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Pallavi Singh
Pallavi Singh

Shadow of Stairs. Credit-


Back-breaking work visited me last night
I found a screen and set a wallpaper
Stars floated before me.
I typed
Against a lapsed deadline
And curled on a chair padded with cushions,
spread my toes to a balming wind
Blowing from a thick grey
Complicated machine
You always called your own substitute.

That is when it came to me –
If you were here
I wouldn’t be doing this
Like last winter
When nights allowed no long slogs,
Only elaborate conversations.

This year, winter passed by
Without a shiver, or a whimper
Like a tame dog scared of summer
And I so laboured hard and fast
Towards efficiency and panache
That I finally got to accept,
in a small tribute to you –

Your going away was like
losing home and setting free,
In rains of loneliness that bring
A whiff of cold, a consistent sneeze,
And subsequent recovery
To such life solitary.

For this and this alone,
I miss you.


Like the subtle bloom of petals

You became a flower

When it came as thud

in your ears

it soared, fell

Soared again

in muted aggression of a firefly

the veins in your chest paused,

Turned blue, swollen,

Pregnant with passion

It raced against its own rhythm

It spread in you

Like sensations of a thousand kisses

You become the notes feverish

Of my school day orchestra

in a dark, silent room

Your shoulders performed


Left to right, right to left

Then the waist - taut and private

Loosened a little,

Became a quiver –

loud and clear…

within me.


On that rainy night
we had met as strangers
along a secret set of stairs
Where no one could see us
And how we giggled:
`we are invisible’

Your room-mate kept hollering
we still talked
For hours, about God-knows-what
But I still remember
your laughter and promise
That you would never leave me

In memories, streets, struggles
You will be there
With love, ever-lasting care
And together, we will marry
We will bear – Burden of history
And each other, children too.

But this morning, I laughed a little –
Like it was meant to be
A piercing of exalted notions –
When I opened with sore fingers
That unannounced courier, carrying
your wedding invitation card.


Quiet came the night,
the footsteps,
and the shadow.
I wonder why the cuckoo shivered
when you arrived
in ageing hours of darkness -
ocean-deep in thoughts
and wafer-thin in patience
for my midnight dreams.


Issue 50 (Jul-Aug 2013)

  • Ambika Ananth: Editorial Comment
  • Deepak Borgave
  • Farzana Doctor
  • Haris Bhat
  • Jharna Sanyal
  • Mandira Ghosh
  • Manoj Kewalramani
  • Mantra Mukim
  • Nilanjana Chakraborty
  • Padmashree Rida
  • Pallavi Singh
  • Pavithra Sankaran
  • Ranithilak
  • Somendra Singh Kharola
  • Tejaswini Patil