Sobhan Pramanik

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this frail January heat wounds
my memories, and i remember
the moisture between your fingers
on exhausted evenings: their soft 
saline taste while you caressed 
my face between your palms, like an
 ocean wave lapping against my cheeks
 as I napped tired on the shore

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days have started to die late. the dusk grieves along the skyline in wails of red, soaked by the uncaring monotony of this city. i already miss the early stars blushing in masks of fog; the cold tremor of leaves; and the winter breeze that cracked my lips and flaked my scalp. the onset of summer annoys me, just as the unwarranted departure of winter upsets my heart. did I not love you enough? i wonder. beaten blankets strung in empty balconies flutter lightly on nylon ropes: as if they were all prepared to bid adieu; to let go, and espouse the spring. this frail January heat wounds my memories, and i remember the moisture between your fingers on exhausted evenings: their soft saline taste while you caressed my face between your palms, like an ocean wave lapping against my cheeks as I napped tired on the shore. but i have come to hate summers for that one sultry evening you left in my study your goodbye. a transformer had blown off down the street, and the blackened night had men huddling outside their homes with torches in their hands, and salted peanuts in paper cones. i passed out in the dark with your note on my perspiring chest, crumpled by fingers in disbelief. and i had woken up to a similar, defunct reality: of people having moved on with life, as if there were no disruptions, as if they were always prepared, as if they all slept sound the night before: on lavish mattresses, and in the supple skin of their wives. not grieving is no strength, but betrayal - to the love you wove with pearls of tears, and the puffing truth of your breathing. being prepared for departures is no valor but weak roots of love. i shall weep this winter’s going, and be cold to the spring flowers in my backyard. i shall loathe the summer thereafter for the way it would reignite her smell in my heart. but then seasons return to our tired longings, unlike loves that wash clear our imprints on their bodies beneath tender touches of juvenile passion. you see, goodbyes are not meant for those who return. and those who wouldn’t, never loved enough to pay for parting. © Sobhan #YQBaba #YoPoWriMo #Poetry #Life #Philosophical #Life

15 JAN AT 21:55

FLY AWAY

the pavements have swelled with the thicket of boys. and the rustic clamor of their lives drift into my room colored in January sunshine. i watch them in vibrant apparels huddled across the street: their faces lifted to the sunlit sky, and a legion of fluttering kites swim in and out of their squinting eyes. there's Mustaq at the promenade - an oversized flimsy maroon sunglass rests on his firm cheek bones, with his sister behind him. a reeling spool of glittering manza in her hands while he stands upright like a mast in sea-songs. his fingers wound around the string, at the far end of which soaring loosely in the blue was his kite. he tugs at the chord as the kite dips against the wind, passing close to another kite flying in from the smokey northern sky. the spool whirls faster in the girl’s grip and Mustaq’s arms row in sync, as the strings invisibly lock in the firmament. as his kite starts to float away owned by the wind, Mustaq stands sucking the blood on his finger with a smirk in his eyes. a boisterous cheer from the adjacent colony rides the wind to them. and even before his lilting kite vanished from the sky - fading like a speck of fly ash in the face of light - in a fall to earth or torn by a stray tree wing; i watch him on his knees on the dust mattered pavement, stringing a new kite, for a new flight. it’s better that way, i assume. to not know if love returned home or got wasted midway; and instead set out for a new meaning. i recount myself on the pavement beside Mustaq, flying away with my aspirations till she joined me under the sun, and i let the manza loose on my fingers, surrendering to the romance that sliced my skin and spilled my blood. only that i never flew a second kite again. not wanting to be wounded; not wishing to wound her. © Sobhan Image Source: Flickr #YQBaba #Poetry #YoPoWriMo #Sankranti #Life #Love

14 JAN AT 15:14

Will You or Will You Not?
- Very Short Story -

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Upon your return from the desert odyssey, facing the bedroom mirror as you dig the comb of resolve in your matted strands and a golden sprinkle of cold sand pours from your head, like a fine rain of our memories, or when the late sun sneaking through the curtains awakens my dried kiss on your nape; will you genuinely care retracing your steps back to the cold nights of Jaisalmer, into the heart of your solitude, where we always met in thoughts of longing? And lie down on the desert floor may be, inside your tent with my omniscience beside you, and watch the moon enthral a village of stars gathered on the sloping roof, with its silver humming of love songs? When the feral night winds of my desires fill your skirt and your thighs contract to a carnal bliss, will you not unlace the silken knots on your bony back and lie naked in submission, feeling my shadow climb your body? Will you not open your arms to the emptiness of your world, and behold my ghost in the sheltering warmth of your bosom, honouring a love that we, alas, couldn’t be? Will you ever cherish returning to places we had together been, I wonder, even if it is with your lips in a different mouth, or simply lean into the sun cracked mirror of your reality and vapour the glass in a hard breath of denial, calling me ‘a fucking mirage' ?? © Sobhan #YQBaba #YQTales #life

20 DEC 2017 AT 14:26

The Vagrant Trust
-- A Short Story --

"...Was the auburn glee in my eyes, as I waited at the porch with my head turned to the door, desperate to behold her daughter once in the garb of lending study notes, busted by a mother’s unfailing instincts? Was there finally someone in this world, except my own smitten heart, who knew how my bones became water and my head a raging sandstorm, abandoned of consciousness and thoughts trailing skyward, every time she lifted her smiling eyes to me?..."

