Not Today! #BlackLivesMatter

In case it is important for me to explain, I’m not black. I’m a brown, Indian kid giving her little verse to the #BLM movement, since art moves through many dimensions, and could be spoken through different voices. I do not wish to mean any disrespect, and if a single line in my poem speaks something wrong, I’m going to listen, correct it and learn from it.

Stop talking! Don’t make any sudden movement or any kind of noise! Freeze!
And listen..

It’s not important for you to be thick skinned, or a candle, or a matchstick,
The world is going to make you cry,
Out of joy!
And you will cry with joy, because not another black kid got shot today,
at the central market, or the parking lot, Not even on the basketball court,
the eulogy that you’ve already memorized,
is not going to be sung today.

You will cry with joy, because your brother’s name is still a name,
and not a part of a statistics, it’s not that he is all safe,
but he got out alive, safe today, so mark the victory, sing his name,
the poetry about the air that he breathes out every day,
is not going to be read today.

You will cry with joy, because your sister wore her hair in braids,
and didn’t get asked questions about them, not today,
and the co-worker didn’t tell her that she is really pretty for a black girl,
her black-girl magic didn’t turn into a fetish today, so the infinite amount of pep talk
is not going to be given today.

You will cry with joy, because your little boy didn’t get tried like a man today,
not on any street did he get asked to not make chaos, with his pebbles,
no, not today did he get asked if knew how to rap or street dance,
and no one bullied him today,
so the lectures about being different and breaking stereotypes,
is not going to be a necessity today.

You will cry with joy, because your little girl didn’t shy away today,
from telling her classmates about her favourite The Jungle book,
and no one picked on her for her naturally plump lips today,
or her round nose, she breathed today without being questioned about it,
and when she raised her hand in the history class today, she didn’t go unnoticed,
so the sweet cakes that you have made for her,
are not going to taste salty today.

You will cry with joy,
because your black neighbour got a speeding ticket,
instead of an open execution today.
Because the black girl from your gym class bought a Louis Vuitton bag using her savings,
and no one raised their eyebrows today.
Because the 48 year old black guard of the shopping mall,
didn’t get called ‘Boy’ today.
Not today. Not today!

Because today is a constant cry for tomorrow,
and there was no cry today, no media miseducated, no cop played the judge.
Because beauty doesn’t come in a wine mixed with your melanin,
and there is no shade of sunlight that a burning amber couldn’t create,
Maybe yesterday there was, but not today, not ever again, on any other day!images


Why Freckles and Starry nights?- A personal story

After reaching the twelfth year of my life, I started noticing these tiny freckles on my nose.
All hell broke loose in the whole Gupta clan!
No one knew why did they occur, and what do we call them. And the next thing I remember was the frequent visits to skin doctors and specialists.
There were kind advices from strangers at weddings, and home made remedies were exchanged in the phone calls between my mother and aunts.
The doctors prescribed chemicals, lotions and creams, and my grandmother asked me to rub peeled potatoes, lemons, papayas and whatnot on my face; and just like that, my face became the guinea pig in an experimental lab.
It wasn’t a very Indian thing to have freckles on your face, and thus my life became nothing more than chaos. I felt like I could never fit in, with those unnatural spots.

I started growing up- with my freckles, with the pills to lighten them, with the remedies, the anger even.
Kids at school would call me the girl with acne and blemishes, since they didn’t know what actually those brown spots were. Maa would raise eyebrows when I’d ask her to buy me a story book worth 600 bucks, but no one questioned the expensive sunscreen in my bag.
I was fifteen when someone actually suggested laser treatment.
And something inside me kept growing, call it anger, call it submission, call it fear.
No one understood the darkness that I used to find myself in, and everyone kept suggesting me to stay away from the sun.

The society won, almost!
It almost convinced me that I was not beautiful.
It almost convinced me that I was flawed. It almost convinced me that your skin matters the most when you are a girl. I couldn’t listen to my own thoughts at times, in the noise of all these stereotypes.

