Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Farmer’s Call

Knotted veins and turbaned hair define me.
Sharp horns, sharp sickle and a bent back look alike.
Fertilizer, insecticide or seed spreading

In the furrowed land,
Always with the sun in my eyes,
bird-watching only at night;

You may view my punctured toes,
Cracked heals and torn rubber slippers;
The land I work into a green field,
Though mortgaged in fear, never complains.
She gives me year after year
Her wealth for distribution.

I may swallow a serpent and not vent my spleen,
The lowing cattle may rattle up my night’s sleep,
I may have a confused
Understanding of sowing and uprooting,
But my wealth exceeds yours;
I reap not for a family but a country.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

The Doctor’s Call

I may look ordinary,
Lean, grey bearded
And balding at the temples;
I wear weather worn and loose leather chappals,
I roll up my pants on the road and
Still step in the sludge
And I snort and pause to examine
The splash on my suitcase;

I may board an ordinary train
Towards an ordinary town
Among a marred mix of ordinary races;
I may then be sipping tea
From an ordinary vendor,
Calling out to him
With a squeaky voice,
Exhausted after the ordinary work
Of dragging my baggage behind me;

Yet for all this ordinarily lived life of mine
There is but one little mercy –
My bygone years summed up to embrace a
Called the saviour’s acolyte;
Now I wake up to this call after every nap
Refreshed by the sole thought
That this day will be more merciful
Than the previous one.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The Forest of Names

Raging through the forest of names
Given to one and to another
And many unnamed relations
Igniting a sense of light;

Without warning licks across borders
Rubbing your jammed up vertebrae
For unlimited pain;

Scorching the vast expanse of land
As far as one can see
Losing focus in the process…

And love?
Love seeps in slowly like new leaves
Growing out of ash and smoke
In the forest.

Wears out borders imperceptibly
Until there is none to hinder
Its advent.

Escapes the heat and storm of the
Vast ocean of dry land that
Deter your steps.

Is obliquely worked in
Through the fabric of the forest
And gently placed in the vault
And finely submerged in the huge land.

first published in Amaravati Poetic Prism, 2018

Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Weapon of Infamy

We never go beyond the arms and the eyes
Never ever seek the smell of semen.
We never linger in the fumes of the cunt
And rush to rinse us of the residual stain.

We never bite into flesh of those we hug
We never tousle limbs and check their stretch
We never think of hair as necessary ornament
And never leave behind a body in pain.

Yet poetry, so to say, a weapon of infamy
Serves men to defile all womankind
With words of unkind ingratitude
Even if a life has gone in service blind.

I for one would rather bear in mind
The lyrics pulling men’s dirty legs,
Rich in sarcasm and profound in lore
Witty and poignant and poetry at its best.

first published in Setu, March 2019

Monday, 22 April 2019

Still She Cried (novel)

      “Yet there the nightingale
      Filled all the desert with inviolable voice
      And still she cried, and still the world pursues,
      ‘Jug Jug’ to dirty ears.”

– T. S. Eliot [The Waste Land]

Anuradha Bhattacharyya, Still She Cried, a novel

This book is on the subject of impotence and infertility as these are rarely represented in literature with all the psychopathology involved. Impotence is not uncommon but very few people know the disasters associated with it, specially the pathological ones. Similarly, very few people know the ills of contraception. We rarely recognize perversion and always unconsciously cope with it.

Parul finds her husband Bijit very cooperative in many ways but she is irked by one little lapse in the marital relationship she otherwise enjoys. She overlooks her sexual needs until Sandy comes along. The novel is about how she tries to resolve the difficulties within the marriage and the unexpected outcome.

Thursday, 11 April 2019


(Virtues) A Prayer by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

A Prayer
Being constantly mindful of who I am
And who I live with is temperance;
Patience to see the world with love
And quietly wait for my time to come;
In all action mingle abundant kindness
Offering myself for the benefit of friends;
In all the work I do a touch of humility,
Diligence and responsibility,
Steady, intense and energetic effort
In the face of challenge, hard work,
Charity and love. To these virtues O God
Let my consciousness awake!

Thursday, 4 April 2019

On Pedagogy

Primary school teachers can apply this simple formula to discern which child should grow up to become a teacher.*
  1. In a batch of about 30-50 students, one can easily notice a child who is helping some other student that has difficulty with a sum (my emphasis is always on arithmetic). The teacher should ask the parents of the child to encourage them to become a teacher.
  2. In the same batch there may be students who are high scorers but who do not share their work with others. The teacher should encourage their parents to send them abroad. These meticulous students work only for a reward. They can very well fetch India some foreign money.
  3. In the same batch, of course, there would be some brilliant students who laugh at the failure of others. These people are very good at competition at the cost of general well being. A teacher should advise their parents to save some wealth to secure their future as they are not likely to get any ‘job’ in the future.
  4. The teacher should not hesitate to fail students. This ensures quality learning. Mere accumulation of degrees is not appreciable.
* As a result the rest of the occupational chart will fall in place like a jigsaw puzzle.