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In search for the brightest one

I used to believe in heavenly skies, with their stars and constellations, for me to gaze. I used to crave to sleep under their watchful eyes, as my grandmother would deck up the courtyard with charpoys. Once by her side, I would describe to her what I saw in that blanket of twinkled dust spread across the night’s blue.She would watch me draw out the celestial bodies, as my hands darted across that dark hue.

Grandma would tell me which stars would appear every night, and which ones disappear. Maybe it was her forgetfulness, or simply her way to keep me near. I would count them all, the greens, the golden and the blues. And slowly slumber off in the scent of her fresh linen and betel nut chew.

Now, there are no stars to look up, lesser to find. I no more sleep underneath them, no more with her by my side too. Her picture is part of every room I live in, her white dupatta is always hiding in my things. Sometimes in my dreams, we sit together in her home, simply talking and perhaps laughing.

Now, I live by the sea, and at night its waters, reflect the lights so bright. As I run by the harbour, I gaze them and recall our nights. Maybe, this is how I remember you, in the brightest parts of the water and the skies. Maybe, this is who you are, the brightest star of my life.

A collection of my poems, scribbled in the middle of nights on the phone, or in a forgotten diary carried through a street in some part of this world, or merely sent over WhatsApp as a love note.

Mariyam Raza Haider

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A journalist by training, Mariyam Haider is a writer and performance poet in Singapore.
She is the researcher of the book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age written by James Crabtree.
Her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Livemint, Feminism In India, New Asian Writing and Kitaab.

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