We said, their time is up

But our voices drowned in the silence

Of fear, and injustice,

Overshadowed by marks of blood and violence;


We tried to shout, to be heard

But were reminded of harrowing screams-

Cries of help from choked throats

And arms pinning down tired bodies, on dark streets;


We waited for centuries

For equality, for employment and franchise

Yet still find ourselves treated

Inferior to chauvinist and sexist pride


But we still stand together,

Across countries, continents, races and religions,

Against those who have wronged us,

Harassed, assaulted, taunted us; we are still hurting


But we will say it again, their time is up.

For even though, only few have dared to speak

When time outruns itself and the truth is out,

We will leave the sins of our oppressors unburied.
©Isha Malaviya.

Ode to School

I don’t know where to start;

It seems that ending this poem in tears 

Is easier than finding the right words


And yet there is so much to say,

Two years feel infinite now 

And time spent here

Is testimony to all the emotions endowed 


I can’t avoid clichés,

Because you prove that sometimes 

An almost-picture perfect scene 

Can be brought to life;


I can’t forget

The poor jokes, the timid and the bright personalities,

The class disruptions, conversations, the insults

The good, the sad and funny memories;


And the school spirit that is infectious 

That drives crowds of cheering students

Into choruses and synchronised clapping;

We thrive, especially during home tournaments;


The football field that doubles as a pitch

And an assembly ground, while the basketball court 

Hosts teams and echoes with the dreams 

Of graduating batches, walking for the last time, out of those doors;


The teachers cannot go unmentioned

 For bearing the fluctuating grades and the sound

Of 50 teenagers protesting at once 

Against tests, unfairness and textbooks forming mounds;


And although I have more to say,

The sentiment, and this road must fade-

Begging for a new one to be created

One, that ultimately decides our fates;


I’ve reached the end of this poem,

And I think I found the right words

But now it seems

That I have an excess of tears. 


©Isha Malaviya.    Picture: ©Kruthika Sanjay.


Nights Like These

It’s nights like these

Where the lights outside your window

Don’t seem bright enough;


It’s nights like these

When the painkillers you took an hour ago,

Don’t seem strong enough;


It’s nights like these

Where 8 hours of sleep

Don’t seem satisfying enough;


It’s nights like these

When the days

Didn’t go by fast enough;


It’s nights like these

Where the dark

Doesn’t seem dark enough;


It’s nights like these

When what you have

Doesn’t seem enough;


Count nights like these,

You survived them;

Even though time never seems enough.


©Isha Malaviya.

Ballroom Drama

When the flame was first alight,

Music interlaced with it

Like new found dance partners,

Swaying like a perfect fit


When the flame began to flicker

The music didn’t stop but 

There was a lapse in time 

And the waltz stopped abrupt 


When the flame rose for the second time

It was in regret, the music pulled away 

Trying hard to die out 

But it was caught in the unrequited sway 


When the flame grew dimmer  

The music became faint 

The dancers moved slowly

And their feet danced in pain 


When the flame finally died out,

The music knew-

The dancers would part ways 

Once their feet sought different tunes. 


©Isha Malaviya.


Her eyes aren’t windows to her soul,

They are doors to another world-

Where the light of the sun 

Flickers like the dying light of a bulb, 

But every time the spark dies 

The sky and the grey clouds break into a fight 

Pushing the other back, trying to steal the limelight

Hovering in between death and life;

And flowers bloom on trees and hedges

But they droop, with their petals drying at the edges

There are no people, only dreams,

Forgotten hope and old memories;

Her smile is radiant as if all seems well

Her portrait will live another day, for a story it must tell;

As thunder strikes and time flies,

I turn, pulling away from her eyes;

A silhouette beside me lost too, in the details of her face

Looks at me, reads my thoughts, and says-

“Like me, you must be hurting, slowly healing 

To imagine such pain in a simple painting.” 

©Isha Malaviya.

Ode to Silver Engravings

Black roses with dewdrops

Top dead bushes and wilted leaves.

Silhouettes shudder and weave

In and out of grey trees.


And in the fields, stand two towering gates

Beyond which tomb stones lie;

The atmosphere looks ghastly-

A thick veil extends for miles


I stand outside His mansion

And admire the crumbling walls,

The place draws me toward it, asking me

To walk through the doors, and explore the old halls


But before I am taken over, I remember home;

I crave its company, and I turn away;

My time will come

But not now, not today.


For before I come here again

I will keep Death waiting,

And on Earth, amongst forgotten legacies,

Mine will be carved in silver engravings.


©Isha Malaviya.


In between the rhythm of my steps
Amidst an evening breeze
My mind noticed
Winter’s hunched trees, old leaves
Clinging by a skeleton arm
To a sickly, aged branch.
Pale, worn blades of grass hovered
Struggling against the thick fog above
As it suffocated the uneven soil
And the smallest particles wreathed in turmoil.


But my eyes begged to see
Winter’s surviving trees
Bowing down gracefully, as if on one knee;
Elegant, matured leaves
Clinging, but not desperately
Embracing their departure
With a slow farewell to their mother
And pale but lively blades of grass hovered
Under the umbrella of the blue, calm weather
As it cooled the fertile soil
And relieved the life below, of turmoil.


But when the mind is dull
And feels tired, numb
Its gaze misses nature’s beauty
For it can see none.


©Isha Malaviya.

(Inspired by October- Edward Thomas).


When life gives you dirt,

Grow roses.

Let each dream bury itself in mud

Caked with death and failure

But when the time is ripe,

From the seed will erupt the tiniest scope of hope

And the air, the sun and the rain

Will cling to it; just like our hands extend to grab every wisp of life possible.

Let them do their work

Maybe some of the seeds will grow into plants

Others will rest in their graves.


When life gives you dirt,

Grow roses.

Because even when they bloom

And spread like an eagle’s wings,

They will slowly wilt

But in their passing,

Every petal will still look

A fading beauty.
©Isha Malaviya.

Obsessions of another kind, compulsions from a different mind

*Trigger Warning for Emetophobia*


The chalk cuts into the blackboard
Word after word, she explains
I don’t get it; I try, I promise but
It’s too much of a task to string a sentence together

I look around
What if somebody starts feeling sick?
Three seats on my left- she hunches and her head
Falls gently on to the table;

The teacher coughs
What if something is bothering her throat?
Or even worse, her stomach
The bathroom is downstairs, it’s too far

She plays a video
What if it features a character
Who has drunk too much, or eaten too fast?
He might not feel too well after that; will they film it?

A knot in my chest presses against my abdomen
What if I did not eat enough for breakfast?
Or perhaps I have had unsettling food
And I may not be able to keep it all down

Ten minutes have passed
What if it happens any moment?
Nausea has taken over me
And three of my fingers are bleeding.


©Isha Malaviya.