Poetry

Why I Love You

I know to be in love with someone
there has to be no reason.
Still, would you like to know
why did I fall in love with you?
I love you not because
my eyes approve of you
as the most cutest guy in the vicinity
with fair skin and toned muscles,
a husky, manly voice and handsome chest
revealed through the unbuttoned shirt
and that you’re generous,
emptying your wallet for me.
I love you because my heart believed
you loved me too.
My heart goes crazy thinking
your gaze searches for me
seeking the warmth of my presence
and you hesitant of revealing
the soft corner of your heart
make some excuses to see me
just to listen lovingly what I say
as if my lips shower
soft summer flowers
spraying fragrance in your life
whereas actually, I speak
of my dreams and scars.
Yes, I love you because your red,
sensuous lips crave to paint a trail
on my body but still, step back
thinking that it would hurt me,
respecting my modesty
and rather you prefer
to squeeze my hand when saying hello,
offer your shoulder to be showered with my tears,
patting my head and looking into my eyes,
giving assurance that everything will be alright.
My mind doesn’t know
if my heart is hallucinating
about you loving me
but everything seems to me
beautiful memories in making
and I love you for that
whether you love me or not.

Sangeeta Das~2019

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Poetry

Chocolate

This pretty doll loves chocolate.
Her innocent face lit up,
flashing the brightest smile
when the uncle next door
showed her the most delicious,
dark chocolate – crunchy
with raisins and nuts.
That day holding his finger
those tiny feet trotted
to where he took her.
Sitting on his bed
she devoured the chocolate,
staining her happy visage.
Oh! How sweet he was!
Like the most delicious,
dark chocolate – crunchy
with raisins and nuts,
she must have thought
unaware that his sweetness melted
in the heat of dripping desire.
Pouring himself, least caring that
she is a cup of clay,
not a malleable pot or a wife
he got inside her.
Unable to bear the tremor
with epicentre between
the tender thighs
her fleshes tear apart,
spilling streams of blood.
Now shredded and still
she’s on her mother’s lap,
white dressing taking place of a diaper.
Gaze screaming terror,
lips trembling in fear,
eyes shedding tears,
her body clings to mother
at the sight of a male figure.
She now hates chocolate
and its bitter taste.
Tormented mother and
a team of doctors
try to wipe the chocolate stains
from the ravaged soul
of this once pretty doll.

 
Sangeeta Das~2019

Poetry

Pickles And Poetries

Summer, ah the season of making pickles.
My mouth waters, taste buds tickle at the mere mention of a pickle.

I have seen as a child my mother and gaggle of women gossiping and giggling while slicing and spreading piles of green mangoes, on the terrace to be sun-dried and then dipping those slices into the spice-infused hot oil, to preserve the perishable to be mellowed and swallowed for years after years,

leaving behind a tempting tangy tickling smell when the season is over.

I wish I could make some pickles too, sun-drying my heart, shrivelling under the heat the feelings of love.

After going through the pain of separation for so long, feeling the burns of your charcoal hot rude words I really think the pain and pangs are dried now but in the lanes of memories, you are still there making me smile sometimes.

I then write poetries about you, full of emotions –
a potpourri of sweet and spicy,
bitter and tangy.

Aren’t my poetries kind of pickles too?

Those words – expressions of feelings, spread on the white sheet with the ink and the quill dipped in the imagination to preserve the perished love to be mellowed and swallowed for years after years leaving behind a tempting tangy tickling smell after the spring of love is over.

Sangeeta Das~2019

Poetry

Fish


1

The shock and tremor are still vivid in my mind

when a few years ago I was ripped out of the water to be taken to a distant land from the ocean to an aquarium.

My old eyes have seen many coming here due to suffocation or a short life span many disappearing here.

All these years wriggling in water, I am fighting with boredom, rubbing the greens and gravels, seeking the feather of freedom.

