“a Woman of Essence”- Mandakini Bhattacherya

amorous calmness

whether it’s a storm a flood a tsunami a tornado an earthquake or a full moon a rainbow a snow flakes a musical concierto or a lover… when the image repertoire gone berserk, there’s still the other waiting kiss, an invisible cuddle, an enchanting mist for me to walk to dance on my voluptuous barefoot, as a contessa__ my amorous calmness dances a samba with the devilish robber…  bump bump bump, the wicked evil didn’t have a chance, it submerges to a fire pit.__ade c.

Mandakini, final woe 2019MANDAKINI BHATTACHERYA , from Kolkata, lives there with her family,  a product of Bhavnagar  University, Gujarat and Punjabi University and currently an Assistant Professor in English at Fakir Chand College under Calcutta University.

My parents moulded my consciousness.

My marriage made me a better person —more complete and caring.

My children made me a more responsible and self-sacrificing person, and a better citizen.

My students have given me indescribable love and respect.

The cultural milieu of the state of West Bengal continues to enrich me academically and culturally every single day, as this state of India has given birth to so many great intellectuals and upholds a liberal tradition among its citizens.

The ant plays around the tree, 

As the tempest around the ocean.

Dynamism is Life.

What, then, is Life? 

As shadows lengthen 

over the pastures,

And the horizon 

brightens each morn,

It is 

the eternal battle 

Between Essence and Existence,

Moi et toi.

As Time and Tide overpowered

them, burying them in folds of 


I stand today, Proud,

Independent, Secular,

A Rational, Sincere Worker

And Thinker,

Bewitched and mesmerised by Time,

Yet constantly led by their Shadows;

My parents define who I Am.

Copyright@Mandakini Bhattacherya

The struggle to overcome Nihilism,

The moral and metaphysical ennui

That seduces you to slip quietly away

Without redundancy — 

That is Life.

Copyright@Mandakini Bhattacherya

Life becomes meaningful when the Soul dedicates itself to the service of Humanity and merges into the vast ocean that is the Anima Mundi.


A Miracle pays me a visit

Each day;

Sits at the doorstep 

With the milk pouch;

Greets me as I visit classes.

Falls into my lap

And nestles, as a friend calls.

Drops a-tiptoe with rain

From the branches,

As Love makes a shy entry.

Holds hands and dances,

Fingers my bracelet,

As men and women

Alike call me Winsome.

A Miracle whispers 

Laughter into my ear,

And Smiles, and Words,

And keeps me alive.

Copyright@Mandakini Bhattacherya

     The fragments of my Life I stitch into this beautiful patchwork quilt — of Selfless Service, Devotion, Self-awareness, and an amalgamation of Tradition and Modernity. 

      Death and Departure of loved ones have taught me to become self-detached : it is not a feeling of loss, rather it is the realisation that the things you love always stay with you in one form or another; they shape your concerns, your thoughts; they people your dreams. So rather than mourn their loss, one should carry on with the belief that what goes out, comes back.



When do I arrive

At a Manifesto of Love?

I have carved notches

To count each day

That loops into a year,

Then leaps into one more day.

Should I wait

As the vermillion sky

Dunks an ochre sun

Into a muddy tea-cuppy sea,

And slurps from a dish

The chirrups of birds?

Or should I wait

To be reborn

As a wild girl of forests,

Drunk on mahua,

Unsteady on tattooed feet,

Staring into your yellow eyes

And spotted cheetah skin?;

Luring you,

Till the arrows sink in?

Copyright@Mandakini Bhattacherya

Note : Mahua is a tribal alcoholic drink made in parts of India from the flowers of the Mahua tree.



Peace  was when

The notes of flute wafted

Over the Kadamba flowers.

Peace was when

Shimmering minarets

Arose to worship

With hennaed bowers.

Peace was when

Caravans of faith travelled

Over deserts with frankincense.

Now peace is strung like a bird

Over barbed-wire borders;

Or hangs like a tattered

Banner over turrets

Of tanks and lethal mortars.

Peace awaits

The child who wanders

With bloodied footsteps

Into the honeysuckle wilderness

Of unlearned lessons of kindness.

Copyright@Mandakini Bhattacherya

my “sigh of smile”:

     Burst starfire to enthusiastic deprived students; building a Drama Club, nurturing the love for films and theatre among my students; to work in suburban or backward area colleges and impart education; a privilege to work as Joint Secretary of an all-women’s NGO, extending help and care to needy students, orphans and destitute old men and women. 

     Also a soul-enriching endeavour to present research papers and poems to promote the cause of distressed and marginal sections of society such as women, children and Dalits(Untouchables) and refugees of the Indian subcontinent at various international and national conferences. 

     Being a multi-lingual poet, literary critic and translator, my scholarly articles and poems have been published in international and national journals, and also in books; 

    It was an honour to be felicitated at the 10th and 11th International Poetry Festivals-2017 and 2018 organised at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India, and also at the Indian Poetic Confluence, Hyderabad, India in 2018. My poems have appeared along with the legends of Indo-English poetry such as Keki N. Daruwalla, K. Satchidanandan, Bibhu Padhi, Bashabi Fraser, Sanjukta Dasgupta and Sharmila Ray.


Ushered in the world with glory,

My imagined fairy story;

I vanish through the womb’s crevasse,

I am the girl that never was.

No cradle with lullaby sounds, 

A pariah on playing grounds, 

No report-card cheered with hurrahs,

I am the girl that never was.

No feast awaits my hunger’s throes,

A rag doll dressed in cast-off clothes,

No match for a lad is a lass;

I am the girl that never was.

My rainbows often turn blurry,

I’m forced to bloom in a hurry;

Pitchforked from parents to in-laws,

I am the girl that never was.

Copyright@Mandakini Bhattacherya

My philosophy of Life is an eternal quest to make sense of the Essence of this Existence; a constant query : who shall walk with me? It is a never-ending quest.


If I

Were to set sail as a cloud

Trailing rainbows behind me

Over hilltops raining glories …

If I

Were to float as a wisp

Of meandering smoke

Through soot-stained lanes

Of sinking towns …

Would you follow 

Like a beggar’s child?

Or fall back hesitatingly?

If I

Were to say Goodbye

Kissing the venom of your tongue

Even as I curled my fingers

Around the tendrils 

Of your hair …

Would you twist your fist

Around my heart?

Or watch askance

As I tiptoed …..

Bleeding …..

Over the shards of Life?

Copyright@Mandakini Bhattacherya


comments by:      Dr. Jernail S Anand

critical analysis by: Prof. Cijo Joseph Chennelil

to follow upon publication


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