Failed and prolonged situations

One day we say ‘no more!’

and stop in our lives

It’s strange, how we live

between two extremes of emotions

We are moving on

We have kept moving on


I am alone at home

My partner is not at home today

You are in a mood to talk

There are such days

when you are in a mood to talk

Nothing severe, nothing that matters


“How is everything?”

You ask about my family

All are fine

All the same

I ask you the same question

Your father is recovering, you tell me

Rest of the things are tough

yet you have your chin up

You ask me to write about myself

like the old times


There is nothing new about me

but you don’t believe that

The work I am doing

is keeping me very well

I get to put on masks, dance, express

become a different person

with a different story

You ask me to write about it

You say, you are glad

“Are you happy? Peaceful?” you ask

“Of course not, you know me”

“Yes, indeed!”

You smile

“I am happy for myself

to have had so many privileges

Except, perhaps,

my masochistic mind”

“Why this adjective?” you ask

“I do let you trouble me

-through dreams, through memories,

through the heart, through the mind-

something or the other seeps in,

catches me, hurts me bad”

“I am sorry

May be you can just

pass it on to me sometime?”

“These things are invisible,

they grow inside me”

You still insist


But there is a vacuum between us

A chunk of knowledge

that is missing

There is a part of you

that I can’t see

You are there

but I cannot place you


My dear,

I am scared that time will pass

and I will forget you one day

I will forget those two days of July rain

I will forget the window

that we kept looking at the rain through

I am trying to build

this feeble house of cards,

one card of your memory at a time

and it’s falling apart


I receive a scarlet envelop in return

Reminding me of the days

when I was so unwell in your love

I could not stop crying

I could not stop

thinking about you

I used to get nauseated

until you replied to my letters

I was ready to lose

everything that I had,

I had become a little baby

Crying at one moment

and laughing at another


I waited month after month

to recover from it

I indulged too much in you

to move beyond it


And now that I have

I receive this letter


Do you want a dialogue?

I don’t know whether

it will add any definition

to our understanding

of life,

of relationships,

of each other

I don’t know

Was I grateful to you

for turning away?

For telling me

how you didn’t want us

to make any unmendable mistake?

For knowing so clearly

that I should always

have a way to return to?

I was devastated

and yes

grateful for the decision

that was ready-made

on my behalf


One night, in a dream

Your wife

yelled at me

“What is more important to you?

Me or your expression?”



in your letter, you say,

“I have always believed

in your courage

to make choices

and hence I stand here

with a clear mind

to assess what happened

as what happened

In trying times

it is a human weakness

to look at the past

and hope to change things”

You also say

“You are building

this house of cards

and that is the courage

that keeps you ahead of all”

You even say

“You know,

I don’t want her to lose

the only me that she has”


In my dream as well

I had replied to her what I had to

The hazy turbulence there

has misplaced my hope

I can’t see it

I stand here

with an uncertain present

And a sublimating memory.

Image Courtesy: Vartika Singh

Maitra is a social researcher currently working on a study with Prayas Health Group. She holds MA in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and is also an Arts Based Therapist.

3 comments on “Scarlet: Maitra

  1. Shivaji Atre

    Great work Maitra. Liked the way you have used the term ‘masochistic mind’. And also ‘what is more important to you? Me or your expression?’ Felt like the person has actually opened the mind for anyone to look in it and read…. Beautifully expressed

  2. leading stories

    Fine way of telling, and fastidious piece of writing to take data regarding my presentation focus, which i am going
    to deliver in college.

  3. Maitra

    Thanks a lot!


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