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Oct 2019 · 387
Lights
Varshini Oct 2019
Something about these flashing lights bring me home
It’s not like I’ve never seen fairy lights before
But somehow with their multiple settings, and the different ways in which they illuminate my house, distract me in the best way and make themselves known

Brings me back to waking up at 4 in the morning
Brings me back to making special food that tastes sharp, sweet and bitter all at the same time
Brings me back to rolling around in my dad’s office chair, going from jumping into the chair and bouncing around to sitting in it, prim and proper, calling myself an adult at fourteen

It’s funny that you make families wherever you go
Even if my parents are half a world away, I have my own little family to enjoy Diwali with.
Feb 2019 · 223
Loveless Haiku
Varshini Feb 2019
Entelech, never,
Never will romance prevail.
(maybe this winter??)
Entelech, or entelechy, is the idea of a potential finally being actualized. I find my romantic adventures to be a very good space to write poetry about.
Varshini Jul 2018
Most days, you're not a woman developer,
you're a developer.
You work just as hard,
You (try to) talk just as fast
You keep your feelings under the surface (barely)

Actually, scratch that
You're always a woman developer.
you're just so used to internalizing these habits
Trying to have confidence in your skills
despite the impostor syndrome pulling you down each time slowly, like quicksand
Trying to make up for the confidence you never had
compared to someone who always had it all
Trying to not cry in the kitchen because god who
is allowed to have feelings
Trying not to talk about men who made you uncomfortable because oh my god

for the fact that people call women overreacting
most men seem to make every little statement about them, have you noticed?
oh wow, isn't this just reverse sexism?
oh wow, can I even talk to women?

Being so vocal about being queer and Indian but if you make
one noise
one sound
one phrase
about your experience as a woman
because in such welcoming company you subconsciously thought why not

You let down your guard
But
There goes the shattered glass as the topic of gender-based discrimination is finally broached
There goes the thing nobody ever talks about
There starts the debate you did not want to participate in

"Oh wow you're so harsh to these guys"
"We were just slamming what they were doing, you slammed their actual personality wow"
"I just said they sounded like a brogrammer"
"sure if you say so"
"Isn't that just an arbitrary description"

How do you explain
How do you describe every nuanced experience about
Every male in your life
who have been exactly like this to you
How do you explain the light discrimination
The harsh discrimination
The systemic problem as a whole

How can you condense all this into a workplace environment talk
Where you don't usually talk about this?
Where you don't know if you can actually talk about this
Where you know that you ultimately don't want to talk about this
cuz how can you explain these feelings that they can never understand

You shut up and move on with coding.
But inside, you're conflicted with ideas of presentations to express the fact, or never speak about this again
Because in the end,
You're just a developer, not a woman developer to them.
(Disclaimer: This does not talk about nb people because the main context involved a woman and a man and about their interactions, do not mean to erase nb peeps ily)
Jul 2018 · 177
5 words
Varshini Jul 2018
~
Yeah, I can do coffee.
It’s a feeling of apprehension, anticipation, and arousal, all rolled into one.

Yeah, I can do this.
It’s dressing up, looking at how your hair lies for once, as opposed to letting it fly all over the place.
People say it looks sexier when you leave it messy, but you won’t let yourself believe that
Oh, today is the day
It’s hoping they don't cancel on you, remembering the last time a date bailed an hour before dinner…

It's nice to meet you!!
It’s a situation of extremes:  an extremely good time, or an extreme feeling of self-doubt?
So, tell me about you.
It’s the dichotomy of getting to know someone whilst also knowing their innermost thoughts through a dating app.

Hey, this is actually nice
but –
Am I attentive enough?
Am I flirting enough?
Am I …attractive enough?

Oh, my weekends look busy.
It’s the same old story.
Rise, rinse, and repeat.
~
I had a good date and a not so great date this week, but apparently the latter is the only one that leads to poetry
May 2018 · 367
good luck, forevermore
Varshini May 2018
Standing a step below,
I gaze out towards you,
I see you there, with the love of your life,
And I think about how far you've come.

