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Window Side Story

A poem by Mallika Bhaumik

Photograph by Daniya

The window opens to a slice of sunlit sky

The day is a spread out banana leaf with portions of life in tiny heaps.

A tree grows awkwardly out of the pavement tiles, its hungry roots are like those

unsettled souls who seek something more, travel an extra mile.

Faith is a phallic shaped stone beneath it,
marigolds strewn around, agarbatti sticks burning out the memory of dark nights.

A cobbler sits under the shade, mends and polishes shoes of different size.

Mending is a patient act of reconciliation, an elfin touch of time that tries to bring back the old look, the lost love.

The window hears the day’s cacophony, lets the sound waves rest on its sill.

Evening comes as a departure, the molten sky colours play a requiem as the long weary shadows walk homewards.

Lit up billboards are bodies of women, enticing.

The broad leaved tree reads the script of red, amber, green lust.

The moroseness of the day looks back.

The self gets scattered in the beautiful, in the vulgar.

Tat Tavm Asi* (Thou art that )

Loneliness of the window is a photographer’s dark room chasing sequinned dreams in the day’s mundane collage.

A dog’s distant wail becomes a lullaby.

*Representing a central theme of Advaita philosophy, ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ unites the macrocosmic ideas of God and universal consciousness with the microcosmic individual expression of the Self. This mantra highlights the notion that all beings are intimately connected to each other and cannot be separated.

Mallika Bhaumik is a Kolkata-based poet. Her poems, short stories, travelogue, articles and interviews have been published in many reputed magazines and journals. She is the author of How Not to Remember (Hawakal Publisher, 2019) and Echoes, which won the Reuel International Award for the Best Debut Book in 2018. She was also a Pushcart Prize Nominee for Poetry, 2019. Three of her poems have recently been included in the Post Graduate syllabus of BBMK University, Dhanbad.