Monday, August 17, 2015

The Ghost of Heaven

Sleep to sleep through thirty years of night,
a child herself with child,
for whom we searched

through here, or there, amidst
bones still sleeved and trousered,
a spine picked clean, a paint can,
a skull with hair

Sewn into the hem of memory:
God of AbrahamGod of IsaacGod of Jacob,
God not
of philosophers or scholars. God not of poets.

Night to night:
child walking toward me through burning maize
over the clean bones of those whose flesh
was lifted by zopilotes into heaven.

So that is how we ascend!
In the clawed feet of fallen angels.
To be assembled again
in the work rooms of clouds.

She rose from where they found her lying
not far from a water urn, leaving
herself behind on the ground
where they found her, holding her arms
before her as if she were asleep.

That is how she appears to me: a ghost in heaven.
Carrying her arms in her arms.

Blue smoke from corn cribs, flap of wings.
On the walls of the city streets a plague of initials.

Walking through a fire-lit river
to a burning house: dead Singer
sewing machine and piece of dress.

Outside a cashew tree wept
blackened cashews over lamina.

Outside paper fireflies rose to the stars.

Bring penicillin if you can, surgical tape, a whetstone,
mosquito repellent but not the aerosol kind.
Especially bring a syringe for sucking phlegm,
a knife, wooden sticks, a surgical clamp, and plastic bags.

You will need a bottle of cloud
for anesthesia.

Like the flight of a crane
through colorless dreams.

When a leech opens your flesh it leaves a small volcano.
Always pour turpentine over your hair before going to sleep.

Such experiences as these are forgotten
before memory intrudes.

The girl was found (don't say this)
with a man's severed head stuffed
into her where a child would have been.
No one knew who the man was.
Another of the dead.
So they had not, after all,
killed a pregnant girl.
This was a relief to them.

That sound in the brush?
A settling of wind in sorghum.

If they capture you, talk.
Talk. Please yes. You heard me
right the first time.

You will be asked who you are.
Eventually, we are all asked who we are.

All who come
All who come into the world
All who come into the world are sent.
Open your curtain of spirit.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Can you love yourself first?

All too often we are willing to believe the worst about ourselves, scarcely giving ourselves any credit. It's almost as if we are afraid to acknowledge that we are beautiful, kind, intelligent...
We love polishing up our guilt every now and then, adding an extra layer of shine feeling the worst about ourselves...
And we often most love the people who make us feel the worst about ourselves. The more they ignore us, the more you dance to entertain them. The more they disdain you, the more you throw yourself at their feet.
The more you cry into your pillow at night, the more their worth grows in your eyes. You overlook people who really care, you ignore friends, your obsession is solely with the ones who put you down.
Why are we self destructive? Why are we afraid to love ourselves?
What is the point of validation in someone else's eyes, when you cannot look at yourself clearly?
How can you expect anyone else to love you when all you feel is hatred and loathing for yourself?
Why spend your precious love on someone when all you need to do is invest it on yourself?
Look inward. Take a deep breath. Accept your wonderfulness. Say to yourself, "I love you. The most!"
Tell yourself that you are worthy of the best. And what is better than the love you have to give?
Selflessness be damned. Some more 'me' doesn't hurt... put 'we' on the backseat for some time.
Put yourself first. It's difficult at times. But try! Write yourself a poem. Take a selfie. Smile. Put on lipstick. Try a new color. Enjoy!
Say nice things about yourself. Buy yourself a flower.
You are worth more than the penny farthing you've been spending on yourself. Much more precious. Treasure your opinion. Speak for yourself. Cheer your achievements.
See yourself as amazing, because you are.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

That first night (Part 1) - Working Title

It was a dark and stormy night...

No. Wait.
This is not the way this story was to have started...

Actually, it was one of those more moderate days in August... it did rain, but there was no storm as such. The light rain cut through some of the mugginess. Mridula remembered that she kept dozing off to sleep under the lazily whirring fan, while waiting for Atulya. It had been a long day and all she wanted was to get rid of the scratchy Benarasi and the bel flower garlands which had started to wilt... 

She congratulated herself on having convinced her mother and aunts and insane cousins that it was okay if she just wore her long earrings and not the stifling gold necklace which had eaten away at a major part of her father's savings... stop! She told herself, get off the guilt trip! They had all wanted this - beyond any logic, any reason - as much their cross as hers to bear... she wasn't going to think of her mother's medicines or her brother's studies either. Not now.

She woke up with a jolt when she felt someone nudging her. Atulya's earnest face with his enormous eyes loomed over her. He looked a little concerned. And nervous.

Nervous? Why on earth? Oh hell! She did not have the energy for anything but turning over to the other side and sleeping... surely he wasn't expecting... how could she have forgotten that this was "the" night for some people? She muttered to herself "dhur shala!"... 

Atulya remembers being taken aback when he heard the "dhur shala" - was it directed at him, he wondered. He had just about managed to shut the door on a houseful of curious eyes and all he wanted was to just talk to the figure (mysteriously slumped over), who was now his better half and lifelong partner and... oh! Did he just wake her up? 

He muttered "sorry! I didn't realize you were sleeping!"

"Er... okay..."

"No, I was just wondering..."


"No, no, no! I just thought we could talk... for a while... it's the first night... never been with you this way..."

"Talk? Yes. Talk is good."

"So what do you like?"

"Huh? What?"

"Like, are you okay?"

"Yes. Just sleepy. Been a long day..."


"No, it's okay. I am used to staying up late..."


"Yeah... my brother. He sleeps late. I stay up with him so that he studies and doesn't nod off."


"So, tell me about yourself... "

Atulya had been rehearsing his introduction for over half an hour before he even came to the room... but right now words failed him.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What is perfect? Nothing.

No such thing as perfect happiness. At least for people like me. Like every rose has its thorns, my happiness is impaled and shredded by expectations and resulting frustrations...
Why can't I just plaster a stupid grin on my face and wash out any semblance of doubt forming on my mind with lye and a hard brush?
Why can't I just live with what I am dished out?
Who am I? Of all the fat-assed people on planet earth. To even expect ANYTHING of ANYONE?
No wonder I am set up for failure from the start.
I am supposed to let things be.
Let the tea steep and seep out its gorgeous flavours in the tepid water. Woe betide anyone who dares turn up the flame and bring forth a rolling boil!
Let the flower gently unfurl and bring forth its beauty.
Let the egg hatch in its own time.
I can't go nitpicking. On everything. And with a sharp jab, put things in place.
I have to let it lie.
And fester?
I have to let things putrefy till they come to their natural bloom or spoil eventually...
Hate how things are.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


The flowers that came from you today
And the chocolates
And most importantly that card which said you would love me forever

Perverse Pleasure

Madhuja'r jonmodiney lekha kobita - Anindya Chatterjee জুলাই মাসে, কোনও কোনও জন্মদিন আসে। ঘরের পাশে,ভিড়ের বাসে স্মৃতির ঘাসে, জলোচ্ছ...