Because some cities are absolute poetry

And yes I am missing Melbourne like a lover, the kind of missing that creates an ache right next to your heart, and all you want to do is fly back, wrap yourself in that unfamiliar drizzle, search out the gravity pulling you back and let it hold you inside its Soul, like a secret, like an old love story. (At Changi Airport, 4th August ’13)

Since August last year, I’ve always thought of Melbourne with a wishful sigh. My four days of wintry whirlwind didn’t quench my thirst – it left me wanting more. When I sat at the airport watching an infant sun run her tongue on the metal aircrafts, my throat burnt. I wanted to run back into the speckled shadowy arms of the Victorian buildings under the sweet smelling star-lit shawl of the Yarra. I discovered the city on the my last night, a little tipsy from all the wine at my first tasting at the Yarra – Continue reading

Moments II

Everyday I travel 40 km up/down in crowded suburban locals. College and back home. Outside the window of the beige and green Eastern Railway locals, Bengal unfolds her saga of pleated greenery. Fields blend into each other. Deep greens and pale greens. Sap greens. Moss greens. Greens of devious algal delight. I don’t count telegraph poles anymore, or watch with wonder how the wires dip and rise, dip and rise. These days life calls their little dance, sinusoids. I watch, like everyday, and my eye are balls of fatigued marbled glass. Continue reading

Of long lost summer vacations

Dear Maa,

I am spending the summer with Dadu-Thamma in Begambari. Dadu talks of you all the time. You know, finally we have electricity here! And the roads are no more mud tracks. And Dadu has planted a new mango sapling called Amrapali and Thamma’s knitting me a new sweater, red with pompoms. God! There is so much I want to tell you about.

Summer is blooming and Dadu’s orchards are graciously ripe. The wind whispers and waltzes all day inbetween the trees. And sweet, wet rain comes pelting down at will, tapping the tin-roof, beating music out of the silence and suddenly the scent of earth and wood permeates everything. There are caterpillars everywhere, munching fresh leaves- half of them dying beneath feet of careless men, half curling into the chrysalis, metamorphosing into bright yellow butterflies. The sojhne trees are their favorite! Tall crowds of grass beckon you, waving their arms, from every direction. The sky is usually a perfect blue, with clumps of fat white and grey clouds lazing around. The atmosphere is scrubbed clean. Mimosas crowd the aisles inbetween fields, their fuzzy purple heads held high. I watch with delight as their pinnate leaves shy away at my tender touch. Today baba took me around the village, to see our fields and the village school. The palash trees are still in bloom- fiery red flowers blaze the naked branches. The ponds are full with hyacinths, their iridescent peacock plumed petal mesmerise me. You know maa, they have replanted the paddy and I slipped and fell into the thick mud. Had to claw out my sandal! My legs and arms were nicely splayed and baba said let it be and laughed! He laughs so little these days. Life is suddenly so empty without you.

Continue reading

A little more closer

Outside the little square window, there is a fetal moon hanging by an invisible thread. It floats over billows of silver clouds. Everything else is black, save a few pinpricks called stars.

I rest my head on his shoulder. Flight BA 256 glides smoothly across infinity. We have been together (atleast on paper) for exactly three years now. Our jobs keep us busy, often apart across the country, and holidays are either visiting my loud in-laws or my louder family. Those rare weekends we are together, exhaustion closes in. Bills to be paid, grocery to be bought, laundry to be done and before I know, I am at my desk again, coding. Between us, there are just a few emails. I write epics. He answers in smileys and “hmmm-s.” My husband, Mr.No-frilly-silly-Romance who has never read a novel, let alone a piece of poetry! (His favorite book probably concerns Quantum mechanics. Yes, I could literally cry!) Continue reading

The Happiest Trip *ever*!

For the happiest trip ever?


Yes, I would like to take my family to this sleek, chic, part-Victorian cosmopolis on a holiday. And why not? Melbourne is Australia’s most romantic city, the continent’s throbbing vibrant culture capital!

Melbourne::Magic! Exploring the hidden cobblestone laneways, the arcades, the little boutiques or lazily sipping a rich café latte over those numerous unfinished conversations that get clouded by work at one of the many cafés, Melbourne has all the options. We will see the city riding a Harley Davidson, the neon sparkling in the Yarra, the breeze caressing our faces. *sigh* Or just walking along Southbank, holding hands, re-living those first days of falling in love, whispering sweet nothings, re-living those date nights of gazing into each other’s eyes at the very Italian Guiseppe Arnoldi & sons and later a kiss on the Crown Promenade as the golden fireballs go off! Continue reading

Remembering maa


There happened to be certain scent.

