Taking flight is easy when the city
Tears at your entrails without remorse
It has felt in its veins some rancour
And has not learnt to forgive
So you leave like a dejected lover
Whose pleasures were always sadistic but
who had hoped you would never notice.

Taking flight is easy when men breathe down your neck
And it ceases to be a metaphor
So you can feel your skin crawl and burn,
Smirched; but you carry on
Because that is how you were asked to live
“Grousing is the greatest of sins”
You had to fall through the hollow of that empty nest.

Taking flight is easy when your billowing skirt
Wants to be the death of you; to speak nothing of men
As those familiar with the city tell you
You have no enemy like your skin
And its perfidy will astonish you
So you are never in Munirka at night
Your immodesties leave you behind,
So every hour you are gulping for breath
But the smog filled air just would not do.

Taking flight is easy when you
Dictate terms of your own death
And take charge of undeserved woes
Before your flesh starts to rot on unfamiliar streets
And your body becomes one with the highway
so the well-heeled can drive past and call it fair
Because you could not be a patch on
That lecture at India International Centre.
So you gather yourself in cardboard boxes.

Taking flight is easy when the city
Does not smell like home.
Piercing, clawing and gnawing
At flesh and through the quiet
And casts its shadow on your brightest day
Your cry in front of strangers and
Incur the sin of their discomfiture
So you gift away your plants and choose
To die a different way.


Sohini Chatterjee

Sohini Chatterjee

Sohini Chatterjee has an MA in International Relations from South Asian University, New Delhi and a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Presidency University, Kolkata. She has previously published in Café Dissensus Everyday, Kindle Magazine, among others, and her photo essays on Rohingya and Tibetan refugees in New Delhi have appeared in Huffington Post India.