Monday, December 16, 2013

A tea tale

'Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage'...somewhere in between it became poetry. And so, 

When you were hungry
I felt parched.
Sprawling in the winter sun,
I peeled you
seedless and juicy,
lingering in the sauciness
over a parched skin.

A dry throat,
and a dry tongue later-
I dunked you
in my tea,
warmed by a ravishing Orange sun.

My cells exploded
my blood screamed,
as I drunk your drunkeness-
You stayed,
embedded in a thousand and one cells.

The tea flushed out,
a book ended,
you and I,
we Facebooked.

( Picture from the Internet)

© 2013 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Memories of November

My land now far removed
where innocence died,
and you flourished.

Yet the smells remain,
clinging and never forgotten.
Like snakes twirling in toilets,
bent on proving their sterileness
cohabiting a space so dense-

In the Bulbul's twitch,
of Luit and its silence
of dogs and stray cats,
wandering in, like love.
Leaving you and coming back-
strays, forever straying.

Of headiness of April rains,
of the naked austerity of Patkai,
the unknown languages of streams,
of the red earth-

I lie scattered.

-© 2014 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

( Photograph courtesy Bhagyajit Bhuyan)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Where poetry ended and you began..who knows

Reading up on books that talk of your soil and smell of your own language can be heady..but then one must know how to smell, in between the pages, between the lines, even between the words, to find oneself there..and I have been waiting to feel you so long, where poetry ended and you began, who knows.

'Suddenly I saw Pakhi standing by my desk. The moment I saw her I realized, this is what I had been waiting for. Yes no point trying to hide it. I felt I had made her appear with the force of my longing- She had no choice, she could not have done otherwise. So I was not surprised, I said nothing, I only looked at her in silence.

Pakhi was the first one to speak. I remember her words clearly.

"I'm a lady. You should stand up when you see me"
I stood up obediently.
"Reading so  late in the night?"
"I glanced at the fat, open book in response."
"Are you up only to read?"

My head lowered itself in guilt. There was a silent pause. I could hear the ticking of the clock in the next room. There was one more sound, probably a sound in my heart, a strange one.'

As I read, in the distance of the neighbourhood plays 'Chompa Chameli..' and somehow I am home, where you are..where I reside

( Conversation lines from, 'My kind of girl' By Buddhadeva Basu- Translated By Arunava Sinha)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

From one book to another

And a part of you came today
the most beautiful part perhaps?
dipped in the ink of your caress,
you, for whom I shall wait
by some shadows and some light
some day,
where your talk and mine will be meaningless
in fragrance somehow more sweet-
we shall sit in some corner,
tucked away from time
gathering dust unto ourselves
in an age old love of sorts-
your shelf or mine?

or so the refrain goes..

© 2013 Maitreyee B Chowdhury 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lines under a street lamp

The shadows are long in unknown streets
the insects hovering over sick neon lights
like strangers from faraway lands,
they look beautiful under shadows
and die in the sun, each day.

A small boy sits in its jaundiced light,
sick and yellow with hunger?
Somewhere from a remote gali
Pakeeza comes alive-

I climb a rock and read a poem,
I scream I shout and enact,
at my nonexistent audience.
They clap in their busy songs,
in callousness strewn over each other.
A black moth approves-

People fill the roads like rats,
milling over-
careless, faceless,
hurry in every crease.
Lovers pause for life,
behind a lamp, a shrub?
Life lives for a while.

A phone rings,
my shadows come home-
On the road back,
in pieces I become my role
and play it.

 © 2013 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

( Image from,r:71,s:300,i:217&iact=rc&page=19&tbnh=175&tbnw=145&ndsp=19&tx=78&ty=78 ) 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

People watching @ Cafe Coffee day


I spent a good part of this afternoon at a Cafe Coffee Day outlet, where I had a work related discussion. As I waited for the gentleman I was to meet and sipped on my Darjeeling, I suddenly heard a high pitched female voice say, "I don't care who comes for the wedding or doesn't, who eats what or doesn't, who does what..all I care about is my dress, my make up and how I look". I nearly choked on my tea and looked up.