These days I search it in fading photographs, in her forgotten wardrobe unfolding along creases- silks and chiffons- in pages of yellowed books, family gossips and loneliness.

Mom had her own scent, something as distinctly her, perhaps a mix of individuality, or thoughts or emotions. I never asked. After she was gone, I could smell it on myself. Teddy was discarded, I fell asleep curled fetal, relishing her existence off my own skin. It tricked my 5 year old brain into believing she was close, believing that I could hear her heart beating right into my ear. The ache was forgotten for a while, and in the milky warmth that emanates from security I would fall asleep.

17 years later, life is exactly same. But time has deftly unsewed her sweetness from my skin.

Every morning I wake up, sniff in reels of purplish incense smoke and try remembering if she smelt similar. When the first droplets of monsoon kiss the earth, I ask again, and again. But petrichor is different. And so is the sting of freshly mowed grass. And old love letters. And moonlight, or the scent of a concoction of stars and salt waves of phosphor seas. Or the piercing nirvana of eucalyptus oil. Or what hits you when you crush kaffir leaves. Or the pale blue mist floating upwards from the bosom of the Ganges. They are different, I tell myself.


It lives in the lining of Nostalgia, inert ether-like but always so peculiarly alive, so palpable.

Sometimes she feels unreal. I roam through dusty bylanes of my brain, trying to pick up her tender scent, bottle and label it “maa”. I fail. Always. It is as if it has suddenly volatised, and fused seamlessly with the atmosphere. Perhaps if I can ever distill love, I will find it again- that scent lingering on mom’s skin. Perhaps I will be able to remove the cobwebs and relive her presence once again, feel my heart filling up with the peace that regaining every loved-and-lost fills you up with.

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your anklets sing.

the present is blur
we lace fingertips
together- call us mayflies
this sweetness

rushing through my chest
you fill me up.

of yesteryears-
we converse, swingsets
free; feet on wet earth
courting dark trees,
you in molten curls rise
play hide-N-seek, i-

thread flashbacks.
against coffee (with half-a
sleep) fragile clouds
drop a line

or two. you leave
stains of poetry on my cheeks

hearts weeping, old lovers,
we kiss.

©Mohana Das

Published for the AmbiPur Smelly to Smiley Contest on Indiblogger.
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Image Courtesy: Google Images

Of Summer Evenings, Lemonade & Nostalgia


When I shut my eyes, I can still feel mom’s fingers running through my hair. Soft, warm and ripe with love. Sometimes disentangling the obstinate knots. Sometimes in complex movements sketching braids. Sometimes to sooth. Sometimes like a lullaby without words.

images (2)Summer evenings, the sun ebbs low, the dusty Kolkata skyline is a fairy-tale, caressed by a sweet-salt cocktail of the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Quietly tipsy. Evocative. She used to make me lemonades in a pink plastic glass with a stripped straw and the terrace was an oil-paint, brilliant like the vermilion in the parting of her long, dark hair.

She hid the night in her curls, while her fingers worked magic, weaving my lush black hair “across, over, under” like poetry with her six year old darling trying hard to memorize. But every evening I’d fall asleep in her lap. She smelt of jasmines. And freshness. And bliss.

Then one day she was gone, leaving behind a mess of diseased shadows that tiptoed amidst her favorite    flower pots. I missed the music of her anklets, the feel of our evenings in my hair. Alongwith her touch, the softness had vanished from my tresses. There was that twilit hour I had nothing to fill with except with a certain ache. Resigned to my tiny hands, my hair lost their silken feel. Add to this sudden lack of care, the pollution further damaged them. My hair lay limp on my weak shoulders, split at the ends. Like mutilated, desiccated spiders. They seemed to beg mom’s loving, nourishing care. And I didn’t have the heart to chop them off. And I would shut my eyes tight, force myself to remember how she made those braids. And I gathered up the unsympathetic ends in lurid ribbons. Everytime I ran my fingers through my hair, her absence became all the more searing.

Teenage was lost.

And then Dove Split-end rescue appeared, another bottle in another commercial and like every other bottle I decided to give it a try, hoping that mom’s touch would be back in the shimmering, glossy liquid inside. Hoping those ugly split-ends would be friends again. Heal perfectly. Fingers crossed. Like always.

