Water (जल)

Only fire can save water

But fire costs blood

Ready to play with fire?

Then pay up

Make blood flow like water

Till then let’s mooch off

the colours of


yellow from the hand pumps

green from the ponds

orange from the rivers

gray from the lakes

black from the sewers

pink from the streams


in your dreams

Leave only red streaks up above

and let them burst out

through veins of the empty skies

let them mirror

in the cracks of the lands below

Paint an apocalypse



drunk on red

when all’s on fire

and blood flows like water.


–  K. Tanushree ‘Svayam’

Date of completion – 5th August, 2019

Date of publication – 10th August, 2019




Claiming a rose

as I never got one,

so shall I write

and make one mine




A bouquet discarded

and all dive in.

Vulturous scramblers


as many as claws could.

With all their love for roses,

they hunt down their scent,

raid my garden

and ravish my last one.



“There is something horrible about a flower;
This, broken in my hand, is one of those
He threw it in just now; it will not live another hour;
There are thousands more; you do not miss a rose.”

– Charlotte Mew (‘In Nunhead Cemetery’, from The Farmer’s Bride)



Ever seen a corpse

so pretty and delicate?

Coffined in a rich bouquet,

severed fresh from thorns,

expressing your love

through its pure deadness,

stocked in foreign vases,

or buried in secrecy

till they turn crispy

fossiled somewhere

in a tale of romance,

till the pages, fully drenched,

start leaking red

and the book releases

a fine fragrance of murder.


This one.

Yeah, this red one,

it sure is a perfect carcass.

Soaked in blood,

tainted with passion,

numbed by the desire

to embody love.

O lovers, beware!

Rose is not alone

when it comes to love.


-K. Tanushree ‘Svayam’

Date of completion: 20th June, 2019

Date of publishing : 21st June, 2019.

A Road-side Affair

A loose truck flies on the road

with murder in its eyes.

The drunken headlights flash

white lights of warning

to a lost bus

that ghosts past nothings

destined to land a brazen kiss

straight on the face

of the soaring truck

in the middle of nowhere.


what smashes what explodes what thrusts what pierces

what hisses what stings what roars what groans

what gropes what claws what burns what smokes

what gags what strangles



can be a cruel phenomena,

even metaphorically.

Who could tell what made the first move?

Really? At that heavenly speed

could there still be

any scope for foreplay?

That was one hell of a road

to divine experience.


They were caught in the act,

the two on fire.

All stunted lights-

red, yellow, green, neon, blue-

started working again,

all thanks to the colossal impact.

It rainbowed that night.


All one can say is that

after the ruthless smooching,

things escalated quickly.

No genius could tell them apart.

United in death and funeral,

they made one gigantic carcass

where one melted away

through sweating

while trying to hump the other

and the other

exploded while performing

an exquisite somersault.


Who can tell what won ?

Considering the news

that the number of corpses on one side


the number of corpses on the other side,

curse Newton and Physics

and let’s just call it a draw.


-K. Tanushree ‘Svayam’

Date of completion : 17th June, 2019

Date of publishing : 17th June, 2019.






I am caged

in a masquerade.
I smile too much,
laugh outrageously.
My lips
stretch and stretch
until they tear apart.
Brandishing the yellows,
in an attempt to laugh,
I open my mouth
as wide as an Anaconda’s,
ready to swallow his delicacies
fresh and alive.
I could have very well torn my face
for the mask
has started to itch


As per the rules of the game,
you need to grin and grin,
grind you teeth as well
in response to a joke
as evil as your disguise.
And when the joke’s on you,
you must burst out laughing
and say that the tears in your eyes
are that of immense joy
(at your participation
in your own humiliation).
Clearly, they got under your skin
and now, they boil within,
churning your insides,
waiting to gnaw you whole
and eject out
Laughing was never more expensive.
It is here,
the mask tears apart,

the face shall eventually follow.

There is some lipstick
missing from my lips
as I squandered it
on meaningless kisses.
So I bite and bite my cracked lips
to gain a natural shade of red.
All I see is an ugliness

as daunting as the former.

Red spills, mask slips.
And with the face peeling off,
I can hold no more.
So, faceless I run
like Cinderella must do
before midnight strikes,
before her secret stands stark naked,
to escape
the demons of the masquerade
and leave behind
the bloodied mask.
It is that part of me
the masquerade claims.
For the demons need to preserve
the very scent of mine
that would lead them to my place.
Uninvited, they barge in
where I am their host
and the host

of the next masquerade.

-K. Tanushree ‘Svayam’

Date of completion : 29th April, 2017

Date of publishing : 17th June, 2019.

21 फ़रवरी, 2017

“बोल, कि लब आज़ाद हैं तेरे
बोल, ज़बां अब तक तेरी है
तेरा सुतवां जिस्म है तेरा
बोल, कि जाँ अब तक तेरी है….”

ये नज़्म आज फिर लड़खड़ाई है ,
जो पत्थर फेंके गये
उनसे छलनी हुआ देश
आज फिर रोया है,
इंसानियत की कब्र के तले
ये देश आज फिर रोया है.
तेरी सूरत में, मेरी सूरत में
ये सिसकियों के खून से सना है.
ये मारा-मारा, ढूँढता फिरता है
कि आज़ादी कहां है ?
वो दफ़न है उनकी जेबों में
जो बोलते हैं कि बोलना मना है.
वो कफ़न ओढ़े लापता हो गयी
और वतन बेलिबास पड़ा है,
उन नारेबाजों के पीछे
जो कहते हैं कि देश केवल उनका है
हाँ ! लबरेज़-ए-ग़म में कैद ज़रूर है वतन
पर देखो तो ज़रा ,
उन फेंके गए पत्थरों की लाश पर ही
ये बेखौफ़ डटा खड़ा है,
तेरी कलम में, मेरी कलम में
तेरी ज़बां में, मेरी ज़बां में
ये ज़िंदा मुस्कान जलाये चला है.

– के. तनुश्री ‘स्वयं’

Date of completion : 21st February, 2017

Date of publishing : 17th June, 2019.

Death of an Year

No crimes to bed, no fate to wed.
The worst year of a life is dead.

An year of failed rebellions,
loves lost and friendships ancient.
Struggle to keep the struggle within.
The heart breaking with every beat
into a million million shards.
Better to pretend dead,
for the demons of the past
tear all the insides apart,
worse, reveal the heart.
Gambles in Battles.
Defeats in Distances.
Revelations in Nightmares.
Tears in Red.

“This too shall pass”.
These golden words
gave no silver lining.
If past is not what lies ahead,
then what cursed ghosts of nostalgia gore the head ?
How many more lashes of memories
for the stroke of a minute’s reverie?
Tragedies in Memoirs.
Hallucinations in Silences.
Jinxes in Blessings.
Phantoms in Poems.

I will haunt the dead year, its grave, its pyre,
dance on the corpse and summon Divine
while pouring libations inflammable,
made of cold and rotting winter wine.
Ashes in Fire.
Cremations in Burials.
Deaths in Lives.
Lives in Deaths.
Resurrection ?

Rise of another year brings another revolution.
Funeral fire blazes fearless, leaving volcanoes abashed.
A celebration is duly unleashed in its honour,
The fog must be cleared.
But instead, descends obscurity as ashes rain.
The year has ended and yet reigns winter.
The sun goes by the name Frozen.
The nights are still longer,
the days are still shorter.
So if one thing leads to another,
then will this winter bring another winter ?

– K. Tanushree ‘Svayam’


Date of completion : 1st January, 2018

Date of publishing : 17th June, 2019.

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