It Was Always You

You saw it in me way before anyone else did.

Did you always know that I was a seeker of stories?

When I was a child, you asked me to carry around a little notebook wherever I went.

You even told me how to do it–


Take down points in the moment.

Then you can go back and knit your story.

And I? I never did it.

I never believed in myself.

I don’t know if I do, even now.

But I believe in you.

And I believe in your belief in me.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be who you envision me to be.

I don’t know if I’m already that, to you.

But you?

You have always been there.

Holding my tiny hands,

walking me on the roads when I could barely walk,

Buying me coconut water and candy,

Raising me to the top of my world–

So I could touch the wind-chime and giggle loudly,

You sat me on the verandah so I could point at apatanes. 

I wish I had remembered the times before apatane changed to aeroplane.

I wish I had listened to you and written down points.

Of a life I don’t remember.

Of I life, I crave to reconstruct.

All these stories you tell me,

are the only bits I have now.

I don’t even remembering living them.

But you’ve made me relive them so many times,

that I wouldn’t be able to tell even if I had.

You made me realize that writing doesn’t always have to be perfect.

It never can be.

You taught me that it is in fact, an attempt to hold on,

To immortalize, to relive and to re-write.

I told myself that I’ll make you proud.

I wanted to hide and learn and practice,

and come out as a beautiful writer,

To surprise you!

But guess what?

You surprised me!

Because now, I don’t aim for perfection anymore.

I know I’ll only be as prepared as today.

I write and re-write and laugh at my own words.

But at least, I get them out.

These days, I’m scared if I don’t, they’ll go away forever.

It’s become a restlessness more than a habit.

I’ve become possessive of my life,

My family, friends, and the world around me.

So I want to write about all of them.

But not for anybody.

Not even for you.

Not even for me.

Because words can’t belong to anyone, can they?

They’re like birds set free. From the cages of our hearts.

You have to let them go.

I can’t write for you.

But I can thank you for giving me this beautiful gift.

I know you’ll say you didn’t.

You’ll say it was meant to happen.

You’ll say it’s God’s gift.

But to me, you’re the closest I’ve gotten to God.

So can we please make up this story?

Just like all those childhood stories I repeat to my friends,

without even knowing if they’re true.

Believing them by believing you!

So let this be our little secret,

Let me thank you for giving me my voice.

Thank you,

Dear Grandpa.








College can be hard. Question everything, I’m told from all directions. I’m asked to pick a side. Only to be told that there were no sides except in my head. Do you believe in Capitalism? They ask. As if what I say would make a difference. As if I know that I believe in what I believe in. It’s that time when I’m struggling to find my ground. And then I freak out. What if there is no ground? But doesn’t the word ‘is’ suggest that there ‘is’ one somewhere? I pull myself together, on this groundless ground. You’re nothing outside your name, is thrust upon me in the morning. Not Manisha Koppala? Internet demands in the evening. Am I, at all?

Metadiscourse. See? It comes with a red underline as I type it. When I was young, the red curvy underline for words on the computer was the world’s way of telling me that the word did not exist. That I’ve typed it wrong. And now? Sometimes even Google doesn’t know what I’m talking about. Oh, by the way, Metadiscourse is “a discussion about a discussion”. I learnt it today from my reading. There’s so much of that these days. It’s like living on this different plane. We discuss the spiral of words and their meanings, and their non meanings and the meaning of meaning. Or is it non meaning of meaning? At this point, I give up. Don’t worry, even giving up might not really be giving up.

College can be hard.

It takes away all my grounds while giving an illusion of letting me choose one for myself.

But I would still choose to keep wondering whether I’ll ever find my ground, rather than standing on a pre- determined one.