I was surprised.   7552736348_39a7737cfe_z

My fingers, with years, have learnt the distinct motions, the way they deftly wrap strands upon each other. I love braids. The way they hang on my back, nudging the nape of my neck. The way they remind me of those half-forgotten summer evenings. Dove- it holds the magic of mom’s warm fingers, the way it heals those bristly ends with iridescent love. That old texture of my hair is home again. Now, when I run my fingers through my hair, her absence seems a lie. It is as if she is the one, cafuné-ing. Beautifully tender.

On nights I can’t sleep, steeped in nostalgia, I brush those soft ends against my face. It feels, once more, like a lullaby.

©Mohana Das

Published for The Dove~ Beautiful Ends to Your Beautiful Braids Contest on Indiblogger.

Check out the all new Dove Split End Rescue Shampoo here.

Tell your friends that you’ll Never Split Ever!

Photo courtesy: Google Images.


Melbourne ~a love letter

Dear love,

I’m writing to you from the world’s most liveable city- Melbourne!

Melbourne is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! You won’t know if you don’t come here, it’s overwhelming, every bit of it! It is chic, elegant multicultural cosmopolitan and Victorian at the same time; bubbling with life- bright, vibrant, throbbing life. Australia’s cultural capital in every sense!

There are so many things about Melbourne that I want to tell you. The city is charming, and definitely tempting: a mix of old English charm and the new world’s glass and steel glitz. Trams still run here- they give a kind of heritage feel. Remember Calcutta’s hand-pulled rickshaws? Straight out of the pages of history!

The City Centre is full of cafés, and bookshops, designer boutiques, and everything you can ask for! You can lose yourself in the scent of books, read in some cosy bookstore all day or, chance upon street musicians, and shake a leg! Right now, I’m at “Emily’s Place” with a rich caffè-latte, and a terrific lamington. And ofcourse my Lonely Planet Melbourne guide! Wish I could send you this ambience of having a flirty sun in my hair, washed in the aroma of fresh bakes and coffee…ummmm! Next, I am going to visit the colorful Queen Victoria Market, and Southgate. Later in the evening, we go to the famous Eureka Towers to watch twilight in all its magnanimous shades descend over Melbourne, as if kissing her goodnight in a melangè of colors.

Here, the weather is always a surprise! It’s sunny, and suddenly it starts drizzling, and ask a local, they will say they love it! Even I do! Then there’s MCG– the mecca of cricket lovers! I wished to see a cricket match, but it didn’t work out…maybe someday we will, together, and also watch Federer play at the Rod Laver Arena!

The museums and art galleries of Carlton with its strong Italian vibe are magnificent, the architecture, the rich curated collections have won me, and so have the parks and boulevards. It’s wonderful lazing here with an ice-cream, watching people. Life seems to exude serenity! We also went to the Melbourne Aquarium. I loved the Bohemian suburbs of Fitzroy/Collingwood- trendy, and charming.

St.Kilda is beautiful- white sandy beaches, and the sea sparkling like blue champagne. At dusk, the Pier is where you will want to be- the scarlet-purple-gold romance of a receding sun flavors the landscape with magic. It is enchanting, almost palpable, the waves reflecting the skies, prayers on lips. The beauty is bewitching. And here, the nightlife rocks!

And now the crème de la crème- ballooning over Melbourne at sunrise! No words can describe this experience. No matter how many poems I write, or in how many photos I try to capture this flying moment, it cannot come close to what I felt. It was peace, it was beauty, it was nirvana to see the city asleep, while we rode the sky like messengers of Aurora in balloons red, blue, yellow and every other shade, reciting aubades. I can never forget the moment when I first looked down- infinity over me, and life budding underneath.

Tomorrow, we visit the Yarra valley and vineyards on the Puffing Billy Steam Train. Then panning gold at Ballarat (hope I get lucky!) Also on the itinerary, we have snorkeling at the Mornington Peninsula, then Philip island and the Grampians…penguins, kangaroos & koalas…can’t wait to meet them; cute-ness overload! We have also planned a drive along the Great Ocean Road, can’t wait to have brise salée de la mer seduce me!

Melbourne has won me over, dear, and it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW, or maybe we should come together! I could visit this place a hundred times, every visit pulsating with this city’s thrilling unpredictability!

You are here in all my thoughts, love, though continents away. I’m sending in a couple of photos for you. Enjoy them, and take care! Missing you-

Je t’aime,

(The author has never been to Melbourne, this is entirely a sketch of her imagination, and therefore this post cannot be substituted for a guide/travelogue for anyone.)

Image courtesy: Flickr commons, Tourism Victoria, Wikimedia Commons

Published for The Tourism Victoria “…it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!” contest on Indiblogger.
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