On this Earth Day, unlike many others- individuals to organizations, I have no agenda. Instead I would like to speak about April. 

April is November in reverse. November withdraws, April approaches. While November is frightening, April can but merely be threatening.  It was in April, six years back, when I made my first solo trip to the Adirondack mountains. Coming to this place without any friends, not just for fun, not for group hiking with a checklist, but just being there- helped convince me of the importance of not having any agenda. If love was to be truly loved, it was meant to be in this land in April.  Now it has been two years, two Aprils, that I have been living on this land. And I wish to spend the rest of my Aprils in this land, bereft of agenda. And any good, which I always wish and strive for- for the land or anyone else, is merely a by-product of my actions.

* The following, follows from ‘Seeking November’ https://saikatchakra.wordpress.com/2023/01/15/seeking-november/

I waited for one infinity
-with my black dog4

Aji e probhat e rabir kar
       Kemone poshilo praner por
Kemone poshilo guhar aadhare probhat-pakhir gaan
Na jani keno re eto din pore jagiya uthilo pran6

We are in the month of April. The light is strong, but the season is wrong.

I was waiting for the revolution to come down in sleet, another month for the blood to thicken- in the thin of things. Before I could summon the hatred necessary to inflict the necessary, the ice was out. As if that was not enough, the speckled alder budded. The fever broke. Pus oozed out of the maples.

I was older in November. I am younger in April. 
I found ballads in all the places I came baying for blood.

We cannot know both the position and momentum of a subatomic particle with perfect accuracy.7

As I am being recklessly restored, a student comes and declares the bird they have met.

Wail wail wail tremolo yodel hoot wail wail
Not one she’s seen.
One bird she’s met.

April is for greeting each one anew.

The first trillium
before the meadow takes over.
The first loon that serenades you
The last shard of ice that this lake offers to you.

And what must we do with this bounty?

This, you must learn, that April too has no value
For it was given to you,
And you must give it away.
The brown, passing through, makes space for the green.


  1. Bloom by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
  3. O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman
  4. adapted from Mahabharata
  5. adapted from The White Man’s Burden by Rudyard Kipling
  6. Nirjhorer Swapnobhongo by Rabindranath Thakur
  7. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

Revolution- expanded

Remember me, I used to be a rebel,
soar the azure skies,
and climb the high tides
I have crossed the seven seas,
and the thirteen rivers.

Remember me, I used to live for new smells,
tread on fresh soils.
and play the fancy electrophones
I have searched the world,
and scourged myself.

Now I live for the old spices,
and the graying dog.
the boundaries have dissolved,
and I am ready for communion.

I throw the stick into the water. Moose, the dog, bolts past, making ripples.
I like to call them Moose ripples.

He brings it back.
I throw it again.
He brings it back.
I throw it yet again.

He does not tire.

All I can do is try-
keep up with him.

The eternal game continues-
each time with a different Moose ripple
in the space-time continuum.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
That is true of expectations. Not of repetition.

The eternal game continues-
every time a different Moose ripple.

I do not know why.

All I can leave you with is this – 
I do not need to know why to understand it. I do not need to understand to feel it.
Above all, it does not need to mean anything to feel it.

Far too often, meaningful work, or the illusion of it, gets in the way of living.

I have barely started to live.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” – Rumi

All I need to do is show up by the lake with a good stick.

I shall make the right image.
I shall invent the most useless words that you will understand.
And they will mean nothing.

Seeking November

To be a Flower, is profound Responsibility1 – if that is true, then November is a land without law. I do not know if I am seeking November, or even if I would like it. But since it is here, all I can do is place myself in its path. Maybe seeking is, after all, about something not sought after.

They say that the winter snow is like a blanket of kindness that drapes the barren landscape. November, with odd snow days, does not try to even out its edges. Like a holly leaf near the bottom of the plants developing spikes, November dissuades grazers. The tourists dissipate; the locals hibernate until the snow is good enough for skiing. At this time, when nothing happens, where the land neither cares, nor cures, maybe it is easier to insert myself. 

