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Varun Rajaram

Varun Rajaram


Does such love exist,
Gentle like the drizzle
Before a Calcutta norwester
Or tender like the dark clouds
Painting the yellow sun red
over the Arabian sea?

If such love does exist,
Does conversation waft into existence,
Like the smell of cold tea
At a railway station 
Mixed with the decaying mist from the mountains
On a wet Kottayam morning?

If such conversation does exist,
Do the echoes linger on
Spreading from shore to shore
Like gentle ripples sometimes do;
Or as tunes from the fiddle have
In the dusky corners of Shanti-niketan?

If the echoes do linger on
Does such love endure
-Or do the sea, rain, river
And mountains but exist,
To see the last walk from
The Prayag to the Manikarnika?

Your knees bent, back arched
On a tiled floor
As if in prayer,
a suitcase buoyed up against the wall
another mounted on the bed,
a dusty davenport
-How strange a furrow now
in a place
Where you once sat
reading under the white lights
Or making love to a woman
As smoke fornicated the air
and ash, the ground.
The last bit of linen
From a counterfeit chiffonier,
Splintered, decaying wood
finds its way into those covert chasms
Shielding parts of you
hidden away in
photo frames, journals
and volumes of read and unread books.
How strange of you now
To leave a part of you on the desk
by a guitar pick
For all to see.

You begin to notice now
the obtuse prattling
of people around you
The weather, bills to be paid, dinner.
How strange that you find it
melancholic and sweet
Distracted only by
the sound of strange gyrations
on the floor, but only as far
As an elevator shaft which
In sullen contrast
to the other men and women within
Augurs you into a long,silent journey.

How strange that as the
suitcases slump into the boot
and a guitar prepares
a jaunt with the driver,
You discern that your eyes,
In civil indifference
Are now at war with your mind
Agreeing only to placid hugs;
Surrendering only to
the outlines of those
men and women
now in the distance bidding you
Fare thee well.

Fare thee well.


We all need
In our lives
Moments of stillness
To contemplate 
The steady flow of moments
Of stillness, gay abandon, pleasure or pain
Which led us to this point
-A point which awaits more such moments in the future.

One might even wonder
What if,
Every moment were still,
Like Xeno's arrow 
That never moved?
Whether we'd be forever in the past
The distant future or
Maybe, just the present?

Unborn, Immortal or
Men from Earth?

Leave this vile world and follow me there
Ah! We could fly; leave this gripe of the known
For the mind is with love and the heart, bare.

A dying empress, your castles in the air
Pull it down and let's build us a bridge to
Leave this vile world and get us there.

Tandem feet, sweaty palms, through the winds we'd tear
Terrible noises, infinite blur, vast blues and then,
Silenced minds with love and hearts, bare.

I'd dive to sink or swim, you'd pause to care
Between your greatest strokes and gasps of breath
A dead man in a vile world; a fish somewhere.

Knees bruise, lipsdry, palms bleed and you'd stare
From your oasis; a fantastic mirage
You see, of a mind with love and heart, bare.

And then you finally wake up and now you're aware
How it is to walk slow and walk with flair
Leave this vile world; follow me there
Where the mind is with love and the heart, bare.




Charanjeet Kaur: Editorial

Sara Aboobacker in Conversation with Ayshath S R

Srinivas Reddy: Sanskrit at the Opera

Literary Articles
Kinshuk Majumdar: Amitav Ghosh
Kusumita Datta: Kashmir and its Story Tellers
Rachel Bari: South Asian Poetry
Sonal Jha: Arun Kolatkar

Book Reviews
Dustin Pickering – ‘No Waiting Like Departure’
Gagan Bihari Purohit – ‘For You to Decide’
Purabi Bhattacharya – ‘Himalaya: Adventures, Meditations, Life’
Revathi Raj Iyer – ‘I won’t give you a leg up, Mr Death’
Sapna Dogra – ‘An Ode to Shimla’
Subashish Bhattacharjee – ‘Agniputr: When Agni First Spoke’
U Atreya Sarma – ‘Wakes on the Horizon’

Ambika Ananth – Editorial Note
Arnab Mukhopadhyay
Bidyut Bhusan Jena
Madhab Chandra Jena
Maithreyi Karnoor
Mithlesh Kumar Chaudhary
Robert Beveridge
Sujit Mukherjee
Surbhi Goel
TS Hidalgo
Varun Rajaram

U Atreya Sarma – Editorial Musings
Akshat Joshi – ‘New World’
Ananya Sarkar – ‘The Cats’
Eva Bell – ‘Entrapped’
Humera Ahmed – ‘A Different Sky’
Neera Kashyap – ‘As quiet as a feather falling’
Reema Tripathy – ‘Is Love the Reason?’
Sahar Raza – ‘Sacrifice’
Sukla Singha – ‘Fury’
Sunil Sharma – ‘The Shrinking Man’

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