My Old Shabby Shoes | Poetry

Sometimes when I visit
the supermarket,
I see the big mirrors
reflect my old shabby shoes,
perfectly covered in a layer of dust.

I step into the elevator,
I see the reflection of my shoes
on its translucent glass
side-by-side.
It moves higher, and higher
and higher,
it gets clearer, and clearer
and clearer,
that my shoes are getting
older, and older
and older.

I head straight to the section
filled with shoes.
It never fails to amaze me.
I wonder if you wonder too,
how many pairs stacked
in the room?
Sparkling light
to make it feel like day
even though it is already night.

I grab a pair, check its size.
39? Do you have 35? I ask.
The answer: no, we’ve run out of stock.
Oh, you see I never seem to find
a pair that fits just fine.

Sometimes when I visit
the supermarket,
I see the big mirrors
reflect my old shabby shoes,
perfectly covered in a layer of dust.

Against my old pair,
all the news ones –
each one of them looks
strikingly good,
even if I know they’re not.

It makes me a little sad
thinking that my shoes has gotten
shabbier and bad.
Oh! I remember,
it was once new too,
perfectly polished,
unknown to the road,
unknown to its owner,
my new pair of shoes.

So I know
all of the news ones must
one day become old and shabby too,
somebody else’s old shabby shoes.

Sometimes when I visit
the supermarket,
I see the big mirrors
reflect my old shabby shoes,
perfectly covered in a layer of dust.

I think my shoes are at the
wrong place,
in my shoe rack they look
perfectly good to me,
as I step in
to conquer the streets
in my old shabby shoes.

Sometimes when I visit
the supermarket,
I see the big mirrors
reflect my old shabby shoes,
my old shabby shoes.


I do, I always notice my shoes most of the time I visit the supermarket. It always feels old, even if it is not.

Visiting the Ducks | Poetry

A body of water
and a family of ducks,
it is home to them
what for us
is momentary exile.

A body of water
and a family of ducks,
I wait for them to swim
as they first fill themselves up;
two are caged,
three roam free.

A body of water
and a family of ducks.


I wasn’t very keen on visiting the ducks. I pass them quite often, but as they say in popular culture, there was a gust of wind and I was drawn. What was waiting did not confine to a body of water and a family of ducks, a poem was hiding near by. Visiting the ducks. 

In the photo above, you can see three ducks having perhaps their evening meal which mostly seemed like bread. 

The Magic Spell To Conversations

It pains me to know that while I was ardently taught the art of oration for years and years in school and university, the art of conversation was left way behind. Perhaps it was the omnipresence of the action, the idea that we conversed every day that made it too mundane to be considered a skill to be taught or most importantly a skill that can be learnt. Back in school I looked longingly at my friends who got on the podium to deliver magnificent speeches and today I longingly look at the ones who outmaneuver themselves in the art of conversing.

But maybe all isn’t lost, and for the ones who are a little awkward at conversations like myself, there’s still hope.

For me the most daunting task of starting a conversation is the the ice breaker.

What do I say?

“Hi, I’m Alfa. And I am fond of cats!”

Great.

Or maybe not so great. What if the other person is allergic to cats! or even worse what if a cat attacked her/his favorite pet mouse a long long time ago! Ah possibilities!

But if the other person also does love cats, then the conversation might be going somewhere. (Phew, thankfully!).

But well, not all conversations begin that way, and cats are not the second thing I blabber about right after my name. I read it somewhere that a conversation is like making a sandwich. You add an ingredient and then slide it over to the other person, the other then adds something and slides it back to you. As long as the sandwich keeps sliding, the conversation continues.

Leaving sandwiches aside, over the past few months, I have noticed an interesting pattern. And yes it has to do with Harry Potter (I’m known to spread the Harry Potter fandom at work, so well). After getting a little comfortable with people, I usually end up asking, “Have you read/watched Harry Potter?” Sometimes I get asked the same question.

