Issue TenIssue Ten PoetryPoetry

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by Srinjay Chakravarti

The dark river, draped

like a clinging wet sari

around the fleshy curves

of rocks and boulders.


Against an indigo dusk,

an ethereal balloon,

almost transparent

rises between the trees.

Memory’s lambent flame

in marmoreal whiteness,

cool to the touch

of history’s hands.


The moon rises,

a curved scimitar

honed to a glitter.

It sheds a milky light

on a marble mausoleum

floating in air.


I try to look at it

with the gaze of an emperor

who has lost his Peacock Throne

to his son,

and his love

to the impermanence of memory.


In Shah Jahan’s room, I realise

there is no prison

like a heart

which knows the evanescence

of love and life.


The Taj Mahal, the ‘Crown Palace,’ is one of the seven wonders of the world. It was built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, as a mausoleum for his queen, Mumtaz. Mumtaz is said to have asked her emperor if he would love her with the same ardour after her death, to which he had replied that he would make her memory immortal.Later, he was deposed by his son, Aurangzeb, who imprisoned him in a room from which he could watch the tomb across the Yamuna River till the end of his days.