• Manasi Barmecha

Bare-ly mysterious

Hello there, welcome home. Why do you look so surprised? Oh, I see you’re appraising me, beholding me as if I were a crossword clue. I might as well give you one.

Art by Christoph Niemann for a letter by William Powers from A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader.

13 across- something inexplicable (7)

I’ve travelled great lengths to be mysterious, to hide when I feel a gaze upon me. In return, I have only been rewarded with obscure clues about navigating this thing we call life. I am writing these words with the conviction of a person who has decided to be seen, decided to see for herself. In some sense, I’ll never finish writing this piece. I’d love for you to sit next to me for a little while as I make an attempt.

13 across (7) - mystery

A mystery no more. Oh dear, you’re still at the door, please do come in, I’ve opened the doors just for you. Let me show you around. I hope you’re not lost. Please stop me if you feel like you’re losing me. I have a tendency to get ahead of myself and mumble through portions; the violent desire to hide resurfaces now and again. But I am determined to be myself even if you’re looking at me with narrowed eyes. To know me would be to know where I reside. I invite you to my living room. You’ll see that I mean that quite literally.

You, my dear reader, are a respite from my exceedingly well-meaning home.

I apologise if I come across a little deranged today. I’ve been under a roof that’s way too sane for the musings of an undiagnosed madness. In the dusty folds of these curtains that lead to the living room is an irresolute belief that tradition is what life must constitute. This isn’t a story, it’s simply a tour. It isn’t just my house, it’s an allegory at large. I hope you will walk alongside me. Tread lightly, the burden of entertaining is one I’m too tired to bear today. Vulnerability is already weighing me down.

Please leave your footwear outside. These floors have been cleared off any signs of dirt, any evidence of our earthen fallibility. I offer my apologies in advance if my bitterness gets in the way of you seeing this house clearly, please disregard me as much as possible, my rage need not be your bias. See for yourself.

Oh, I see you’re distracted by the creature slouched in the balcony. Yes, that is the man of the house, in his natural habitat- that of careful delusion, best not to disturb him. Let me introduce you to the lady of the house. She believes she is entitled to blind obedience just by the virtue of her having been on this planet longer than those born after. She believes that obedience is a virtue.

What has become of the other child of the house, you ask. The child has rebelled, protested and now silently prepares to leave. The child isn’t unforgiving, certainly not blind to her own faults- but today the bitter has dominated the sweet. Freedom is a currency the child has yet not dealt in, the day the first few coins are earned will be the day of awakening. So far, her loneliness is unperturbed, and hence their attempts at safety are intact. Don’t get me wrong, these folks have only the noblest intentions at heart, a quest for the happiness of another. It is but a tragedy that most damage has been done by well-meaning people. God forbid anyone ever does me any good.

Oh dear, I feel the madness rising within me again, unhinged, undiagnosed. This endeavour for honesty is exhausting, my instincts to hide are seizing me again. I have shown you the view from where I stand and I have trouble accepting applause that isn’t there. Most days my prose and my poetry save me. But today, the isolation of being a writer no longer shields me, my words no longer alienate me.

I sit here, paralysed

Poetry exploding from me-

At some point, the poetry will stop

And it will be me that explodes.

Today, my attempts at eloquence haunt me, there is no respite from reality. The pain of articulation demands to be felt and I shall not use it to conceal myself.

You are my audience, the ‘other’ I often use to carve my own self. I shall go insane if I couldn’t talk to you if my musings didn’t have spectators or worse still, an expression at all. What’s different today is that I’m no longer performing, the world isn’t a stage. You’re sitting right next to me.


Manasi writes, some days to express, some days to exist. A student of biology and education, she likes plants, poetry and the local stew.

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