how does one cope with one’s hometown being destroyed by an earthquake…
and i am so far away.
the pictures streaming in are breaking my heart.

it makes one nervous when the tram is late.
not because one is getting late to reach somewhere,
but because one has to wait amidst strangers.
you keep staring at the screen and the minutes are passing so slow.
there is an occasional shuffling of restless feet, (of your own and others)
the dragging of weary soles,
and awkward pacing that all try to keep to their own boundaries,
lest it make others nervous by stepping into theirs.

“here, take these,” i say and hand you a bunch of words that are overflowing from my arms. “i can’t hold onto them anymore. they overwhelm me. they once belonged to you anyway. you must have them now.”

“here, take these,” i say and hand you a bunch of words that are slipping away like sand from my arms. “i can’t hold onto them anymore. they hurt me. they once belonged to you anyway. you must take them back now.”

i have crossed the line to the other side of life.
now that i am here, i wonder how much of the last 30 years i remember at all?

the sounds of the morning
echo from the floors above me
the rain pitter-patters like a
broken drain outside
reminding me of the monsoons of kalimpong
where raincoats, umbrellas and plastic shoes can’t protect you.

the kitchen tap is leaking again. i didn’t turn it around tight enough after doing the dishes. and now every few minutes, i have to bear the sound of that single drop collect enough weight and then fall with a ‘plopp’ on the steel of the basin. it irks me. but i won’t get up and away from the sofa, from under the blanket, from the laptop rested on my thighs, to twist the tap back in place. i tell myself, maybe i won’t hear the sound if i play some music. i tell myself, maybe i won’t waste a lot of water if i let it be all night. i tell myself…i must write this down….and such is life at this very moment.

the snow flakes tumble clumsily towards the ground –
like dust particles that have been unsettled by a kucho on a sunny morning.
like the ash that drifts away slowly from bajai’s chulo in taji.
like the husks that separate from the rice grains when you toss the nanglo.
my friend says that it looks like ‘real’ snow this time –
and not the other kind, which is a signature of this place.
the harsh icy things that look like snowflakes but drizzle down on you like rain drops, and melt away at touchdown.