poem by Shloka Ramachandran
you are standing there, on the platform, in the train station.
it has not stopped raining for days.
you do not look very different; how things have changed.
why do you meet my eyes so stubbornly?
(picture this: the sun is out, and we are bright and shiny.
we do not mind the relentless mumbai heat.)
you do not hesitate when you meet my eyes. we are
looking at each other now, and the universe seems to
hang in the balance; what do we expect to see in each other?
are you hoping, after all this time, that i am the same?
am i hoping that you are not?
i meet you near your house, new footsteps on old ground.
your day has not gone well. “it’s looking up now,” you say.
the world seems different to how it felt all those years ago.
“you are happier, now, than you used to be,” you tell me.
i cannot disagree, but i do not know if happiness is as simple
as it used to be, if it is a monolith of positivity and hope.
maybe i am happy: i am not unhappy. i do not wake up with
the taste of tears in my mouth these days, but i do not feel like
i can tackle life, anymore. did i ever feel like that? it has been
years, now, years and years of tired acceptance.
(we are friends of old: there is no pretence anymore.
i do not need to fake a bright smile and energy i do not have.)
“how did you feel when i left?” i ask you.
although we are in the same place, you have left now.
(it’s your turn)
we eat in silence.
Shloka Ramachandran is a 23 year writer and an English and Creative Writing graduate of the University of London, currently based in Mumbai. Her interests include free verse poetry, children's literature, and cups of tea.
You can find her poetry on Instagram at @akolhs