We Write

Letters to words to sentences to paragraphs to infinity.
It’s odd.
A grey machine of communication,
If at all.
A blank canvas
Held together
With alphabets, and grammar, and, syntax, and will
And painted with images and imagination
That shift the joints of its old structure,
Is odder.
Why does nobody talk about the sentience of it?

Why the alphabets decided to sit like they do,
Claiming and rejecting thrones like wine
In a tired party
Where the lords and ladies despise their formal smile,
But smile.
Or like the statues in chess
All prim and proper and stoney,

We feel invincible
Because we play with letters
And their vibrant stories
Marked with the drama of love,
The morbidity of death
And the serene history of a pristine English afternoon.
Revolutions rise and fall behind every bend of the alphabet
And we write, as if we write because we do….

– Shakya



Sundays in Bangla books, and Bangali Sundays, well they’re not really the same any more.

That’s what Toton kaku says, every Saturday night while Ma and Chotomoni cut potatoes and onions in preparation for tomorrow’s mutton stew, big succulent chunks of meat swimming languidly in a dark spicy and wilfully oily stew, something to be drizzled happily over plates of fluffy rice, accompanied by never ending smiles of appreciation, and teary-eyed wonder from the receivers of this appreciation who cannot bring themselves to believe that their mangsher jhol, is as good as before.

The sun dances the required childhood Bharatnatyam course on our heads, as we wake up already bathed in the fruits of this astral fire’s dedicated labour, the backlanes of South Kolkata shimmering in wet sparkly dances;

to be able to see the mangoes on the tree growing in the dump at the dead end of the blind lane, you need to rub your eyes till their blink-blink coordinates with the shimmy of the air, and the heat slapping you, enveloping you, engulfing you in its warm embrace, ever so complete and so much more far-reaching than the motherly hugs prescribed in poems.

A subtle splash of cold white and cheery orange on the easel, “we Bangalis never used to drink COLD milk”, the dictum from end of the table, white rivulets winding down a grey dusted chin, and frozen water beads keeping time with those streams on his bowl – a summer smell of overripe mango, overripe banana and the slightly bovine, “I wanted to be sweet but decided not to be” flavour of cold unsweetened Mother Dairy Taaza.

Propelled to math tuitions, gaaner class, and art ma’am more so by the insistent prodding of the Sunday clock that is slower for everyone else but the children, who must not be allowed to slow down so that the grey ones may, than by any parental hand, hands which are busy chopping salad for lunch, reading the entire week’s papers, or scratching the sando genji entombed bellies in response to slow satisfied yawns.

Post-gorging, there is a thung thung thung of the rickshaw wala returning home, and slatted vehement sunshine burning the red shiny floor in righteous rage at having been denied its fun. A whooshing fan, creaking very gently, flapping curtains, and a silk cocoon of unacknowledged, repressive heat – snores. Occasional shrieks from the play room interspersed with clinks of the washing from the kitchen, the maids of course, long used to fan-less, sleep-less afternoons, wondering whether the phuchka kaku will still be there when she returns.

Indeed, not even alur chop, family gossip and cups of doodh cha with Ruskitt have been able to convince my Toton Kaku, that our Sundays are not very different from his Sundays. Not yet.

– Upasruti

Sex in the Tropical Sun

There’s sex in the tropical sun.

It greets the eyes closed and gifts sweat filled afternoons.

There’s sex in the afternoon light.

A shyness that walks hand in hand with lovers.

A deliberately slow descent into the eve of darkness.

There’s sex in the evening darkness soft and warm and filled with cold.

There’s sex in the tropical moon.

It’s blue and alone and covered in clouds, waiting patiently to be swallowed by the night.

There’s sex in the tropical dawn, in pillows of light and tired shadows.

There’s sex in the tropical life.

And I write with tropical blood in my veins…

– Him

My Love

Why must it always be about love? That kind of love which needs a coating of sugar sweet syllables, uttered in a fumbling combination of flustered words, meant to please and pacify and excite but not too much, never too much? Why must it always be about love, and lovers or whether I pick one over the other, as if it makes a difference, to me, to anybody? Why can’t a storm remind me of other storms, that I have watched from the holes in my walls, afraid that it would touch me, that the white bitter light would bite me, but never did? Why does it always have to about storms anyway? Why can’t it be about a sun-warmed day dripping salt-sleek water down the hollow of my throat and hands kissing hands in jest, after walks around dead white trees that live on in our desire to ‘save’, to ‘heal’, things that would much rather be left alone? Why does it have to be about a kind of love that is red and pink and that begins in the heart and sticks in the throat and creates lovers that last for a century only? Why can’t we remember the other form of love when we look at the sky through the dust-oiled squares of glass window that peer down protectively as the sun reasserts its control over the blue? Why can’t I think of the soft brown of your hair that I love but wouldn’t serenade, that I would kiss but never paint because I can’t. And even if I could I would not because why wouldn’t I keep it in my eyes, and out there for the world to see? I don’t believe in that love which takes a year to grow in measured counted steps and needs A lover, A loved. I love you, but I am not your lover. I love you from all directions, from all around you and when you are not there, I cannot promise that I will not love the space you leave behind because my love will not stop because my internet has stopped working. I will love you 27 years later and I will remember each day with you, but not as a rose coloured heat haze of love that was meant to be romantic like in the books. I will remember the stern oranges of the air all around us, and I will remember the brown of her skin and the white of his, the pink of the flowers that slapped my head while you laughed and the green of the grass that we toyed with idly. I will not paint it all one colour just because I love you. I will not be yours. Nor will I be hers. But I will love you, even without a lifetime of words written, or storms remembered, in your name.

– Upasruti

Of Love, Lust, and Whores

Of public affections,
I think the least.
The filth of love,
And spineless showmanship
Of heroes above.
My dear,
I will wait,
Till you get
What i mean.

Of held hands,
I hold not dear,
The sweat and semen
Rolled coarse
And mean.
My love,
May you see
In distance.

Of whispered love
Or lust if it be,
I want no part.
Be it fear or scorn
Or an impassioned heart.
My dame,
May this song
Be the words that you long.

Of sex
I want what is there,
No shadows or curtains to hide
The shame that our clothes
I will fuck you
Beneath the shadow of street lamps.
Eat your fingers and words
In greed.
My slut,
May you long for everything but
What is naught….

– Me

Coloured Perfumes

Isn’t it fun to leave behind messages for someone to be discovered later, or never, sometime in the past or future or present, or to be remembered unexpectedly when the sun smells blue, the moon smells pink and the coffee smells like a newer shade of purple from tomorrow, while your hands smell like yesterday, because you never realised that they were unattended then. The air might smell like burnt sienna, because the memories are supposed to be brown, or charcoal black, or some other colour I never could have thought of, and while they read, the coffee cools to a pinkish shade, while the aroma seems orange, and the air flows like an yellow scent , rooted deeper than the golden odour of a public restroom. The silver aroma of the pollution seems far away, as they read with a half exasperated smile, a letter full of letters for later, because the only thing we can really be is late. you will see that the puns smell funny, and the air suddenly smells leaf green, as the city chews breath mints to smell a dazzling white.

You will never smell colours again…

– Goth Sunflower


a liquid brightness,
a memory,
a stolen piece of sunlight,
a taxi,
the autumn sky,
the rain,
the television,
the lonely crescent moon
on a forbidding sky..
a lazy yellow afternoon;
a sad blue morning;
a scorching red noon;
a delicate pink evening;

I am colourblind.

– Goth Sunflower