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Sushumna Kannan
Sushumna Kannan

The thrill of rains. Image courtesy:



I knew a girl once
who had loved in vain. 
She didn't know that of course
for all the 2 years she uttered her love's name, awake, asleep. Like crazy.

The man thought of her as home
But also as a pastime. He seemed to have too much of everything anyway.
The breakup was so hurtful-- 
throttling tears, stunted vision.
Could love, pure and beautiful 
do this?

Unlike hate, regret, devastation, pain. 
Not one thing, not nothing. 
Just lots of weight, she couldn't stand straight, sane.
Her thoughts went wild, mind ballistic, blurring.

Then one evening, she sat down. 
(the pull of tradition! an ancestors' compassion! who knows!)
She held a book and pen
And wrote Rama's name.

Never looking up, never thinking a thought.
2 pages washed her feelings, she was born again.

I saw this with my own eyes, so rest assured. Here goes it.
Sit with spine erect, on a mat, book on right lap.
Hold book lightly with your left hand, do not press down. 
Write neatly in devanagari, don't strike the letters on top, don't mark the vertical full stop. 
Once written, don't seek to change, 
Don’t go back on the letters even if a mistake is seen.
Reserve a pen just for this. 
Don’t smile, don’t speak.

You will know a peace, a transformation.
And gain the calm you so so seek.


Mean, stupid. Boys! 
A B C D E.
Most of them have daughters. No, thanks. I do not want to know why.
For the strangest of reasons, families form like they do. 
But these five belong together.

A could not forgive his 10-year-old daughter say 'shut up' after creating an extremely insulting public situation for her. They never found love again. A possessed his wife, could not learn from her.

B said as much: I think I would feel nothing if my daughter died. That was Truth. Yeah, right! Cheated on his wife with two others. Continues to live with her. Compassion reserved for cows. Turned Vegan too.

C could not handle one student bunking his one class. Gave up teaching for a whole year, punished an entire class. He cannot spell understanding. Psychologist by profession.

D says as much openly: I will not empathize. He can spell Psychopath. And prides in his English.

E promotes his daughter shamelessly. Is proud she does not judge his love affairs. But is basically clueless. How to treat another person? Listen in on her ex. Blames his own ex too.

Men at a glance. Completely random. 
Now, think of the five glorified women. Ahalya, Draupadi Sita, Tara, Mandodari. 
What's the deal here?
Well, they have empathy and they know compassion. 
No, they are not chaste or pious, docile or dumb. They are not boring, man!
They are pure as purity can be by their compassion. They are called kanyas for just that. 
Being called girls has never meant more different than calling men boys, thank you.

Today, I want to redefine.
So wait.
I don't want your blessings for
the things I do for you.

Today, love me just like that
or let me be.
I want to pretend there is no causality.

The consciousness believes what it is told!
so let me fool it or let me test just this—just hold.

An experiment in knowledge or happiness
let’s call it.
let up, lemme go
for today.

I will live like today never was.
I will again seek your blessings.
Your curses may matter again.

And I will struggle to perform every action with grace,
to perfect it, no trace,
of a face that frowns,
no discordant note.

Today, just
over and out.


The slow movement forward
prompts reflection on the unlikeliest of things.

Perched slightly above the others
I conjure up, almost willingly, of times low

To overturn once more the sweetness of pain in my mind
And extract once more, a lesson.

Why it all had to happen
Oh the point of it all…

Now, I lean against the window,
Check for the dirt and make adjustments

Why did this sequence unfold? 
Why are men such liars and cheats? 

Tears find their way, spreading in different streams like the Jog
So silently down my cheek, I wouldn’t realize if I didn’t touch or seek. 

4 streams wiped away with vengeance 
And it’s time to check if anyone noticed

Thanks peeps for not embarrassing me!
Leela Palace, the conductor informs.
I get up.

Emotions drained, it seems I am ready for office
Next is my stop

Clothes re-adjusted, I put on a face for public appearance 
Quit the BMTC bus

And tell myself: cross it.


Issue 79 (May-Jun 2018)

  • Ambika Ananth: Editorial Note
  • Aayushee Garg
  • Debasis Tripathy
  • Gopal Lahiri
  • Kamda Singh Deo
  • Madhulika Ghose
  • Michael Lee Johnson
  • Neha Gaur
  • Pia Bakshi
  • Rita Mishra
  • Sushumna Kannan