Blue: Arup K. Chatterjee

Arup K. Chatterjee
A little shack trembles
Beside the old railway platform
The station master reassembles
His Bradshaws, an hour after the storm

You whisper, ‘Where are we bound?’
— From inside the mosquito net —
A blue light trickles around
The spot where a pillow has met

Your collarbone. I am seated by the window,
Watching the last of the bogeys.
You raise your chin and blow,
A low whistle to chime with the station master’s keys

‘You just keep counting the trains go by,
When will you write me the poem you pledged?’
You ask me, unlike a siren asks in a lullaby
More like a monsoon shore waiting to be dredged

‘My fingers long to be where your earrings browse
My breath yearns to throb where you make the syllables of my name …’
And thus, I begin my love poem, or of that which love endows
Just when you digress into the memory of some childhood game

You give me false forms, though your passions are never wry
You write me like I am clay, neglectful of the soot and steam
The cloud overhanging the gothic night has poured itself dry
You feign ignorance yet again, that too again in a dream

In the end, as I come to lie down by you
With mawkish reassurances of my clean breast
Coming closer is like bidding adieu
Even the metaphors are overdressed

Bio Note

Arup K. Chatterjee is a full Professor at OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India, and visiting scholar at South Asia Institute, SOAS, University of London. He is the founding chief editor of Coldnoon: International Journal of Travel Writing & Travelling Cultures, which he ran from 2011 to 2018, and an advisory editor at the international journal, Folk, Knowledge, Place. In 2012, he translated the Urdu poems of Firaq Gorakhpuri, published in the biography written by Ajai Man Singh, The Poet of Pain and Ecstasy (Roli 2015). He has authored The Purveyors of Destiny: A Cultural Biography of the Indian Railways (2017), The Great Indian Railways (2018), Indians in London: From the Birth of the East India Company to Independent India (2021) and The Great Indian Railway Saga (2023), Adam’s Bridge (2023) and Ram Setu (2024) besides being the author of over seventy articles and academic papers in national and international publications.

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