Nandini Sahu (Women and Spring)

Nandini Sahu

A Man Like You


Did I paint the image of a man like you and secured you to that

canvas, I don’t really know. But I know, I tailored myself in.


You may ask me, why did I come to your life in the first place?

“Well, not because I was lonely, depressed, blue or was feeling awfully alone.


For those ailments, there is therapeutic support, isn’t it? I sensed my ideal

quest for a man like you when I was feeling the best of my feelings--


contented, romantic, ebullient, jovial, strong, real, feminine.

I wanted to share a segment of those with you, a man like you,in crux.”


You treasured that. You cherished when I said, “if someone

comes to our lives with depression, they will only share that. And


if one comes with optimism, that becomes infectious.”

Then you resolved that I am the most optimistic woman you have come across.


I love the way you touch me without touching me sometimes

and of course your gentle kisses and ardent touch when you are intense.


I know you will never give up on me even if I am grim or otherwise;

I love your catching giggles and the beam. A man like you is my happy place!


You are unceasingly on my cognizance—if they call it love.

You are the man who can finish not just my sentences,


but my thoughts. Are you my Stream of Consciousness,

or that Objective Correlative that I live in reverence?



They say the glass is half-empty or half-full, it’s a construal so false!

How about our new narrative my love -- of filling the quasi-filled glass?


After I had given all my reasons you just winked. As if you knew that you knew

that you knew -- a woman like me is your lifetime quest, your solitary wish.


Manthan—A Ghazal


Then you asked me, why do I shine so bright?

I said, my love, because I am your agenda of the light!


Then you pondered, how can my love be such a delight!

I said calmly, because love, at once, is opaque and clear daylight.


You brooded, “how can someone, how can someone

be a lover of your poise, your repute!!”


I said, Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean, was accomplished to extract

the Amrit, celestial nectar, where the Devas and the Danavas took part.


In a tug of war challenged to roil the elixir from the ocean

bed to attain immortality and eternal life beyond bereavement.


The medieval Hindu Theology encompasses this legend

that the Devas were carrying the amṛit away from the Asuras, adamant.


Drops of nectar fell at four places on the Earth--Haridwar, Prayaga (Prayagraj),

Trimbak (Nashik), and Ujjain, in their divine right.


In the churning of the ocean delightful treasures,the archetypes

for their earthly and heavenly complements were brought.


Oceanic depths brought Chandra, the moon, Parijata, the tree fragrant,

the four-tusked elephant Airavata, Lord Indra's mount.


Amid all that glory and glee of me, your Lakshmi, you churned our fate,

using Mount Meru as the rod and Vasuki as rope, the king of the serpent.


You became Lord Shiva, you chose to devour the poison, you drank it.

In my ‘manthan’, you elected glory for me and for yourself, venom was kept.


Nandini’s conjecture--love churned me, this love was my ‘manthan’.

Love took me out of the darkness of coalfields, like a granite.


My adorable, love is ember, love granite, love murky pebble, love-- a stone bright.

Love devotion, love renunciation, love merger, love—a prayer from the heart.




               “To love is to burn, to be on fire.” – Jane Austen



After the homily today, the much-needed discourse,

after the tête-à-tête after eons

I had those heart-in-the-mouth immersions.

I apostrophized you, my paramour,

and contemplatively recollected the vivid feelings

that we had before ages.

The heart brimmed, eyes teemed, soul abounded.


When you said

thinking of me is ‘an accidental impulse’,

I of course didn’t take that fabrication.

You know love,if you live to be a thousand-years-old,

I want to breathe a thousand-minus-one-day

so that I never have to live run-down of your love.

I love you as certain clandestine things are to be loved,

surreptitious, between the sleuth and the soul.

Despite your I-don’t-love-you edifice, I know, I always know,

that you have been in love

increasingly, and then all at once, the way you fall numb.


There was a time when I thought that you were perfect,

and so I loved you. Then I knew that you were imperfect

like me, and I loved you even more.

I love you for what I am when I am with you

not for what you have made of yourself,

but for what you have assembled of me.

I love you for the fragment of me that you fetch from time’s womb.


Love, thinking of you keeps me wakeful.

Fancying you keeps me benumbed.

Being with you keeps me thriving.

You are essential to me like the heart needs a beat.

I love you and it is the commencement of the whole lot.


You make me wish to be a better person.

Love, now we know, love never dies a natural death.

It dies because we don’t know how to restock its foundation.

It dies of blindness and blunders and perfidies.

It dies of ailment and lesions; it dies of inertia, of acerbic ruination.


But then, now I agree with Theodore Roethke,

“Love is not love until love’s vulnerable.”

Shall I call it the epilogue of love, or a new foundation?

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