Valentine’s Day 2016

To Aninda,

Thank you for magically translating I Love You into the perfect poem.



when rain clouds swallow our city and fireflies fold their glow in the shiver of their tiny wings, you sit by the window and wait. from the room across, i look at you and pin away for the slice of your heart that will never be mine. there is the dry shriek of thunder. thorns of bougainvillea pierce the charcoal underbelly of the sky.

a gecko had perched itself on the ledge and watched with beady eyes as we lay spent, perspiring from every pore, the gold of daybreak pooled on our thighs. you had smiled as my fingers ran through your hair. my smile bloomed into a kiss. from over the rooftops, flocks of pigeon carried notes of riyaaz on their wings.

On the Road lies abandoned on your lap; pages turning wayward in the gusty fennel-breathing wind. in my tiny hands i hold unpredictability. sometimes i wonder how love slips from between fingers; how galaxies collide and birth fire balls; how the past resurrects itself and enchants us. the corner of your mouth curves into a tiny smile.

i watch till the rain dissolves the clarity of space and you become a watercolor without form, receding till your window becomes an outline only, a bulb-lit rectangle.

darling, must i ask her story? must i ask if the rain brings her dark eyes back to your mind?

©Mohana Das

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

Letters of Love IX

Dear Love,

It is chilly here in Lorne. From the resort I can see the sea, shimmering cold and impossibly perfect. The waves break on ochre sands, lashing themselves on black basalt to bloom into foamy white surf. I can hear the waves roll in, I can hear the wind wuthering through the leafless trees, etching love-songs on the mountains, and I am lonely. I wish I could wear your scent on my skin right now.

All day, the sun has been playing hide and seek. Cloud amass and dissipate, drawing chiaroscuros on the face of the sea. The beach is empty, devoid of footprints. Long fingers of turquoise stir the rock pools. Skeins of sea-weeds lie around, homeless, red-brown, tattered. I want them to tell me their stories. The air I breath in hurts. I am left to deconstruct secrets.

The streets are empty, boutiques sleepy behind the closed glass doors. I sip a hot cappuccino, warm my hands and walk towards the pier, swimming through a pungent eucalyptic current. I can taste it on my tongue, their stingy menthol kiss. The wattles are slowly blooming, popping into bright yellow fuzz-heads. There are roses and wildflowers and firs. And etched on a plate upon a bench is “In memory of Liam Love.” I think of this little boy I have never known. Sometimes I want to cry. It is a different sadness that fills me up, simply sadness that has no roots. It floats up, and expands. I stare on. The rain clouds shift, and a rainbow arches up.

We are so insignificant. With the sun removing her veil, the beauty is suddenly so powerful it aches. It sucks me in, titillates my nerves and leaves me wanting more- the desperately blue waters crashing in the arms of an obstinate shore, their loud cries for reciprocation and ultimate withdrawal to come back again. Love is like gravity. You come back, you always come back. The track snakes along the ocean, a few feet carved in the hills, redolent with fresh grass. Little red birds and yellow-combed macaws dive down, and before I can catch them on my lens, disappear. Everything is bright and vibrant, pulsating with a new zeal. It feels like winter has been vanquished.

Behind me, Lorne rises on the crescent. The hotels, the resorts, the cafeterias all receding as I walk on. Before me, the Antarctic swells, her huge breast heaving with a thousand orgasms. The pier is a wooden structure, deserted now. I walk to the end, sipping in the salt wind, my mind full of disconnected thoughts, trying to hook up verses and lyrics. Life can be perfect, I repeat in loops. Far away a lone surfer bobs on the waves like a merman.

8pm now, low music spills from my phone. The moon is a crescent, a forlorn slice of ice. I think of the sunrise today, the red throbbing into liquid gold, pooling in the east. Morning bursts, her feathers spreading slowly, swallowing all the blue darkness. And the glassy waves echoing his colors, metamorphosing into metallic greens and blues. I think of those million things I have not said, the million feelings I am scared to explore.


Lorne, VIC
August, 2013


Tour Courtesy: Tourism Victoria

A love letter from the Yarra Valley

4th August, 2013

Dear French guy on the bus to the Yarra Valley today, I like you! Not because of those grey-blue eyes or your dark delicious voice, but because you’re so quiet, so beautifully shy, almost like a slice of diaphanous sigh shimmering against the blurred rosé of a concave sky.

Morning curls her black lashes upwards. I can see the glow, fanning from behind the blocks and bare trees. The streets are wet silk. Last night’s rain fills the atmosphere. I wait for the bus, my knuckles blue with cold. Signals turn red-green-yellow, red-green-yellow in sickening harmony. I am sleepy, as we drive north from the city, the wind throwing herself on the windscreen, into expanses of flat greenery and pretty blossom-laced houses. Continue reading

Letters of Love VII

Dear Love,

The rains do not stop. I have filled up the skies with charcoal scribbles, writing you letters in a million tongues. Trees shoot out new shoots, curled at the tips, greenish-red new leaves who form an intricate zari behind which infinity hangs.

I will be flying over 6000 miles away, wingless over blue oceans, watching seagulls dip and clouds flaking off, the sun undressing, tinsel-stars, all adorning gallons of atmosphere. But despite the maddening excitement, I pin away, missing you on the rough pages of my passport, or chaotic visas. I know I will be home even before you can actually miss me, but sometimes a single day runs into hours, spinning layers on itself recursively. I want you.

I want us.

On similar nights like this, I count fireflies and heartbeats. The rain runs her long fingers on the veranda railings. A multitude of stinging lyrics pool in the vacuoles of my being. I talk to none. I talk of none. On the retina, life flares into polaroids of illusive happiness. I can still feel myself sinking. In the burgeoning dark, I crush emptiness to my breasts hoping it would take your shape.