For someone like me who loves observing people, a Cafe Coffee day can be a dream. To my delight, I looked up to see a couple completely colour-cordinated. Hers was a red top and white skirt, his was a red Tee and white pants. They sat with a woman who looked like a gypsy returned from Goa. Over the conversation I realised that the woman was a wedding planner. She periodically showered 'muaah muaah s' on the couple added with a 'you guys are the coolest'.
My smile got bigger and bigger, with the rather loud conversation. The wedding planner says, " And look at you guys, such togetherness in the colours". The girl shakes her head and points out, "But of course! CCD you know". 
The man takes out his phone in a bit, shows his school photograph to the planner, she squeals in delight. The girl says, " Its like a 40 year old tradition, you know..something like royalty"..shrieks again. 
The gentleman I'm waiting for arrives. There are more muaah s happening as the planner now plans to leave. The icing on the cake? The couple left to themselves kiss for long..some conversations end beautifully after all.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

'Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras'

'Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras' is a book that tells the little stories that make us who we are. . The author believes that Benaras resides in all of us Indians, in some beautiful often unknown way. The author is the Sutradhar, in that she attempts to connect an India that many do not realize exists, in that it is everybody’s story. Radha, Krishna, Ganga, Benaras and Me are all characters in this deluge of poems.This attempt at telling the story of the ancient, of love and of faith is to instil the confidence that poetry exists in all of us, all that is needed is to smell its fragrance. To those outside India, the book does not seek to be a representation of what India is or was, but a whiff of what it also can be. It is an attempt to ask people to see the little stories that govern all of our lives, stories that we often don’t see, but those that are important. A poem from the book goes thus-

-A Fisherman’s Ganga-

I sat on a dingy boat,
Looking at the Maha Aarati
on the Dashwamedha Ghat.

Seven priests adorned their Ganga
in every human way possible…
Tourists shrieked, conch shells sounded
humanity applauded.

I lit a small lamp and let it flow
Into the unknown corridors of faith-

A fisherman sat nearby
Perched on the helm of his boat
Looked at the skies,
And spat some Benaras
Into his Ganga.

(Dashwamedha Ghat is one of the main Ghats in Benaras, where every evening the Ganga Aarati takes place. Thousands of tourists and residents flock to see the Aarati, which has become synonymous with the pomp and glory attributed to Ganga.)

*The book is also available on Infieam, Flipkart, Amazon, Bookadda and Crossword bookstores

Available at

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A goddess and a flower

It was raining this morning and many of these fell down from the tree close to the fence..& I decided to colour the garden red.

It isn't really a coincidence that when I picked these red Hibiscus flowers from the plant, I remembered the onset of Kali Puja. On this day the Godess Kali, the fierce avatar of Durga is worshiped. For most people the image of Kali is that of a fierce woman, with her tongue out in callous wonder, fire in her eyes and careless abandon in her stride.

For me however the humble hibiscus has always been another form of Kali. To those who don't know this plant, it is a simple, rather boring and in many ways not the most beautiful of plants you could have in your garden. But in its simplicity, soft colours and realistic look it presents a side of Kali that I have identified more with.

Kali takes form during the war between gods and the demons ( representing good over evil and a battle that even seeks to fight fear and self-doubt). The demons were difficult to destroy till Goddess Durga comes to the battle. Durga comes into being, at the most fierce time of the battle originating supposedly from Durga's brow and goes on a killing spree, where she kills everyone around her. Even as this notion of Kali is beautiful, it is something else that touches the heart more. 
Having won the battle, Kali is unstoppable in her destruction. And looses all sense while on her rampage destroying the world. Here Lord Shiva is supposed to have intervened and taken the form of a baby,even as he lies down on the battlefield. When Kali sees this child, she stops her rampage and cradles the baby and nurses it. Suddenly she is the life giver instead of life taker. Surrounded by corpses all over the battle field, she suddenly turns into a gentle woman quietly suckling a baby.