Secretly wishing for the lost glory hoping for Hollywood’s Nemo and Dory I am still alive nibbling my sorrows served with food, writing on the water the painful story with tears,

voice falls and vanishes in the pit of deaf ears that I am a fish, not a decorative piece to be meant here.

2

Venturing alone in a market area when I lost my way home, reaching someplace desolated and unknown was approached by a stranger begging for alms.

Pitying her eyes full of sorrows, mapping her face’s deep furrows I shelled out a hundred rupees note.

My generous act attracted another one and I angrily agreed to repeat the action if they show me the right direction.

As soon as I started following them, I received a call from my beloved husband. Assuring him to reach soon narrated him my story of losing direction and how two people are helping me out.

Shock grappled me I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears when they suddenly pulled me inside a car and said I will be trafficked to a land far.

I pleaded and I cried, take all my money but have mercy. My voice falls and vanishes in the pit of deaf ears, for them, I was just a piece of fish to be served on the greedy platter of carnal desire.

At this point, my eyes opened ajar shocked at the morning nightmare. I found myself sound and safe at my home with goosebumps on my flesh but what about those girls living this nightmare!

Sangeeta Das~2019

Poetry

Buds And Weeds

Touched by the gentle zephyr

Daisy and Dandelion,

Periwinkle and Poinsettia,

Jasmine and Gerbera

bloom with laughter

before resting in the sepulture

leaving behind buds in abundance

to be stroked with tender care,

to be strengthened with security.

So let our will do the working

and pull out the marauding weeds

before the buds fail to blossom,

kneeling beneath the burden.

Same happens with our mind,

the weeds of worries need weeding

to see the buds of joys blossoming.

Sangeeta Das~2019

Poetry

Ma To My Rescue



Centipede, that creepy little creature, crawls on my bed, towards my head.
As I lay supine, enjoying the evening,
to chase away my mother horror-struck comes running.
I heave a sigh of relief as it was merely a dream and I linger on the bed.
Suddenly, I see that creepy thing from my dream, wriggling towards my ear. Recoiling and shouting, I chased the centipede away, wondering at the working of the Providence
a prayer of gratitude I did say. This is strange but true, even through my dream Ma from a faraway land came to my rescue.

Sangeeta Das~2018

(My real experience in 2012 when I was sleeping in Delhi my mother in Assam came to my rescue through the dream).

Poetry

Love Pours In A Unique Way

Love pours in a unique way

it takes your breath away

if you ask him for a single rose

he grows a rose garden

to see your face blossom

each moment and every day.

Love pours in a unique way

it blows your mind away

if he generally lazes around

but prepares lemon juice

to wet your thirsty throat

in the middle of a summer night.

Love pours in a unique way

the earth beneath slips away

if you are on an anger spree

he hears you silently

waiting to lock your lips

with a kiss at the end.


Sangeeta Das~2019

Poetry

Glimpses From Pobitora

The welcoming carpet of emerald green grass bows its head with reverence, the serene silence of the mystic forest echoes with the songs of the birds – splashing in water and soaring high, my mind one among them takes a flight under the vastness of the sky.

The wild buffaloes munching on leaves lift their heads high, staring and munching again, deep in the forest, trees swell with pride displaying the blossoms of myriad hues, sunrays rush to kiss them tearing aside the foliages, balls of cotton leaving its cosy nest spread the snowy white garb upon the soil.

Amidst these, there stands a unique tree – a big one supporting the smaller, extending his hand, united in love to be one. A group of elephants guided by guards carry on their back humans and their ego of being superior. And there graze the mother rhino with its lovely little calf, alarmed at the sight of us for they are scared of humans sans humanity.

Allured by their charm, I shoot them, oh not with any gun but with my camera capturing the wild within my mind because to be wild is not preying and killing but living with perfect harmony with nature in its purest form.

Sangeeta Das~2019

(Pobitora is a wildlife sanctuary in Morigaon, Assam famous for one-horned Rhino and other animals and birds. I visited the sanctuary in 2015 with my family).

