Of love and poetry and hunger

I met a man who had left love for hunger. No poetry could console him, he had found the right way. And he wanted me to remember his broken love. It trailed behind him, his bright banner as he wandered the world, gathering to himself the lesser feelings. He had to have those, the small coins, because he had lost so much. A man does not choose his roots. When he cannot change them or change the direction in which they grow, he leaves them behind.

From me he demanded full acceptance or nothing at all. My words did not reach him. He took them and dissected them at the kitchen table and showed me their remainder. Then he put them aside. He would brook no argument, he wanted so much love. And he made his world small, and direct, and simple, taking all refuge in loss and short distances.

And when I left he bade me remember the love he had left behind. And he bade me speak with fire and slay with pen. I said I could not promise, I did not command my muses. He did not believe me, this self-made man, so he let me go. This Kashmiri man, this Indian woman.




“tomar kono badhon naai
tumi ghor chara ki taai |
ei acho bhataae aar
ei to dekhi jowaar e

bolo kothae tomar desh
tomar neiki cholaar shesh”

[Decontextualised quotation above from the Bengali song “O Nodire Ekti Kotha Shudhai” adapted for film “Siddhartha” (1972)]