Ananya · Black, White Noise, Dust & Onion

Black and white by Ananya

The topic of this month was to write something utilizing at least 3 of the following words: White Noise, Black, Dust, Onion.

All you hear is a mixture of odd echoes. One sounds like an intense screech, one like nails scraping a wall, one like a clash of metal on metal, another reverberates like a drum, one sounds like steady thuds, one a jingle of wind chimes, one sounds like a clatter of porcelain platters, then there’s that steady hum in the background. It’s too distracting, you think, covering your ears with your palms. You’re trying to concentrate, but all you hear is white noise.

This is what its come to, you assume. You can’t even focus anymore. Even if it is something you love doing, you can’t seem to do it. Unknowingly, you release your hands from over your ears, and shut your eyes tightly. You have to do this; you must be able to do it. You decide to go out for a walk; the fresh air will do you good; you convince yourself.

You sit on the porch, holding your fleece jacket, while tying your shoelaces, and end up just sitting there. You keep thinking, you should make a move and go walk, but you don’t. Something is pulling you back. Maybe it’s the noises you keep hearing, constantly buzzing around your head. You close your eyes, see the world go black, and lie down slowly. Maybe this would help in cancelling out the noises.

You open your eyes to see that you’re surrounded by the most random things; some stone sculptures, wooden crates, granite blocks, marble tiles, cement slabs; a collection of misfits, really; just like the noises in your head. You walk through these piles of insignificant things, when you notice that they all look a bit hazy.

You wave your hand to touch the stack of wooden crates, and your hand passes right through. You remove your hand quickly, as if scorched by immense heat, and rub it with your other hand. You try to touch it again, but it passes through once more. You move away from there and walk along the street. Looking down at your black boots crunching the dried leaves below, you smile at the colours of autumn. Your smile fades as you realize that you weren’t wearing boots earlier.

You blink, maybe this is a dream? You breathe in the crisp air one last time; this is all too good to be true. You are now able to pinpoint why this isn’t real- it isn’t autumn, it’s winter; your street looks nothing like this; the colours are too faded; and the white noise is gone. You hear a crack, and you see that everything around you is crumbling.

All the trunks, the sculptures, the blocks; everything is disintegrating into dust.

There’s a sudden gust of wind that blows the dust onto you; you cover your face, and unconsciously, form a fist, trapping some of it in your hand. When you open your eyes, your vision is still black for a few seconds. You open them widely to get a good look of where you are; you’re back on your porch. You shake your head, trying to get rid of the noises, when you see your hand is clenched into a fist. You open it, and its full of grey specks.

Maps · Sameera

Maps by Sameera

Just like anything else, for instance an ordinary apple, a map also has umpteen perceptions to view. It seems nothing alike and means nothing similar to any two persons on this planet. Given that fact, I’ll now bring forth one of my own insights into maps; One that I feel is not chosen by many people.

For me, first come the questions; Starting with the one that asks ‘Why do we need maps?’ I eventually find the answer too. Simple as it may sound, we need maps because our brains need maps. Our brains need maps because they are always hungry for shapes and structures. They hog on sense and logic. They make designs out of disorder. They make meaning out of mess and create clusters of coincidences out of utter chaos. They culture an ego that always needs to identify things. They feed on identities. And Bingo! Is there any other simpler way of identifying things than just naming them? I don’t think. Maps do just that. They are identities that create a way out through empty space; Give a logical direction and sketch boundaries, thereby creating an in and an out, a below and an above. Born are left and right from maps, otherwise it is all the same where this is also that.

So I believe there happened to be a lonely rover who was indeed intrigued by this concept of maps in the early-earth days. He knew of no one who could tell him where he needed to go. He thought he might as well ask the sun and he did; “Which map do you follow dear sun?,” he asked. The sun replied; “Map? What map? I don’t need one. I’m everywhere”.

Confused, the rover retorted “But, how can you be everywhere if you are right here in front of me, talking to me. Moreover I don’t see you at nights.” The sun replied “I’m here. Always was and will be. I go wherever my need is, and wherever my need is, I’m already there.”

The rover wasn’t really satisfied and he went further to ask the water “You go into plants to serve every cell in every layer. You climb right from the roots to the tips of the highest branches. You fall from humongous valleys and crawl through burrows. Which map do you follow?” The water replied “I’m everywhere! I flow but I flow back to myself. I climb but I fall back into myself. I crawl but I ultimately find myself everywhere. I just exist. I go wherever my need is, and wherever my need is, I’m already there.”

