Romilla Akham

Call It What You Want.

To my aunt, who deserved a better life.

Life has not been fair to you;

It pained me to see your beauty wither away so soon.

You took your kins` burden all on your shoulders.

Owned another  mother`s children as your own, as big your heart was.

You saw the tears in our eyes as we promised you of the better days.

I couldn`t give you the mirror to let you see yourself.

Reminiscing is all we can we do now.

We blamed the doctors because we couldn`t accept the truth.

Before I saw the grey in your hair, you bid farewell.

Do not be upset for those who couldn`t come to see  you as you writhed in pain;

They were not strong enough to see you that way.

The rays of the sun couldn`t reach you because of the poorly built windows of the hospital;

The corridors caught our tears fallen.

Some betrayed you, some hurt you;

In the end, the Maker took you to give you a better place.

It was a battle to survive every day.

You deserved a better life,

Life has not been fair to you.


Either she or the institution should survive;

Either her sanity or customs should survive;

Either her justice or popular opinions should survive;

Either her individuality or familiarity should survive.
“Her” is interchangeable with “His”. You can read in any way.


Didn’t know enough 

To hate you.

Didn’t know enough 

But enough

To imagine the goodness 

You might have had. 

The ideal

Better than nothing 

If not for yourself, put your existence to use for the people. There are so many sufferings in the world. We can lend our hand to them. Our misery will not help them but our actions will. 

Will you remember my love?

Your eyes look at me

With such indifference.

Sometimes with eagerness

And your arms stretch out for me

Like you know my love.

I think of ways 

To get your attention.

You need not try 

To get the affection 

As much as I tried.

Not only your waking hours 

You look adorable 

But even in your sleep.

I ask you dear,

Will you remember

The love and attention

That I shower on you 

When you grow up

Without any photos 

Or people telling you 

As a proof?

Many will be wishing 

That you remember 

All the affection.

Is it too much?

I will blame nothing 

For you will love 

Someday too

As much as I do.

As much as we do.

After all you are,

Just a baby

Who will turn one 

Who is yet to learn 

About yourself 

Your existence

Your essence.

To my dear nephews and nieces

Should I ?

You are so beautiful 

So broken.

Should I break it to you 

You can be happy?

I wish to continue 

Feasting my eyes

But I wish not 

Your destruction.


Death, the reminder of our mortality comes again.

In winter, summer and unnoticed times, to give pain.

Some hastened by men and some by nature’s invisible hands

Proving the fallibility of our plans.

Great men leave sooner,

Felt the same for those who exceeded their time living longer.

My tributes to such few men who left

And we are left now bereft.

(It was written as a tribute to Marquez, Khuswant Singh, Dabholkar and Chavez who died around the same time.)

Living with yourself is not as easy as it is for some. It requires effort and support to listen to ourselves.

Be you

How I want you 

To be the way you are,

To let you be you

So much,

That I want to share 

Less of my world 

To you.

The rhythm that I dance to,

The songs that I hum,

The books that moved me,

The movies that provoked me

And poems that haunt me

I want you to discover 

When you want to.

I will not influence you 

For you to be with me.

Discover me 

As I discover you.


 Fajei dako fajaba se,

Eigi awatpasu ningsinghalli,

Eiga maannabasu uhalli.

Uba ngamdringei fajaba mitna,

Khonjel na youhalli thammoida,

Henna sumhatle nangi nollukpana.

Uba fanglabada eemitsina 

Mapung faare ningjaba.

Amuk chatlani eidi 

Panthung younaba 

Nangi fajaba puduna wakhalda.

Amuk taaba fangjage 

Amuk yengba fangjage 

Nongma ayingba natou.

What if your creator was flawed? 

“You can’t go on like this doing whatever you want. No responsibility. No care about customs.. No..” 

(interrupts) “Ma, am I a puppet who has to follow what others tell us always?”This was a regular thing for me and my mother. My father tried to reconcile us but it was not enough. They get along well and look out for each other but I seemed to be a square figure trying to fit into a star shaped space. I did not want to become her despite of her sacrifice and reputation. She was the first figure I had to face for the change I wanted to bring in the society. She was the first battle. There was a void between us as much as I wanted to get close to her. I saw her in me- the vulnerability, the passion, the recurring depression and the anger. I was too wild for her and the rest of the world for conformity was difficult. Customs seemed ridiculous to me. She had to defend my outlandish nature to people while she would tell me what others were thinking and talking about. We were similar as I saw the inherent characteristics in me from her. My father and my brother tried to save us from each other but has not been successful. We wanted to love each other more but it was just impossible. There were bad fights or such retreat to silence. I wanted to remove her from me. I tried hard to trace her in me and remove it. My crippling depression started surfacing in my other relationships. There was a lack of commitment in things I did. I never saw what I really wanted. My serious take on things around me and engaging in cathartic activities repelled and attracted others simultaneously. I wanted to stay away to continue loving her. She was like the reality I wanted to avoid in this world. Womanhood seemed a not so pleasant thing as I saw more women around me. She blamed my callous nature while I blamed her imperfections. We had a love and hate relationship. I got too familiar with self pity and the misery that I did not want to let go. I counselled myself to see it as one of life’s numerous obstacles. It was hard to see the purpose of life and I tried my best to give myself a purpose. Religion had worn off and it was not convincing enough. I was trying my best at times to seem as normal and as laid back as anyone else as I tried to tame the freak inside me.