This is a collaborative piece. 

Poem : Sahana Srinivasan

Art : Tasneem Amiruddin


in calcutta,
a little before cyclone aila hit, 
the self-appointed neighbourhood leader (actual occupation unknown) called the electric company to pre-emptively cut off the power because the transformers could get flooded. 

eventually, it got too dark to pretend to do mock test papers by the window. 

Kaalbaisakhi,  by Tasneem Amiruddin for TLJ

Kaalbaisakhi, by Tasneem Amiruddin for TLJ

ma and I fried some plantains by candlelight and watched the gulmohar flowers float away into inky blackness
we stared mutely at pages of math gone awry
ma said perhaps I should try
just a little harder i should apply
myself just a little more or i would go
nowhere fast 

just like the gulmohar flowers. 


so I ran (although it was strictly verboten) to the terrace and stood astride the sewage tanks like a colossus of rhodes


below - streetlamps defiantly incandescent against the settling gloom
and a transistor louder than the low rumbles of thunder. 

above - a dull red sky bulging with solid grey clouds, slashed repeatedly by zigzags of white hot lightning. 


a delicious chill began to descend just as some strange warmth, 
    fizzy bubbles of hope
       electric in my fingertips
        birds in my ribcage
           spilled out into the universe and i

have never again felt that invincible.


Sahana Srinivasan is a PhD student. She thanks her mom for the reality check referred to in this piece, without which she probably wouldn't be where she is now. She's still bad at math though.

Tasneem Amiruddin is an illustrator from Mumbai who enjoys bright colours and fairytales. Gorgeous pink sunsets, mischievous children, magic, dark nights and bright stars and other such whimsies inspire her.