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Abin Chakraborty

Abin Chakraborty

Photo by Lucan Husac.

Riddle me the Shape


Startled by insistent footfalls on stairs,
I've shuffled in the unforeseen chambers of night
And jostled with shadows unkempt.

Fretful and torn, with eyes never shut
I even have swayed to the entrancing calls
Of songs that'll float as whispers in winds
In nights without slightest of lights.

Wonder if these now'll merge to a face
That'll riddle me the shape of the other half of self
And conjoin my words to the running-mill of veins
Where pace has been paltry of late.

Grappling with strings within irresolute hands,
I've fumbled for long with our abdicated songs.

Wreathed by the foam spread on waves lapping weeds
I drown among dreams full of tulips in bloom.



Final Testimony


Creaking panes now gather moss.

Outside, the shell now is torn to its ribs,

Opened to the battery of sunlight and hail.

Within, the plaster is loosened and falls,

Leaving my walls with melanomic skin,

Blotched with the cavities of mortars and bricks

Which shiver to its core, in the traffic rush of four,

Coughing as a consumptive could.


Groping my way through the cobwebs of halls,

I’m startled by voices of faces on walls

That long back had marched by my side.

But streets we had rumbled with such heady feet,

Now parcel our dreams to far other states,

Even beyond immigration desks.


Left with the sideshow of clowns among graves

We live out our days among logsheets of crime

In a land that is jammed in its wheels.


Should I have learnt that things would be thus?

Should I, after all the unlearnt lessons,

After so many blunders

Of so many proportions,

After all the aeons of promises forgot,

After so many, and so much more –

Should I have learnt longer back

To purge myself of hopeless hope

And drink the gall of hate and loss?


Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya

Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha,

Abhyuthanam something something

Tadatmanam etc etc…


Questions whirl in vacant air

And leap and twirl and whisper by:

Was this the end for which we fought?


Ours was not a paltry lot.

Back in that midnighted tryst full of hope

We all did have far grander dreams.


I plod through the fields of ancestral bones,

And even as I wander among rubble smelling blood

I search for a light that shelters us all

From all those blasts that have bombed through my dreams

And charred into ashes with insatiate flame

Seeds of a time that unawakened lie.


Our hopes have bled for long –

What more from withered veins?


The courage of impossible hope,

The vision of life through undying dreams –

Still would I pray for these.


Suffer us not to stagnate and rot,

Even in these climes, these desert times

Amid the rocks and bones and dying grass.


I wish to believe to the last.



Answerless Acts


Let there be no music the next time we meet.

I wouldn't want other notes to distract
The melodies of smile that light up my soul
In these our quarries of programmes and codes
Where horns and motors now reign.

Perhaps we should find a new ruin for a meet
And meditate on soft-blooming colours of clouds
That paint our skies with 'what could have been'
As both of us dig for relics to be culled
To fence our memories all tight.

We only have episodes of one-day-long tours
That linger with same set of questions unasked
And count through the pulses of answerless acts
That end up with stuttering farewells.

My fingers are tangled in time's clotted knots
Where stardust is turned into pebble-mired sand.

Warmed by the sunlight you wove through your hair,
I have longed for the music of seas.

But even as I rush towards waves rather late,
I'm left with the surfeit of bubbles instead.





At times a few words or moments will fling

A strange shade of light on choices you made

That startle and shackle your steps.


So you ponder as an angler with quietness and thought

Never knowing what from the lake of your depths

Shall pop, float or splatter with mystifying gaze

And tarnish those images you sheltered so long,

Here at the rim of these dark, raven woods

That mock our whirlgig of rides.


Rattled now and awed, I retrace my steps

And search for the charades I had left.





I hop skip and leap
In traffic rush at six
And tackle a few shoulders
And chassis en route,
As I wobble to my unwelcome couch.

Drained off of dreams past expiration dates,
I mix up some soup,
Of old 'if's and 'but's
And slip into my answerless 'why's.

Ironed with stains that'll rather now grow,
I fiddle with the stitching that is surely unstuck
And popping a few pills for a stomach rather weak
Scrape for the passport of fate.



Sighs and Wings


In the stillness of dawn, to sighs I've asked
Their lineage and destiny untold.
Flitting among shelves full of papers and books
They've whispered me tales full of petals now torn
Amid debris of silence that piles along walls
Or cleaves our bedsheets with barbed wire lines
In these our dawns full migraine and cough,
With concern now caught in its bluff.

Foreclosed with too many of dues still unpaid,
We scrape for the ounces of trust that'll loan
Perhaps a few bonds to us still.
Jumbled in fractions of aggregated dross,
We gasp among compounded interests of loss,
As idiots in ponzies of heart.

Spanning over ebbtide of dark deeper night,
Unbroken wings of cranes soar in flight.



Jayanta Mahapatra: In Conversation with Sachidananda Mohanty
Sarojini Sahoo: In Discussion with Kavita Arya

Deepali Yadav: Divakaruni’s Oleander Girl
Disha Khanna: Mahesh Dattani’s On a Muggy Night in Mumbai
Hampi Chakrabarti: Punctured Conscience
Koushiki Dasgupta: The Poetry of Mallika Sengupta

Book Reviews
Atreya Sarma: ‘Mystic Warrior’
GSP Rao: ‘Tapestry Poetry’
Jaydeep Sarangi: ‘Exchanges with the Thinker’
Priyanka Kakoti: ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’

Ambika Ananth: Editorial Note
Abin Chakraborty
Amreen B Shaikh
Ankush Banerjee
Charles Thielman
Jhuma Sen
Lora Tomas
Neelam Dadhwal
Rafiul Rahman
Rittvika Singh
Rob Harle
Rohan Dominic Mathews
Shanta Acharya
Simon Perchik
Sunita Raina Pandit

Shernaz Wadia: Editorial Comment
Anirudh Kala: ‘Mr Haq’
KL Chowdhury: ‘Tenderer than a Petal…’
Madhuliika Ghose: ‘Inspiration’
Prashila Naik: ‘The B.A. Pass Groom’
Sunil Sharma: ‘Dream’
Vempalle Shariff: ‘A Point of Nails’

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