Start

It’s a little less fuck the patriarchy and a little more gather the faithful, 
              the architects, 
              the incendiaries,
              the beautiful brainiacs.
And this is the start.

There’s a wisdom in the world that tells us all to put in our time. Drawing lessons across days in fortified walls where, softly painted in white-washed intentions, we emerge more palpable for immersion into revolutionary ranks. CEOs setting their KPIs ask me my 1, 2, and 3:

  1. What do you want to do? (Increase global access to essential medicines).
  2. How will you do it? (Cue economic x’s and policy plans—the good stuff).
  3. Why will you do it? (To alleviate pain. Always, to alleviate pain).

It’s the last point where I tend to diverge from my cloistered colleagues and it’s given rise to the true list I want to be: honest and fearless and kind.

This year, I will leave academia and in that departure, I hope to convey my gratitude to those who have trained me. With humility, acknowledging what my mind could not have seen years ago: that my view of the world and myself needed breaking, strengthening. And with pieces now joined in new ways, I can thank those before me for knowledge and drive and empowerment—

the tenants of their institution I can respectfully hold while passing them by saying:
               Trust me.
               We’ve got this next part.
               We’ll do it right.
Now let us begin.

At Her Feet

Raat ki rani—Queen of the night.
Sitting beneath her, words softly chanted
at the base of this plant blooming in darkness.
Saturated stillness as she transcended

to spiced air thick at Coco Beach, that blue coast of Dar.
A riptide. Left suspended in deception of
flowered sweetness
she lands on a Punjabi night, sitting silently
in Sector 8 (the name, that name sounding
already of dystopian fate).

Ringed through an ocean and four states to this place,
and who was I?
Who was I to stop her flight?
Her world divided, and who am I?
To say she isn’t right.

In frantic expectation her open eyes see me
my father’s dark tone, her own wild hair,
all rooted here in a world unknown.

Roots will twist and weave, in unending strife
to an undying glow. And who is she?
Rootless and light.
For what does she yearn, if denied that right?

Her rootless flight.

Screaming now at the days she was deprived.
Screaming now at the love she cannot find,
Screaming, screaming to get out of the sun,
-it was never meant for me.

And who am I to cry back at her?
A heart can split in so many ways.