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‘You’ve all my mother’s trust.’ I heard the words come off her mouth, as easily and instinctively, as pleasantries exchanged in a greeting: without any reflection or consideration, unrehearsed and spoken raw, the way it first originated in her mind. The way truth is spoken perhaps, as I believed – on the face and without a flinch. We were seated at the promenade of a buzzing Calcutta theatre. The evening show had just ended and people boisterously poured out of the gates like jets of water shooting from the broken edge of gushing water pipe: chattering and hooting on top of their voices; their faces ecstatic. Children, quick to adapt the antics of the protagonist, had their flimsy glasses tucked to the back of their necks; women shied under their coquettish smile imagining the bare-chested, beefy, ageing hero setting the world alright on screen; while men, as they seemed with their lurid faces, discussed the heroine in explicit details. For the initial few minutes as the mob ran amok within the premises, we stalled our conversation and sat with our gazes affixed on an abandoned fountain pool where our shadows brushed at the temples. I leaned slightly to my left to check if the shadows belied, and felt her hair brush my cheek. She withdrew, smiling; and I watched the shadows part on the dusty tiled bed. A colony of creepers unrestrained, thrived in the crevasses. ‘She was asking so many questions. Gawd!’ she declared, animatedly holding her head. ‘Where are you? When will you be home? It’s getting late. Blah Blah!’ She had just ended the call with her anxious mother, that a solemn smile, like a ripple growing on a lake as the stone of concern slowly sank, I watched, quickly conquer her face. ‘I just told her I was with you.’ Until then we had no formal acquaintances of what could suffice for the necessary bit of information required to placate her worries concerning her daughter’s convenience on a day out with a boy she had known only as far as her eyes could make out from the second-floor balcony of their house: leaned over the sidewall with her eyes spread out in wait on the dim alley sweeping up to the entrance, as I walked her home a couple of times from our evening classes; or rode up early morning on my bicycle with a roll of notes from classes she missed (damn the migraine) and waited outside the porch, until she emerged through the door with sleep imbued eyes, and unkempt hair to collect them from me under her mother’s gaze, affixed on us from the balcony, spreading wet clothes on taut nylon ropes. To let her worries, rest with just one statement, that she was with me, and contently ending the call, given our limited exposure to each other’s lives was a little too much to believe, even while the idea of my love making inroads with her had my heart bursting into confetti. Or, had she picked the changed air of my body language, of me missing steps and fumbling with words while I was with her? Was the auburn glee in my eyes, as I waited at the porch with my head turned to the door, desperate to behold her daughter once in the garb of lending study notes, busted by a mother’s unfailing instincts? Was there finally someone in this world, except my own smitten heart, who knew how my bones became water and my head a raging sandstorm, abandoned of consciousness and thoughts trailing skyward, every time she lifted her smiling eyes to me? We had bunked our classes to watch a Nolan rendition at Matrix, Calcutta, and it wasn’t until I arrived at the theatre teeming with cine-goers under its low domed roof, and the air abuzz with chants of ‘bhai’, with jostling bodies in long winding queues braving the humidity before dust-laden, gigantic pedestal fans as they made way to a shabby ticket counter, did I realize that we were at the wrong place, expecting a movie as foreign and distant to their knowledge as sense and artistic credibility to the movie being screened. ‘How could you even imagine they playing a sci-fi here?’ she confronted me at the desolate kerb of the cinema, where, disappointed, we were sitting down to while away the evening. ‘Sometimes they do.’ I shrugged. ‘Hindi dubs.’ ‘You came in for Hindi dub?’ she asked with stretched eyes. ‘Nothing like DiCaprio mouthing Hindi lines in American accent.’ She plunged her elbow to the side of my stomach in response to my mirthless retaliation, as we sat down on concrete steps flanking an ornamental fountain that had long lost its use. A mesh of rusted waterpipes ran around a tubular sprinkler with a dead motor at its centre. In its nooks were nests of stray birds with reeds of fodder jutting out of the weave and unguarded eggs clustered in the hollow. Its dusty blue floor of broken tiles was carpeted with decaying sheets of leaves that ruffled and sung with the afternoon breeze. With the city at work on a weekday, the road outside was relatively empty as the market strip idled and napped under the mild August sun. The distant rumble of tram carriages occasionally floated in, and vanished before it grew in prominence. A groaning ambassador flew past the gates tilting the balance of quiet, that she pulled me by the shoulder and planted her lips on mine. There on the steps of a scraped fountain, and in broad daylight, with a room full of people at our back in their matinee, we led ourselves across boundaries our minds built and bodies broke. Till she pulled me by my shoulder, till I saw her luscious mouth close over mine, till my arms very reluctantly crossed on her back and our breaths mated; we were only friends. A friend who could seize my senses with a look, whose mother trusted her safety with me, and whom whenever I looked at, even thought of, regardless of the circumstances, life felt like a delightful, more purposeful voyage. We must have sat there long, and not until did we hear the scurry of footsteps land back on the kerb, and the clouds darkened between astride electric wires running high on the poles, did we care to sit apart. She checked her phone and it revealed a dozen missed calls from her mother. She called back and was subjected to a flurry of questions. That was when she said she was with me and startlingly, no other question followed. She slid the phone back into her sling and smiling, stood up to dust the back of her denims. I followed her down the steps, wading through littered butts of tickets towards the exit. We took a bus home standing by the barred window beside her, our hands inches apart on the same iron grille, as evening flashed past us outside in frames of dust and smoke. I watched her in silence: breathing sedately down her chin, locks of her hair rippling in the wind by her face, and her eyes averted from mine, rested lonely on the smoggy horizon. I wanted to talk about it: put out my feelings dressed in choicest of words, talk about how I lose my step and fail my words every time she looks at me; how all this had been raging inside me but could never muster enough audacity to pursue them; how she was everything that looked and felt like love in the dreams I had so far been weaving in her longing. But nothing came out. Just a smile that tasted like her breath, as the bus lurched to a halt at our destination. It was close to 9 in the evening when we got off and was walking her down the familiar lanes towards her house. She was instructed to be home by 7, no matter what, but we had flouted that ultimatum by a good two hours. I expected her to be animated, panic, be afraid for what would be awaiting back home, absolutely anything to break the silence that hung on us throng the entire course of our journey. But there was nothing, and that in turn cemented my faith about her parents being okay about her being out with me, about us, about my love that I was certain she would confess any moment soon. She walked a few paces ahead of me: through shadows of buildings leaning into each other, crossing arcs of saffron light from street lamps that lay washed in mud suggesting a passed spell of rain, past the municipal trucks parked to the side and taking right from a square past a pack of stray dogs maddened and howling, gnawing at the litters, headed straight to her house. I lifted my eyes from her back to the second-floor balcony where her mother stood: bent over the balustrade under a diminutive lamp, chin in her palm and waiting for her daughter to be home. I waited as she ambled up the stairs, and looked up to her mother. She returned me my prized smile of acknowledgement, and at that moment, it sufficed for every word of love and promise I couldn’t say or hear from her daughter. A heart won with trust, I believed, was a big achievement to start with, as I walked home with ambrosial dreams of an accomplished love. It’d been six years since that day of walking her home late in the night, that I caught sight of her at a grand Durga Puja pandal in central Calcutta this year. Resplendent in a crimson saree with her undulating curls left open on back and doubling over in an impressive laughter. I glanced at my watch; it was well past 2. She should have been home by 7, I told myself, and almost impulsively started striding towards her. Until soon I watched a man step in from the dark and hold her by the waist, joining in her laughter. She then flipped out her phone and cheerfully, started talking. I watched her lips move in a familiar murmur. I remembered her words, ‘You’ve all my mother’s trust.’ From a distance, I watched them walk away, with old trust retiring to bed in new hearts. © Sobhan #YQBaba #YQTales #Life