When I met you, you were the same as you are today.
A little shy,
A little nervous,
But ready to make a friend.

Through the months, it almost felt like
We bonded way too easily.
Was it supposed to be this simple, I wondered, or would this be my downfall?
Yes to the latter, I confirmed internally.

But you graduated, and somehow things stayed the same.
I was still wary, but less closed off.
Forgive me if I felt wishy-washy to you,
I'd just been hurt way too many times by then.

Then came a lot of changes in my life,
A lot of uncertainty.
This is the time when it's gonna go South I thought.
(pun unintended).

I moved across the state, then across the country, but somehow things stayed the same.
Maybe this time, I'm lucky.
Maybe this time, you're lucky too.
Because we found each other, and now I'm at your wedding.

I must break the pattern,
I cannot be nervous anymore.
I'm throwing most of my fears to the window
(need therapy to get rid of the rest).

This time, things will stay the same.
Janie, I love you.
Congratulations, my darling.
And good luck, forevermore.
One of my closest friends got married this weekend. I cried 5 times, which also gave me the emotion to write this poem. I love you, J, if you're reading this.
Dec 2017 · 353
En Garde
Varshini Dec 2017
You tell yourself, be on your guard
It's a new place, nobody knows you
If thinking everyone is against you is what it takes to succeed, do it.

You fail.
In your defense, it was way too difficult.

Speech is like a pretty snake.
It's beautiful, flowy, and distracts you, but in the end, it's probably full of poison.

So, you start over again.
But,

You keep these experiences in mind,
Like a machine learning algorithm – Observe, Learn, Adapt.

Always remember, be on your guard.
It's when you let your guard down that it hurts the most.
If keeping people at a distance is what it takes, do it.
Just as it says on the carton - misjudged a situation, learnt from it, moving on
Sep 2017 · 308
How dare they
Varshini Sep 2017
this feeling of rage enters my soul
I want to be one of those people I see in the news
and irrationally beat up this man
it's not even irrational

how the **** did men get the agenda that they can touch women
get away with it like a kid gets away with food on their face
on one it's endearing, on another it's ******* assault
we're helpless
we're broken down
we're defeated
we shout into the void, waiting for an answer

nothing comes.
you learn to **** it up.
you learn to avoid that devil's company.
you lose faith in humanity.
A person I know recently underwent a certain experience which rattled them, and was clearly assault. Sometimes, you can't just report a person or talk back at them. Society is upsetting.
Sep 2017 · 361
One of those days
Varshini Sep 2017
I look at myself in the mirror.
I **** my stomach in.
I turn and walk away, only to turn around.
Today isn't a great day.

I think of changing my clothes.
I think of changing my clothes, again.
I decide I don't have time to do it.
(I don't think about the inner thoughts pervading my head).

I get called cute once.
I get called cute twice.
I have a skip in my step.
Hey, this isn't so bad, is it?

Some days, I give in to the peer pressure in my head.
Some days, I dress in baggy clothes to try and hide my figure.
But, some days, some very rare days,
I love the way I look.
Context: I needed to wear something not work-related to work, and I thought I looked awful, but I ****** it up due to lack of time. However, a lot of people called me cute and R, a co worker, doubled back to tell me that I looked nice and asked me if there was an occasion.

