Neeru Naorem

Happiness spreads across the tissues of the living moments of life, but it is like the air–it slips through your fingers when you try to clasp it in your hands. It is not that we cannot think about happiness. Of course we humans are self-conscious beings and we can think about and examine our own conditions and our happiness. However, when we do so, we put happiness on the table for the equivalent of a clinical examination, and happiness stops being happiness, because happiness is not a singularity. It is a multiplicity–a multiple of several factors. A surgical examination of your happiness may reveal the factors of your happiness, but at that moment of examination, you do no experience the multiple feeling called happiness. Happiness is a composite feeling–let’s say “a feeling”–experienced, not an analyzed one. You may know happiness, but you are not happy if you do not experience this feeling. It is like sadness in this sense. You know your friend must be sad when his loved one dies, but this knowledge does not necessarily make you sad. Knowledge is one thing, and being is something else.

We feel the grainy texture of what we go through when we are deeply in the moments of whatever we go through. In plainer terms, being at the moment of the living moment and being focused on what we are doing at the moment is to be experiencing what life has for us. There is nothing to live beyond that. There is no life beyond that. Spirituality is something else and it does not preclude happiness.

I have seen happy people, living their daily lives happily. This girl I knew from my town is one of them. Irrespective of her material conditions, …

Oops! I gotta go. Will continue later tonight.


Sleeping Home

When you can’t carry your own weight
against the earth’s call for a fall
life is reduced to the weight
of flesh, blood and bone.

The old man settles into his unmade bed,
made only by the fussy wind from the sea—
a bundle of wrinkles among the messy folds.
Old and spent, he sleeps the last sleep.

No snore. The folds and wrinkles at rest.
It feels like time has done with all its fuss—
there is nothing stirring in the bedroom,
in the living room, the corridors, the kitchen,
on the stairs and the cornice—the white silk curtains
in frozen stirs at the windows, and the breeze
caught in the cobweb of the air.

None will hear and the air won’t feel touched
when the old door creaks again to close
when you’ve walked home in your sleep.

নুংঙাইবা থিবদা ৱারদুনা

নুংঙাইবা থিবদা ৱারদুনা
ফমথখ্রে অঙাংদো নুমীৎ তাফমদা
ঙাথদুনা মমীৎ উইশিনখ্রবা নুমীৎতা
মদৌগুম মপোক্না পূংঙৌ ঙৌরদনা৷

মহৌশাগি মচৎতা কনানসু ৱাহং হংলুদে।
মহৌশাদি মহৌশানিদনা,
অঙাংনা শান্নবা পাম্ববো!
অদো, নুঙাইবা থিবদা ৱারবদা
পোত্থাফম থিবদা চোকথরবদা
খল্লুদব্রনে নঙবু নোংমতসু
কনানা করিগি নুংঙাইববু অসুক মমল য়ামহল্লিবা?

য়েকশিনবীরমই লৈই কয়া মাগি মায়থোংদা মতম্না,
ঙাথু থেংথুরবীরমই নুংশিদুনা মাগি হকচাংদা নুংশীৎনা
তারে লৈচিল কয়াগি খূৎফমসু
মমাগি মতম্বাক্তগি শীৎথখিবদা ঙাইরিবা ঊন্সাদা ৷

মদোমই মাদি অদো
কনাসু করিসু লৈজদ্রবগুম–মমাশু, নুমীৎশুুু–
মরোল লোল্লিবা তাইবঙগি
খাঙঙমদবা অচীকপা মরক্তা৷


Unfinished Poems


A child was born with death, a poppy birthmark
tattooed cutely on its tender skin adding art to flesh.

Pulling long carrot roots from the soft mulch
one weary evening, the boy saw sleepy time,
inveterate as an old hoary smoker, drowse across the valley
like a lucent birthmark floating free of skin.


What’s the body to the earth?
It reaches for and slips down to the floor
when breath begins migrating
and the blood slows down to a thick stop.

The accordion, singing voices, loud laughters and cries
and brisk and elaborate movements of dance
have made it a warm winter in the suburb pub.
The cold of the floor creeps up his cheeks
in exchange for the warm flow from
the cooling hole in his heart—
he is drowning in his own life.
A dancing girl takes a break, sits down
at a stool by the counter and tosses a swig
of red-blood hot life into her life-sucker.
Crimson seeps through the cotton clouds
slowly revealing the sky bleeds—
crimson drops trickling down the cold earth.


Death is quite different when you’ve survived
Several suicides and several other deaths—
Death is so useless; life—you’ve nowhere to go!

I died there in that city, in that small, dark, boring room
In those monotonous restaurants
Those parks, those benches, those thorns
Those hospital beds, corridors and clinic rooms
Those same boring streets, same boring traffic
Day in, day out. Year in, year out!
I lived there, across the city, digging a grave across it
I died there, across that city, in that grave
Buried my dead body there, in that grave, across that city
With the body of my dead love—
Love, nowhere to live, nowhere to die.

A piece of me still moving—a sure sign of life,
Like a dead actor in an olden movie.
Something doesn’t quite let it alone—life, death,
And I love it and I hate it—it just confuses me.
No name! My heart just pumps it, and it flows
Through my veins and capillaries all over my body!

Quiet like a dark mountain at night.