You can cut a Hibiscus plant till its smallest stem and yet it will live again, it will bring forth new life, new flowers and these lovely red flowers shall survive all odds. They survived torrential rain today.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Durga, a rear view mirror

If you happen to be passing a particularly busy street in Kolkata during the festivities, you may not really stand and stare at any thing in particular. It is of course just another busy street, with busy people..but then you look a bit deeper and there's a hassled father who has taken time out from the office to take his family out pandal hopping, there's a little boy holding a toy gun he has bee...n wanting to buy for sometime, there's a girl who drapes that saree a bit extra joyously. There are lights of every hue, durga in so many avatars and yet there is that little Durga in the small neighbourhood pujo that I stopped to see, she sits pretty and looks like a little angel in her simplicity...sans all decoration..all razmataz, she is the Ma, earthy and someone you can laugh and scold.

Durga here stands in a corner, once the Panchami pujos had been completed. Her eyes shown in beauty, this Durga is dimunitive, the asura is small too, the painter has gone scarce on the paint probably..the neigbourhood association probably has less money... There is a small stage that has been erected, some elderly gentlemen sit around and talk, there is some tea that passes around in small earthen cups, someone is still fixing the lights, the Dhaki and his son are busy playing, he dances a bit..he does not overdo it..his payment will not allow it. His son plays too..on the stage are little children..the Puja is for them..they are Durga and her joy, they are Mahishashur and his agony too, they are the celebration..their dance and their joy is what Durga puja is all about somehow.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Debi Pakkha

jao jao Giri 
anite Gowri,
Uma bodoi dukhe roeyeche..

The eyes are back
in black,
crimson too
if you please-
from rage shall we say
from numerous slayings and 
achievements few?

Durga walks a busy road
and pauses poignant
at a crossing-

Tribhubaner bhar
koreche joro
bhangete bholar tripti bodo

She turns her head at the madness of the joy
a welcome sound in Dhak
deafening at times,
the silence of resilience

She cranes her neck-
Mahishashur sits on the other side of the road,
horns and colour replete,
he sits everywhere, she notices
green and full of himself-

Childlike at times
a beard hides some poverty,
some lust too maybe?

She smiles,
hands raised befittingly.
Jao jao Giri anite Gowri..
Gowri comes
she stays.

A third eye opens,
everything else is closed.
Chandi rises
she destroys,
frees herself of promises

Uma bodo dukhe royeche
She laughs out loud now,
her trample massive
all pervasive,
She drowns.

The man with horns
folds his mat
his day and her puja over.

Uma, Ma Ma bole kandiche,
she takes a final plunge,
there is water everywhere,
and in some eyes-
some from the plunge,
some from life.

Jao Jao Giri
anite Gowri 
Uma bodo dukhe royeche.

- © 2013 Maitreyee B Chowdhury
(Intercepted by lines from song Jao Jao Giri from film Hirer Angti)
Disclaimer: Do not copy, will and can sue if necessary.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stitching into nostalgia

A recent blog post written by a friend who is a new mum, about how pregnancy took her back to the days of sewing machine, wherein she insisted that her husband buy her one too..took me down memory lane. 

We had one of these magnificent machines at home, they came with a lovely wooden cover and though not prone to sewing myself..this was one of those childhood images that somehow stuck, much like an old song on the radio. Ma was and still is an expert with the needle and thread and often the 'thakatak thakatak' sound from the machine was a part of the everyday sunshine, one can so easily feel on the back and luxuriate in. 

One would marvel at the diligent way the thread was put through the bobbins and on occasions when the attachment was jammed or didn't work, often me or my sister were called to do the needful. There would be yarns of stitching material lying around, soft laces, scraps of clothing in blue, green and red that she never really got rid of. Which she would eventually turn into something fancy like a quirky door mat or a kitchen runner. There would be a monthly cleaning and oiling of the machine, where it was finely greased and care taken to take out the thread from the bobbins so that it didn't smudge with the oil. The old wooden cover was a favourite, often it would sit out in the sun after a swanky new polish. Fond memories are these, like the warmth of oranges from Darjeeling in the afternoon sun, somehow they never go out of fashion.

