Posted in Prose


-Jyotsha Kumar

Such an amusing state of affairs. Failure yet no regret. Heading towards misery yet no fear. A stark sadness emanating from the very bottom of the heart yet no disappointment. Is this acceptance or admitting defeat? At a point in life where you I know I won’t be anything. I know I won’t be anything I wanted, anything that others expected, a total collapse. And amidst all these horrifying soul crushing emotions trying to break out, there is only one semblance of sanity. The only thing that stops me from truly falling apart. The only thing holding back the despair, the frustration, the rage, the anguish, is…

I see how things got here, and I understand it is all on me. I can blame the situations or the people around me but at the center of it all was me and always will be me. I will shoulder that burden. I won’t give excuses. Things were bad but now they are downright disgusting. The hole I have dug myself in is so deep that I don’t even see a ray of light peeping in. Obviously I should be scared. I should be broken. Or perhaps extremely motivated to get myself out of this impossible predicament. That is what a sane person would feel. Should feel. And yet I can’t feel anything. Nothing. The overthinking and wasteful pondering blended with my innate ability to make things harder for myself has exemplified every emotion to a degree where I can’t feel them. If they rush out I will lose my mind. And the thing keeping me sane is the lack of disappointment. So far I have fought off the feeling of disappointment. I know I am not a bad person. I know I am not a stupid one either. I have done no harm and instead have tried my best to help those around me. I have never been one to be baffled by logic. I know I am not dumb. And I just want to do something I love doing. I have made mistakes; things I wish I hadn’t done but I am not disappointed with who I am today. Even though where I am is a despair filled miasma, I am not crestfallen. Is this world this harsh? Is being happy and successful at the same time such an impossible dream? I refuse to believe that. As long as I don’t have regrets, I can’t lose. I won’t be beaten. And as long as I keep the disappointment at bay I will continue existing. I may not be rich. I may not be popular. I may not the best at anything. But I will be content. I will find a way. I will be happy.

This is my proclamation. This is my act of defiance. I refuse to believe that this world has no place for a simple person like myself. From the depths of failure and despair I will strive. I still don’t have anything to work towards. No decided occupation, no particular place or position I see myself in. So I will strive for the only thing I can; the only thing I know. I will strive to live.

Posted in Poetry

Seven Selfish Sunrises



On the eucalyptus tree
the crows fuss and jeer
and rouse all into wakefulness.
The bittersweet tang of spilt beer
and distant, fading memories,
come drifting
on the careless autumn breeze,
teasing my nostrils, and I,
waiting for dawn to break
on a clouded horizon,
find my troubled thoughts
and countless worries
pale into insignificance
in the
burnished-orange gloom.


a line of poetry written with a splash of blood

a peacock
struts on the lawn
and pays obeisance
to the slanted rays
that manage to slice through
the fog
‘Are you trying to live
the life of a recluse,
reads the mail,
(with a mission or without?)’
I wonder…
some dogs scuffle and play
and raise a dust cloud
a passing guard nods at me
(show of solidarity among the sleepless?)
A mission…
I ruminate on
my toothbrush
and a young man
knelt on a cliff
facing the rising sun
spilling his guts and


a cenar teco

The spider
that has been
sitting on my
for as long as I can remember
has woven a dense
and she sits there calmly
surrounded by her luxuriant gossamer tapestries
and we listen to Ravi Shankar
and we look out our windows
and we watch our small fractions of sky slowly
light up
and the guy next door softly snores
and the babblers frolic about on my balcony
and I
am grateful for her company


felix culpa

I had forgotten her
she had remained distant
I had remained afraid
and the hours and days and years
slipped away
she’d forgotten me,
but that didn’t matter,
remembrances fade
little by little
and the deserts of memory
stretch on

But sometimes
she lingers in my dreams;
sleek dark jungle-cat
under a clouded moon,
bright eyes searching mine.

Always on the fringes
of my dreams, always almost
slipping out
of my eyelashes
and she bows her head
acknowledging my presence
and she purrs
a low rumbling purr and

Androcles steps forward
opens my arms
and says aloud
to the whispering trees
‘please come back.
please let’s just go home’
I’ve gotten so
used to that
wild-cat of mine,
you see,
and I’m never sure
if I should let her go

she comes bounding to me
paws padding through the forest floor and
she laughs
merry and gentle
she turns and walks away
deeper into the forest twilight
eyes twinkling
with a sadness
that is as
as it is
And strangely,
the former never ends as well

we just sit there
huddled in the cold
on a still-warm granite slab
in an overgrown crumbling temple-
-long forgotten
in the ever-sighing forest
sharing a languid cigarette
and we watch
time slowly trickle
and before I can think
of something stupid to say
the sunlight comes creeping in and
steals her away.



adrift, returning
wave upon
incomprehensible wave
from the winedark sea
crash and break
on a wordless shore

I stand
at the compartment door
of a train whistling
through a rainy autumn night,
from aimless travel.

looking out over
muddy rivers
swirling with inundated fury,
and muddy roads
mired with trucks,
I pause
the Buddha
walking through the deer park
obscured by the fog
walking through the thickets
and clearings
following a dust trail
late one moonlit night
the Sakyamuni
walking through the streets
of Benares
as dawn breaks
he steps down the ghats
and into the cold receiving
of the ancient river
and he can see
the wistful rays
that seek to light up
the sleeping temples
which blacken
with the soot from the
burning on the banks
and crackling as if
with hollow laughter
and he has
calm empty thoughts,

I brush the
streaks of raindrops off my face
and shiver a little.
the Buddha, of course,
died of the shits
in a forest.
a little chilled melancholia
never killed anyone.
the hour is late.
electric-lit smokestacks
belch and spew
sickly grey clouds.

nothing to do now but


miss deeds

This friend and I
decide to stay up one night
we sit on a rooftop and smoke a joint
and the crispcold morning silence
is punctuated by
stiffening yawns

Later we scald our fingers
on steaming eggshells
and saunter to our classes
and he is describing to me
the catchy lyrics
to a coarse Odia ditty,
a vulgar oddity,
if you will,
and the imagery
(which I am not going to include here
I’m afraid it would outshine these lines
so let’s just say there were many horses involved
and leave it at that)
took me by surprise
(scrotumtightening as Joyce might say)
and I look up
and this girl walks by
in a Metallica shirt
he stops and stares as well
we’ve never seen her-
short denim shorts
tall, ravenhaired
and she swings past us
just as quick as she came in
leaving behind-
-a fleeting memory of a tightlipped smile
-a faint lingering scent of jasmine
-two dogs drooling
in her wake
It is 7:53 am

And so every friday
that semester
we stay up-
-down that same road
at 7:53 am
making small talk
while our eyes search
the mornings grow colder
the joints grow thicker
we’ve never seen her


empty ghats

i find
myself drawn to
water on deadcalm mor
nings like this, the river, the
sea, the gently gurgling creek;
something in a soft light glinting
off the tingling surface of water,
perhaps, the stillness of the air;
maybe it’s the weight of all the 
associated meanings and the 
oblatory cupped palmfuls;
i sit here, wishing i
could take a dip, and ahab marvels at a whale bleeding out and paying last respects to the
setting sun, and an orange-robed mendicant pets and feeds a wailing puppy and
sings a bhajan in a soothing baritone, and the early-rousing fishermen cast their silvery 
nets from the boats that bob in the distance, free of thoughts; maybe it’s the 
hope in shaking off an invisible, paralysing slumber; i stand up and dust my pants; 
the booze has worn off, and the ride back will be considerably easier. I always wonder why