The rover then went to the wind hoping to find a different, mostly a better answer from it. Much to his rage the wind had nothing different to offer. It said “I’m there, was there and will be there. I blow into myself, back and forth and all that’s there is me. I’m everywhere. I go wherever my need is, and wherever my need is, I’m already there.”

Agitated, the lonely rover finally decided to go ask the land itself where all the maps are drawn and asked; “Why does everybody keep telling that they are everywhere? I’m not everywhere. I’m right here in the now talking to you. How can someone be everywhere? It doesn’t make sense. It sucks to not be everywhere. Why do I need a map while the rest of you don’t?”

The gentle land calmly replied; “You are everywhere! You just don’t see it.”

“That is insane. Most illogical notion I’ve ever heard!” the rover snapped back. “What you are saying young lad is like me telling you that I’m France, not land. Or that I’m Paris, not France. Or that water drop in the ocean is a drop, not the ocean. Wasn’t it you that named me France? Wasn’t it you that named me Paris? Wasn’t it you that named me land? Wasn’t it you that named me fundamental particle? You named me sand. You named me stone. You named the sun sun. You named the wind wind. It was you who called yourself me and me you. It was you who made a map.

You made a map just to feed sense to your brain. You fed it time. You fed it plans. You fed it shapes and you fed it maps. But that’s just your brain. I don’t have one you see? So I don’t need a map like your brain does. You don’t need a map as well but your brain does. You just got to keep your best foot forward like the water drops in the plants do and like the sun rays do. You just exist, like they all do.

In the end, from a bigger picture, you will find our lives like a well painted portrait. But the colors take turns and spread out, become bigger and better, sometimes mix up, all of which is to maintain the optical balance of the portrait. All that there is, is the same bunch of colors and they are all one. The portrait looks beautiful, provided, the main aim of each color is not to be more, shown more or exist more but to maintain the balance.” The land then paused for a while and then went off to grow a bud.

The lonely rover then realized that portraits don’t need maps. They just exist infinitely through time and space.


Maps · Namrata

Maps by Namrata

Ten leaps forward said my brain. I ran barefoot pricking myself with pine cones and the hard shells of nuts, creating a trail of blood behind me but my heart begged to differ. It thumped against my rib cage, warning me to go back to the start, to not go on this journey of self-destruction ahem, self-discovery. it’s funny how our brain is heralded as the all-knowing Yoda, and the heart the sappy, emotional teenager going through a mid-life crisis. However, In reality, it’s the convictions and the beliefs you have in your heart that save you when your rational brain fails to decipher the hidden meanings and states only what it sees.
 Without any charted course or a definite destination, I stumble my way through the purposeless weeds and the majestic oak trees that make up the woods and reach a clearing. I hear the river before I see it. I hear the delicate swaying and the rippling mini waves caused by the fish and birds. I’m drawn to towards the sparkling river and its purity. I wondered how it would feel to get lost in the water. To lose control and let go of all sense of direction. I step into the river and walk until the water reaches my chin. All the memories, both good and bad ran through my mind. And then I sink, figuring that I could swim with the fish to Neverland.
Maps · Palak

Maps by Palak

It leads you home, they say,
It fences you in, I say.
It finds your way, they say.
It deprives you adventure, I say.
It keeps you safe, they say.
It keep you limited, I say.
It makes searching easy, they say.
It makes searching too easy, I say.
The tool of pirates and,
The title of Ed Sheeran’s song.
The navigator of all ways,
Twisted, curved, short or long.
Life is easy today, as easy as a map.
Everything is drawn out, every bridge every gap.
How then you tell me, can one ever get lost?
How can one cross places that have never been crossed?
The bliss of discovering and adventure is slowly and permanently fading,
With socially accepted lines called rules that should be reprimanded for invading.
Maps and rules are similar, they both mess you up.
Making life ideal, they refuse to budge.
But the only difference between them I’d say is new,
Maps are same for everyone and rules are subjective to you.
Ananya · Maps

Maps by Ananya

Z rummaged through her shelf drawers. Her friend had sent her a message telling her that she wanted something back. It was an envelope that she had given Z for safekeeping. At the time, she didn’t want her friends to see it, but now she wanted it back. It had been more than two weeks now; Z had no idea where it was. She was ashamed to admit how quickly her memory failed her. She had kept it safely on the day, but now…

She sighed as she made an impulsive decision to upturn her drawers on the bedroom floor. Might be easier to find, she thought. Trust her friend to make her do something like this on her own birthday.

An hour later, she realized how highly unnecessary that action was; she still hadn’t found it. Exhausted, she flopped onto her back on the floor. Her eyes wandered as they landed on a shoebox under the bed. She picked it up and went through its contents while thinking of excuses to tell her friend about not finding the envelope.

