Hard Love


I sometimes remember
My grandmother, who should now be somewhere
In heaven, perhaps even in the elysian fields.
I remember the saree she used to wear
The drape and the fall, in perfect harmony
Not letting the wind, serenade
Any part of her attire.

She taught me how to be an alloy
Of two poles. She knew how to be strict but loving.
Hard love was just business as usual.
My heart became a student of Darwin.
Survival of the fittest, became my dogma.
Natural selection needed me to be
Less gooey and more go-getting.

And sometimes I look in the sky
When I see David’s star shining brighter than ever.
And I wonder is that her looking at me.
Her heart was a sling that could kneel
Any fate-schemed goliath moment. She lost her beloved
In her 40s and yet made three children
Stand on their own two feet.

Hard love becomes a weapon of choice,
Knowing the deep end will swallow you otherwise.
Every child needs the safety wheels,
The life-jacket, the seat belt, and still,
They too need to cycle, swim and stand still
Inside a speeding car.

I search for her in me sometimes.
The granite and the marshmallow mixing beautifully
And I know that she instilled in me
That fusion of knowing when to stand upright
Your heart as firm as a monolith
And still be as soft as a soft sugary treat
That you burn at the end of a stake.

And the only battle she lost was the inevitable.
She could never fall from grace
Or rise in pride. She was the lighthouse
To my trawler, who no longer shows me home.
And yet on those days, I look up at the sky
To see the Star of David and I know
She is still watching over me.

Natural selection was my destiny.
She was all my forces of nature. Wind-ravaged
Cyclone-bombed, disease-plagued, I stand now;
A man who’s finally comfortable in his skin
Of being a dichotomy in my own right.

Hard as diamond, soft as coal

Graphite in between.

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