Baisali Chatterjee Dutt


I went to the mountains

to leave all my wounds


To bury it in snow

and free-fall my way

to a life less angry.

Eating oxygen in small bites,

I set out on my pilgrimage of pain,

hoping for a rebirth of some kind

or a phlebotomy at least.

Once purged of hurt

and rage

and self-pity,

I would

— finally —

bake that cake,

   drink that wine,

      buy those shoes,

         wear that dress,

            kiss that boy,

                sing that poem,

                   dance that dance,

                      love myself

       love my self

       love self


Breathless and bitter

I reached the top

and waited for the miracle to take place.

Unseeing of the beauty

surrounding me from head to foot

as my eyes were clouded over

by my own misery,

my tongue grew more

 and more astringent.


         one magical morning

when these scent of pine

grabbed me out of bed

and pulled me outside —

I was transformed.

The sun. Rising.

Painting the sky



I did not fall to my knees.

I did not cry.

But my chest burst with morning prayer.

I was the first ever human

to have set eyes on the sun.

I went to the mountains

to leave all my pain,

 all my anger,


I came back bathed in honey-gold light.




A Love That Keeps Flowing

We know a mother’s love

is depthless,


And You, o Ganga,

are the Mother of all mothers,

       the Mother of us all.

It is this love

that lets you swallow

everything we throw at you —

our lies,

       our waste,

our dead.

Silently engulfing all our misdeeds,

              You flow on and on.

We desecrate,

       we defecate,

              we disfigure and destroy,

and still,

              You flow on and on.

But Maa Ganga,

                            tell me,

mother to Mother,


doesn’t it all become        too much?

This mothering gig isn’t easy,

        after all.

Aren’t there moments

when you want to scream

“Enough is ENOUGH!!”

and just walk out

without a second glance?

Once You killed seven of Your sons,

so I can imagine You as the red river, rising.

But then again, You raised the eighth,

and were by his side

when he was at his weakest,

                             his most vulnerable.

You were his salvation.

As you were the others’.

As you are ours.

You will always shower us

with Your benevolence,

for that simply is Your way.

But at least bless us, Mother,

with wisdom,

with kindness,

and the good sense

       to treat You better.

You deserve better.




A String of Words

Here —

I’ve gathered your promises together

and put them in an old sewing basket.

I will thread the needles

with your words

whenever I need to patch up

my fraying senses.

I collect stray words

 dying words

like you collect tea cups.

You gift yourself

in a brew

to those who need strength

and succour

or, quite simply, just an unhurried ear.

By the time you come home to me,

I am given only the dregs.

I sift through my collection of words

and try to string them into songs,

but they always leave

a bitter aftertaste.





What if I string together

some of my favourite words

for you to wear

as a talisman?

Would you throw it into a drawer

full of discarded things

or stuff it into your pocket

along with used tissues

and mint wrappers?

Or        would you wear it

on your bare skin

like a silver chain made of moon dust

             and starlight,

my words dangling on them

like charms?

Would you caress the words

like caramel toffee

and chant them

108 times

      like a prayer?

I feed these words to you

as solace,

as ginger chai

     and shortbread cookies.

I offer these words to you

as a benediction,

as birdsong

    and bhaatiyali.

I gift these words to you

as a thumri,

     a fairy tale

     a picnic in the mountains.

They are present in this little poem of mine,




               ye shall find.




Hello Again

I know Love will come again.

I know.

Love will patiently rebuild the bridges

I burnt down,

using his sinew and bones and blood.

He will mix the cement

                           with confetti

                           and rose petals

                           and hope.

Love will come to me barefoot

and wait patiently outside my door

picnic basket in hand,

carrying an empty notebook,

                     rainbow pens

                     and a jar of words.

Love will patiently wait

for me to write him poetry again,

bathing in the moonlight

and kissing the stars awake

while I try to make

sunflowers bloom on blank pages.

We’ll sip on chamomile tea

and eat strawberries,

lying on a bed

of autumn clouds.

Love will come again.

I know.

Baisali Chatterjee Dutt is a domesticated nomad who writes, edits, dabbles in theatre and teaches. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies and magazines, print as well as online.

Her latest novella in verse, “Three is a Lonely Number”, is available on Amazon Kindle.

Currently she is the Drama teacher at Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata.
Born in New York, schooled in Bangalore, with college in Delhi, Baisali Chatterjee Dutt now lives in Kolkata with her family. She has an MA in French from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

She eats chocolate by the bucketful. She has two teenage boys. Ergo the chocolate. By the bucketful.