Poetry

Brahmaputra, My Bosom Friend

(At the Sukreshwar Temple Ghat)

Swashing waves sing and sail, satiny sunrays join the cadence,
lend me a song too, oh, the mighty Brahmaputra – my bosom friend.


You have come a long way from the lap of the Himalayas
listening to the songs of boatmen rowing on your chest,
cackles of the village beauties carrying a water pot on their heads, melody of the innocent laughter and joy of the naked children playing and splashing.

Narrate me the myriad tales you heard on your shores across the towns and villages, of the past and the present. Your generosity blossomed many a tree and a flower, a bird and a bard alike.

I know you got nothing, oh, my bosom friend except for the ashes of the dead and sewages of the alives. I deeply apologize for that. And promise I won’t let you be damned. So, lend me a song and narrate me a tale.

Sangeeta Das~2019

Poetry

The Moonflower

Moonflower, in the evening
unfurling her petals,
spreads fragrance
for a rendezvous with the moon,
her first crush, a superstar.

There he comes, waves and departs.
And she shines, sways and sighs
for he’s too far.
The sphinx moth allured by her fragrance
hovers and collects her nectar.

But her first love never fades
though she fades soon after.


Sangeeta Das
(2003)

Poetry

A Painter

My lovely couple of eyes!

Shall I compare you to

Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo

or Leonardo da Vinci

when you gathered myriad of hues

from the quills of birds

and wings of butterflies,

from the orbs of rainbows,

and petals of flowers

to paint beautiful dreams

in a myriad of numbers

beneath your lids

at the arrival of sweetheart

in my heart?

But the darkness of night

dropped its colour too

into your palette

spilling blackness

at your feet and in my heart,

spoiling the tender petals of love

when he didn’t arrive in my life.

My weary couple of eyes!

Shall I still compare you to

Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo

Or Leonardo da Vinci?

Sangeeta Das

2004

Poetry

Usha Aniruddha Love Story

 

 

Blinded by love, prodded by pride
Banasura kept in an enclosure
his beautiful daughter Usha.
The divine by its intricate design
opened the golden gate of dream
through where into her heart
Usha saw her soul mate entering.
Chitralekha, a dear friend and enchantress,
sketched Aniruddha – the grandson of Krishna
through the vivid recounting.
Love is free as the air and water;
finds its way, crosses all hurdles;
breaking the bars of cruel love
set up by the King Banasura
Usha directed Chitralekha to kidnap Aniruddha.
In no time he found himself at Agnigarh
and fell in love with the Princess,
enraging Banasura to tie Aniruddha with snakes,
opposing the union of sura and asura.
Krishna as a rescuer defeated the asuras,
drove the demon king under the protection of Shiva,
leading to a catastrophic war of hari-hara,
when Shiva took out trishula, Krishna his chakra,
spilling blood and causing deaths.
Only Brahma stopped the war further,
Banasura, realising his mistakes,
came forward for reconciliation
and Usha Aniruddha were united forever.

Sangeeta Das 2019
Writer’s Note: Banasura, the thousand-armed demon king and the great-grandson of the Vishnu devotee Prahlada and the son of Bali, is believed to have ruled the central Assam with his capital at Sonitpur. An ardent devotee of Shiva, he played the mridanga with thousand arms when Shiva performed the tandava dance. This impressed Shiva to give Banasura a boon and the latter requested the former to be his protector. When Banasura used the boon, it led to the Hari (Krishna) and Hara (Shiva) war. Rivers of blood flowed during the Hari-Hara war and Sonitpur was named Tezpur (the City of Blood). Now Tezpur is also known as the city of eternal romance where tourists can visit Agnigarh hill, the fortress where Princess Usha was kept, and the Chitralekha Udyan.

