Minal Sukumar boldly redefines ‘Wanderlust’

Minal Sukumar is a poet and a writer from Bangalore.



Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel and see new places
But we know that already
The word wanderlust has decorated enough Facebook cover photo spaces, complete with swirly font and a perfectly timed photograph of the beach

Wanderlust seems to be a shared rythym mankind’s pulse dances to
We are born in one dark corner of the world, dreaming of some other darkness from a bright, glossy magazine
Tucked under our mattresses are bucket lists of the many mountains to climb, turquoise blue waters to snorkel in, and an aurora painted across the sky to witness
At night sleep is laced with the imagined scent of a dusty bookshop borders away and the click of foreign shoes on foreign cobble stones
Wanderlust sings for us all

While I was growing up, it sang for me, right under my skin, tapping out melodies across my bones
At 9, I fell in love with a small painted bit of the Berlin Wall that came to see me as part of a post card made for little girls with big dreams
At 11, I promised the Eiffel Tower that I would come again to stand with it in its glorious isolation all the way up there on top of the world
At 13, it was the Great Wall of China, I made friends with every uniquely deformed stone step, friends I thought of fondly and painlessly for the next two years

At 15, I stood on Indian soil at the Indo-China border and wondered if this imaginary line made my friends imaginary too

And then everything changed.

At 20, someone once asked me why I wanted to be a writer

And all I could think to say was that everything had changed.

Now at 22, my bucket list is stained with the scent of death
I don’t remember the Eiffel Tower, I remember an exquisite concert hall
I don’t think of the great barrier reef, I think of colour free gunmen in parks

Your travel loving whatsapp status punctuated with red footprints tells me a story of footprints made in blood
Of the Indian girl from Virginia tech I share a name with
Of students who get turned away at airports because they wear the wrong skin or carry the wrong name
Of men being killed and women being raped by a uniform

And so I write.
I write and the ink builds words in intricate arcs, the words form cities, countries, continents, a world, my world
Where colour means happiness and nationalism means nothing
My writing is an atlas whose yellowing pages breathe for me
And each place is brought to life by the wanderlust running through my veins for the places only I can create
A wanderlust that doesn’t play on morning radio, a wanderlust nobody but I know the words to
The type of wanderlust that leaks from my fingertips
The type that allows me to have this world to live in
And another to believe in

Bangalore, Minal Sukumar, Performance, video
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