Calypso’s Song



The clock mourns

Its death toll.




My face is flushed,

My eyes are red,

I burn with the fire

Of a thousand suns.




The handkerchief is wet

It could dry an ocean,

But the last tear was one too many.




The black spectacles lie discarded.

Salt water stains




A trembling pen,

A confessional page,

My heart bleeds.




Want naught,

I have it all,

But –

Still my heart bleeds.






Someday I would like to run away.

Not anywhere in this world, but somewhere far, far away.

In my mind’s eye I can nearly see it – a lush green meadow, brimming with sunlight, and blissfully empty.

There I will drop the facade I am forced to carry around everyday, and be me…me with abandon.

I will RUN.

I will run, obscenely fast, till the wind in my ears drowns out all thoughts and feelings – no grief, no love, no happiness.

I will run till I can run no more, and then I will fall down on the grass (damn my allergies!), and I will SCREAM!!!

I will SCREAM.

Scream till I can scream no more – scream HATE and scream LOVE…feelings too obscene to be spoken about directly in our twilight world of dainty manners. It’s not ‘right’ to love too much; it’s not right to take anything so to heart. Tread lightly, they tell me, it’s the only proper thing to do. Don’t let anyone affect you, and if they do – for heaven’s sake – don’t tell me, lest we both drown.


I will LAUGH!

Laugh so hard that tears fall down my cheeks, and my knees buckle with mirth. The kind of laughter that provokes Destiny.

I will CRY.

Crying isn’t becoming. Sorrow is a plague. Hide your tears under make-up and shallow words. But I will WEEP…someday, the ocean within me shall get its deserved release.

I will DANCE.

I will move with abandon, sing breathlessly, and –

I will LIVE.



Someday…soon…but not today.

A To-Do List awaits me.



Not Today.


Book Review: Loyal Stalkers

final_cover_3Chhimmi Tenduf-La’s third book ‘Loyal Stalkers’ fall into the hitherto unexplored space between novels and short stories. Even after I finished the book I still can’t say with utmost certainity whether it was an anthology of stories, or a novel with different chapters. Here’s the closest I can come to explaining it:

It’s a tapestery of emotions and ordinary lives inter-connected in ways they can’t fathom.

After all what connection can a rape survivor, a corrupt godman, a gang of thugs, a serial killer, a tsunami orphan, a nanny, and a couple of high school cricket players possibly have?

The book traverses geographic and class borders to sculpt a microcasm of everyday life that thrives in coincidences and corelations.

Like his previous novels, this book too engages all five senses till you can nearly imagine yourself standing in the suffocating room where a teenager is giving birth, in the posh bedroom where a couple wakes up together, in the squalid hut of a single mother, and in a small cafe one sunny morning.

You’re both with the characters and also an omniscent observer of the entire scene. As a reader you share their pain and rejoice with them in their little truimphs; and also deduce connections and foresee conclusions they can’t.

If I had to describe the book in one word, I would call it ‘human’. The entire gamut of human emotions find expression here: love, obsession, jealousy, betrayal, loyalty, fear, compassion, and affection.

What I love about all of Chhimmi Tenduf-La’s novels is that they are unabashedly human – there’s no romantic serendipity here, which makes the flaws of his characters all the more forgiveable.

You’re horrified by the obessive stalker hiding out in his love interest’s house, but what’s more horrifying are the traces of empathy you feel toward the narrator, in a very Poe-esque manner.

The end, however, I found to be anti-climatic. This is the first story by this author that employs elements of suspense in the plot. The build-up to the final chapter is note-worthy, but by then you’re too invested in the plot and the character’s lives, and the ending was a tad bland for my taste. It isn’t enough to know that the mother reunited with her long lost son, I am eager to know exactly how that reunion transpired – what did they say to each other after so many years, how did they foster a bond?

At the end of the book, I was the young child screaming in rage and disappointment as her mother switches off the TV half-way through a cartoon episode, and tells her to go to bed. “No! I want more!” But such a reaction, in the end, only speaks volumes about how good the book was.



