Voices Within: Raja Chakraborty

Raja Chakraborty was born in 1966 and brought up in Kolkata. He grew up in ambient literary surroundings. He is a bilingual poet writing in Bengali and English. He has published four books of 'nonsense rhymes' in Bengali four books of English poems all of which has been well-received and critically acclaimed. A complete read of his works clearly indicates that he is more towards the serious and philosophical in his English and Bengali poems while his flair for humour and satire finds expanse in his Bengali rhymes. He has just published in his new title in English, ‘About Maya and Other Poems’.

In Between and the Labrador

Between now and sunset
I live a thousand lives

A father, a son, a memory
(Count the shadows also)

In the eyes of retrospection 
Fallen leaves on trodden paths
For the beloved
Love letters and after-year songs

For the mother and daughter 
Rivers and pillars alike 

And then I am, believe me
A mother too

And a daughter 
And a brother

The fire burns
Consuming all and sundry
To breathe new life 

In the end one who keeps
The fire burning 
Is burnt to perfection 

Like your Labrador

So, a square meal and
A bed is there 

In the innocent warmth of
Fir and paws 
And the occasional twitch 

You sleep, reassured
Of an even tomorrow

Shame be Us

She waited
For the gap to be bridged
Outskirts of her toe
Poised over the fall

Hot air from the tarmac 
(Pungent from sweat)
Brought a seasoned handkerchief 
Out of the soiled leather
That the air hostess 
With a raised eyebrow 
Had allowed 

(Uniformed non-entities 
Pushing a dream forward
To touch base)

She took to the steps 
Like a bird to air
Jittery with the fear of the unknown 

Only there was no nest
And no song to sing 

For she keeps dying
In motel beds
That murders her soul every night

In different cities
With different breaths

And will keep doing so until 
She has no death left in her 

Probably it will get 
A corner reference in a
Local daily 

Probably she will go unnoticed 
Like so many tears

Probably she’ll have many rebirths
Destined to the same ending

Till we stop writing obituaries 
In the name of an excuse
Called shame


When the bougainvillea wilted
I knew it was time

For the count to begin

Summer is always a cruel month
Bitter rays brandishing terror
Heat of the moment and thereafter
Smoked dreams

Sweat lines on eyebrows-
The only memory of the last shower

Weather-beaten hours 
Melt down, in submission 

The bougainvillea
Endures it all
In a rush of defying colors 
To cover the rough-used tar
In elegance 

Like my many faults 
Absolved, in the depth of your eyes

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