I remember the time my father lost a tire in a marsh, and went back the next morning to find it: an ordinary day in an ordinary country- of little liberty and ample beauty. Here I am now, in another ordinary country, on another ordinary November day, losing myself in a marsh- and finding it, next morning. I see the last dodo that refused to see fear in a handful of dust2. I see Thomas Roe lowering his anchor in Surat. I see the dwindling lights of Samarkand, the burning ghats of Banaras. I see the retreat of the tundra, and the victory of the algae. 

As a light snow falls on this November night- I think of the little rights remaining, and the ample beauty still left: where continuity stands in the way of liberation, it is inevitable that a pine sapling takes foothold in the murky memory of spruce and leatherleaf and tamaracks and rose pogonias.

If all is stardust, why should one be better than another?

It is in this great leveller of seasons – with no flowers to sanctify, no black flies to vilify; in the browning heath, and a slightly frosted sedge, the indecisive hardening of sphagnum, anxious footprints of a coyote in the sudden thaw-lines in a slowly freezing lake, the tanning of the grass by the water’s edge, the bare aspens, the barely clinging beech leaves, the grey November light, unimpeded by greenery, walking deeper into the blood- clotted landscape- that rights and kinship, sans ownership, sans privilege, is facilitated.

In this light, at this time of the year, I can read the landscape better. And contribute a verse3

 I wait for one infinity
in the cold and bleak.
-with my black dog4

It is amazing how easy that is to do.
The leaves go first.
and then the shade
and then the loons
and then the sunshine
finally, it is November.

Telling it like it is- without the rage of monsoon, or the softness
of autumn.
without the-
summer fruit, or the spring flowers; 
when the snow is not yet deep, and there are no promises to keep.
November slips in
as if nothing ever happened.

I have been to the brothel of Autumn
and bartered beauty in maples
I saw your world, 
and held your light-
until I plucked warm stars 
out of the moonless November sky
and pinned them
to the tamaracks
I see you now. I see you now.
I walk in your shadow.

Here is the secret of the seasons-
where the river has died
and the black dog and I need to hide
there is not enough light.
there is not enough night.
-for all that is brown and living,
November offers nothing.

The first lover, and the last empire
had their share-
now it is time, for the brown lilypad
to summon you.
into this unholy peatland.
all night long, this November light
carries the Brown’s burden
The peaceful poems of the savage5

there is beauty in the aftermath of the war, 
where the worst is over, 
and the best is best
kept at bay. 
there, you can hold-
the empty purpose, just you
and the world- 
ending the world. 

and then I wait
for one more infinity
-with my black dog4


  1. Bloom by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
  3. O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman
  4. Mahabharata
  5. The White Man’s Burden by Rudyard Kipling

Every day

The first lover, and the last god-

Had their share.

Now it is time, for the first lilypad-

To summon you.

Into the new world.

I want to touch you, but you

are so far out in the marsh.

Do not start reading now-

the dawn is breaking.

All day long, the light

walks deeper into the bog.

Save your eyes for sight.

The old marsh has new poems for you-

Do not go back to sleep.

The Way I See

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”Rumi

Oftentimes the aesthetics of a foggy morning, or a tree draped in colourful foliage, or the both together, is so blinding that I have no choice but to accept defeat and take an image. I would never give up on those mornings. But I am learning to not have an instrument on me at all those times.

Other times, nostalgia takes over. Of a land where I was born but never knew too well to another land that I am learning, and learning it well enough to be buried in it. The home of now calls out to the past, and dwelling in what could have been takes ever so much away from present work.

Then there is anthropomorphization, especially when it has no business of being there. The mountain and the lake were here before any humans, and certainly before I stood here. And yet I cannot help but see through the spectacles of my own species. And so much gets lost in translation.

Sometimes, I like to highlight issues such as climate change, or advocate a new parcel of public land as wilderness through my work. And every time I wonder about the passionate conviction, and academic ego masquerading as wisdom.

All this, I presume I do, in the hopes of finding some meaning in my creations. And by extension making my life meaningful.

But far too often- creating, or the illusion of it, gets in the way of living. And I have barely started to live.

One day I shall not carry the mountain on my shoulders. It will be in my heart.

One day I shall not cross the bridge when it comes to it. I will be standing in the water.

On that day, I shall make the right image. That day I shall find the right words. 

And they will mean nothing.


I remember the time my father lost a tire in a swamp,

and went back the next morning to find it.

An ordinary day in an ordinary country-

of little liberty and ample beauty.

