An Instruction Manual for the Manipulated Mind-Minal Sukumar

When depression asks you to stay inside
And watch ancient black and white movies,
Decline the offer and go out instead
Go out and feel rain crystals on your skin
Or have the sun race through your hair
Bump into an old friend by accident
Let her convince you to go rock climbing
Kiss a stranger and do not regret it
Let your fingers intertwine with other fingers
Remind yourself you do not have to be alone

When you feel like your lungs are drowning
And your own voice is echoing too loud
Talk to a friend, talk about anything
Talk about the song magically stuck in your head
Or about how the war memorials bother you
Tell the story of your favourite book
Or launch into another feminist discussion
Talk until you find you can talk about you
Let the pain out in a rush or haltingly if you must
And when silence is finally shreds, do not apologise

When you meet a boy on a gloomy street corner
And love colours every inch of your soul
Do not let the low hum of perpetual paranoia
Take the high of the feeling away from you
You go love that boy like you love the smell
Of yellowing pages in a second hand book
And when he tells you he has to leave you
Because you are simply too insecure
Let him go, your beautiful mind is too potent
For someone who cannot swallow a tequila shot

When a nightmare creeps into bed with you
Let the clawing fear last only a moment
Draw a chalk line between reality and fiction
And when the sun and sky meet again
Counter every nightmare with bold day dreams
Dream of a book with your name on its spine
Of a girl with red hair waiting to steal your heart
Dream of the entire universe in your palm
Until the hope has boiled over in a froth
Flooding your mind in what laughs like you

Minal Sukumar is an aspiring writer and poet from Bangalore. She is currently doing her MA English at St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Science. She fell in love with books when she was very young and started writing when she was nine or ten. Writing has shaped all aspects of her life, including her academic and career choices.