When the world around is flourishing
or perhaps thriving at its best
you look at yourself in the only mirror of your house
and observe the fading laugh lines around your eyes;
this is the only way to know that you have grown.
You wait for the cat that visits you three times a day
and compare his love with those around you –
wondering where it mingles together and where it separates.
I think sometimes the smallest of reasons (like thinking of your cat dying of hunger) makes one survive at the least.
But other days, you see your father with his sullen face, and sad eyes.
He doesn’t say anything when you wake up in the morning, no attempts at talking.
You don’t either.
The distance between you and him is not just age but this reminder of how things (when left alone for a while) learn to accept emptiness as the only normal.
Your father left you just like your dream.
He sometimes calls it a mistake and you, reckless.
The gaps develop like trails of a track.
Expanding and contracting.
Some days you are there loving him
and other days you hurt because he doesn’t.
You learn about indifference.
You buy a flower, let it droop under the sun
and then ponder over the regret of not watering it enough.
This is how you become a child and not daughter (as an action verb because you learn how to be a good one from your mother).
You stare at the world.
Dancing, drinking, celebrating life (as if they know that it is their last chance at making it look good).
After all, we want to be remembered as abstractions of everything we were (not as the shadows of our unfulfilled desires).
This is how I know I will be forgotten soon enough.
Just like losing a one-rupee coin (and not noticing the change in the weight of the wallet).
This is how I know my father will not remember me as a child.
I get up again thinking that fathers are made that way.
You grow up in their arms
until you forget to differentiate between rope and embrace.
And when they set you free (which they will),
you learn to notice how wobbly your feet are.
This is the only rule of nature:
you kill a flower and spend the rest of your life arranging its funeral.