Here I am in another ordinary country, 

on another ordinary day.

Losing myself in a swamp-

and finding it, next morning.

The heat breaks on this summer night-

as I think of the little rights remaining,

and the ample beauty still left.

Where continuity stands in the way

of liberation-

it is incredible that water lilies still bloom,

year after year, summer after summer,

as civilizations rise and fall.

And all I can leave you with is this-

an uncertain metaphor 

in a world of alternate facts,

and rusty religions,

go spend some time by a swamp.

So that you can live, to clear it 

another day.

Saranac (from Iroquois meaning- Cluster of Stars)

I have never seen a star that I have not seen.

When despair for the world grew, Wendell Berry came to The Peace of Wild Things and “felt above him the day-blind stars waiting with their light”.

He came to wild things because he was not with his light. 

And the future found his words, waiting with their light, in times of despair.

Primo Levi saw The Black Stars, where “The sky is strewn with horrible dead suns, Dense sediments of mangled atoms.”, and where “Light itself falls back down, broken by its own weight…”.2

If all is stardust, why is one better than the other.

Why did Berry’s words not find its way to Levi?

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” said The Old Astronomer to His Pupil, as told by Sarah Williams.3

If you do not learn a star now, how do I believe you will stand up for a constellation.

“Heart from heart is all as far, Fafaia, as star from star.” wrote Rupert Brooke.

If I have to explode to create, then so be it.

If you are in awe, how can you be in the heart of things.

I have never seen a star that I have seen.

1- The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry – Scottish Poetry Library

2- Poem Of The Week: ‘The Black Stars’ By Primo Levi (1919-1987)

3- Twilight Hours Quotes by Sarah Williams

4- Fafaia

A Day’s Risings

My morning started in a tangled web of light and lilypads, grass and pines, one that is weaved in a deceitful way, but also without any intent to deceive. It is easy to skip them and ride on to the “‘better views” or the “High Peaks”. Aldo Leopold noted in A Sand County Almanac- “Like ions shot from the sun, the week-enders radiate from every town, generating heat and friction as they go.”. Though not a peak bagger, I used to be one of those weekenders. But now I have time on my side. And I hope the tide is too.

It is pre-dawn in the bog, as if someone has scattered labradorite dust in the air, a spectacle that would rapidly disappear with the rising sun, a blue abscondee that vows to blanket the marsh again in another turn of the celestial rock. There is hardly a chance of anyone showing up here anytime soon, and so I let Moose, the dog, run off leash. It was a mistake! Moose sensed the presence of the geese before I heard their honk, and disappeared in the swamp. After a few minutes of frantic calling, he returned with a dejected look, covered in mud and sticks, while the geese soared in the first light of the day.

I decide to walk around the bog with Moose, now on a leash, and watch the early profusion of lilypads. Spring was on steroids, catalyzed by the intense heat over the past few days. It is supposed to rain later in the day. I have plans to hike a nearby mountain but I need to decide on bringing Moose. He is anxious about thunderstorms and I am anxious about losing him if he breaks the leash and runs away.

It is later in the day. We are hiking the mountain. We both decided to face our respective anxieties today. I can neither confirm nor deny whether the puppy eyes of abandonment while I was leaving for the hike was a factor in the decision. Fortunately, there are no signs of thunderstorms yet. Moose is happily running along the trail and playing with sticks. Soon, we reached the summit just as the clouds burst in the horizon.

Mountains and ravines stretching as far as the eyes can gleam, a downpour here, a piercing shaft of light there; how does a thunderstorm decide which range gets the growl, and who deserves the lightning, and who can bask in the fresh rain: what is the right word for a mix of petrichor and petrifying, and if there is one, I would wish upon each drop of the rain that it is not a noun, nor an adjective, but a verb, for I would want to actively partake in it.

This is a place to breathe, in the storm, and the calm, in the rain, and the sun; I have been to many breathtaking places but here, on this Adirondack mountain, I have come not to have my breath taken away, but to be able to breathe- slowly and freely.

And Moose thinks the same too- he did not run away. After he finished cooling off on a small puddle at the summit, he has been very busy with a stick of maple that he carried from the forest below. He did look up and around every time there was thunder. But there were more pressing matters- the maple stick will not chew itself.

