Calcutta calling

sitting in the cramped hostel dormitory
I measured your rain, that splashed
on my hand-washed laundry. Drenching it
in petrichor redolent with first crush

eating griddle hot kathi roll at the corner street stall
I inhaled your smoky, saporous smell
and that piquant, fiery taste of you
still lingers on my fickle tongue

the hole-in-the-wall used-books stores
the addas over endless chais*
nurtured my hesitant, timorous voice
giving it an audience that knew the art of listening

you spread your arms like an aging matriarch
enfolding my bewildered, unsure self
and in the midst of clutter, chaos and cacophony
I found I could stand on my feet

my buoyant thoughts often meander
along the bends of the river Hooghly
Calcutta, your captivating ways often have me
loitering in the bylanes of the yester years.

Written for Britta’s prompt on David’s W3 and Moon washed weekly challange.



72 thoughts on “Calcutta calling

    1. It is not easy to fall in love with Calcutta at first sight. It grows on you gradually and even when you stop living there, you always carry it within you. At least that’s been my experience. Thanks kindly for your appreciation, Sean.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Your imagery is to die for, Punam… You really bring me there with your words.

    Ya know, I’m reading a novel about Bombay now (not Calcutta, I know, I know) – but it’s so eye-opening! Have you read “Shantaram”? I highly recommend it ๐Ÿ˜€


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Punam, this is brilliant. Not only because you use one of my favourite words, ‘petrichor’, but ‘sitting in the cramped hostel dormitory I measured your rain’ got me hooked and your poem never let me go. I live in Scotland. Still, I feel a little closer to Calcutta, after reading your poem. I have chosen you to be next week’s Poet of the Week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Britta, thank you so much! I am delighted that I could give you a glimpse of my beloved city. It is not as beautiful as Scotland but it grows on you. I am humbled that you have chosen me to be the Poet of the Week. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Punam,

    Britta has chosen this poem about Calcutta to be our “poem of the week” for W3! Hooray โ˜บ

    Could you please send me one or two guidelines for this week’s prompt in the next day or so?

    You should feel free to get creative:

    -a particular poetic device
    -a particular form of poetry
    -a particular word or phrase
    -a particular graphic (for an ekphrastic poem)
    -a particular length
    -etc., etc., etc…

    Much love ๐Ÿ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful piece about Calcutta. My dad lived there and thereabouts for most of his life. He often tells me of his fond memories. I visited the city during Christmas holidays once, when I was a child. It was very festive, compared to other places in India. There was this one particular road that was very elaborately decorated.

    Liked by 1 person

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