Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Without You

It is amazing how much void you leave on my window sill although you had never really filled it in the first place. As the soft winter sunlight pours into my room every morning, I gather up a few of my fresh clothes and dump them in a heap on the window sill and leave them there till sunset. It feels nice to wrap a sunny shawl around after a bath, it feels like you. I cannot explain how, but the winter sun is your closest proxy. It is warm, it is bright, it smiles in an easy comfort… and most of all, it always disappears before time. All it leaves behind is the trail of a mellow, orange afternoon of unreasonable sighs and closed windows.

Winter afternoons bring phlegm and melancholy and the over familiar image of you leaning out of a taxi window to wave goodbye for as long as I don’t disappear amidst the crowd, the traffic and the general din of this city. I remain static of course, trying to burp the time spent with you out of my throat so that I can shout, “Auto!” and be on my way back home again. It always feels a little dreamy right after you leave, almost like I am still with you, walking along busy streets or seeping a latte in that quaint brown coffee shop or sitting on the grass silently watching dragonflies play in the water. It takes me many a honk and speedbreaker to descend to the mediocrity of reality every time, every goddamn time.

So of course I hate it after sunset, especially if it’s January. My clothes grow from warm to icy, my feet freezes inside my socks and my dirty hair hangs callously around my ears like a smelly, soggy mop. I know, I am a mess, I need the sun; I know.

But again, there is nothing to do but wait, for the sun never obliges anyone out of schedule. The wait, mostly, is long, cold, forlorn and even unbearable at times. Do you know what keeps me going then? What makes me survive till the next morning when sunlight would rush into my window sill again like dopamine and sweep me off my feet? The answer is simple— rest and motion. You bring me a dream every time and it remains with me like the sensation of your sweaty fingers around mine. The rest of the world is just a blur of tuni bulbs in the background. It stays with me, for a long, long time. For as long as you don’t come in like another dream next time, there is nothing to stop the previous one.

You are my inertia. And without you, there is only vacuum within. Of course, you may not believe me. After all, I did fail more physics exams in my time than I admit.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;    
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

Friday, December 13, 2013


waiting for death
like a cat
that will jump on the

I am so very sorry for
my wife

she will see this
shake it once, then

Hank won't

it's not my death that
worries me, it's my wife
left with this
pile of

I want to
let her know
that all the nights
beside her

even the useless
were things
ever splendid

and the hard
I ever feared to
can now be

I love

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Comedy

As the patter of raindrops danced around the smooth pitch of the main road in the yellow streetlights and gathered in little poodles like afterthoughts, she sat quietly on the softness of her bed and yawned. She wanted to lean against the wall and cry, but it was too cold, like a piece of cruel slate staring blank and icy in the dark. It was well past midnight. No sound but those occasional whooshes of cars could be heard over the sound of rain. Even the neighborhood dogs were quiet, it seemed that they had stopped copulating for the day. The windows were all closed. But she could see the night in ruptured flashes.

Her lover never knew how she had awaken from her sleepless languor and fled, how she had moved away from her side of the bed and fled, how she had stood naked beside the closed bedroom window and fled. He slept peacefully oblivious of those irregular rhythms of pulsations or rain drops lying so close by that it would have hurt had he been awake. He just slept on. Her body moved around the small apartment like a noiseless phantom that was haunted by itself. Sometimes she stood before the mirror and dressed. Sometimes she stood before the mirror and undressed. Sometimes she watched muted telebrand commercials on T.V. sometimes she opened that unfinished book to read by the faint yellow streetlight. If too restless, she would eat chips alone on the sofa, curling her cold toes beneath her broad, overweight buttocks. Sometimes she would even bring out the half finished bottle of vodka and sip it neat. It kept her warm and dizzy. Yet, had it been a film, one could actually see those minute Goosebumps along the curve of her fleshy naked back.

But mornings never bear traces of nights.

Every morning found her fast asleep beside her lover, blissful and happy at the beauty of conjugality. She was just a furry little cat in a blanket— warm, cozy and cute. Yellow lights no longer clung to her hair. The rain no longer pattered with her breath. The mirror lay under a thin coat of dust. The unfinished book stood in full closure of the shelf. The T.V. stood in a vanity of disuse. The vodka bottle stood at it was, on the lowermost rung of the kitchen closet. Even the sofa never bore any signs of her body heat, or the little hole that she dug up for herself every night and sank into.
Even if it had been a film, one could never actually see her every dawn, moving away from the mirror. Or putting the unnamable pain of a book back into the propriety of order. Or switching off the T.V. Or throwing away the empty box of chips. Or putting in the vodka bottle behind tons of other stuff in the closet. Or puffing the cushions right and smoothening out the usual sofa nest.

