Inside my pockets, I keep pieces of courage, to reach for when I need them.

See, life has become an unpredictable horizon strewn with landmines called memories. An accidental sighting and unfortunate coincidences. We’re so connected, we’re entrenched seamless and a chance encounter, becomes an obituary. Memory, that unreliable narrator always takes you down in the worst way possible.
Courage answers to many names.

Now confidence is a good, solid coat to wear. It’s rainproof and tempered over the years. I had to put my baggage down when I pulled on the sleeves of my coat of confidence. It serves well in new battles and it doesn’t snag on bumps. But memory is a rusty blade tipped in acid. It leaves holes where it touches my confidence coat. The horrors past left seeds of themselves inside me and they rise up in response, in goosebumps under my skin. I lost my baggage but I couldn’t cut out all the poisoned parts of me.

So I keep shots of breath within easy reach. Chewing gum, lip balm, an old worn hanky. Remember to chew, remember to moisturize, remember to breathe. Swallow every fear, dam every allergy.

But women’s clothing has so few pockets. So I find other ways to hoard courage.

I paint over the skidmarks that betrayal left behind, in ink and tattoos. A penned star between the webs of my fingers. So when I walk through somewhere that calls out old memory-monsters, the inked star whispers a reminder of everything that came after. Ink stands sentry keeping new demons from allying with the old.

Bravado carries my stage fright up here and fidgets it into paper planes. And when I run short, inside a pocket, a little piece of magic, a lucky pebble kissed with hope.

Sometimes I can make a truce with memory and it lets me take pieces to call my own. A silver chain, a birthday gift, a memory to remember love, kindness and laughter. Nostalgia can also bear courage’s name.

All my nooks and crevices, my clothes, mind and dimples are packed with hoarded pieces of courage, fortifying and protecting me. I manage my pockets of courage carefully.


I’m wearing a cotton newsprint saree in a nivi drape with a red tank top, a denim bolero jacket and red sneakers. Accessories are steel – a chunky band bracelet, steel watch and etched leaves on a chain to add just a touch of shine from under the jacket. The pallu over rather than under the jacket prevents ‘the tail effect’ but needs a little more effort if you want to take off the jacket in public. I wore this to an informal business meeting at a restaurant.

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