Srinjay Chakravarti

Srinjay Chakravarti

Srinjay Chakravarti is a writer, editor and translator based in Salt Lake City, Calcutta, India. He was educated at St Xavier’s College, Calcutta and at universities based in Calcutta and New Delhi. University degrees: BSc (Economics honours), MA (English). A former journalist with The Financial Times Group, he has worked on the editorial staff of an international online financial news service.

His creative writing, including poetry, short fiction and translations, has appeared in more than 150 publications in 30-odd countries. His first book of poems Occam’s Razor (Writers Workshop, Calcutta: 1994) received the Salt Literary Award from Salt, the Australian literary and publishing organization headed by writer and academic John Kinsella, in 1995. He has won one of the top prizes (US $7,500) in the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Poetry Competition 2007–08.



The golden god of dawn,
divine glass-blower

with his magical breath of wind:
shaping cloudspaces into smalt bubbles
where our dreams iridesce
with the rising tideline of light.

Moulded into cirrus and stratus,
form and shape annealed

into architectures as ephemeral
as castles in thin air:
built with the sky’s blue mortar
and the soft, fluffy granite
of evanescent water vapour.

He exhales turrets, spires, battlements,
his imagery levitating into cumuli;

strophes floating in his stratosphere
of illusion, between here and now,
between now and forever.

According to Greek mythology, poets can work their magic only when the sun-god Apollo, the patron deity of music and lyrics, ‘breathes’ (inspires) into their senses

First published in Srinjay Chakravarti’s second poetry collection, Apollo’s Breath (Writers Workshop, Calcutta: 2009). Reprinted in the anthology, Select Indian Poets (Select Books, Bangalore).


River kites, with sun-smeared wings
climb towers of spiral stairs
with currents paying out their cords
from the choppy waves at the harbour.
White wings dazzle, helicoid
against a cerulean mystery—
witnesses to a mythopoeic voyage
unlocking the colour schemes of nature.

After the rain,
the sun strings
its bow of seven colours,
touching the right cord
with its arc of white light.

Sailing to London in the Twenties,
Asia’s first Nobelist in science
and Indian physicist non pareil
watches the deep lustre of the Mediterranean
with a fascination born of genius.
He asks himself a question
simple enough,
innocuous enough.
Why is the sea blue?
‘Is it because the sky is reflected in the waters? Then why does the colour remain even when billows roll on the surface?’
As Raman realizes, the deep blue is born as sunlight is scattered by water molecules.

A civil servant’s passage to England
ushers in a sea change
in spectroscopic theory,
unravelling the vibgyor ribbon
of the solar monochrome.

C.V.’s experiments mine the coruscant secrets
hidden inside ice and quartz crystals,
while diamonds, pearls and opals
iridesce in the stellar radiance
of his universe’s inner eye…

Raman effect: This is a radiation effect concerning the inelastic scattering of light. When a beam of monochromatic light is scattered by a transparent material medium, such as clear water, the diffracted light contains frequency of very low intensity not present in the incident radiation. This is manifested in the appearance of additional lines in the spectrum of monochromatic light, showing that though the incident light is monochromatic, the scattered light is not.

First published in Science Creative Quarterly (University of British Columbia, Vancouver). Also appeared in Apollo’s Breath (Writers Workshop, Calcutta: 2009).


Escaping from the monster
of uncertainty at the heart
of its maze of branes and blood,

I chase the superstring to its end:

through convoluted corridors, tunnels,
spiral galleries, where the walls

have recondite formulas
carved into wood and stone,
pillars glyphed with the Rosettas
of dimensional conundrums and infinities.

Mosquitoes halo my head’s nucleus,
abuzz with densely clustered thoughts:
tachyons and gravitons whirling
in orbital velocities,
a swirling cloud of surreal particles.

While the cosmic string stretches on and on
into the darkness,
my finger holding on to the sole lifeline
of hope in this amazement park
of spacetime and void:

a quest unending
for truth and being.

Poetry in this post: © Srinjay Chakravarti
Published with the permission of Srinjay Chakravarti