Forgotten Self, Unfinished Poems

The grey curls from the ash tray
trail up like an unwilling soul
stretched from life to death.
Somewhere in the dark under the thatch rafters
they would meet with the spiral
up from the cigarette between his fingers
and the infrequent clouds from the lips.
He’s smoking away the night—
the night comes in a whirlpool into his cigarette,
mazing through that stuff of the tube,
turning into brooding smoke on the other side
in the cave that blows it back out
in clouds into where it belongs.
Bored, I had gone out time and again,
spilled my heart out in the moonless night
wide as a fisher’s net, to see
if anything in the dark interests me

I found this untitled, unfinished poem when I organize my usually messy desktop today. Too messy today. The MS Word properties say it was written on 7 January 2017. Left unfinished. Many poems. In fact most poems. Yes, I often delete unfinished poem, when I cannot finish them, when I am not in the same mood as I was in when I wrote the original piece. I don’t know why I wrote this. Not in the same mood.

Here is another piece. Left unfinished on the same day–7 January 2017. This one is titled, but certainly unfinished:

Melody at Dawn

This dawn the rain suddenly comes.
I had thrown my wishes up in the skies,
my memories too, where they’d come from.
and I’d forgotten about the rains.
Now suddenly the drops of the rain
come a long way and patter these ancients
against my doors and window panes,
on the dusty leaves in the garden
and the hard long-dry ground—
they must be kicking up the dust
the air smells of the dusty long sigh
of the earth and the vegetation
at the first rain of the season
after they have held their breath for long.
From the balcony I see the dark all around wet,
the sound all around are wet
and the strings of rain run on in the dark
and the drops of rain beat on in the wet.

January 2017. That was when I was so deeply depressed, if I remember it correctly. And when I did not want to talk with anybody or see anybody. I remember I wanted to flee Delhi, but I could not yet do so until 16 January after I had done the formalities at my university, which I wanted to run away from too. I was in no mood to see a single human being, especially the ones I have known and am familiar with.

I more often than not delete unfinished poems. I know I would not ever be able to finish them. I have not done it today. I don’t know why.

Forgotten moods. Forgotten pieces of my self. The idea of the self! How much do I know about myself, if knowledge is made of memory? I forget most about myself. So life goes on. Forgotten promises to myself. Forgotten wishes, left unattended. Pieces of life left unlived. Strange pieces of life I have rather lived, without having wished at all.

কনা-করিশু লৈজদ্রবী

লৈরাংবগি গারী চৎখ্রে মশা লূম্না
ওল্লদুনা নুং থাবা লম্বীদা চকা
লান্দুনা লম্বী চিদাইগি মোংশোঙসে৷

লৈরাংনা নীক-নীক, নোম-নোম
লম্বীগি অকূৎ-অতোঙ তান্থাদা৷

কনা-করিশু লৈজদ্রবীদো
ঙাইজবনি নুংতিগি খূঞ্জগে হায়না লৈরাং
য়েংদুনা লৈজহৌবনি চৎখিবদো গারিনা
লম্বীগি অকূৎ-অতোঙ তান্থাদা৷

মপান্নাইদবদবসিদা ইখৌ লাংলিবা ঐনা

চৎখি নুংশিবা কয়ানা ঐবু লান্দুনা অসুম
হাইফেত্তফাওবা য়েংলমদনা করিসু মরী থোক্নদবগুম
ঈচেলগা তোর্বানগি উপালগগি মতৌগুম৷

ফজবা পূম্নমকসে য়েংজরিঙৈ ঙমজদনা ইশকসে শেমজবা
মিপাইজরিঙৈ থোৎল লৈনাশিংগিদমক উনখাসিদা
মথূম মরাঙ হৌরিঙৈ পীক্লবা থমোইসে ফজবগি ঈথক্না নীকপিরদুনা
অসুম লেপতুনা লৈরম্লে তোর্বানসিদা, লম্বী মতাইসিদা
খঙজহৌদ্রে করিম’ ঐসু চৎকনি হায়বা৷

ফজবা পূম্বসে য়েংনা য়েংনা
নুংশিবা পূম্বসে উনা উনা
ঈখৌ লাংলক্লে ঐ অসুম অসুম
ইখূবামসিদগি অসুম য়ুখ্রবদা পুন্সি মহীসিনা৷

ঐ অসুম চোকথরক্লে,
নুংঙাইনা অমুক্তং তূম্নীংখ্রেদা!

Bokeh in Lakeshore Evening

The stirs of life slow down to rest
at sunset—they don’t like the dark much.
The streets, closed malls and parks—
they are left to the homelss, dogs, cats,
lost newcomers and nocturnal tourists.

I sit on a shapeless rock growing out of the sand.
Through the sunset. After the sunset.

Dull sounds of oars hitting gunwales—yea,
I saw some lazy boats off the shore in the twilight.
The sound of water lapping against the shore.
A dog barking at a far distance.
Nameless noises of being wriggling in the silence.
A cat teaching its kitten cat tricks
on the white table at my room verandah.
Idiot. Useless things.
There are more important things.

I have brought my eyes back to myself
and keep them about myself only to sense
almost imperceptible ghostly shadows
coming into their curtailed field.
I look at nothing particular—
I just remain capable of seeing.

I sit on the shapeless rock growing out of the sand.
Through the sunset. After the sunset.

The sounds of a familiar language are brought
by the wind, the wave forms twisted into unintelligible shapes,
into a strange language or a non-language.
Just the voices kept intact as humans’.
They must be walking arm in arm in the sand.
In love. In the breeze. The evening soon to pass.
Long tuned to the silence and pressures in the nocturnal air,
you can sense the presence and absence
of movements around.

My mind sits at the center of the quiet
weaving a thought without an idea in it.
Thought in bokehs of ideas.

My photographer friend would say
this is a beautiful scene.