A Letter and an Apology
Today I found a letter you wrote in an old notebook of mine.
It broke my heart just picturing you write it alone at
night, in the room we used to share, while I was away.
It was a resignation letter addressed to the owner of
You wrote about how your health has been an ongoing problem
for you and I'm pretty sure you meant your mental health.
You wrote about how you needed to take more days off than
the 12 days Casual Leave you are allowed to take a year.
You wrote about how you've caused a great inconvenience for
your colleagues and how it was unfair for them.
You thanked your employer for having helped you in your
professional life and personal life.
You thanked everyone there for welcoming you to be part of
their family and how much you've learnt not only as a laboratory technician but
also as a person.
I picture you writing all these things.
I picture you alone.
Scribbling down a resignation letter you would not send.
I wish I had been there
To tell you you're not alone and that we will deal with your
health issues together.
To tell you you've made a grammatical mistake here and
To hold you and tell you everything will be alright and that
I have got you and you need not be scared.
I would've written a better letter than that -
one that isn't as humble or as thankful.
I'm so sorry I didn't.
Small City of Small Wonders
A city which always seems to be hated for what there is to
hate and never seems to be loved for what there is to love.
This is a city where -
I see the bus stop sign lean on a middle aged beggar who has
quarrels with a supposed friend we cannot see.
I see an old lady who sits on a plastic chair on a public
Her hair shining like
silver against the winter sunlight.
I see an old man who wears an awkward little hat the looks
of which he pulls off anyway, most probably owing to age
Whom I told I fancied his fashion sense that one time I had
I see a determined old man who irons every single paper
money he receives from his small ei chawp dawr
I see successful old men marry young beautiful women and be
criticised for doing so
Just as I see successful old women marry their young
handsome drivers and be criticised for the same
But I have also seen both overcome the criticisms and build
I see old men with whom we can share taxi cabs give away
handshakes at the time of a pandemic as blessings to youngsters that educate
them on it.
I see educated and well intentioned men love this land so
much so that they squander their entire life earnings to become politicians for the people and
fail, my grandfather was one of them;
And I also see corrupt men rich with dirty money and a
mouthful of shit successfully become politicians for the people.
I see a person tell me I will outgrow writing about love
with age and I see myself outgrowing that person instead.
This is a city where -
There is a man who has written the entire English Dictionary
by hand because he couldn't afford one and he happens to be my uncle.
There is another man who has not only read the Bible but
written It in Its entirety again by hand and he also happens to be another
There are people who read their Bibles in the secrecy and
sanctity of their bedrooms without people having the slightest hint.
There are kind old ladies- mother to local artists like
tailors and musicians who do not know what further to do with their talents-
who shopkeep for their daughters while they're in labour and their sons while
they're away. These kind old ladies have mean negotiations with other kind old
ladies and agree on a price that makes the two of them smile, my grandmother
was also one of both.
Gardening is not yet a profession
and there are people like myself who love that it isn't
because it means that every single flower or plant or shrub you see within this
city are either planted and nurtured by hands that love them
or that they are strong enough to withstand the world and
its cruelties on their own and that they beat the odds that so often are not in
the favour of us all.
This is the city that mourns and cries with a single voice
in chorus for a man who lost his life to the love of his life in the blink of
four innocent eyes and he also happens to be another uncle of mine.
No October sunsets are as beautiful as the ones in the city
of Aizawl and this is coming from a person who has not even been to every state
and UT in India.
It has taken me 22 years to realise that there will never be
October sunsets as beautiful as the ones in this city no matter how many states
or countries I go to.
This is a city often taken for granted.
This small city of small wonders.
If there ever is a place where the god of small things lives
I am convinced it is in this small city of small wonders.
So often taken for granted
It's no surprise that so many of us take after you.
But in you I see what there is to love and what there is to
hate but I chose to love you for whatever there is to love.
You choose to do the same and you choose to be my home.
And I choose to be the same.
And I hope one day we find a person who looks at us and sees
in us what I see in you now that I've turned 22.
¹ a grocery
Candle Vanrempuii has been off the poetry writing grid for some time since bringing out her first book Evermore two years ago. We're really happy to have her back with these two new poems written in her inimitable first person narrative style that draws you in and makes you feel like a confidant to her deepest thoughts and observations.