Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay 

The universe tends to not care. Disappointment is the side-effect of caring. So she decided to become a dark, cold void and called it liberosis (an ache to let things go). There's a great distance between my parents when they sleep on the same bed. I didn't quite understand the reason so I called it dark matter — because Einstein said, even empty space was not nothing.

I was nine when the tectonic plates shifted between my parents. The buildings collapsed all around me, as I held my mother's hand at 2 am, and slept at my neighbours. My body shrank inside the warm blanket as if I was lying on a crescent shaped moon. The moon kept eating my darkness, and became full.

The only time the universe ever changes is when something unfortunate happens (the universe is forced to feel something; even she can’t escape from it). Maa picked up 53 moons of Jupiter and Saturn each and strung them into two individual braids. The cosmos stayed in my hair the entire childhood, till it got combed out and fell like lice on the custody papers — now I look for hair-fall remedies on the internet.

When I turned thirteen, my home taught me the principles of dictatorship, long before my History teacher could. The women around me lived under their men's rules and roofs, a lie of love, but liberated themselves in the commas in between the lines. They needed a bigger heart than the sky, because they multiplied with each sunset.

Two planets collide, a meteor kills off an entire species, black holes take everything from the universe and give nothing in return. Love doesn't come easy to the divorced family. It comes with the dirty pink walls of childhood, that look like the inside of my pulsating chest. Our existence becomes a cosmic glitch of epic proportions. We stop seeing people as they are, we see them as we are — a garage-sale of unlovable things.

A not-so-sweet sixteen-year-old me realized how a bus ride was a perfect metaphor for this fleeting life. That's how quickly things pass you by when you're not looking. My elbow kicked a middle-aged man when he rubbed his bushy skin against my waxed arms, in the crowded bus. We will always be in constant motion, even when we stand still.

While an eighteen high on endorphins, I read a scientific fact, which said that because light takes time to reach us, everything we see is in the past. Maybe that's why I felt like I'd already met you before, when we'd only just met.

Twenty-one pilots and a few heartbreaks old me built a house of cards once. And heaved that sigh she'd been saving for the final glimpse of what lay before her.

And just then — it all fell apart; within the time it takes to blink once. We built a relationship, and you wonder why, I'm still holding my breath?

My mother says my skin tastes like the 15th century, when Christine de Pizan wrote ‘Épître au Dieu d'Amour’ (Epistle to the God of Love), and became the first woman to take up her pen in defense of her sex. I pause mid-sentence. Quiver a little. And pen down the words that were queued up, like immigrants at the border.

It tastes like 1917, when the Russian Empire collapsed with the death of Czar Nicholas II and established a provisional government. I smoke dried roses, paint my meadows rusty orange, and enter my hallway with wine in a glass.

My skin feels like 2015 when women in Saudi Arabia finally won their rights to vote. I bring women together, in solidarity, and cause tectonic shifts, changing the very design of this world. The sky bleeds upon me, and it becomes the ink I write history with.

Mother says my skin looks like 2018, when falling in love, in India, wasn't illegal anymore. In the restful lull of that evening, time slowed down, to recite love stories. People borrowed all the brightest shades from the sky and draped themselves in its rainbow, freshly coruscated after rain, and watched the sun setting on their lover's face.

Before leaving my room, she turns around and says, "Your skin tastes a lot like revolutions; talking out about your vulnerabilities and desires, and cribbing to your mother each time she calls."

I hold my tears and smile.

Today, I found love in between the folds of the newspaper.

Somewhere in Bundelkhand, two women, who were separated by forced marriages, divorced their husbands to be together. Love travels every inch of your 206 bones, writes mushy letters in calligraphy, and seals them in the crimson of its envelope lips.

Somewhere in Tamil Nadu, Sathyasri Sharmila has beaten all odds to become the first transgender lawyer in India. Love no more seeks justice from a woman who wears a blindfold, and turns a blind eye. Love sticks like a fresh bruise under your feet and makes you want to run behind butterflies and stars and naked freedom.

Somewhere in Noida, Vikram Seth, a 41-year-old gay man penned down one of the longest English novels ever, ‘A Suitable Boy’, and received a Padma Shri for his excellence in literature. Love eavesdrops on sunrises, scribbling verses about the angles at which sunlight, the colour of liquid gold, washes over your face.

Somewhere in Prayagraj, members of Kinnar Akhara take a holy bath in the Kumbh Mela, as the world's largest religious festival becomes inclusive of Transgender sadhus. Love finds itself, in the holy city embellished with temples, having glassfuls of foaming buttermilk and witnessing people proudly defy years of prejudices.

Somewhere in Mumbai, Tata Institute of Social Sciences becomes the first campus in the nation to have a gender-neutral hostel. Love doesn't want to be about two pieces which fit, to create an ever so perfect pattern, but wants to be about those two pieces who just want to get lost together.

Somewhere, someone is still changing the channel, when section 377 is being talked about, and telling their kids that homosexuality is a disease.

Somewhere, someone's tired trembling fingers, hiding inside a closed closet, are writing this letter for someone, they dream to touch a whole universe with.

As crazy as it may sound, sometimes, I find a renaissance in my own generation.

1429 - Joan of Arc's first military victory, which became the turning point in the hundred-year-old war between England and France. My generation has breasts that are heavier than the ego of the bypasser. And a mere sight of them, while breastfeeding in public, can cause a civil war.

1439 - Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press and revolutionized the manufacturing of books. My generation is allotted exactly 280 characters to crib about Sudan and Palestine's governments, but never to set a rebellion against its own.

1476 -1500 - Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Columbus reached the Bahamas. And Vasco da Gama explored India. My generation explores its own body, talks loudly about its desires, and normalizes guy-beauty and body-hair. It clicks aesthetic pictures, highlighting the broad forehead and the thick thighs it was vehemently bullied for.

1543 - Copernicus discovered that the sun has a center gravity pull, which makes the planets revolve around it. The scientist in my generation delays sadness by feeding itself salty newspapers of memes, dipped in violence, and theoretically reduces the probability of another heartbreak to near zero.

1512 - Michelangelo painted 9 scenes from the Old Testament onto the ceiling and walls of the Sistine Chapel. My generation tastes like alcohol, as intense and bitter as the Kashmir tragedy. It creates art on forbidden war-posters, and pukes Article 370, as the moon grows a tide older.

2021 - My generation is a narcissistic lover — lets the initial 'i' of my inquilab kiss the last 'i' of your azaadi, and calls it, revolut(i)on.

I was in my mid-thirties, when I marinated my frozen lips in cheap red lipstick that smelled like pickle. In the crooks of my body my lover found political resistances, chanting the sound of its holy unit, ohm | ॐ.

And when I took a bath with gamma bursts and Baba's leftover aftershave, he told me, "You look so happy."

— well, you only see me when I'm with you.

Today, I'm an eighty-five-year-old woman, immersed in self-love, wearing a black bindi, lying on her deathbed. My story gets passed on like a game of Chinese whispers, often lost in translation.

I see the war raged against the humanity getting over, the summer sun settling behind the oldest building of my city, spreading shades of rose. The leaves detach themselves from the tree, like a child losing the firm grip of his mother's palms, and getting lost in the crowd.

The yellow taxis bring home missing-person(s), and I lie back and wonder how, somewhere between the fear of love-bites and love-handles, I grew up.

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