I'm okay with the way I look, but some day I have bad days, and this made me feel better <3.
Jul 2017 · 287
Meaningless
Varshini Jul 2017
The worst days in life
are not when you’re on the floor, weeping
are not when tears silently stream down your face
are not when you’re struggling in life, juggling a dozen tasks
but when your life just seems meaningless
your daily rituals seem to be robotic
you long for change, yet it frightens you to the point of avoidance
you dial the phone, and no one picks up
but even if they did, what would you say?
Fear has taken hold of my hands, and I can’t do anything anymore.
I'm in that stage of my life, when I know I need to do certain things, but my surroundings stop me. It's a writer's block of a mental kind.
Apr 2017 · 304
The Mess You Made
Varshini Apr 2017
I have a chest of memories, with multiple compartments
Most are on the surface, visible to everyone,
A certain few haven't been revealed in years

As you gain levels in our friendship, I give you access to more of these memories
I presume you do the same for me, because what is friendship if not sharing deep dark secrets and not being judged
But then something happens and you slink away

Leaving my chest open, all my memories strewn about
Leaving me to pick up the pieces and move on
Leaving me to clean up the mess you made

I hope you find another friend to confide your secrets to

But...

I hope you don't break their heart the way you broke mine
I hope they realize they aren't at fault when you move on, yet again
Written on the 1st of November. Moved on, but wanted to post it somewhere.
Apr 2017 · 457
Assumption
Varshini Apr 2017
Think about the way you emote when you speak
That upwards tilt of sarcasm
That high-pitch of curiosity
The break in your voice when you try to hold onto those tears

Take all of this on social media and none of it is projected
People misunderstand, people obfuscate
You're stuck at the cliff, all by yourself, instead of supported by a million others
All your kindness is taken for weakness
All your support is taken as a stunt

The next time you call someone problematic,
Keep all of this in mind, try a little tenderness
You both might be on the same side,
except you made a decision to assume too early.
This was meant to release all my thoughts on a recent misunderstanding. Social media ***** *****.
Nov 2016 · 558
Silence
Varshini Nov 2016
I had my breakfast.
I gave up the button that started a liberal conversation,
I mourned the lack of freedom of speech,
I stopped talking.

I walk across campus, silent people everywhere
The look of despair on their faces, the feeling of helplessness in the air,
I empathized with them,
I had nothing to say.

One particular person helped me more than I could imagine,
They convinced me that I am still valid, that my thoughts are still important,
They cared for me, even if just for twenty minutes,
I spilled my secrets to a stranger tonight.
Sep 2016 · 1.2k
Lost hope, no more
Varshini Sep 2016
Please don’t study for 21 hours and sleep only for 3,
Please don’t worry yourself into a panic about deadlines,
Please don’t lose yourself while worrying about the whole **** world,
Please don’t.

Pamper yourself, get that bubble bath,
Go buy a pint of ice-cream and watch that thing you like,
Block people who are negative, put photos up of your friends,
Self-care is important.
- Me, learning after a semester of breakdowns and lost hope.
Aug 2016 · 583
Complete this List
Varshini Aug 2016
I want to watch movies with someone
Have some cheesy popcorn to accompany my cheese
Lose track of time as the sun comes up
The rays illuminating their beauty

I want to chill with someone
Both of us doing our own thing
Distracting each other at points
Making memories as we go along

I want to have a food fight with someone
Maybe I’d be the one starting it
Maybe I’d be the one running away
Ending it with sweet kisses

I want to talk to someone
Exchange deep secrets, or just funny moments
Each word bringing us closer
Each memory melting into another

One day, there will be a someone
Someone who will complete this list with me
Till then, I’ll be patient
Till then, I’ll be waiting
Jul 2016 · 1.2k
Eons away
Varshini Jul 2016
This came out of nowhere,
and it feels like the worst time,
but when I see your face,
time seems to slip away.

You most certainly aren’t perfect,
definitely not for me,
but when I see your face,
the words just flow out of me.

I know I will regret this one day,
and I feel like you might, too,
but when I see your face,
that day seems eons away.
Jul 2016 · 701
Just Be
Varshini Jul 2016
Relationships don’t have to be romantic for them to be beautiful.
It’s those little things about you that they remember because they’ve actually paid attention.
A mention of painful shoes and they know which one it is.
A mention of a specific friend and they remember me talking about them.
A complaint about a sad day and them knowing how to make me feel better.

