Tuesday, January 31, 2006



Was what I craved
So I piled up some stones
And built towers taller than dreams
Then barred their windows with my weathered bones
Leaving no escape for my screams
And here I sit alone
In this depraved

(c) Rajendra Pradhan

an effort in Rictameter with symmetric rhyming (is it really called that?)

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Dog & Its Tail

A dog
that chases
its own tail
is bound to
mostly, fail

But the one
that succeeds
will live to tell
How his own
arse does smell

Republic Day in Rictameter

wait for picture

had many names
and no face, just wrinkles
For her, nothing. But some twinkles,
she had asked for her starry-eyed children
So she got a constitution
and two more names
None sweeter than


c) Rajendra Pradhan

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Silence descends like a curtain,
shrouding the land, inert in heat
and history. This is locust country,
no matter borne on wings or feet.
The river minds its inventory
of fable, back into the far uncertain.

Silence descends, its shadow swallowing
the skits and masques of earlier farce,
stage cleared of all but the man:
only the desert shifts in this sparse
theatre, wayward wind against sand.
The calm will herald the blowing.

Soon the horizon darkens, and a hum
or murmur gives life to cloud, dust
spangled with glints of steel, clock
racing with hooves: till a spear’s thrust
makes mud of human rock.
And silence closes, till the armies come.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Beloved City

City of large
and uncompromising
things. Each layer of history
thickening with the blood
in your streets that flows easy

but nothing sticks for long.
Time moves, quickening
heartbeats, train schedules

City of loudness,
a cacophony of car honk, gull cry
wind whoop, wave crash and
voices raised in selling, haggling
and survival

because what else is there, really?
life churns, spits, throws you out
and you, unsuspecting stranger
try to hang on, your knuckles white

City of rough
and biting realities
jostling for space with
the cool, the fast,
the heady shot
at 3 in the morning

that never makes anything go away.
But sinks with you into the deepest part
of your dreams, and his, and her's
till all thoughts shriek

In your depths, my city,
the cool blue shout that smashed the window pane
and disappeared over the horizon, somewhere
may still be found.

And I may begin. Again.

© anindita sengupta

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Man Remembers

There she is, her fat bottom resting
on the faded chintz sofa in the corner,
her bemused and crinkled hands
counting each little loop on the needle,
her eyes scratchy with seventy years
of squinting through bright light and dark.
It is the hour of midnight dreams
Outside, the dogs start their howl.

I watch her, a little restless
It's time for my nighttime medicine
and she seems to have forgotten.
She's knitting an azure muffler
for our daughter with the impatient eyes,
confident that she will love it.
I fear for her, for her childlike trust.

She used to be lovely.
Standing near the window on a chilly night,
brushing stray strands off her face,
fingers smooth and long
an artist's fingers, or a writer's,
her hands lingering
a little longer than necessary
because she knew I was watching.

© anindita sengupta

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Colour of Truth

It was a sunny day, the roses
At my window bloomed a fierce red.
I sat still and quiet on the bed
Pondering all that time disposes.
On all the lies that truth imposes
Its blood red print till they're dead
I stared at the roses with mounting dread
and rage at all that trust supposes.

Your beloved face,your penchant for blue,
Your acid words and the routes they steered
So much there is to leave behind --
Your laughing swoop, my love of you.
My cry echoed in the street, I feared
Actually, it resounded in my mind.

© anindita sengupta

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A daughter meets her old father

His eyes though a trifle bloodshot
Were mellow, soft pools up close
And though his hands shook a little
They were smoothly strong in repose
Now, his laughter sounded brittle.
As he lifted the silver teapot.

And I, watching through slanted eyes
Was cruel. Hurt lashes out unforeseen
Fragile love can have a cold touch
When it thinks of all that could have been
"You know, you shouldn't drink so much
Your truth gets shadowed by your lies."

He looked up quickly, the tea had spilt
Onto the bright, white table cloth
A dark, spreading stain of darkness
He picked up tissue, no sign of wrath
Instead, he suddenly looked helpless
Dabbing broken-heartedly at his guilt

His words felt like the calling sea
In my ears. "I will not apologise
For who I am and you know I love you."
And yes, it was there in his eyes
Through whiskeyed haze, shining true
And then I let him pour my tea.

© anindita sengupta


Don’t play your game again today.

I thought
The warmth of tea
        Those unending cups
        Sipped in companionship,
The extended arms of acceptance,
And understanding smiles
        Creasing the faces of close friends,
Volleys of rapid-fire words
        Unceasing, to parade your depth;
Had soothed your attention seeking ways.

You must have been happy
        Having abdicated your throne.
You chose to disappear,
Leaving me the companions
        You despised vehemently
        And always fought with
        To gain my equivocal allegiance.

So why did you reappear?
Why do you singe the shimmering silk of happiness
      And make me fear again?

