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There sits the Cloud-messenger, that famous one

whose letters dropped into the valley between two peaks.

One letter carried a message that translates in English as “Come soon.”

But in an alien tongue, it said: “I endlessly peel oranges looking at the sky.”

Which, in English, means “come soon.”

You Cloud-messenger, you who stopped the message 

from arriving at the checkpost of wronged love.

You with your inaction.

Your silence. Your timeless, meaningless love.

In translation, the message died. 

You knew it. You threw it away into the compost. 

You stood up in the café having finished the double espresso.

The paper cup had within it the hidden message.

That which refused translation. 

That which died in the throat of the messenger

as black coffee.

There sits the Cloud-messenger, the wise one, the wily one

who knew the secret codes of love and rule.

Who knew that to put me, a young lovelorn poet, to work

He would first have to gently break my heart.

The heart wherein lies the single most argument

Against High Capitalism.

Don’t read Marx or the Social Democrats, my friend.

Read Kalidasa, and read my heart, if you like.

Read Kalidasa, my wayward and fanciful friends,

Read Kalidasa to experience the languidness of a lost message.

And maybe you will go check the postboxes after.

And maybe there will be a wave of revolution in your empty hearts


Your empty hearts are all storehouses of heartbreak poems.

The Kalidasa gave birth to this peculiar pain as genre.

The literary theorists would tell you that, at any rate.

The deliberate losing of love-letters is the origin-story of work. 

The languid bodies that woke up to the need for practical reality. 

Say that to your students and workers,

heartbroken all.

Atreyee Majumder is an anthropologist, poet, and writer based in Bangalore. She is currently associate professor (Social Sciences) at National Law School of India University.

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