into a million sparks, burning fast and bright with a flamboyant bang;but the fire in the hearth,crackling merrily for all time, the symbol of home and love and comfort. That burn with passion not like a match,but the stars, that blaze on for all eternity.
Those suspended half-moments of breathless thrills and tingling ecstasy sometimes are just not enough; they tantalise, they allure, they seduce you. They trap you in that momentary bliss,making you lose sight of the big picture.
Because in the end, they are just do not suffice,do not satisfy. A single drop of rain does nothing to quench a drought-ravaged land, a grain of rice cannot stave off the all-consuming pangs of a starving man. A nanosecond of euphoria isn’t enough to keep a love-starved soul going.
Love stories that go quietly by, unnoticed. That are seldom hailed as great. But these are the stories that embody what true love truly signifies. They are the stories that restore hope and keep your faith in love. That are,truly great.

-Gautami.

More than words.

I don’t remember the first words you said to me.
But what I do remember
Is the exact shade of your eyes
Warm earth and melting chocolate
Blent with borrowed sunbeams;
The light glinting off your hair
Loose strands framing your face.
Soft lips curving
Rolling the words in your mouth
Tasting them before
Releasing them into the world.

I don’t remember what we spoke about on our first date.
But what I do remember
Is the sound of your laughter
Pure and sweet as the nectar
Dripping through honeysuckle,
Ringing clearer than
A tolling church bell
Reverberating through my bones,
My heart,my very soul.
Your eyes outshining
The constellations
Candlelight glittering off
The diamond pendant nestled
In the hollow of your throat.

I don’t remember all the words you ever said to me,
Millions of scattered conversations
Fading in my memory
Words disappearing, dissipating
Lost in the labyrinth of
Forgotten half-moments.
But what I do remember
Is how you looked as
You said every last word,
Be it with tears clinging
To tangled lashes
Or cheeks burning
With the red of carefree laughter
Or the faraway wistfulness writ
In the lost expression
Cloaking your beautiful features.
Or with your lower lip trembling
With blazing fury
That could transport me
From the highest heavens
Straight through purgatory and hell
In nanoseconds.
Perhaps what they say is true
Pictures do speak louder than words.

-Gautami.