In a room with my murderer

I look into the eyes of my killer,

And I know I face certain death,

There’s no mercy in those eyes, and I bet:

When the time comes there will be no hesitation either;


Pitiless, vast black pits of hell – did I see a flash of red?

There’s nothing else in this world I quite so dread.

She tilts her head, peers at me —

A lazy smile on her face: There’s nowhere to hide.

Anywhere you go I come along for the ride.


I flinch, and the reflection steps back too.

I am glad of the cold mirror that separates me —

From you.


Wish someone had warned me,

The monsters under my bed:

Are the ones that crept out from my head.




Beauty and the Beast

“Here” she thrust the folded piece of paper hastily torn from a notebook into my hands. Her perfectly manicured nails, though the school didn’t allow us to wear polish, scratched my wrist and drew blood.

“Give it to him”. I watched her run away. Her lithe figure and grace made even the grey tunic of the school uniform look elegant. I remembered holding the skirt straight while she cut the extra inches of cloth away till it was high enough to ride dangerously above her thigh when she sat. Silver earrings dangled from her ears, hair tied in a messy ponytail and just a hint of eyeliner that was too subtle to break the ‘no make-up’ rule of our campus.

Plump, graceless and clumsy I was the antithesis of my best friend. Our friendship was the biggest mystery of our school. All I knew was that Parul had been my friend ever since I could remember. We had entered kindergarten holding hands and grown up together, sharing everything from toys to homework.

We lived next door, played together every evening, swore a blood oath to be best friends forever at eight, lost our first tooth on the same day, bled together for the first time and even received the same marks in all exams. Yet puberty decided to bestow on her a gift while all I got were pimples.

Suddenly she was the most popular girl in class and I was the fat nerd. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ our classmates called us. Parul would drag me along to birthday parties I hadn’t been invited to; shopping at stores where nothing ever fitted me and to lunches with the other girls….till I complained and refused to go along. Yet every night she comes over to my house, and over homework tell me stories of her life, as far from mine as possible.

Boys fell all over her but she would politely kept her distance from all of them…till Abhimanyu arrived. His family shifted from Dehradun and he was wonderful! Tall, smart and a wonderful sense of humour. Sparks flew from the moment Parul and Abhimanyu met. Abhimanyu wrote a poem for her and put it in a Nicholas Sparks novel that he lent to Parul.

I never expected to see my friend act like a lovestruck heroine from the movies, but she did. She would suddenly drift off into day dreams that would make her smile and blush, and behind her notebook she doodled hearts with ‘A+P ‘ written in them.

She penned down a reply to his poem but her courage wore off when it actually came to giving it to him.

He was sitting with a gang of friends in the garden. I walked over. The other boys sniggered at my audacity to approach them, but Abhimanyu smiled and shifted to make room for me to sit. He was always kind to me, and sometimes when Parul had other plans we would walk to the bus stop together. When we were alone like this he would tell me stories about his childhood in Dehradun, and cracked jokes that had me doubling over with laughter. I loved those afternoons.

“I have a message for you from Parul”.

He looked at me expectantly. The note fluttered in my pocket.

The words came out in a rush, “She doesn’t like what you wrote. She asked me to ask you to stay away from her”.

I ran as far from his disappointed face as I could. And once I was out of sight, I took out the folded note, tore it into as many pieces as I could and threw it in the nearest dustbin.

If this was a divine test of my loyalty I failed.

Cupid in Hell smirked.



Just In Jest

“Come on! What are you afraid of, chicken?”

“I told you, I am not in the mood. Feeling really tired…it’s been a long day”.

“It’s not a competition. Just a playful thing, no marks, no winners. C’mon, where’s your sportsmanspirit?”

“Okay then. Fine”.

Dust and gravel are shaken out of their stupor; breaths in rhythm to the limbs; and an exalted cry of truimph. “Hahaha! I win. Suck it loser”.

