Presented by KAURAB

Shankar Chakrabarty

Shankar Chakrabarty belongs to the 70s generation of Bengali poets. He spent many years living outside Bengal in Shillong - a beautiful hill-town in north-eastern India which has a strong resemblance to English countryside. Shankar, a long time friend of Kamal Chakraborty and Barin Ghosal contributed to Kaurab regularly from the journal's early years. Shankar Chakrabarty has a rich body of work both in quantity and quality that brings out the lyric in mellifluous oriental tunes. His poetry, although deeply lyrical, is characterized by a "search element" and has an unusual visual quality about it. "Rain" and "house" are two elements that recur often in his imagery.



Untimely shadows fall in long from all directions
They spread in thin films over streets, sidewalks and buildings.
A feathery sob also hangs in monsoon light
yet left grip firm on the cell.
No wonder if this evening sky will collapse over town
Your pet cat will disappear in the dark
A strange grimness rounds streets, buses, taxis, trams and the metro-caves,
a driver yawns pausing on the steering
A new voice emanates from the teeming crowd
On this silence, the sky will come crashing in.


You got up early in the morning and slid into the wooden closet
and no one seemed to notice
The blind crocodile that slept inside the closet for quite sometime now
will gorge into you, tearing the self apart
O' watergod, come back as an water animal in your next life.


Well, summer is hardly over
and I thought I'd be able to write to your taste this time
Someone, a zombie perhaps, sits on the eaves everyday
A carnivorous crow kept believing in the middle-path
until I scared it away
Ashes from the crematorium mix into the air
I hadn't noticed any silence
certainly not the spent spring
I keep waiting to greet the unknown dream of an afternoon.


There was no dearth of white gloved hands coming in to choke
You did't have guns, gold or jewelry
Yet there was this haunted house
filled with sighs of lament with which you bit your hands
You were in love again with the freshly seen land of home-country.


You went out in a dirty shirt
Two cameramen stalk you everywhere you go
Your favorite songs buzz in the ears
But instead of being in the crematorium,
you seem to hang out in a tea-stall on Rashbehari Avenue
You don't seem keen to zip your fly or button your shirt.

All new poems translated by Aryanil Mukherjee

6:25 Memoirs
(chhaTaa pa`nchisher smRitikathaa)

Daily scents emanate from the Amloki tree
In the evenings, it's luminar enigma makes melancholy
Each day I cover up the ash of burnt Olives
As if I touched a corpse
Like a deathscare with which the bird pecks a custard-apple
And deserts it - whose knell in the wind ?
There'll be a bomb blast in the 6:25 train, black smoke filling
Flower gardens, brushing the melon tree a photograph of
Intense thirst in my pocket, a heart-warming photograph
Someone came across in the compartment of the 6:25 local train
Emsembled in flower bed
Words camphored from floral juices, black smoke cleared out
Visuals changing

If the scent spreads out again someday from Amloki
We'll recall a photograph coloured wet
Not the terrorist act.

Before the rain
(BRishhTir aage)

Stepping out on a road made of black letters
It seemed like the rain is going to pour out soon
Sky covered in slate
A boat descends from another space
In the tremors of wet-breeze, hair and ears
I walk away from all the rain this earth can hold
A sparkle like rotten seeds
That lane is blinded by clouds
So you miss out that faint halo caught in
Symbols of deep sleepless lakes
Well, the sky held itself and yet unshackled dreams flock in
Conjoined pine foliage shiver in the rain -

Now the rain will begin, you must know.

A rain-song to remember
(mane raakhaar bRishhTi-kathaa)

Rain, a continuous heavy rain wets it all
Wet earth and the sad pleasures underneath, and
The address death writes on a drenched white palm -
With sullen eyes I write about the burkha-clad maiden, in fair and dark
A stormed monsoon with bells ringing on its feet
Staring at a devastated sky, a ghost in dark black
I walk towards the last swelling river at the edge
Water rises, uncomfortable waddles half-submerged
Trying to cut a deal with random strokes, she too
On the window pane, pinned portrait on the board
Rain stops when the picture attains
A cessation unreasonably all so sudden
Its silver foot-bells fade out to the far, farther.

False Rain
(mithye bRishhTi)

Someone waited, at the end of the road, by the shabby house
Waited holding a colored CD of her past life –
When the rain comes without notice, she lifts her umbrella
Gently and her saree frill above the heel
In a leap watch the game of another world
The fun is all there, as if the planes zoom above us everyday
Their sonority deafening you short-term, you failed to
Keep someone in the picture pretending not to hear anything
Whatever little happened, happened on the phone -
Shenanigans that didn’t make you larger than life –
The one who waits staunchly affront a porch at the end of the street
Both hands clutching Palash, Kunda and a few other fiery flowers
Watched your spirit melt into rain-fog.


Getting close to the fogged house brought back the story
One of those old tales that isn't mythical, a lucky morning
Has vanished the golden cat from a certain terrace
When the search stalls, someone opens their main door
and puts out a bread-bait.....
What is more eager than deafening laughter ?
Some social magnet read the mirage and ordered
demolition of the clouded house
But the beetle of the soul can't be traced in the rubble
Innumerable local birds tired from their long flights
Cover up the sky with their feathers and breasts, in an intense thirst
Spilling from clear sunlight darkness densifies below
The garden-prone flowers

A blind-born river flows right by the house
Even today small colored swimming fish look for the house
In the story.

Like a painting
(chhabir matan)

Those bright colored shirts are carefully preserved
in his custody
Some roughed up by the sky or a tortoise-race
Listen with care, and you could catch a Jibanananda recitation
Read a letter to Neera
Such gestures still hanging from the shirt, its color
Or a saree's, falling off from the dance poses all night in extempore
Like a homecoming approved by full-moon
People remove the paintings and intently listen to them in
Bathroom privacy
No faces, sound of desolate streams
Words washed in soap and water roaming the crevices
Of our lonesome bodies

Water paints on water, a last bleak painting.

Farther from that house
(barhi theke bahu dUre)

Your house stood by the river
Deep voices would be covered up by cold wind
One full-moon night I remember the tumult of a thunderstorm
Uneternal moonlight flooding you all in your rooms that night
The rest remained unspoken, after the storm, ages before the beaches
Dried up, boats buoyed up on the shore
Far from here, the Bay of Bengal washes away across you
There lived an immemorial bird in the terrace next to attic
Where remained stored your favorite tales
the rubbles of the shattered monument entering them now

Farther from that house, a ferryman-friend rows you away

As much can be seen
(du chokhe Jaa dekhaa Jaay)

Colored lenses could help us see trees, rivers or humans
With a difference
Moving pictures could shape up like bioscope
Another vision comes through the tinted glass windows
Of a moving car
Devastating light trickles down the skyware under sun
A broken heart somehow survives in a bed hidden in the dark
And if turmoil moistens eye, as if caught up in heavy clouds
Someone waits a whole life in the bus stop
That makes the runaway melancholy girl hiccup a deep sob
The rain drenches her
Wiped tears send another visual floating far past the ferry-station
And then the boat leaves and drags it to oblivion

Poems translated by Aryanil Mukherjee


Shankar Chakrabarty


E Asthir Jaagarane (1978)

(In This Anxious Awakening)

Kamalaalebur Sheet(2002)

(Winter of Oranges)


Shankar Chakraborty

Shankar Lahiri


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