These games of yours
        Do I have to play 'em again?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Each castle now stands stark alone
Reigned by men who rule by greed
Dreaded shame plagues each aching bone
For all our thoughts, for every deed

For children cry while houses burn
The earth perishes without defence
Can we dare hope that we shall turn
In these times of manic decadence?

But the rooted tree must find within
Some unusual love for the creeping vine
The cheapened cry, the aging skin
Must each find some redemptional sign

For in the bad, there must be good
Heaven's redressal for all the blood.

© anindita sengupta

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Planes of Existence

Planes of Existence
Vasudev Murthy © 2006 blah blah

There it was again. A peculiar dream, and, like all such dreams, strangely vivid and incomprehensible. With events and people floating in and out, connecting without reason, dissolving before you could focus on anything. And of course, like all good dreams, finishing before you came to the climax, whatever it was.

I remembered the details even though I couldn’t see why I had to do that. For one, it was in color. The background was a surreal, light blue with a throbbing life of its own. The characters themselves were either bright red, almost crimson or just a slate gray.  I never felt repulsed by the automatic assumption that this signified blood or the pallor of death. Everything didn’t need an explanation. It just – was.

The men seemed to have tears, heavy tears, almost viscous, which never dropped to the ground. They never seemed to wipe them away.  None stood erect, all slouched as though their existence had ground them to the earth. As though life had defeated them and their existence was part of a grand master plan of torture.

The women seemed to be always moving. None were beautiful and yet the eyes of the men seemed to gravitate towards them and keep them in focus constantly. Were they important? The women were not feminine – rather, boyishness marked them as also restlessness, as I’ve said before. Their eyes were hard, yet with life of a certain kind in them.

The children were always shrinking away from them and yet being dragged along, almost as though trapped in a vicious magnet. Fear was written all over them. In their eyes, in their limbs, their gait. It seemed obvious and not surprising that they would occasionally play a game of snooker before returning to their relentless orbits around their mothers. Dreams, in themselves, are obvious. The analysis, afterwards, rejects them.

The animals were all dead. And they appeared again and again. A dead dog on the road. Another in a jack-knifed posture across a bench in the park. A calf rotting in a ditch with its tail oddly lifted and hanging limp just over the edge. All their eyes were open. They were dead and yet, they were crying. Preposterous.

Whenever I awoke from these recurrent dreams, I noticed that my heartbeat was abnormally fast. I would not be sweating. I would look around wondering if I was still in the dream hoping for the story of that dream to come to its conclusion, whatever it was. And, as you know, one never does reach a climax in a dream, unless it’s of a sexual kind.

The morning was unusually heavy. A lack of freshness marked it. Or perhaps it just reflected my own state. The sounds of birds just outside seemed harsh and mocking. The ceiling fan moved slowly, laughing at me with its deliberate clack-clack. A gecko darted across the wall, stopped and stared at nothing.  Without warning its tail fell off. I remember thinking that their tails were supposed to fall off only if they are being pursued. So that they could escape. The gecko just stayed put. I saw its tongue flick out lazily and grab an insect that flew by, too close.

I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, following the set pattern of years of existence. With half closed eyes, I looked towards the mirror as I put the brush and toothpaste together into my mouth.

It was not my reflection that looked back.

A young boy stared out. His eyes open, as in shock. I remembered having seen him in my dream, though I could not recall what his role had been. He wore a green shirt, open at the neck. The shirt had no collar revealing a thin neck with purple veins. He was unremarkable in his looks, with a weak mouth and eyebrows that met in the middle. He had that slate colored pallor which I remembered distinctly from my dream. I could only see his bust, of course. I did get a feeling that he wasn’t of my time. He seemed about 15 years old with a moustache that was struggling to emerge. He then seemed to look down at his left hand and I saw him raise a violin to his chin. With the other hand he raised a bow.

I saw that the violin was very old with curves and tracings from a different time. The dust of years of rosin was sprinkled on the ebony and the wood near the bridge. I saw that the strings were of that same crimson color from my dreams.

I saw that the bow was made of bone. A very unusual one with intricate geometrical carvings. Hexagons within squares inside triangles.  Lines that seemed parallel at one end of the bow and converged at the center and then diverged again at the other end. At the end of each line was a satyr each of whom was looking at me and smiling. I remember these details.

With his right arm raised, he started playing. Music came out from the mirror. Pathos, indescribable emotions, serene lonely notes pulsating for completion while they extinguished the previous ones brutally. The violin itself changed color, moved by this extraordinary display of beauty and ugliness, of hate and love, of venality and tenderness, that it had helped bring to the world. The world as it was.

Then he finished and lowered the violin and the bow.

For a wordless minute, we looked at each other.

Then he seemed to shrink slowly to a point, while at the same time, another figure grew slowly from a speck. And that figure was my own reflection. And that reflection was smiling.

While I was not.