Mum gave away the machine to an old faithful when she left Assam. Today she has a fancy one, with many more attachments, but somehow its not quite the same thing & every time I go back home, my eyes invariably search for that little bit of sewing history that decked me and my sister so richly through the years. 

( Picture from the Internet)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Conversations into the night..A photocopy shop

9 PM tonight at my residence. The lack of cartridges in the printer leads to much uproar and I decide to walk down to the nearby photocopy/printer/cyber cafe shop, a 5 minute walk from my home. As I enter the shop there is a young lad in his mid twenties who is manning the shop. Apart from him 3 African students are cooped up in the confines of a cubicle huddled in front of a computer, speaking loudly a language I cannot understand. On the walls are mounted small shelves that hold little figures of Lakshmi and Ganesha. The dhoop has extinguished, a small electric colourful light blinks on and off, lighting up the silver-ish paint of Lashmi's figure. On the walls are plastered old calender pictures of other Gods and Goddesses, on a overhead ledge holds two small speakers. Even as I look at them, Lata Mangeshkar starts crooning, 'Najane kya hua'..

The young man takes from me the rather big bundle of worksheets that need to be photocopied and starts the process. I idly look at the walls and then outside, suddenly I hear a voice speak in Hindi, different from what the Africans are murmuring, I look around and realize the young man speaking on his hands free set. I look away. He speaks again, this time I listen to the one sided conversation and a slow smile creeps up..

'Kya kar rahi hai?'

(pause)..a bit slowly then..

'Arre aunga kaha hai na..mera man nahin karta kya..par kya karun..'


'Hmm..arre aise na kahiyo..humari toh jan chali jayegi..mar na jaye hum'

( smiles to himself) I look away

'Dekho..Shukravar ko agar hum ihan se train pakad te uske baad ke din pohunchenge..phir toh do din hai na hamare pas..jitna man kare dekh lena...'


'accha naraj kyun hoti ho..chudi karidein hain na tumhare liye, aur ek libstick bhi'


'chal ye bata..sapne mein hum aaye ki nahin..toh phir tune kya kiya'

(smiles to himself..laughs a bit too..ruffles his hair)

'humko bhi dekhna hai na tujhe..bohot din ho gaya sala kam itna ai yahan'

( Silence)

'Tu aise bolegi toh hum kaam kaise kar payenge..kal hi train na le le hum'

( Pause..rather long one now..I turn to look..he is staring blankly at the wall, his back to me..I shuffle my feet..walk towards the door a bit)

'Aaaj sapne mein ayegi na..main intezar karunga..abhi rakhta nahin lag raha kam mein'

( A click and his voice addresses me) I am jolted out of my reverie.

'Mam 15 Rupees huye.' I look at him side ways..he doesn't look at me, already busy with something else..there is no smile however. As I come out of the shop, he sits down with a sigh on a small chair..I am the last customer, the Africans have left.. the song stops, changes..something inconsequential starts playing. I'm tempted to step back, say something..but I leave..nothing less than poetry what I had heard..some nights are beautiful..they are also painful I guess.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Till peace does you apart-

Was watching 'Tamas' ( the fictional television soap on the partition of India ) being aired again after many years..only this time it brought back memories of not only a partitioned country and its horror stories but of the stench that continues in different ways in today's times. It also brought about a few lines hidden stoically somewhere. The poem rambles between the present and the past and rests in nowhere-

The morning after-
she stood
ravaged and still.
The intruders had come,
torn her and him
each other too, it seemed.
Devoid of shame and compassion,
a sudden chaos to austerity.

Fear of being burnt down,
having burnt oneself
of all one ever had,
or the promise to have-
at least.
She stood calm
picking her shreds
from a map so convoluted-

Revolution and revolutionaries
look pretty in history books
in reality there is blood,
only blood and its stench-
of unloved for flesh
and hungry mice.
She cries out
in lonely hunger,
questioning which ideology was greater
than her dead son,
his dreams of spinning yarns,
their flesh she wanted, in return.