You might have guessed, when the answer is a YES, conversing becomes a lot more easier, just like that. I can somehow take a breath of relief. I know I can add in a little Harry Potter reference to the sandwich to keep it sliding and hopefully the sandwich would come sliding back at me. And more often than not, the sandwich has come sliding back, and then forth.

One time I had to sit down next to a person who I barely knew. I wanted to speak and say more than Hi to settle the awkwardness in the air, but I didn’t know what to say. Out of the blue someone in the side chanted the magic words ‘Harry Potter’ and I immediately asked, ‘Do you like Harry Potter by any chance?’ I was really skeptic to be honest.

‘I’ve watched all the films 5 times,’ was the reply. Totally unexpected. Turns out the other person also liked cats, and we ended up talking about Minereva McGonagall and her transfiguration power. (Spoiler for muggles: McGonagall can transform herself into a cat.)

And just like that a difficult silence turned into an interesting evening of conversations.

Last week I met a few juniors at a program and we sat down after the event for dinner. Being the older one, it was on me to initiate the conversation. I asked them what they liked and three of them said books. Dan Brown was a favorite among them. One was reading Sapiens. We talked about The Da Vinci Code for a while and then I asked about Harry Potter. The girl who was sitting to my left happened to be a big fan. ‘I absolutely love Snape,’ she said. I could sense that she had resented this particular character for a long time before coming to realize his role in the books.

We even had a harmless giggle when we noticed someone in the crowd who we both thought resembled Draco Malfoy (a character from the books). (No harm intended to the person in the crowd!). (I myself was dressed in a long robe, looking like a witch!). The air was already relaxed and I could breathe and continue naturally.

A big chunk of ice breaker had been eased by a literary masterpiece. No wonder they call Harry Potter a work that has touched generations. I am well aware that this does not work all the time. But then again, there’s probably nothing that works all the time.

I have slowly been realizing that these snippets of conversations have been helping me become more confident at initiating and keeping conversations alive. I will eventually have to move out of my comfort zone and into the unknown filled with spontaneity and risk. I hope there will be a day when I will be able to spark a conversation with natural ease even when I do not have magic cues, till then I will have to keep trying to get the magic spell right.

Wingardium Leviosa!

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Six

Recap to the previous chapters: One, Two, Three, Four and Five.

Meera was sure that it was the Queen from the book she had just read. But before the lady could come closer, another figure approached.

‘This is not the right time to disturb Meera,’ the other said. It sounded very much like Headmistress Elysian.

‘Rin,’ said the Queen. ‘The right time will never come.’

‘Not now. Let us leave.’

Meera’s heart began palpitating very fast as she hid under the blanket. She knew there was something she needed to know and it was somehow connected to the Queen. She didn’t want them to leave. No, she didn’t. All this mystery and hidden conversations were eating her up. She needed to know. Now!

‘We must let her recover from today’s injuries. It’s a good thing she didn’t break any bones,’ said the other again.

Meera could hear footsteps walking away. Headmistress Elysian had convinced the Queen to leave.

Don’t go, Meera pleaded in her mind. Don’t go now.

Suddenly the footsteps stopped. A dead silence prevailed in the room.

‘Rin, this cannot wait,’ the Queen said. ‘I will not hear any more.’

‘As you wish,’ said the other.

Meera was glad they had stopped, but as the footsteps approached her, she felt a fang of fear crawl up her body. Anything could be headed towards her. It could throw everything into chaos or it could bring everything into order. She knew she could trust Headmistress Elysian, she would do everything to protect Meera.

‘Meera, I know you’re awake,’ said Headmistress Elysian.

Meera slowly popped her head out of the blanket. She didn’t know what to say next. It could have been anything. The Queen was looking at her. She looked much older than the illustrations in the book, and much more terrifying. Her eyes were sunken and dark, like she hadn’t slept for ages.

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