Pyjamas paired with a formal shirt
Hair neatly combed
Hello! Am I audible?
I stare at my laptop, eyes like the screen, dead.
Hundred WhatsApp conversations, none in real.
The four walls are closing in on me.
I desperately search for a sign of life.
It is a funeral out there with empty streets and locked gates.
I too have mourned in here.
I recite prayers for the dead,
and lower the casket without a second look
because I know
If I open it, it will reveal my face, pale and lifeless.
On my office desk, I had a plant,
Red flower sitting on it like a button
My desk was decorated with chai stains and tokens from office parties
Today, at home, I throw my coasters away.
I see the world through a 14-inch window,
Coming to life when I press the power button.
But no one sees me unless I let them.
When I do, I don’t show them my pyjamas
Or the messy bed, or empty plates.
I hide away my loneliness behind a virtual background
And my camera pixelates my wrinkles.
It is easy to pretend like I am not my only companion.
I trace my wrinkles with a finger
And wipe off the concealer to show the bags under my eyes
I look in the mirror and scream.
I scream at the walls and the curtains
Can you hear me? I am hurting.
Hello? Am I audible?
A voice pops up in my head,
You’re muted by the host.
By Shambhavi Deshpande