The summer of 2023, I spent in a haze. 

It’s been a while since I wrote anything for myself or anything at all. It doesn’t feel like real writing, anyway- just letters on a page. 

Hollow, soulless, regurgitated refrains. My mother taught me to be thorough- that every action has a consequence, and that consequence won’t be pretty. Inaction was worse still. You would get nowhere if you were inactive.

And I was inactive- hollow, like my writing. What’s the use of tears, anyway? And what would I say? Yes, that smiling six-year-old running in the rain, I was that once. 

And now I’m not. 

And what do I say then? 

Where did she go? 

She knew then, too. 

She was wary of the same things. She’d flinch and cry and break into sobs and look up to the rain and wait. Wait until it’s safe to go out until the cat crosses the creek. I had a boy cut then. Thin as bone. Now, the family genetics have worked their way through the locks-they’re thinning. The stature I’m not sure about. 

Every day, it’s different. But I can live with that. I just fear the fate that befell every eldest child in the clan- inaction. Because what would you do with the silence when you stop working? The silence reminds you that when all is done, you’re alone like you always have been. 

I remember glimpses of the younger days. It used to rain a lot, and I’d watch Narnia, and my uncle would love me like his daughter, and I’d have fruits. I loved it back then, no matter how much I cried. Or maybe I didn’t, but the skyline spoke to me then too. The sky isn’t as pretty from my parent’s house. 


My father once read a poem I wrote and asked why all I wrote was misery and rage. I almost told him why, but I don’t think that he could handle it. Rage, I think, is my cardinal trait. All these years, I never questioned the unwanted tears or anger. They say, if you’re raised with an angry man in your house, there will always be an angry man in your house. You will find him even when he’s not there. 

And I did. And I heard him quietly. Now, I have these flashes of murderous temperament. I can’t control it, and I don’t think I will. But, shush, girls don’t raise their voices that bare their teeth and growl and hiss and bare their nails and learn to aim and nestle blades in their youthful hands. You stand in the corner, and wait till you’re called.

The kitchen is humid and the glass in the hall is hazy and your mother, and her mother, and her mother before you are lined up in your image. 

What are you, if not the granddaughter of your grandfather, the daughter of your father, the sister of your brother, even if you never really knew them? You fetch the water when it is needed. You wash the clothes, the dishes, the floors, the wounds, the blood, and the sweat. You were too mature for your age anyway. You’d stand in the corner, nodding, obeying. You’d wait till you’re called. You never knew what the consequence was, because you were never inactive. 

And then they took you. Your parents, they called them. You were a child used to verandahs and open sky and a street to play in. It’s all crowded now. What makes a house a home, anyway? I’ve never known one. The first, it was my grandfather’s. And this one is no one’s. Who lives here? These walls have only known tears, and seen fancies wilt.

But I had friends. I have some, and I’ve lost some. The ones I’ve lost, I’ve learned not to mourn- what’s the use of crying over weak bonds? I can be quite passive. Maybe I never felt anything at all, all my life, and my inventions took their place. 

Maybe I replaced what was with what should have been. But I can’t be sure. I rarely am. Maybe it’s hard to be with me because there’s hardly anything to befriend. What are the traits that stood the test of time? I’m unrecognizable from day to day.

And all of these, they all fail to see. It’s a ruse, the efficiency; it’s a way to survive. I wasn’t made for accolades, but I happened to be in their vicinity. All they see is a golden child who learned a way with words, and I go on, and on, and on, and on, and all of June, I spent in a haze.

-Yashi Sharma, AIS Noida


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