Callous hands had beheaded
her pubis
where the dark smell of desire
breathed life.
Only the poor,
the helpless
knew the truth
of life from death,
of shame, and the humour of living-

Go hide your ideology
in your cupboard full of dead bodies
where blood mingles with
songs long dead.
Tomorrow you shall burn too,
and I shall laugh
criminal in my desire for revenge,
'vulgar' defining every home.
I shall dance in my mad pyre,
till madness strikes you dead,
what you fought for
writ in the black
of another's innocence
alive and palpable still.

Now you are the murderer
and so am I,
we live in similar houses,
with crushed flowers
and mangled posies
from lustrous graves
in every city.
We burn the green
kill the love
and then we laugh,
in cupboards dark.

In every little desperate hole-
like rats we move,
in dark abandon.
When ideology sleeps
in a mother's sour breast
go pluck the milk,
feed the wolves
kill another
till peace does you apart.

- © 2013 Maitreyee B Chowdhury

(Image courtesy )

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

People we meet and don't forget..

Four years ago, still fresh to Bangalore streets I was curious about everything. I would walk different roads everyday( I still do). There's often a nice haste to the roads if you stand still, very still and try and observe that pace. I stood still that day, watching a little boy ride his bicycle sitting on the handle bar and pedaling backwards, reminded of my own antics with the bike in school. Absentmindedly, I had leaned on a gate, which gave away and I almost fell into the premises of a Shiv Mandir. Surprised, I walked in, almost instinctively opening my shoes and wandering around. Some lines registered themselves on my phone as I watched a Linga touched by hands, melt in milk and grow. A small temple and too many people didn't make for a rosy picture, but the stone floor was cool and experiments with the feet a nice pastime sometimes. Like other people, I threw coins at the fishes and watched them being ignored and then I saw her(him). To everyone walking past, there sat a Eunuch selling flowers. For me it was a strange pull, I couldn't take my eyes off the mesmerizing creature with a gorgeous smile, a red saree, a big bindi of sindoor plastered on the forehead, hair coiled up high on the head like lord Shiva's mane and an armful of flowers for whoever came by. I approached cautiously and smiled, while asking for permission to take a photograph. There was a initial hesitancy and then a shy smile. There are certain people with whom you feel like smiling just for the sake of it, just for the love of it. There are certain people, who make you feel good for no reason at all, there presence is good enough. Day after day, that figure sits and sells flowers, smiles at people..goes home perhaps, without the knowledge of a silent smile that she( he) is surrounded by. Seeing her( him) makes me happy and that is all there is to it, all that is necessary too. There have been plenty of times, when I have crossed that road and saw that figure in red, I might have been busy or rushing somewhere but that presence in red never failed to calm me. Every time I have got down from the car, walked the certain distance, smiled and walked back..we don't understand each other's language, perhaps its better that way.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Red Hills

There were five of us. The School had broken for summer holidays. In the early 80’s in a remote part of North Eastern India; holidays did not mean sleepovers and malls. It meant roaming around aimlessly in the surrounding jungles, playing around on the roads and going for picnics on your cycle. On that summer afternoon too, little idle minds wondered what was to be done of the ensuing evening and greater part of the afternoon that still loomed large. Not that we were bored, thankfully that word had not yet taken over the dictionaries of children still. Someone suggested a game of hide and seek, another suggested the Red Hills. Venue and game decided, we set off for the beautiful Red Hills. The place got its name from the view from the plateau that we used as a base for our activities. One had to climb up the gentle slope situated centrally, to see hill. While climbing, we always took off our slippers, in sheer reverence for the soft grass that we walked on. Guava and Olive trees, punctuated the terrain. Guavas hung around on the trees, as if in the remote hope that some child would chance upon them and bend them down to the earthy-ness of human hands. A small ceremony was always followed for the first sighting of the Red Hills. As we slowly approached the slope, all of us in the unison of the sincerity of a child's prayer, closed our eyes tightly. The first glimpse of the Red Hills was always special. Bathed in the afternoon glow of the setting sun, today it seemed surreal.

