Author Archives: Fathima Manal

About Fathima Manal

Dreams,fantasies,words and rhythm-other than skin,bones and muscles I am made up of these.With every drop of blood that my heart pumps,a new dream forms in me.With every breathe,i take the surroundings too inside me.And my poems are just the minute regurgitants of what i accumulate within. I am a doctor from Kerala,India,who should not be supposed to but is in deeply love with words and books more than medical books.Hope you enjoy my poems......

Last time

When was the last time
I took a pen and paper
To pour my emotions
As tears, smiles and laughters ?
When was the last time
I called you to talk unendingly
On the views eyes captured
And the voices ears picked ?
May be in the last monsoon
May be in a monsoon years before
May be on a day from our ancient dream.
As of now, I’ve mastered the art
Of collecting everything inside
One by one as storeys –
Views over voices
Tears over smiles –
I don’t need a pen or paper
Or your time you keep always with you
To live over my days.


Bare uterus being crushed by womanhood,
Asked one day with haughtiness,

‘Womanhood without me?
Do you call yourself a woman
In my absence?’

‘ Woman is not your weight,
Nor your monthly weeps
Woman is the endurance ,
The sacrifice and the struggles’.

‘ And me?What’s me in womanhood?’

‘ You? You , my dear uterus ,
Are that insignificant part,
Who got too much attention
In an era of ignorance.’

Your mistakes

I pick your mistakes
Everytime you drop one-
The agonising words,
The shrewd negligence,
The silence of deception –
I bathe them in the slashing summer sun
Stick on them all those glass pieces
And nameless thorns you carry
To place them in a chamber inside.
Every other time I see you
It bleeds unknowingly
Reminding me the pain
I endure for loving you.


It’s time to withdraw
Slowly, dwindling from your hair,
Eyes, lips, through neck,
Down, down and down
As pulling a quilt
From the foot-end.

It’s time to withdraw
My over- spread shadow
From your torso,
Through the mattress, the wall,
The window- panes
Back onto the devil- tree
Sprawling on your yard
From where I can see
My zeal and zest
Playing still on you.

It’s time to withdraw
The mist back into the woods
As summer is nearing apace.
And with me
Your over-spilling courage,
The spirit and vigour
I instilled on you.

My Grandpa

One night, before the gasping began-
I was told later-
He asked for me.
I was not a pet,
Not a granddaughter he’d pray for,
Not an obedient homemaker,
Not a mother of a bunch of boys.
Hence I ignored the calls
Blaming the lies they may contain
I threw them in air
Like unwanted time- killers .
Now, days gone , a little away
From the umbrella -shaped stone
Among the knee-length green grass ,
I assume his body fighting with worms and termites.
I feel the calls might be true,
I might’ve been asked,
I might’ve been in his prayers,
A pinch of blessing
Might’ve been saved for me.
I drop a tear on the grass
For the last act of my disobedience .

The Path

I see a fallen nest, on my way
I walk away, afraid to put it back
Lest I see two or three
Corpses within.

This is the path I pass
Every morning and dusk.

I keep your fragrance
Inside my jacket.
And, today too, I fail to smell
Scent of the moist earth.

Here people pass me
Just as they cross.
My eyes, always towards sides,
Fail to see many.

The pond is silent today
Except for a regurgitating bubble
In a corner of its square face
To show a thousand lives within.

They see the changing colour of my clothes,
My earrings and anklets
Even the changing stories behind me
My mind, oblivious to them ,
Wanders on the path and above.

The path has changed
I see the tall trees, sentries themselves ,
Silently calling back
Their tiny curled roots from the path.

The change

This face of yours
I’m not accustomed to.
I lean and stare
To learn the new things,
The throbbing veins,
Red cheeks, firing eyes.

I breathe in heat and salt
Instead of old warmth
And cologne.

Then I felt
The sea changes its face
So do the wind and sky
So why can’t you be
Another sea, sky, breeze
Or fire?

It’s me, the unchanging shade
Who stands still at the path
Where the beginning was.

I remember…

I remember those days
When I used to sit
Behind the bars of my window
And stare at the newly blooming
Gulmohar tree,
The red, orange and yellow
Hiding dots of green.
Sometimes at the withering
Neem beneath it
Or the shedding leaves
Of the sad asoka
Dreaming endlessly
Ignoring the open books and cooling coffee.
Those days my mother
Used to phone her sisters and brothers
To chatter unendingly
About the intellectual I was becoming,
‘ She thinks a lot these days
On each word of her book’.
She dreamed of another Marie Curie
Perhaps another Kamala Das
Though she knew nothing about them.
The day I stopped staring
At the gulmohar, I remember,
I exposed myself at my mother’s feet.
Trembling, I finished it,
That I was in love.
She closed my window forever
Tore my book, burned the gulmohar
And pushed me to a corner.
Sensing nothing could be done
To my dreams
She stopped her chatters,
Cursed the trees, plants, flowers,
Books, writers and whoever
Have made me a weak ordinary girl.
I smiled , knowing ,
Finally the phone charges would come down.

I Was Eighteen

I was eighteen
Courage of thirty
With a heart, I believed ,
Was enough rough and tough.
Yet when they came
To measure my height and fairness
And, oh, the curvature of my breasts.
I trembled, as never before
My courage was just a firefly.

I was eighteen
Too young to hide fear
But there was always a way out
I clung to a shy face.

I was eighteen
Courage of thirty
Yet when he dared to question me,
Sipping the hot tea I served,
On my name and age
My tongue went dry
Sticking to the palate
My questions got glued there.

I was eighteen
Too old for mathematics
But there was always a reason
And I calculated the gold,
Estates and wades of notes.

I was eighteen
Courage of thirty
Yet on a fine morning
I stretched my neck
To a thread of gold, I think
I shrank to fifteen, ten or five
My courage was just a firefly.