It took me years to realise how wrong the society was, how wrong I was to even believe it in the first place.
These people have the eyes, which are not used to of looking at the stars in the night sky, the only constellations we ever got to see was in textbooks, the city lights and the pollution had already tainted the sky black.
The doctor visits stopped eventually, and I stopped using sunscreen, but I did start maintaining a library at home.
And even though it still isn’t a very Indian thing to have brown spots on the tip of your nose, it tells a great deal about my heart, which belongs to my own self, before it belongs to any person, or any land- how nice it is to not fit in.
So when I started my blog, where I could share my poetry, I didn’t give a second thought naming it- ‘Freckles  and starry nights’, to remind myself that I am made up of starstuff.

My name is Sheily Gupta. I write poetry because I am one. I find metaphors in the mirror. I believe that my heart pumps out purple colours and it only becomes red when it is exposed to the world, because my Purple is shy, just like me. I don’t romanticize cities or coffee or flowers. I romanticize human imperfections . I feel the most beautiful when I dance, and if some day, god herself would appear to tell me that I could recreate myself, I’d tell her to make me exactly as I already am, because nothing has ever been more mine, because nothing has ever been more beautiful. images

An ode to Female friendships

A little something for the sisterhood that made me the woman that I am today:

Set amid the nebulae of smoke, pollution and clouds- henna soaked,
our homes had walls thinner than laughter,
We kept coming back to old jokes, and our secret yearnings for a partner in crime became transparent,
like rose water, that we sprinkle on each other’s troubles.

Like Babybird, in her skinny jeans and slender shoulders,
who keeps the humour level steady and creates lightning storms when she laughs with the wind.
she showed me what real courage could be, on our way back, from hiking through the bog of our personal demons, after we drenched them in our lucid positivity.
Maybe it started some two years ago, or maybe it started way before that when my palms ached for a sisterhood to hold upon, and a sweat trickled down from her fingers at the very same time. And thus, after pulling each other up, above ourselves-holding her hand never felt unnatural.

Like This other girl, coming from the family of strong women, and dreams- Guddu- so I call her, who created a universe for me, where I was worth something, inspiring even;
She laughed at my every bad joke and spotted all the constellations there were to spot in my freckles.
Once, I waited till 7 so that she could make me a chocolate milkshake. She showed me how precious  friendship could be and left me in wonder with her faith and beauty. She kept me on my toes, most of the days when even the blanket left my feet cold.
The kind of purity there was in her kindness, and the heart that peeked through her cotton sleeves, she always makes me wonder- How have I ever deserved such love?

Like Srish, with her wide eyes, and cherry-stained smile, who met me at some shy sixteenth year of my life, imperfect like me, and equally unafraid to accept it. She showed me a broken mirror, and I showed her mine, and so we sat together to glue back all the pieces again and fixed more than just a couple of mirrors on our journey. I watched her grow, evolve and become a better version of herself, with each step that she took forward, I have seen her become a whole new person in the best possible ways.
We shared secrets, tears, lip gloss, dreams, ideas and pasta; and there were times when we just sat with our eyes closed and arms wide open, and we talked about everything that breaks our hearts.
There were days when we made each other cry, but the delight that comes from this kind of friendship- beats pain every day, even twice on birthdays.

And like many more, with fire in their souls and all the colours of rainbows in their eyes, who shaped me into what I am today, and allowed me to shape them in return.
And even though, Our hearts were like that of a dragon, but our voices had the kind of breeze in it, that cooled our universe, in just blinks of time.
Female friendships demand a lot more than just your time, your secrets or your rugged jeans, but once you get involved, they bring you up, in a world which is ever so ready to tear you downjerr

Things that are more intimate than sex

Sometimes, the closest you can be with someone are  the moments that you spend with your partner while keeping your clothes on.

Sure, sex is one of the most important parts of a relationship, but sometimes, the deepest intimacy occurs on many occasions which have absolutely nothing to do with sex.

When you finally find someone who makes you feel the way that you’d never feel with anyone else, the most  simple gestures could create the epitome of euphoria. These moments are not over the top incredible but are just the little things that you share with your significant other and give you immense happiness. Some of such things are-


1 Travelling–

Travelling could be fun, travelling could be adventurous, travelling could be an escape from the routine life of yours. Travelling could be many things, but travelling with the right person could be the most intimate experience ever. Hand in hand with your best friend, jumping from a cliff into the waters, or breathing in the landscape with someone who loves you- what love could get more intimate?


