By Churchgate Station, 22 August 1997, Mumbai by Susmita Bhattacharya



Susmita Bhattacharya was born in Mumbai and sailed the world on oil tankers before settling down in the UK. She is an associate lecturer at Winchester University and leads the SO:Write Young Writers workshops in Southampton. Her debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian), was published in 2015.  Her short stories, essays and poems have been widely published and also broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She won the Winchester Writers Festival Memoir prize in 2016. She lives in Winchester with her family.

Twitter: @Susmitatweets



































This night is the wing of a crow. Black with the slick of

wet feather and skin. One beady eye following the surge of the

flood water towards Marine Drive, rushing to

meet the sea.


This night is a birthday cake. The lamp posts swaying, fizzing

singing with the whistling wind. Whipping and lashing raindrops

as big and round as cherries on top.


The revolving rooftop restaurant glows like a beacon. A lighthouse

blinking obstinately while dark clouds consume it

with unsatiated hunger.


The street is a ruby necklace – strings of taillights

disappearing into the storm-wrung horizon. Steamy breath

rising from its engorged gutters.


All sounds are muted by the pounding rain

except my beating heart,


that throbs in my ears, as I clutch my beloved’s hand.

This should have been a celebration. But we are shivering in a bus shelter.

The night finally breaks into a quiet dawn,


who knows nothing of the tantrums he threw earlier.


We gather our things and jump on a lone bus – sailing along this swampy road.

The sunlight seeps into our damp crevices.

We huddle together for warmth,


watch cars floating by like ducks in a muddy bath. 



Susmita Bhattacharya





In the Lap of the Gods by Susmita Bhattacharya

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