Nabanita Sengupta (Voices Within 2023)

Nabanita Sengupta teaches in an undergraduate college and beyond the college hours, enjoys dabbling in creative and critical pursuits. An academic, translator and creative writer, she has been variously published in India and abroad. Her latest publication is an anthology of poems, In-between Selves. 

 

Amritsari Tales

 

The gates looked on,

twelve ancient sentries

as the city changed contours

time-travelling across

the charmed gullis of

an old world harmony,

through a tenuous peace

tentative tightrope walk

till blood took over the lanes

 

Love, abhor, peace, unrest

riding upon the sea-saw of time.

Each moment that blood spoke,

the land of panch nad* rose,

this city changed contours

and the gates looked on.

 

Yet, it's heart throbbed

wrapped in velvety affection

the epicentre

Indestructible, infinite, unsullied

no wolves of suppression,

no crazy gunshots

or corpse filled trains

or blows that painted

Golden temple red

could pluck out

its warm, throbbing core

 

In its gullis,

across thick creamy lassi

and musky smell of vadis

love oozed

ancient walls awaited crumbling

making space for new

the city changed contours

like a trendy fashionista,

and the sentries looked on….

 

*5 rivers of Punjab

 

 

Kolkata - a timescape

 

Trams carry time

upon its slow moving wheels,

lazily cutting through the city roads

bewildered by the pace

of the world around.

 

I see dreams being sold

in second hand books

and coffee house

dipped in nostalgic yellow

where youth and age meet

over long, unending conversations,

in the fertility rites of birthing

 words immortal

 

Oh my beloved city!

Lazily flow Ganges

just as your arms wrap me

amid all turmoils

and I seek to

snuggle in the warmth

that only you can offer

 

In lanes and bylanes

I walk

as I discover my muse

in your vulnerability

in your strength

in your art

in your poetry

and rediscover myself

in the maze

of lost threads

of an organic You!

 

 

Delhi Dreams

 

A part of my soul

loiters around

in the city roads

in junk jewellery

elephant printed kurits

fixed price sweaters

in makeshift shops

 

sau ka ek*

a promising cry to

millions on stipend

beyond home.

 

In a dream song

I roam the city libraries

or sunday daryagunj market

where books by kilos find

way into canvas bags

 

Or in the walks along ridges

unkempt nature's bounty

like exuberant youth

pulls us into serious conversation

of irreverence and youthful dare

cradle of all revolution

 

pockets of life, all varied,

carry anxieties of performances

floating in from all across

a metropolitan melting pot

 

*a popular cloth hawkers' cry in Delhi markets, meaning one for ₹100.


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