Manik Sharma was born and raised in the hill town of Shimla. After briefly working in the IT industry, Manik turned to journalism as a freelance contributor to The Caravan. Currently he is studying journalism in Chennai. Besides writing, Manik enjoys photography and trekking.

 

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FOOTBALL PLAYER

An out of turn epiphany, sleep coiled
in legs, forcefully clogging slender but
certain margins to goal. A cold sweat
almost inevitably breaks out-as signs
of the toe, showing outside the shoe are
in the offing. A blue undercurrent
accompanies the sight, a lot of pain
too. Unschooled as are almost all
moments of deliberate self-harm, one
must learn to push the toe inwards and
connect with the side of the foot.
O how a wealth of these-the toes, pile
up in a corner of the earth, primly justifying
a rustic beauty-the broken bones cabinet as
well, and also the anthemic substitutes of all
the gross output there is to be had for a hot
suburban morning, coupled with a lash of the
rain, ageless engagement and a beatific sense
of detachment. A toe is worth the risk: one
may argue its extension as is with the
crowdedness of a space having opened up
momentarily between legs. Such timely
spacing is what makes life briefly exalting, if
you know what I mean. Dirty is only an
underlying tone here, but not a necessary one.
We are dots, stenciled between two D’s,
each with their own guarded honesty-
a lack of drama between good and evil.
The flicks advert to a replenished lifestyle,
inconsistent in a tubular journey
through passes and impasses.
The team is a revocation of self-interest.
Together, these create moments-one highlight
besetting the vernacular distinction of
the other. What stands out? You may ask.

 

NOT EVERYONE IS LOVELY

All shadows fall
behind her.

Her plumed hair,
straighten visions.

The dint on her cheek
is nothing, but the flaw

in our transactions
with sight: re-imagining her

only makes it worse.
A third smear pluralizes

our investments in
her face, the interests

on which have left us
trying to stitch more

pockets into our pants.
Arrays of seeds huddle

around her neck, with
a weary, transfixed look

of disenchantment on
each of them, followed

by the apocryphal
phenomenon, that is

her bosom. A parting glance
separates the infamy of it

from becoming a reality,
the conjecture of which

hangs by her belly. Atypically
bloated, suspiciously debated,

it bows to eyes, popping-
with some journalistic sense

pushing them from the inside.
An angelic phantasm lifts

off the carpet. This is now
the home of maximum evil.

 

BEATEN TO DEATH WITH AN ATM CARD

Why, I thought. Why would I not have any money
I’ve always been willing to sell all that I have.
All that I have shaped or can .From my puberty
to a thoughtful comma. Things that are not even
of my doing. Buy some of my white hair, my flaming
ankles, the stinginess in my room, my little black tooth,
my toe nails from three weeks ago, the glint in my
eye, the hiss in my breath, the insecurity in my diction,
my fear of snakes, the snakes in my nightmares, my
doubts in my faith, my faith in my doubts, my countless
headaches, my countless inklings, my crippling inhibitions,
my conflicts with sexuality, my phobia of the choices I make,
my phobia of the choices people make, my fear of failures,
the failures of my will, my gaze upon the floor, its reflection
on the ceiling, the chronic forgetfulness of dates, important dates,
the impromptu swearing, my retrospective sweeps, false pregnancy
alarms, the blood in my ears from all the panicking, my blood,
some quantity of my blood, my first cigarette, my first orgasm-
no my second orgasm, my paucity with words, my capacity for
nuisance, the inability to appreciate simplicity, my routine
to ask for more, my contempt for piety, my reluctance in
admitting it, my little cathartic moments, the little lessons I
never learn, my mouthful of spit, the things I have spit on, my
answers to the billion dollar questions, my own billion dollar
questions, the possibilities of ageing, the parallels with the
verticals of rise-my comparisons with the latter-the
convenience of doing so, the leaked trades of my
conscience, the poverty in denial of my subconscious, the
ringing in my head, the misaddressed letters, the misplaced
keys, the locks they never opened, my disagreements with
dawn, my infatuation with dropping eyelids, the ticks in
my box, the crosses I may have put in yours, the accidents
I’ve missed to be in, the near calamity of my obsession
for wide-eyed replacement value in life-of things that
yet, do not exist, yet have no face, or a grin to lose.

Buy something. For a dime, a dollar, a rupee, a cent.
Buy a combo, buy a tri-pack. Buy the least you can, the
most you ever will. My grandmother has diabetes, buy that too.
Take it with your cup of tea, let it headline your mornings.
Keep it in your wardrobe, or hold it close to your chest, like
the blowfish, drowning in the rapids of your heart, your big
heart. Buy something for your heart

 

To read

BIRTH
BARN ANIMALS

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