Can anyone feel like a tenant at home?
I’ve been spat on, beaten, abused like I was a curse.
Always felt like I was under debt.
I had a pendulum clock in my dorm. It used to sneer at 5 in the morning.
At an age of fuming at a cricket ground, I used to cram those amber-tinted diary pages.
With my peers (teased as aliens), we used to go to the library. Mornings were normally quiet and free from taunts.
The food I ate seemed like a favor and not just a token of unconditional love.
“Are you Indian? You eat snakes, frogs, live in filth?”- my beloved countrymen sing to me.
All I needed to hear was “We won’t hear your cries? We’ve chosen to be deaf and blind.”
My shirt would be pulled, arms twisted,neck grabbed if I ever took on their foul play.
Nobody would feel the same unless they have been devoid as well.
There’s a more pronounced attack lately with the pandemic. “Chinki”, “Momo” was a casual slur until “Corona jumped into the equation.
This pandemic saw me through fictitious relationships. Those pitiful stares got me certain.
The best I do is think of the hills back home who’d sing a “Zeliang” lullaby every night.
Someone’s got to be watching over me.
I feel ghosts are watching over us saying “Nowhere to run. Come up, it’s peaceful here”.
Every morning, a walk to the school became my march for freedom.
Once on a metro, two seats to my left were reserved for women and handicapped, where some men were sitting. I was at the third seat, still got rebuked to give it away.
I don’t want to beg for kindness. I’ve heard, ” To be loved, you must provide”.
People would ask, “Have you ever tried human meat?” I mean why, just because I’m a Naga?
I started writing. It’s an armor sans an overriding lust for recognition.
I started working as an actor. Best role I landed was of a tea stall owner.
I’d keep pushing. I’m getting thick-skinned to favoritism.
Amidst recurrent desecration, I felt obligated to art. So I pushed further.
This conflict has engendered a new vision in me.
As time lapsed, people kind of developed a new set of eyes. They started calling me by my name.
The daily scuffles shudder me so badly that I wanna drop the pen.
I have thought of quitting but then my story would meet the same fate as many before: Destroyed.
Nevertheless, my voice won’t muffle under the clamor of noises.
Time has come for privileged to pass on the mic to marginalized.
However worse it becomes, I won’t renounce the ties.
Though I get dodged in the name of national integration, I won’t ever renounce my motherland.
Beyond words, my desolation creeps silently into my art.
Beyond words, in a silent holocaust, I stand alone with my shadow, singing songs of freedom.
Between a hammer and the anvil, should I give up dreaming?
What we have now is not what we dreamt for.
My poetic intercourse shall strike numb chords someday.
Perhaps someday, my story shall become a lullaby for the ghosts up there.