Someone shouted that hiding places could be anywhere along the slope and hill next to it, but not beyond, never beyond. There was of course place enough to hide if one knew where one was going. Mamma had insisted I behave more like a girl and pulled a white cotton dress through my 9 year old head. It was a big problem, the dress; it lingered on and seemed to attract dragon flies, and little blue flowers that somehow lingered on. Someone started counting 20-19-18-17… As I scurried down the hill, I wondered where I would hide. A Guava fell off a tree and rolled down the slope, settling on the bend of the adjoining hill. Guavas I thought were good navigators; I followed the fruit and came upon a resting place. I had often seen the nuns from our school come here in cars, along with other people. Strangely, when they arrived, they would always be crying but while going back they seemed to be drastically cheerful, almost as if someone had ordered them to be so. I had asked Mamma about it, and she had said, that Christians believed in giving happy farewells to their dead. While much of the meaning of the Red Hill might have been lost to me, its potential as a great hiding place seemed to offer the greatest of opportunities to my muddled head. I ran to what seemed to look like quite a large stone placed on the ground. Two stones joined at one end, making the perfect ‘L’.  I clutched the long white frock and hid behind the stone that stood. Extremely excited because I was sure, no one would find me here, I sat in the quiet. What a perfect hiding place! Having sat myself down to the silence of stones, I inspected curiously the back of the stone on which I had rested. It seemed to be quite ornate, little leaves, flowers and cherubs drawn on it. I touched my hands on it, the edges were rough, probably from the rains, but the center of the stone strangely still felt smooth. The counting should have been over by now, but I had almost forgotten about the game, I crawled over to the front. To my delight, it was like grandpa’s arm chair, the one I wasn't allowed to sit on. I stretched my back on the standing stone and neatly kept my legs straight on the stone that lay on the ground. My head cushioned on the stone felt cold though, just beneath the top. I turned to look at the stone, facing it for the first time. There was a photograph of a small boy, much like my neighbor, the one who always cried. As I looked closely I saw something written there.

'Here lies Peter, born 1968, died 1971. May his soul rest in peace.'

I looked at the photograph again, remembering the date in the school notebook, on the left hand corner, blue margin, it seemed an awfully long time for a small boy to be lying there.  I smiled at him, wondering if he was happy where he was, perhaps he liked the fact that I had chosen him to play hide and seek with. After all it was quite natural that he would be tired of lying there all those years. I stroked the photograph then. The sun was almost down ad yet in the last rays of gold, Peter seemed to smile back. I stroked the face then, in some way trying to reassure him that I would be back with more games and laughter.Someone shouted out to me, “Come out, we can’t find you, 'You've won'.  

I tugged my way up the red hills, with my long white dress strewn with flowers wild, I felt I had left the little boy happier.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

An everyday Ramayana

                                                      ( Picture from the Internet)

Yesterday I met a lawyer friend from Calcutta. He brought along a gift and handed it to me rather ceremoniously, which surprised me. When I asked for the reason for the gift, he told me that he had been using some of my insights into people watching in the courtroom and it had been working well for him. I was extremely surprised and curious about how insights into human nature and peripheral observations could actually be used in court. 

But it reminded me of something and we discussed it over coffee. A long time ago in a small town in Assam, I was watching the Ramleela that was being enacted as a part of the Dussehra festivals. A small group of actors play the Ramleela( which is the enactment of a very small part of the epic) there are no special lights or fancy stage decoration. The faces are full of makeup and garish but shabby costumes. They look at you intently, here they make love with the eyes. The most interesting part though is the improvisation on stage. While a couple of musicians play on the Tabla, Harmonium, etc, the characters suddenly break into a dance. To someone like me who had so long seen theater were no one broke away from their own roles or the lines dedicated to them, this was amazing.

During a particular scene, while Ram was busy saying his lines Lakshman sat hunched on the other end of the stage. He calls out to a man close to the stage who is having a Bidi( cigarette) and has a puff from him. The overhead mike, catches his request for a Bidi, but no one is really bothered as Ram is still narrating his lines. Ram suddenly appears to forget his lines, someone laughs and Ram is angry he goes near the audience and says, 'Chal tu hi bol dal' ( why don't you say it). the person keeps quiet and Ram gets back to thinking his lines, Hanuman pipes up and asks him to narrate other lines from later on in the play, Ram obliges and all is well.