These things seem so little, but they are so much.
They are the culmination of something you started a while back,
The realization that they like you as much as you like them,
Things don’t have to be romantic for them to be perfect,
They just need to, well, be.
Jun 2016 · 316
Until...
Varshini Jun 2016
I thought I wasn't nostalgic about this
Until I saw the empty apartment.
The spaces where my posters used to be,
The small kitchen I shared.

Tiptoeing in at 3 am so as to not wake up the roommate,
Sleeping through the same,
Laughing through the night with friends,
Avoiding conflict while making more memories

All these memories are there in my head,
Just waiting to be relived,
In a new place, in a new home
Some things have changed, but definitely not all.
Jun 2016 · 826
Just a Statistic
Varshini Jun 2016
Love is universal, they say.
Then why does a kiss incite such a riot?
How does one live their life,
When they're too busy not getting killed by media or by society?

Tired of being a label, tired of being shunned,
Tired of seeing the numbers increase.
There go the people trying not to react to the Orlando news,
Because if you're not straight, you're just one of "those" people to them.

America is a land of opportunity, a land of hope,
Judging from the events, I guess that's true only if you're straight.
How do you display your Pride,
If you're playing a game of Truth or Die?

If this is the perfect life, then I do not want it,
Because apparently I would be just a statistic.
tw: killing mention, tw: orlando mention
Jun 2016 · 307
With thoughts one hundred
Varshini Jun 2016
It’s the way you say you’re not perfect
As if so many people have told you that before
As I deny your statement, you emphatically defend it,
With examples one hundred.

It’s the way we have tons of inside jokes,
Including them in our normal conversations are easy as pie,
If we have friends with us, I have to explain
With stories one hundred.

It’s the way you want me to meet your friends,
As if it’s not even an issue,
Maybe it isn’t in your head, but my head is spinning
With assumptions one hundred.

It’s the way I’m so lost about you,
Not sure how to define you in my head,
Maybe I should let these thoughts to rest, however
With doubts one hundred.
Mar 2016 · 575
... and so am I
Varshini Mar 2016
One year ago,*
Black Coffee? Too strong for me, I’ll pass, thanks.
Politics? Too controversial for me, I’ll pass, thanks.
Perseverance? Not applicable to me, I’ll pass, thanks.

Look at me now, sipping a full mug of coffee with just a dash of milk.
Look at me now, befriending people as we ponder upon the future of this society I am now a part of.
Look at me now, studying the night away even though my future is uncertain.

Life is changing, and so am I.
Mar 2016 · 692
On and on...
Varshini Mar 2016
We meet, I obsess
I wait for a text, end up barraging them with more
I overthink myself into a crazy stupor
The cycle continues on.

I tell myself to stop
It's one more thing for me to think about
It's one more situation to waste my time
The cycle pauses, then restarts again.

Everyone knows about it because I tell them
I stop myself with metaphorical duct tape
I rip it off and tell everyone anyway
The cycle has no ending once it has begun.

This is the mistake I constantly make
I feel clingy, even though I probably am not
(But I am, so it is fruitless)
The cycle rotates in the backburner, a solid reminder.

It’s not a crush, it’s just a shortlived fascination
I declare my love, as I do for countless others
Masochism is apparently inbuilt
The cycle goes on, an infinite loop of repeated thoughts.
Sep 2015 · 481
I jinx myself
Varshini Sep 2015
Sometimes I jinx myself,
Sometimes I hope too much,
Sometimes I think a lot
All of these are lies.