2 Kissing-

The first time I ever kissed someone, I felt the whole ocean was inside of me, gulping me down every time it touches my shores, leaving me exhilarated, gasping. In that moment, I somehow knew, that this is the most intimate moment of my life, no matter what the universal definition of ‘getting intimate’ is. There is something sweet in wanting more, with every breath you fill in each other’s mouth, but not getting it, there is something so sweet in leaving yourself unsatisfied.


3 Talking-

Of course,  there is deep intimacy in getting out of your clothes and presenting your whole body to your partner, but what I believe is even deeper of an ecstasy is- to get your soul out and present it to the one you love. Talk- about the way coffee makes you feel sick, Talk- about how you hate flying, Talk- about the colour purple, Talk- of the friends you once had or will have, Talk- of what you think about the stardust, talk- about everything, it takes great courage to turn yourself inside out- to trust someone that much.


4 Sleep together-

No, don’t take it the other way, by sleep together, I mean, really sleep together.

Beautiful, isn’t it? To wither in desire, while lying side by side, hand in hand, feet slightly touching each other, breathing in the same rhythm, Beautiful, isn’t it? To set your soul on fire, or to slip into the intimacy of deep water in your slumber, for when you stop struggling, even drowning could be the sweetest experience.


6 Share inside jokes-

Be inappropriate, be offensive, be original, be weird. Share as many inside jokes as you can- This is the kind of relationship people seek all their lives. Be your partner’s best friend. Create such kind of trust into the relationship, that no amount of trouble could stand in your way while you tumble down the road laughing at them.  Closeness is not measured by the number of years anyway.


5 Make them your muse, and be theirs-

Now that you’ve found someone who is top equal of your every love poem, it’s time to write them down on paper, or to paint them out on canvas, or to invite them in your song, or to let them enter as a character in your book. Art is there for a reason. Art is there to make you feel something, and that something could be the most intimate thing ever. Make love with your eyes, and let every curve of their body drip out of your paint brush. Count every scar, every freckle, every colour in their eyes, and let it flow out of your pen. Make them your muse, and be theirs, there’s nothing else that could make you feel more special.


6 Living-

What else could leave you more gratified than living with someone, who makes life worth living? Waking up next to the person who is the reason you want to wake up in the morning. Live with someone, who lets you. Live with someone, who compels you to live. Watch them grow, watch them age, watch them stretch, watch them disappear, as one day, you too will have to.

Intimacy could be found in life itself if you don’t limit it merely to sex. Find the deeper ecstasy of life, be vulnerable, be raw, be weak, curl yourself into a question mark, seek all the answers.

And when you find that kind of closeness, don’t even try to recover.

Times in Maycomb- To Kill a Mockingbird poem

I recently lost my whole life to this beautiful book by Harper Lee- To kill a Mockingbird.
It created a whole world for me, and I was standing there in awe.

There are times, when you fit in a tire and the world is your playground,
there are times, when bravery doesn’t reside in guns, but soap dolls instead,
there are times, when in broken spectacles, courage could be found,
there are times, when a colored man, cries his eyes red.

There are times, when there lays in the night, a dead man called bob
there are times, when a ham costume and a brother, is all you’ve got
there are times, when you save your father from an angry mob,
there are times, when behind the bars, an innocent rots.

There are times, when the summers mean friendship,
there are times, when a colored church, or a balcony is inviting,
there are times, when someone sews your pants when they rip,
there are times, when the laziest town becomes exciting.

There are times, when miss Maudie’s cakes couldn’t fix broken hearts,
there are times, when black is the hope for the lost race,
there are times, when a snowman stands in your porch as the winter starts,
there are times, when white is the lie that stares at you in the face.

There are times, when a mad dog comes your way,
there are times, when Boo  saves Atticus’s world,
there are times, when 17 bullets were not enough, they say,
there are times, when it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.MTMxNTY3ODY2MDUzOTY5OTMw