No need of overemphasizing the subtexts. There was no reason for it not to be a comedy anyway.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I lost a very dear old friend yesterday. Such is life. Such will life be.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More or Less

the limp in her right feet settled down quite well. like the puddles did all over the raw, dug streets after the shower. she took a painkiller but then, she takes painkillers like mint, so they now refused to intoxicate her hurt nerves as they used to, before. it might not be nerves, maybe just bones or even better, muscles. but the base of a toe is a very odd place to ache. and tremble. and throb crazily as she lies on her bed every night staring at the moist, yellow streetlight kissing her toenails.

there is no pain as intense as ear-pain. so she glared at her right foot in disgust. pressing, punching or tickling it didn't help. and she went on spending her static days within those blue sheets that now became a part of her body. when she turned, they turned. when she twisted, they twisted, when she cringed, they cringed. maybe it was the painkillers, but she felt a dumb all day. reading seemed pointless. watching movies, too harsh on the eyes. even important phone calls ceased to matter. there she lay, motionless and silent, her glance piercing through the ceiling towards the sky.

it was a cloudy day. it was a cloudy season. every single cloud seemed like a tight waterballoon- very steady at one moment and bursting into rain the very next. most of the times she curled her neck to get a view of the rains through the bedside window even while lying down. at others, she would drag her body up towards the window sill and lean against the wall. now she could see the big pink flat opposite to theirs' standing like an insoluble candyfloss in the rain. she could see girls of the neighbourhood school staring out of their green windows even during class hours. she could see open umbrellas tossing and turning in the wind just like in films. but most close to her, she could see her undergarments drying on the window sill. drying, yes they were, for the past seven days, but now turned into a lump of wet, soaking black and blue. she wondered if there was any point of rescuing them now. she doesn't even wear them anymore. for a really long time. the bed did not mind her flabby loose lady parts. so she just let it pass.

the little baby boy that smothered her dead last autumn did not come back again. but now an old couple lives there. she could see the old lady standing in the balcony half wet and her husband making tea in the kitchen. there he is, moving away from the kitchen window and then appearing on the balcony, two cups on a tray...

the little baby boy is dead. but she felt she could cry now. more or less.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Those Six Women

Dole premer dolon-chnapa hridoy akashey, dole dole
Dol-phaguner chander aloy, shudhaye makha shey, dole dole

The cool of the March night was slowly closing up on us. The moon was silver and full and bright. So bright that we could almost see the other side of Kopai. Faint beats of the madol came floating in from across the shallow shaal-bon. “Oi dike Snaotal graam”, Chandana Mashi said pointing backwards. I wanted to imagine what the place would be like at night… Santhal men treating themselves to generous helpings of mohua and hnariya and exotic santhal women, in their turmeric yellow saris dancing to slow beats of madol as if in a drunken languor. But no matter how much I peered from this side of the shaal-bon, nothing could be seen. Except of course, the ochre lights of bulbs shining like fireflies amidst the distant darkness.

It was all quiet and empty on this side of Kopai. The six of us huddled close together for warmth and safety. It was hard to believe that the scorch of the morning had turned chilly even two hours before midnight. Maybe it felt colder because it was so empty and silent. During the Basanta Utsab we couldn’t see the program or listen to the songs well simply because of a certain frenzied, tasteless crowd that are found in any festival, anywhere. They shouted, made sexual jokes, and started playing with abir as soon as the probhat pheri got over. I was happy that my sari came out of the near-stampede situation, untorn. “Era je ki korte ashey! Nijera thik kore dekhbe na… jara dekhte chay, tader-o thik kore dekhte debe na!” Debjani Mashi muttered in disgust. Her mother was around 60 and had a really tough time coming out alive from all the hullaballoo. Even Bhalo Mashi had gotten scared. Has extremely unstable nerves, my Bhalo Mashi. The uncontrollable mob scared her to no extent. Although the crowd subsided somewhat right after the probhat pheri, I could sense that Bhalo Mashi still felt nervous and uncomfortable. She was sweating profusely despite all the soothing songs and her purplish umbrella.

But now, she seemed perfectly calm. Calm and confident. She even recited Obhishar. I sang a few folk songs and Debjani Mashi joined in. I was expecting that she would again burst into spontaneous dance rapture anytime, like she did in the aamro-kunjo during Basanta Utsab. But no. The moonlight of Birbhum humbled us down. All of us had grown still and uninterrupting to the natural flow of the moonlit solitude. Debjani Mashi’s mother Diya, went on singing one song after the other. Her voice bore the slight tremor of age, but her spirit soared into the cloudless sky. Chandana Mashi sat mesmerized on the grass, staring at the reflection of the moon in Kopai and listening to both the songs and the incessant natural music of crickets flying along the intoxicating breeze of spring. In fact, we were all captivated by the magic of the night. Even Titli, Debjani Mashi’s little daughter, exclaimed in wonder, “Dyakho! Oi dik tao puro dyakha jachhe!

We sat there for quite a long time. The breeze played with our hair. Little mosquitoes played with our skin. The strong aroma of kamini flowers played with our olfactory lobes. The moon played with our passion. The entire enchantment of the night played with our senses.

But finally we came back to ourselves. We felt hungry and cold. We realized the clock-ly time. We felt exhausted and sleepy and began to long for rest. So we got up and strolled back to the Travera parked near the Kopai bridge. The car started to move, but none of us spoke, sang or yawned. It felt as if each of us had left her essence behind— six ethereal shadows haunting the grassland on the bank of the Kopai river on a full-moon night.
The thought, without doubt, was poetry. But I could guess that all we had actually left behind in the magic are just six different sized butt-prints on the grass.