It’s not just sometimes,
It’s all the ******* time.
My brain refuses to work
My heart refuses to listen

I patiently wait for the end
To the time that I out-stubborn myself
I can go back to non-distractions
Till something else gets my attention
Aug 2015 · 396
Give My Heart Away
Varshini Aug 2015
I know I'm mostly wrong
Try to get up, try to be strong
But then I give up and
I give my heart away

Doesn't matter what people say
The things they do, the games they play
I know I should change but
I give my heart away

Every hope I hope
Every dream I dream
They all fall apart as
I give my heart away

I'll probably find someone new
Someone who wants me too
And the cycle begins again
I give my heart away...
Aug 2015 · 350
Better When Charred
Varshini Aug 2015
So hard, it seems, to live your life
When your mind is in war with itself
One part of you, the popular, sweet one
While the other just sulks in the corner
A random thought makes you stay with people you know
While another makes you want to go mingle
You almost trip, make the same mistake again
But then someone comes up to remind you
You need not be like the other cookies
Some cookies are better when charred
Jun 2015 · 353
All over again
Varshini Jun 2015
Sometimes your words hurt me
I try to shield myself, let it bounce off
Some of the pain does get through

I crave affection from numerous people
I feel sad when they give more affection to others
It is an affliction I cannot cure

It is normal to be out of the loop nowadays
I keep quiet, something I never do
I worry I may never talk some day

If we rarely meet when we are so close
What will happen when we are miles apart?
If something should die, let it be my heart, all over again.
Jun 2015 · 378
No More
Varshini Jun 2015
You say it could have been done better
You say my hair looks okay
Your face shows a smile, but your eyes give it away.
No more.

You put yourself up by bringing me down
You make me stoop down to your level of childishness
You and your barbed statements make me doubt myself
No more.

You insult me, you ignore me
You expect us to stay friends
You end the topic to be the faux bigger person
No more.

I am pretty, I am smart
I will not worry my mind with people like you
I will complete my obligations, then forget you forever
I like me the way I am, *******.
Mar 2015 · 501
Acceptance
Varshini Mar 2015
the times today make
you crave acceptance from the
society at large
Mar 2015 · 507
Caricature
Varshini Mar 2015
They say, I talk too much
They say, I laugh too much
A caricature, a side-character
Is that all I am?

They say I have too much time on my hands
They say I’m there at all of their plans
Sometimes I’m there even if I’m not wanted
Is that how you see me?

Would you like it if I kept mum?
Say nothing out of turn, molded into a shape of your desire
But then I’d just be a shadow of me
Is that what you truly wish?

I can’t keep quiet even if you want me to
I can’t stop loving even if you want me to
That’s just the way I am
That’s just the way I am
Mar 2015 · 1.2k
Bright smile, sad eyes
Varshini Mar 2015
She looks up, a puzzle piece falling out of her hand.
A hint of a frown mars her face.
She is used to this by now,
And yet it isn't the same.

He picks her up, hugs her
Bright smile, a contrast against his sad eyes
The quotidian questions are asked
It is rote to them by now

One question always stays in her head
One she knows not to ask now
“When is Mommy coming home?”
She’s a kid, but she isn’t curious anymore.
Mar 2015 · 435
Small Things
Varshini Mar 2015
They say it's the small things that trip you up
For me I realized when you stopped listening
To my loose rants, my myriad thoughts

A series of missed calls,
A list of unseen messages
Is all I need to know that I'm not wanted

I thought you were changing lanes
Didn’t realize you were going the opposite way
Too distracted in my thoughts, too late to notice what was happening

Maybe it’s better this way than heartbreak down the road
Slowly drifting apart might just be the thing
For me to find the next best friend of my life.
Nov 2014 · 398
Even in the crowds
Varshini Nov 2014
I pause before I make a call
I second guess myself before I spill it all
It feels like everyone is different now, the rules have changed
Am I the only one who is still not used to it?

Two hours felt like a minute to me
Now it is the other way ‘round
I should cling tighter, hold close ones closer
I’m just human, jealousy is natural

Do they want me to let go, I have no idea
Over reaction is a common thing
But how much is paranoia, and how much is truth?
I’m worried to ask or answer that question

I feel myself changing, not sure whether it’s good
Staying alone is my status quo, even in the crowds
I don’t know whether it’s for the best, for the worst, or just growing up.

— The End —