Voices Within: Nabanita Sengupta

Nabanita Sengupta, an assistant professor of English in Sarsuna College has two books of translation to her credit. She has also edited an anthology of critical essays on Women’s Displacement and an anthology of poetry. Her e-book of short stories has been recently published and her creative as well as critical writings have been variously included in books and journals. 


Untitled 1

In the morning twittering of birds
by the silent Rupnarayan, 
and a slow rising sun, 
a quietness filled the heart.
It spread like a warm snuggle
till all I felt was a nothingness, 
time suspended upon the 
tide of animated quietness.

Cacophony of daily musings
stuck leech like to existence,
dropped off the skin, 
revealing the translucent glow 
nurtured of a nonchalant life

The voice once constricted, 
by the meaningless exchanges
felt strangely liberated, unrestrained
by the restrictions of discipline, 
fence of culture, nurtured by 
an ego-fed, omnivorous world.

Like yellow leaves on that 
faraway flowering tree,
the mundane fell off, 
slow, painless, like raindrops. 

Sitting by the river, I grew branches, 
that touched the sky.
My roots dug deep inside, 
into the consciousness of 
a void - stark, naked as the new-born, 
and through leaves
I learnt to breath in 
that empty space of being.

Like the tree of consciousness, 
rooted, quiet, 
I felt more alive
than 
ever before.
***


Untitled 2

and the fragments were
hugged back into whole -
while lips stitched those
torn pieces back
a pair of hands smothered
creases off the surface
left by an unkind time
hungry tongue set flame
to residual sorrows
hid in nooks and corners

there are forces
stronger than ties
that I am bound to -
Insoluble, unbreakable

body carries marks within itself
Its own hieroglyphic script
etched with time to concretise
into a scripture of its own
***


The Seasonal Planter

I am a seasonal planter
a seasonal whimsical planter who pots when the heart is awash - 
full of happiness that it's ready to burst
or of a contentment that provokes its lazy fingers
or of a burning, mad rage typical of the Avengers unleashed
or of the mellowed brimming nostalgia that gets stronger like old wine, each year
or the darker clouds of depression- they too have their shares 

words hang from my verandah
olive, fuschia, magenta - names quite a mouthful, 
or the everyday green red yellow blue 
and they vary from season to season too 

in the cloudy melancholy of a cold day
the words sputter like the choked mouth of an old scooter's carburetor
I blow and huff, push the stuck words out. 
The discomfort grows into diffident pinks 
of the newly potted petunia, 
little before it breaks out loud
into a riot of colours, caring a fig for the world.

or in the angry summer heat, 
like the periwinkles daring to bloom,
to confront the blistering sun
they have a perseverance so often drilled into women,
uprooted, they root in whatever they find, wherever. 
Uprootedness - becomes a way of life.
Defiant words on my lips, unabashedly lose home,
home an intangible concept for a homeless tribe

rains usher a romance, many have said;
too much have been spoken of that,
my July Jasmines send scent of thumris
to the cloudy sky
Radha had had her time, love no more
is free, 
uprooted, like that intangible home ….

in my whimsical, seasonal garden
I grow my heart and soul 
organic, unfertilized by the chemicals…
in a non-AC room of my present home, discomforts melt. Words grow out of a desire
to live and grow into branches.
I prune my heart of excesses,
teach it to live and life begins - 
it lives on a roll
and slowly, my rolling stones 
gather momentum of their own.
***

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