17 DEC 2017 AT 20:28

'Only when the contours of a boulder are chipped away that it gives way to a sculpture.'

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Imagine all the people you ever came across staying back, never leaving your side, a world without goodbyes or heartbreaks, of all friendships and acquaintances retained, of never being through abandonment, of no one ever forgetting anyone or letting go; our lives would've been a bloody chaos. An incorrigible disarray of lives breathing down our neck about their dreams, desires and apathy. Much like the city's Sunday market strip: an alley thronging with people desperate about their needs, all of them wanting to be heard, to be prioritized; everyone going out of their way to opine, to lend their voices to a political debacle around the corner that had started to amass impetus; everyone in a frenzy, rushing to be elsewhere; an entourage of bodies pushing against one another, hollering, haranguing, never ever having enough of it. What a pitiable situation it would be, to be living lives without silences in them, without a corner of quiet to pray, to play soft music, to write letters to loved ones or pen verses in longing. If not for anything, let this soothing environment of calm be the justification for everyone who left with or without notice, to everything you held dear but eventually lost in wanting and all the pieces that fell off leaving you hollow. It's alright, friend. That is how it is supposed to be. Only when the contours of a boulder are chipped away that it gives way to a sculpture. And you're on your to being one. Relax. That last failed relation you're grieving about was destiny sculpting a handsome set of eyes onto your soul. Now the light shall reach your blood and you'll know that you had done no wrong. It's all fair. To be left out, forgotten. Every receding wave leaves more than just muddy sand; a lasting silence to sing yourself a song. Embrace it: this fall, the quiet. You’re an art in making. Don’t ever worry. Nothing is ever so precious to be substituting your inner quiet. No love so valuable to be losing your music. © Sobhan #YQBaba #YQTales #Life #Philosophical Image: Wallpapers Craft

21 OCT 2017 AT 16:20