She found a blue sealed envelope in the box, at the bottom. On top, it said ‘for your eyes only’. Ah, she had found it at last. She called her friend and told her. She was strangely curious about its contents, so she asked her friend. She told Z to open it, she didn’t mind, and that she’d come for it in a few hours.

Z ripped it open, not very gently, and found a map. It wasn’t a world map, or a school map; it was a map of her library in the drawing room. She marveled at how accurate the picture was. Her friend had made a solid picture of the 300 plus books with the names and colours. Z was happy but so confused. She turned the ‘map’ over to find numbers, seemingly randomly placed. ‘1,7’; ‘2,9’; ‘6,18’.

She frowned in concentration before coming to a vague conclusion. She went to the shelf and picked up the seventh book on the first rack. Turns out she was right, it had a note.

‘I worked hard on this, don’t you dare give up.’

Z grinned and moved on until she got to the last note. They were all a bunch of sappy, cheesy, sarcastic notes, the last one told her to meet her friend in her house. She gathered the notes, put them in a bag, took it and drove to her friend’s house.

Without a word, she led Z to her own room. Z was hyperventilating, she couldn’t believe her eyes; it was a typewriter with one final note taped to it.

‘I hope you go places. Find where your mind wants to go, convince your heart it’s a good idea, and move your feet to get there.’

Maps · Shreya

Maps by Shreya

I am sitting here wondering why you’re peregrinating from the shelter of your home as you ambulate into the rain.

Is it innocence that I am failing to understand as you bypass map to map struggling to make amends, attempting to stay awake, holding your breath, waiting for something to transpire, losing yourself piece by piece as you walk from one place to another, crossing borders, meeting strangers.

I don’t feel alright with this, one moment you’re here and the other, you’re gone evanescent into the dusty lane.

This is the last time. I will say these words.

I remember the first time we fell in love. I was swept into the corner, obnubilating under the bed, asking you to leave.

But they never went away, the demons, we were in a state of deadlock and somehow I forget now, but I seem to recollect a little every time you ambulate away.

You can shine and fall on me for anytime you like, but one last kiss of several years does not fix everything.

I know I don’t mind at all but This is the last time that I will show my face at the tender hall, fine-tuning your torn map, so you can bypass map to map struggling to make amends, attempting to stay awake, holding your breath, waiting for something to transpire, losing yourself piece by piece as you walk from one place to another, crossing borders, meeting strangers.

Then I am out of the place parading into the carpet hoping for a doomsday but then they say, something’s is never due.

Something’s I’ve opted to be but I was in the middle of fine-tuning you a map and I seem to let you allude me into moving with you, expressing you don’t want to be adored or be first in line or make yourself heard. 

When I cogitate what you’ve expressed about how you’re aching and breaking, I don’t understand, I don’t perceive how you cannot be mendacious.

Why do I have to go wondering every time up and down the dreadful map if you died in the clouds above if your unclad ashes were consumed by it?

I hoped I had a friend in you, that you ravaged the maps claiming you’re sick of strangers and tired of gazing a million stars you wanted to reach out to.

 But I wake up, it’s a bad dream and there’s no one on my side and I was fighting but I just feel too tired to be fighting, guess I am not the fighting kind.

How will we meet our fate when I know you’re a resplendent mess born this way?

Your map meets my end and in a better time maybe you could be my friend.

Divya · Maps

Maps by Divya

I am a map.
The topography of my body,
A perfect mishap.
I am a map.

I am a map.
The fossils of my collar,
No longer to be seen.
Buried deep within the loose
Sands of my skin.
I am a map.

I am a map.
Breaking out
With indents and craters
In all the wrong places,
Failing to form some pattern.
I am a map.

I am a map.
Bromidic. Unoriginal.
A blueprint
Amongst blueprints
Amongst blueprints.
I am a map.

I am a map.
With outlines of
Two hemispheres.
But insides askew.
As though the only symmetry that exists
Is between my body
And its reflection.
I am a map.

I am a map.
Where most of my lines
Are dotted and doubtful.
Where there is no
Just incomplete.
I am a map.

I am a map.
Where the compass
Is my mind.
Giving me directions
While I remain entrenched.
I am trapped.

I am trapped.
The latitudes and longitudes
Choking me,
As I am forced to remain within
The Grid.
I am trapped.

I am a map.
Wishing to be anything
But flat.
I cannot be the world.
At least a globe?
But in this world,
Maps cannot be globes.
I am a map.
And, I am trapped.