You said it was just in jest. No winners, and definitely no taunting!”

“Oh please, there are always winners. Why else would we compete? L-oser!”




A Song of Parting

We avoid each other’s eyes.

The fly on the glass enchants me.

He is riveted by my earrings;

Silver little things that sparkle in sunlight,

And dance with the wind.


Rip the bandage,

Painful and quick!

“I can’t do this!”

I repeat the oft told lie,

“It’s not you, it’s I”.


He doesn’t look at me,

But beckons the waiter:

With an unsteady finger,

“Bill please –

We are done here”.


I don’t often write poetry, and this is a shaky attempt after a long time. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Thank you. 


Short Story – Nerve


The clock struck 6, and like every day in the past two weeks, the well-dressed young man with ruffled hair, walked into the restaurant and headed straight to the bar.

“One whiskey”

The bartender was already reaching for the bottle.

The young man gulped down the contents. He shuddered and ran his hand through his hair. “One more”.

The bartender had the glass ready. He slid it across, and in jest asked, “So should I keep a bottle of champagne ready?”

The young man didn’t speak, but his hand sneaked into his trousers’ left pocket and caressed the velvet box inside.

“Show it to me again” the waitress walked over.

Wordlessly the youth took the box out and flipped open the top. The radiant gem sparkled with vivacity for its enraptured audience.

“Wow!” the waitress sucked in her breath wistfully. “She’s one lucky girl!”

The bartender laughed, “Well she would be if he ever worked up the nerve to ask her”.

“We met here…”the youth spoke convulsively and in small bursts. “A common friend’s birthday…I couldn’t take my eyes off her…three years we have been going out…I thought maybe…”His voice trailed off with the despair of his nervousness.

The bartender felt sorry for his young patron, and with a paternal air said, “C’mon, just ask her today. You love each other and it will all work out”.

“Nerves. I have always suffered from it” the youth spoke again. “I would freeze whenever they sent me to the front of the class…well it’s too late now…she was there yesterday…at the metro station…if only I had asked sooner….”


In memory of the victims of Brussels and Turkey attacks.




Thanks for the Memories


In three days, I will be done with my end semester exams and will become a college graduate. And there are only two things that I shall be taking along with me from there:

  1. A document pronouncing me as a graduate
  2. Memories

The first one undoubtedly is important because it will help me in whichever career path I chose in the near future, but the latter is paramount.

It is this wealth of memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and on dark, gloomy days of montony and amidst strangers in a foreign land, the wisps of days gone by will make me smile.

It is a difficult realization: my friends and I, after spending a few years together and aiding each other in the painful process of growing up, shall now part ways. Of course we shall promise to keep in touch, but promises slowly fade away.

Some of us will become famous, and we one fine day, we shall see them on the TV and with a start cry out, “Oh! I knew her!”, and stare at the screen, mentally comparing the gawky teenager we knew to the well-groomed celebrity on screen.

News of some will filter to us through other acquaintainces, and we shall delight or rue their truimphs and defeats vicariously. (In our hearts, we shall long for those days when we were the ones they confided all their news to first).

Some we shall meet, suddenly, in markets and at the bus stop.

“How have you been?”

“Good. Can’t complain, and you?”

“Just doing fine”.

At this point his bus arrives, and we both move on with our lives, and maybe later that night reminisce about the’good old days’.

Maybe right now I am being cynical but change is scary. And yet part we must for whatever next adventure life takes to.

There’s only one thing that can be said…Thanks for the memories!



Roses Are Red,Thorns Are Black.

My best friend, and one of the most talented writers I personally know, recently started blogging. This is her latest poem. Do give it a read! 

It isn’t your lips with the fragrance from roses, it’s your body bleeding from the thorns. It is when you don’t kill each other, and neither do you let each other live. It is not a colorful picture with chocolates in candle lights. It is the passionate one behind thick fumes of smoke.

Source: Roses Are Red,Thorns Are Black.