Poetry

Spring, Bihu And Love


Kuli sorai cooing melodious song, 

kopou, tagar and nahor blooming,
rain beating its own tune,
thunderbolts playing gagana, pepa

declare the advent of spring.


My love, will you express
your love this Rongali Bihu,
by gifting me a phoolam gamosa

to fill my life with fragrance and music?


We will then revere the cow on the Goru Bihu
by bathing it with mustard oil,
garlanding with vegetables
and praying this friend of the farmer.


On the Manuh Bihu
we will make a paste of mah, halodhi,
going out in the open,
near the paddy fields,
near the flowing river
we will take a bath.


On the way, we will pluck from the field
seven kinds of fresh spinach
and green leafy vegetables
to savour it on seven days of Bihu.


You will dress up in sador mekhela

I will be in muga shirt and white dhoti
taking elders’ blessings.


We will then go for mukoli bihu

Where I will be your dhulia
playing the pepa, gagana
and you will be my nasoni,
swaying to the beats I play.


My love, will you express
your love this Rongali Bihu,
making the New Year
the best moment of my life ever?

Sangeeta Das

Writer’s Note: Rongali Bihu, a spring festival celebrated in Assam, marks the advent of Assamese New Year. It is a weeklong festival beginning from April 14 with different celebrations in each of the seven days. The first day is called Goru Bihu and dedicated to the welfare of the cattle. The next day (April 15) is Manuh Bihu in which people take bath with the paste of mah (a kind of pulse) and halodhi (turmeric) and offer respect to the elders, seeking blessings by offering the traditional Phoolam Gamosa (home weaved cotton cloth). The following day is Kutum Bihu in which families gather and exchange gifts. People also worship deities in the village shrines before the celebrations and merrymaking begin. The main aspect of the festival is the Bihu dance and the traditional Husori songs performed by youngsters accompanied by dhuliya (traditional drummer), nasoni (female Bihu dancer) and music troupes with indigenous musical instruments such as Pepa, Gogona, Taal, Dhol and Hutuli. The dancers move across neighbourhoods and perform in courtyards of every household. Kopou is the foxtail orchid and togor and nahor are the flowers that bloom during this season.
I wish everyone Happy Rongali Bihu.

Poetry

Crescent Moon

Trees, standing still and silent,
partly covered in the thickness of the night,
watch the grand gait, awestruck.

 

Crowds of clouds thronging the sky
once covering once revealing
give way to the king.

 

There sails the crescent moon
in the shape of a ship
through the sky with no haste
unlike the fast-paced world below
that shrugs off the snail pace sailing.

 

Unfazed by the mocking world
the moon continues with its own way.
If it too runs like us
who will calm our nerves,
who will soothe us in distress?

 
Sangeeta Das

NARRATIVES

The Angry Bird

Mary Kom, the 2014 Bollywood movie based on the famous sportsperson by the same name from the North-eastern State of Manipur, has been truly inspiring. The journey of her life from being an angry schoolgirl beating all odds to an international sports icon achieving her goal has been depicted well.

After watching the movie, what inspired me apart from her dedication and achievements in the field of sports was her way of converting the negative energy into a positive one through boxing. I instantly related to the protagonist as I am an angry woman too. However, Mary Kom’s praiseworthy action differed from my regrettable action. I then recollected incidents related to anger, including two childhood incidents.

Once, as punishment I let my baby sister shiver in the cold. Later, I fell asleep forgetting about her suffering. Another time, I tore to pieces some of the paint works of my younger brother and smashed under hammer his favourite toy car. I still regret those cruel acts and their reference here may be a kind of written apology to them.

With the passage of time, my siblings, my own, may have forgiven me or forgotten these bitter memories. But later in life, I realised that the outer world is crueller and one can’t use anger to deal with it every time. I experienced this on many occasions.