I sneak backstage during a break, the stage is empty now only the musicians are playing, singing some songs. The props come and go, gorgeously decorated scenery of chariots, kings and queens, birds and trees on cheap Chinese silk. Behind a curtain at the back, Sita is already in her costume, she is cooking rice on a small pot. She gives me a disinterested look and puffs at her bidi. I'm a bit aghast, isn't Sita supposed to be the ideal Hindu nari( woman) and all that? I look closer, suddenly Sita is no longer Sita, it is Lakshmana in a sari. Everything is a Maya, an illusion. The only reality is the improvisation, what happens beyond the script. I smile and go back, the actors are everywhere.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

An everyday distance

I see you walk in the distance of everyday
sometimes the Sun walks with you,
Orange, arrogant

I open my mouth
and swallow the Sun,
you too
some where perhaps..

I throw you out now
at my own compulsion,
worn and devoid of love
now a rag,
naked, devoid of charity.

© 2013 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury 

( Image from the Internet)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Only the rock lives

( Image from the Internet)

So I am teaching my daughter about Asteroids and Meteorites, the book defines them as 'pieces of rock revolving around the sun. When they come near the earth they are puled by the force of gravitation and the friction produces fire, making them look like shooting stars.' My daughter says, 'wow mum some planet breaks and the rocks remain suspended so long in time?' I smile and think, perhaps it is only the rocks that are real, the emotions vanish, man vanishes, what remains hanging in space are rocks. I show her this picture then and she looks at other craters created from the impact of the Meteor, I tell her to concentrate on the rock, because that is what shall always remain. The crater would be filled, the rock might disintegrate into dust beyond a point but in that speck it would still remain hanging and suspended somewhere unlike any of us and our thoughts..the notion in itself eerie yet comforting. 

When I teach her about inscription I find myself fascinated by the fact that you carve a piece of your thought into stone, a poem or a painting like a caveman might have done thousands of years ago and someone discovers it many many years later..they pass their hands on it, wonder what emotion made you write what you did and you are alive even if for a bit in that space and that thought..the rock lives, it survives and so does your thought..hanging somewhere suspended in time. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It is only happiness that is inevitable

Obsession with anything bores me. The obsession to write, the obsession to be read, the obsession to be this the obsession to be that. In the Mahabharata, King Drupad has two children, a male child called Drishtadyumna and a female child called Draupadi. Drishtadyumna has been described as a complete man, to a certain extent his violence is shown as his masculinity. Draupadi on the other hand is the complete woman, described as a passionate and sensuous. Both of them are strong and yet it is Shikhandi, Drupad's first born..the imperfect one, where gentleness lies.

Abbas Kiarostami's film 'Taste of Cherry', shows a morose Iranian who flags down passersby s seeking an accomplice in his suicide and starts talking to three men with different points of view. A scene in the car shows one of them saying, 'I know that suicide is one of the deadly sins..but being unhappy is a great sin too..we all have problems in life..if we chose this way out of each tiny problem..there would be no one left on earth.'

In Peter Brook's Mahabharata, when the Lake questions Yudhishtira he says that, 'it is only happiness is inevitable for all of us'. When I'm happy I write beautifully, when I write because I have to write, I am a moron..When I'm on my bicycle, I'm the Diva..I am my it I'm another ordinary person in the pursuit of happiness. If there is any obsession that is right, it is to be happy for yourself and for those around.

( Image from the Internet)

Sunday, June 23, 2013



that beautiful space in time,
when I am, only mine.
Nondescript of every other description-
I am the rustle of bamboo in the winds
making love without purpose
or the need to express.

The darkness here is mine,
the occasional happiness too.

In some unknown corridor of the neighborhood,
a conch blows
out of propriety and context.
Stale winds fan an old lingering song,

I exist in the darkness of such songs.

© 2013 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury
( Image from the Internet)