Poetry: Sanjhee Gianchandani

Sanjhee Gianchandani
Sanjhee Gianchandani holds a Masters’ degree in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College for Women. She is also a CELTA certified ESL trainer. Currently, she works as an English language editor in the K-8 space. In a parallel universe, she would rather be living in the hills, sipping coffee, reading, and writing poetry.

1. Defining My Vagary

Everyone’s talking of ‘wanderlust’
But only to talk of it would be unjust
It soaks your soul rather than the page
Strikes everyone regardless of their age
So, I set off with my luggage

Ironically to get rid of the baggage
But little did I know
that emotions would erupt like a volcano
Sudden restlessness and anxiety curbed me
the moment I bought my tickets
It is ‘resfeber’ they say

‘What’s happening?’ I wondered away in
Anticipation and excitement enmeshed
I set off, braving the extreme weather
I was alone but with many co-passengers
‘What would their lives be like?’ I thought
Looked up the term for it ‘sonder’, I self-taught

The feeling that their lives are complex
populated with dashes of ambition, fears, and craziness
I thought of lonely coffees on corner tables, the one light on
on a secluded window, when they’re dealing with their mess

And me? A ‘solivagant’, I stuttered
fancier than captioning myself as a solo traveller
A person who meanders to take it all in
To my jargon, this term, I shall pin
No fixed itinerary but hungry to be everywhere
and to do everything all at once
‘Quaquaversal’ I am called, not a dunce!

Moving in all directions or happening everywhere
The spontaneous journey is called a ‘derive’, I conjecture
as it is guided more by landscape and architecture
Intensely happy whilst travelling, I contained my ‘eudaimonia’

As I wait at the airport lounge in my hysteria
Smug with all the terms I found
One sums it perfectly ‘fernweh’
Literally distance sickness,
far stronger than wanderlust
This would be my first post
As I am in queue to bite the dust

2. Of Cemeteries in Spring 

An eerie April afternoon of
woeful spring cleaning
a crumpled love note, your sapphire ring
a faint tune, a dusty old diary
where can I see you
if not in the cemetery?

A capricious errand must be done
Old aches rise giving way
to familiar pain
Cold, barren, and motionless
this life after death; I cross
boxes after boxes of people
strewn with decayed baby’s breath

White chrysanthemums everywhere
Symbolic of grief or regret?
Regrets about promises unfulfilled,
words unsaid, and tears unwept
Regrets about cancelled plans
which became their last breath

Sombre looking carnations
remind me of sadder burials
Hundreds of voices unheard
screaming inside the dreary stone
for who will hear their voiceless cries?
who will answer their silent ‘whys’?

Their living corpse entombed here
ironically with no life
only an occasional stray dog perhaps
and a newly widowed wife
A wreath of forget-me-nots
for pretentious remembrance
The prodigal son visits
his father’s grave every Thursday
dutifully marking his attendance

Tulips thrown carelessly
like torn pages from life’s book
Neruda beckons from the dusty bedside table
He writes of love and unvisited brooks
You loved his poems, didn’t you?

I could never give you orchids
while you were here
and now I see the fragility of life
your unfulfilled desires,
dreams that were meant to be
we don’t grow linearly like trees
but your going away
has taught me to be me

The sun has refused to set
Despondency stubbornly prevails
in this hectic April month
with rain instead of spring
Perhaps we will meet in another world
to experience what it brings

3. My Bosom 

Staring at my breasts does NOT
make me uncomfortable
They are an integral part of my body,
of any woman’s body
Understand that. Deal with it.
I could be of whatever cup-size,
voluptuous, deficit or busty
But I am proud of them.
I need not cover them with a dupatta
hide them under layers of clothes
For they too need to breathe
they define who I am
accentuate my femininity,
make me distinct from you
I urge my sisters to be proud and
wear what they like over them
Regardless of the shallow, prying eyes
Immersed in the divine sin of lust
But grabbing them forcibly
would not satiate you permanently
Nor would the merciless
love bites on my paps
ease your erected discomfort
Only my consent will
So, stare, gaze, gawk, and glare
Their roundness may excite,
their curves may invite
But seek permission from
the heart that lies within -
Enclosed, hidden yet penetrable

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