During my stay in a hostel, I shared a room with two students. One was nice. The other, a dominating and outspoken one, instigated me on a few occasions to have a verbal fight. This only led to anxiety in me while she remained untouched. We, the calmer duo, in her absence, discussed the matter, trying to solve it without resorting to violent ways or taking the matter to the warden. During one such discussion, suddenly an idea hit us. Why not hit her pillow to pour out our anger? We translated our idea into action. To our surprise, we laughed till our hearts ached.

As we grow up and come out of our shell, next to home is the office where we spend most of our time. Here, dealing with bosses and colleagues need many skills. Some say to survive in a job, one should follow the mantra ‘the boss is always right’. I changed a few jobs as I couldn’t follow this mantra and expressed my anger rather than using the diplomatic way of resolving a few problems. In fact, I earned the name angry bird from a senior colleague-cum-friend because of this trait.

Later, I regretted those decisions until I was lucky enough to find another job. I remember, one of my hostel mates suggesting a funny idea to deal with the boss when angry – say nothing, just stare into their eyes. It really works. They stop scolding you and they seem to understand your state of mind. I never tried this one.

And how does one deal with matters of the heart when love is unrequited? My feelings find expressions through woven words as we all know words are mightier than a sword (my twisted version of a pen is mightier than a sword). It is another way of converting the negative feelings into a positive one.

On analysing the reasons behind my anger, I found that sometimes it stems from an identity crisis, the natural instinct to gain supremacy, lack of communication, ardent desire to get something, etc. In my case, it has led to stress, strained relationships and kept me bereft of monetary benefits. Anger can also have a greater impact on our society as a whole, if not controlled.

Life is too short to remain angry and society is too precious to turn it into hell. If some of you are facing the same problem, wake up soon and shoot the angry bird in you by conversion of the energy as I did.

Sangeeta Das

Features

Students For A Cause

Sanguine Sangeeta

If you believe today’s youth are all about fashion and gizmo-flaunting, think again.

SANGEETA DAS meets a few Delhi University students who work for the uplift of the poor

It’s the era when youth is generally seen following latest trends in fashion and flaunting updated gizmos. But not all. A few students from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), University of Delhi, have different priorities. They have taken up the task of shaping the future of the poor, with projects like ‘Life On Wheels – Let Them Own What They Owe’, ‘DU Darshan – Know Your Campus’, and ‘Crafting Their Destiny – Changing Lives Creatively’.

These projects, sponsored by SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise), a non-profit organisation spread across 1,300 universities in 45 countries, was first introduced in SRCC in 2007.

Meet Ashima Gupta, a IInd-year student of BCom in SRCC. She is the co-president of SIFE. “In SRCC, there…

View original post 776 more words

FICTION

For One And A Half Rupees

 

A semi-autobiographical narrative

 

 

