Wednesday, 19 June 2013


For a very long time, I had no courage to really write. So I wrote in bits and pieces, scraps, fragments. I wrote little things on social networking sites. First this humble blog, and then stupid facebook, where I could put up pictures of myself in dresses and drag, showcasing my humbly flamboyant self to the world. I am tired of all that now.

I am tired because the time has come to really write. The time has come to tell the story of Bengal, of India, of South Asia, of the world as I see it. I can see the canvas, I can see these tremulous characters write their own destinies using my humbly arrogant self as a means to language, as an instrument to be represented. And I am afraid again. This time, really afraid.

You see for me, literature is the life I have carefully constructed and can carelessly destroy. It is the path to the thousand worlds I'll never see. I don't care whether I end up seeing these worlds or not. I do not know the day when language came to me and said, "Ahona, will you use me, you humble beast, will you dream me in technicolor and splash the sepia of history on blank pages, will you type it out with your best intentions, and modesty, and will you then do justice to lives which will otherwise fade into oblivion, because they have no space in the footnotes of the books you read."

And I said, yes, one day, I shall.

But I forgot. I waited. I waited too long, and magnolia threatens to become cypress. The smell of acrid and sweet death once more has come back to me, in the form of a quarter century.

Therefore, I have started. May I infuse the sepia vignettes of history with some passion, and some emotion, and some devotion. And may you, reader, love me more than you have ever before.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


My turn has come, she said, my turn has come to write the long parable of...
and she started to write it, and it began and ended with ellipses...
and she tried...
to construct...but the spaces and gaps
pauses, clauses (mostly subordinate)
got all mixed up.

It was meant to be prose,

but whether it can
turn out to be

who knows?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Dimma, come back to me, Dimma. Who will tell didibhai stories? Who will make posto borar chutney? Who will laugh with those teeth like pearls? I can't live in exile for so long without all of you. Come back to me, look I am a fat child rolling about in the sun and reading Agatha Christie. Won't you kiss my forehead and smooth the creases on it, and say, "Didibhai, let me tell you the story of the Happy Prince!" Won't you tell me about ghosts? And poetry?

Who will be as stern to others and giggly to me as you, Dimma?

No, no, no.

I love you love love love love you you you and I'll not cry just because I'm a mature young woman in exile. I'll be a poet instead.

Monday, 6 May 2013


I fell in love with you, it was complete infatuation. I fell in love with you the way children love the first taste of something sweet, I fell in love with you the moment I saw you, the moment I saw you-it was you I loved. I loved you so fervently with so much devotion and desire that every time I breathed in air, it hurt because breathing is a solitary practice. I breathed you in from a distance.

Until I met you.

When I met you, I was shaken to the very core of my being. I felt as if the earth had swallowed me up, and through earth-tinted glasses, I beheld the sky. It has been a long time since I saw you first, and even now when I remember how you looked at me, I tremble when I behold the sky. As a man beholds a woman, the sky is my lover. As the sky beholds the man, you forgot me.

Eternity trickles by. When I met you, I thought time was continuous and never ending and I thought we are alone and we wait, we wait because summers are endless and summer follows summer follows summer, interspersed with some inconvenient winters. And I thought, perhaps some summer, we will perspire into meaning, as we once had or could have had.

And now I think, perhaps I never met you.

But how does it matter, when the leaves turn golden and then from gold to pure dust and then dust shivers into snow and the snow melts to water, and then suddenly, one morning the sun trickles down into my face and I look out of my window and see not bare branches of solitude and endurance but green green green green green.

And I think, yes green green green until I drink all the coffee in the world and smoke all the poetry out of my veins, and occasionally digest some wine, perhaps some smoky steak, and words words words, everywhere words, trapped in glass cases of words, on escalators elevators motors of language travelling travelling travelling through time.

So then, I suppose, it is immaterial to want to gaze into tired yet brilliant eyes, myopic mellow moody...blinking thinking sinking- I suppose now that half the sky is orange and the other half is blue, I suppose I should never ever think of you.

But how 
how can we control the promise of summer
of green and desire and life
and sand and water
and sky 
and all that
all that
which one 

Friday, 29 March 2013

What ho, Bum!


Today I spent all day being a bum. I got up in the morning and bummed around till afternoon. Then I bummed some more. In the evening, the sun was shining on my face so I could barely move. I lay there on my couch, looking at the sun. It was a lot of fun.

I also discovered this poet called Michael Robbins. One of my friends gave me this book so that I would not look like a bored bum while having dinner alone in a restaurant. My friend did not join me for dinner at the restaurant, because that would make two bums. He doesn't think the bums of the world should unite.

Michael Robbins I disliked at first until I realized that every line that he writes is a clever allusion. Gee. Who would have thought. He made me want to eat more katsu chicken than I usually do.

I really need to stop bumming around today. The first step towards this is to stop writing this post and get back to proper writing. This may not happen because I am sleepy. Do bums sleep, is my question. Michael Robbins would say, I have miles to go before I fart.

Goodnight folks.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


How hard is it to speak of a green land
enshrined by doubt? I am writing of villages,
of beauty, golden sun, and neglecting freedom.
Or is it freedom to think of this green community
of happy people? Is it freedom to realize that
one's imagination can transgress the dirty boundaries
of overpopulated cities? Is it freedom to recognize
that in the south

much down south

there are people of God too,
and Sanskrit, the lofty language of the Gods,
borrows divine tears.

It isn't hard to desire an escape from ugliness,
from inequities of race, class and gender.
To want to escape the limits of two
principles working dialectically. Even duality
can constrict, and one principle must be stronger.
Think, the city dweller says, think of how
to be free
from privilege.

Nothing constricts more than privilege,
not even lack.

Lack leads to fantasy,
and fantasy to

Therefore in the dirty bylanes of destiny,
and the amorphous alleys
 of modernity
sprung up green valleys.
Valleys of love, harmony, and truth.
Desire, dreams, liberty;
all those things

all that would never exist.

But how does it matter?
As long as such catechism could make
a child could
the tears of the nation.

Friday, 8 March 2013

being tentative

I feel I must reconnect with this dead child of mine, this blog, an abject creature I turn to at times of fatigue. I have moved on considerably in the last year, or was it month? I don't know. I have learnt to live alone, to appreciate my alone-ness, instead of despising it and fearing it. Perhaps there is a charm to everything we see as a cross to bear, every albatross has its day.

I think the crucial moment comes when you know how to say goodbye to what, and if necessary to make it long, but the moment of short and sweetness, the moment of short and sweetness comes when you blow your nose long and loud (and yet efficiently) into a wilting tissue.

Somewhere in Calcutta, an old grandfather clock strikes 1 pm, one short and striking 1 pm, and I stare at the  contingency of the hour, of every hour that passes by, until the final hour, the final hour when we add up the odds, and make it even, even as the uneven hours slip by-beautiful, sometimes intimate, at others sordid, and at all times, covered with sweat, blood, grime or snot.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ode to Chicago Wind

The wind makes a strange sound, silent and
deceitful. It howls like a dying baby,
and cries like a dead lover.

I try to close my ears to the wind
and it creeps inside me through
my skin. Though a dead lover,
it speaks of marriage.

I ask the wind to go away, the wooden walls
echo with my horror. Mocking resonances,
the sarcasm of dying children.

The wind sometimes laughs,
the way violated women laugh-hysterical,
unhappy, outraged, revengeful. 

The wind knows how to freeze
you into an icicle of self doubt, and 
then you melt

into pure liquid sound.