In the time-worn canvas, 

A child’s doll


With a crack in the face

Spiralling down, 

Aching muscles strewn aside, 


The mind 

Becomes an archive 

Of old cassettes 

That used to play fancy lullabies 

But now smell of 

Spilled liquor 

And guarded smiles.

The most evidential part 

Of growing up is 


You cannot always keep 

The ones you love.



Curtains that no longer quench your thirst,

Walls that neither breathe nor outlive the dash of grey in your hair,

Blues that are not blues anymore,

Tip of your thumbnail that has turned black with toxins,

Distorted octahedrals that slip through an inch gap,

Lust and lust and lust;

And you decide to seal yourself in a fairer gloom.

There, yes, there.

You see a light, faint but alive, can’t you?

Not all voids are null, I promise.


The weatherman talks of the downpour 

as though a steady chime 

or a docile pitter-patter,

but to me, 

raindrops on the sun-baked verandah 

crackle like a time-worn cassette 

coming back to life.

While the next lightning bolt 

splits the sky, 

the breathtaking melody 

of each exuberant droplet 

takes me back to 

the waning twilights, 

intoxicating waits 

and shared journeys.

There is no moon.

Picture by Vargab Dasgupta.

There is no moon;

every fortnight

the road plunges through the ligneous door

and goes ever on and on,


away from the denser reality.

I follow his trail

forgetting my snacks and magazines

for he promises me answers

each time to a separate set of questions.

I run,

he ascends,

I fall behind,

he severs his words,

I trudge back,

waiting another lunar half cycle

to chase

the thin,

blurred line

between the deciphered

and the unfamiliar iteration.


Picture by Vargab Dasgupta.

Eight minutes to twelve. I drove down the winding roads in a sleepless stupor, counting fireflies. Screeching tires, blaring horns and my languid soul drew map to the quietude, too illusive to trust. I had my name carved on a mahogany, the one I was promised. An unreal willingness chivvied to find the right vines. I trailed along my own blood on the grass.

There were flashbacks. My noctambulant self followed the dragmarks. I had to answer the call. But the more I plunged in, the deeper it was. Soon, I lost track. An artillery shell of diaphanous silence hit my bosom and I winced.

 The nights that followed saw recurrence on a blank canvas until a daybreak when I heard someone say,

Are you like me? Are you alive or just pretending to be so?’


A train of thought hit me

by inch of skin

at three past eight.

Rapid falling night,

robotic and cold,

I clutched the sheet,


to rest my broken feet.
‘Can’t you keep me sacred?’,

he tossed.

I lay there


(like he told me)

docile and discrete.
I try.

But certain unsure days, 

there ain’t abscondence

from incubus feeding

on my flesh.’ 
Magician of verse,

he let out a roar,
Where is your former self?’ 
His fingernails

angled between my legs,

usually crimson,

tonight blue.
Safe in grave’, 

phrases I didn’t choose,

poured out from my throat.

‘I’m worn out, 


bloodstained mess 


I know not how

to defy the same ordeal, 

different days’.
He forced open my chest,

conjured an albatross

at an instant.
Love that has known defeat

is a breathing masterpiece,

sheltering inconspicuous wings

to rise beyond

the sombre smoke rings. 

Haven’t you rummaged through?’
I had lost my glasses

somewhere amidst

intoxicated atrocities.

dwindled to a trickle, 

three spades 

and a lost queen.’

I winced.
A murmuration

of starlings swooping,

owls screeching in protest,

my chain of thought

Take a moment,

move the stones

that block your way.

Your delay, 

their easy slay.

Wait for the shifting tides, 

dance around 

the winsome meadows

that lure your soul.

Shatter the chain and bar, 

The iridescent candle sparked,

I deduced

my virtual self

on the opposite wall.

Remembrance of his last strokes

of purple-green

on my chin

paved my footsteps

to paradise,

so ravishing.
‘I can climb out, I believe’, 

the euphoric alien in me


in rapture.


Remember the purple sky,

Freckled with fanciful constellations?

Some insipid,

Merely into existence.

Rest shimmered,

Ebbing the drabness of the day.

A haze of lavender cloud,

Piercing the fabrics that fray.


Remember the sombre grey,

That set the shooting stars aquiver ?

Invisible, adequate,

Until it dragged the sky lower.


Impervious to the carnage above,

My thoughts, they burn,

Silently into smoke.

My spirits, they wander,

Through this endless night,

Once more.




A calendar set to the August noon,

painted haphazardly

by mouth.


Can I unbolt the door?


Salt-sweat oozes

from half-shut eyes.

Half-drunk cup of tea,

cooled, detoxed,

but not forgotten.


Where am I shelved?


The gentle moans

lost in the rumble of thunder,

My dust-greased hairs




Frivolous makeshift, am I not?


Dandelions fatten,

Grapple me in.

Confused scuffles

down the spiral staircase.


A canopy of tenebrosity.

My almost burnt cigarette.


The razor-thin line

between Love

and Lust,

and a set of

amaurotic mortals.


Broken knees

of a dancing ballerina,

I fall.

Bronzed from head to ankles,

I fear,

my line ends here.


Picture by Vargab Dasgupta.

I open my eyes to the scattered sunrays digging through my cornea, as my gaze falls over the frames hung obliquely on the wall in a row.

The red ambience around seldom gets brighter. But today, an iridescent orange-blue sheen flickers through.

Asymmetric long-boned face. An aquiline nose. Careless brown spots near to the pointed chin. Gentle lips stretched into an imperfect smile. 

The same widely spaced eyes.

The same steady gaze mirroring mine.

Four years have passed and I can still hear the thumping beats of the deepest mysteries within these rectangles. I feel gravitated by the weight of a mountain within my chest, forcing me to inhale even harder. The irregular throbbing and whooshing of my veins is coupled with the mellifluous voice of the robin.

Very soon, a letter drifts across the Pacific:

I couldn’t have sold our Home. What if you come back to the old address and not find me waiting to be rescued? 

The heart still remains a virgin.

Do not tell me that the blue-black blisters are not beautiful.
They are.

Whipped. Flogged. Next, thrashed.

Each of the crimson cicatrice writes about a battle I won. Each brown wound speaks the story of a brave girl who never gave up.

The scars no longer look ugly when I stand naked in front of the mirror. Because, I have started loving the hues, and along with them,myself.

Do not tell me that the burning craters are not beautiful.

They are.

I stand at the threshold wearing the same old , purple-green smile. 

Smile of victory. 

Smile of revenge. 

Smile of standing through the whole.

The heart bleeds.

It does.

But despite the thousand daggers that slits through or the million smithereens it breaks into, 

the heart still remains a virgin.