The summer sunrays were still shining in the May sky of Allahabad but not enough to burn the tender skin of children, who were out on the playground of the Army family quarters’ campus. It was the beginning of the holidays after exams were over. What could have been more stress-free and fascinating thing than this for the children! Otherwise restricted by my strict parents, I too was allowed to come out of the confinements of the four walls to enjoy the free air.
In the front of our quarter, my father had planted black mulberry, its height reaching up to five feet. The plant was surrounded by coriander seedlings. To protect the vegetation from cows and goats my father had put fencing of woven stems of wild plants available in abundance in the nearby areas.
I was a bit of recluse, always liked to roam around alone rather than playing with children of my age. I was only seven years old then. As soon as I stepped down, my feet first took me near the black mulberry plant – touching its green leaves I asked, “When would I be able to eat the fruits?” As if answering me it swayed, “Wait, let me grow. I am too young, like you. Everything has its course of time to complete.”
Obtaining this knowledge, I then set out for a walk on the road within the campus. I crossed a few quarters. After half an hour I felt tired and sat on a kerb. I was thinking where to go next when my sight fell on a two years old child, playing near the window of the first floor of the quarters.
On zooming in the view, I saw the child was playing with one rupee and fifty paisa coins. Suddenly, I felt greedy. My mind knew that the toddler couldn’t have held the coins for longer from falling down. I waited patiently to see it happen. Hardly after ten minutes, it did really happen and like an alert, agile eagle I picked up the coins and ran towards our quarter. While running, I once looked back at the child. He was innocent and looked at me clueless but didn’t cry.
When I reached near my quarter, sitting on the grass I pondered over a problem – where to hide this possession! I picked an empty matchbox, put the coins there and somehow crossed the fencing to be inside and hid the treasure box under the soil. It was the only safest option for me than my school bag, which was frequently checked by my siblings to steal my possessions.
Marbles, coins, stickers of cartoons, Bollywood actors and actresses received free with chewing gums among other things were my favourites and I kept a collection. My siblings would always steal my collections and happily take those to mother, who would then angrily tear and throw away those stickers (thankfully not the marbles and coins). This was a way of taking revenge from me by my younger ones.
Actually, as an elder, I was given special power to rule them in absence of my parents. The duration of my special power included the time when we went to school and came back from there and when we played together. But that time I felt happy to have acted cleverly.
Since that day, I would carefully avoid my family member’s sight and check if the matchbox was safe. Inspection continued for almost two weeks. Knowing that my things in the school bag were safe and that my siblings were not checking, I felt an urge to keep my possession closer to me. I thought most probably, they left this habit or got something better to do. I happily took out the matchbox and put the coins inside my bag.
Two days later, I saw my mother holding the coins on her palm, her eyes red with fury wanting to know about the source of my earning. I couldn’t have stood the tag of a thief when she asked me if I stole it from someone. I remained silent. Inside my mind, I tried to defend myself by thinking that I was not a thief but my luck helped me in gaining those coins. Rather than explaining the whole incident I just said that I got the coins on the way while playing.
My mother slowly calmed down to know that I didn’t steal. However, she took the coins in her possession. My parents always thought that a child of my age should not come in contact with money, fearing that we may develop some bad habit and buy illegal things to consume. If we wanted anything, they assured us to provide it.
After parting with my possessions, I neither cried nor scolded my siblings for taking the coins and reporting the matter to mother. Deep inside my heart, I knew that these two coins belonged to that innocent child and just for the one and half rupees I had compromised with my conscience. The leaves of black mulberry swayed again, but this time as if accusing me of wrongdoing. Since then I promised never to compromise with the conscience in life.

 

Few days later, when my father brought a chocolate for me, I walked down the road to the same quarter, knocked an unknown door and when it opened, offered my chocolate to that known innocent child. It brought a smile on the child’s face and I felt light.
Sangeeta Das

Poetry

A Discovery

 

It’s my weekend again…
But this time no outing,
no partying and no shopping.
Hell! There’s no electricity too!
Now, worrying, what will I do?

Opening the window, now standing here,
I let the natural light lit my room.
Looking at the tree nearby –
enjoying the tweets of a little bird,
I asked her, ‘O, you sweet little feathery friend.
Where were you for so long?
Why you bereft me of your sweet song?

In response, she tweets,
‘I have been always here,
on the tree, my dear.

It’s you who closed your ears.
You let dissolve the rustle of tree leaves
by the rustle of currency notes
and my songs by earphones.’

Oh! You are right my little birdie.
Nature is the best and free luxury.
Today, this is my amazing discovery.

Sangeeta Das

 

 

Poetry

Award Winning Night

 

On that glittery, star-studded night,
amidst the echoes of thunderous applause,
flashes of cameras, with all focus on him
he received his maiden award.

The heart-warming speech was given,
autographs were taken by the admirers.
Congratulatory messages kept showering.

At home on his bed,
his wife with all her oomph and charm
was ready to make love to him more than ever.

Reciprocating, he loved her and moaned,
with tears in his eyes, saying,
‘I wish you were alive Dad to hold my award.’

Sangeeta Das