These mountains, this dog, that distant rain, those lilies in the valley- they are my story. I photograph them, I write them for myself. I do not create in the hopes of a legacy or a revenue stream, though I would welcome both if they come my way. Too many years have passed in finding it. Mary Oliver wrote- “I ask you again: if you have not been enchanted by this adventure – your life- what would do for you?”. I am prepared to be enchanted by this place for a lifetime. And I only hope that I am allowed to be so.

The storm has now reached this mountain. Our mountain. We decide to head down, through the forest lush in all shades of green- “…even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:25-34), while the rain keeps company.

Why do I live in the Adirondacks?

Why, and how, and when?

Did you become my brethren?

Now I cannot leave.

Why do I live in the Adirondacks?

This is an important question for me. And I am writing down the answer here primarily for myself.

I live in the Adirondacks because I can. Not everybody can. 

Making a living here needs a certain amount of grit, and a great deal of privilege. Many, if not all, focus only on the former, while downplaying the latter. 

Weather is harsh for most of the year, employment opportunities are scarce and niche, and there is not much in the way of recreation unless you love being outdoors. 

As for privilege, both racial and generational, plays a huge role. While this essay is not the place to expand on the topic, one easy marker of that privilege is the denial by the very ones who benefit from it.

I have found that most people want to live in their comfort zones forever. The best they do is make their comfort zone bigger, maybe prevent it from becoming a bubble, but very few actually want to break free. That is why most Indians (I am speaking only about my nationality by birth) find their own communities, in metropolises and/or university-centric towns. With the familiar comfort of good food and communication in mother tongue, comes the gossip, racial bias and moral superiority, and traditional measures of financial success. 

I think that Indian food is the best in the world. I am proud that Bangla is my native language. I enjoy the occasional gossip. Dare I say that I do feel foolishly morally superior about certain positions in my life. And yes, I also have some intrinsic racial bias. I constantly work on the last two aspects to better myself. Although, in exchange, I must say that Indian food is the absolute best. No arguments there!

I am privileged to have been born an upper-caste in India. And even though life was not without financial struggles, I received a good education that catapulted a journey of nine thousand miles.

But that is not all. 

I live in the Adirondacks because I read. I live here because I read Chander Pahar*. And then all that Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay* wrote. He could see farther than all: even without travelling to foreign lands, during an era before the internet. But I am a mere mortal and I had to go witness a glimpse of the wild for myself.

I live in the Adirondacks because I had to see a place where the mist plays truant with the landscape.

And soon seeing was not enough. I had to know how the light touches the mountain.

I had to live in the mountains. I had to touch the light.

I live in the Adirondacks because a foggy morning and a dead pine is more important to me than a festive gathering and lifeless conversations. 

I live in the Adirondacks because I love the mud and bog. I live here because I did not play in the dirt enough as a child. 

I live in the Adirondacks because I seriously studied Chemistry for as long as I could. I knew Antoine Lavoisier decades before Adirondack Murray. I live here because I can barter reaction mechanisms for paddles under the full moon.

I live in the Adirondacks because I was given a film camera in my high school. I could not afford to spend on such ‘frivolous pursuits’ then. I can afford it now. But it is not necessary anymore. 

I live in the Adirondacks because my teacher asked me to write. And I did not for many years. But it is necessary for me now that I write.

I live in the Adirondacks because I read the White Fang. And I wanted to experience a place through a dear animal. I live here because I did not grow up with a pet.

I live in the Adirondacks because how else would I have known that a beaver can chase you while you are studying a lilypad.

I still do not know why the chicken crossed the road. But now I know why the salamander crossed the road.

I live in the Adirondacks because here I have come closer to myself than ever before.

I live in the Adirondacks because all returns to dust. 

I live in the Adirondacks because I want to live.

(on Earth Day of 2022, an inquiry into my shelter in one corner of the earth)



If, only

If you love me, give me a metaphor.

I want to know how I remind you of the first time,

You got hurt playing in your childhood home.

How it felt to see the sun going down.

If you love me, tell me how I am commonplace,

In the mud and bog, in the stardust of everyday life.

Churning the same old adjectives.

How I can be replaced.

If you love me, bid me farewell,

In the repeating seasons of grey.

All that leaves without a mark.

How it is all the same.