Bluegrass Highway-Madhura Banerjee

bluegrass highway.jpg
-Illustration by Saanya Chopra

A little bluegrass singer in my rucksack

Asked me to trace the colours of dawn –

Hinting how the needled poplars fall all over the horizon,

Half-tainted off the sunrise palette;

Saffron flowers exhaled the autumn season

Into the ashen hem of sky-skirts, over the heads of trucks,

Retelling the old ballad of how the spindle of the night

Stole the purple satin tendrils from the hips

Of moon-veined Jammu-Srinagar highway,

To clothe the mountain gypsies who untie clouds from one another.


Beneath the overhanging yarn strings of autumn

Where the wasted silk patchwork of maroon leaves

Clothe the tier dust of yesterday’s travellers’ yesterday maps,

I make my own highway amidst the saffron fields –

Bluegrass cassette film spilling from my backpack,

A spindly cataract, down searchlights of midnight army convoys,

By the candle-lit windows of farmers –

So that when the song plays in the plain-lands,

And the same phrase dances in a broken record, I will know,

Like sunrise, some repetitions are made to be music.

Madhura Banerjee is in her third year bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Since the days of her schooling – in Calcutta Girls’ High School – she has been involved in creative activities, and won multiple inter-school poetry-writing, script-writing and story-writing competitions. She was shortlisted in the top twenty-five storytellers by Scholastic Writing Awards 2007. In college, she has been deeply involved in the creative sector, winning inter-college poetry competitions, being chief editor of the magazine by the Science faculty of St. Xavier’s College, and being shortlisted in the top twenty storytellers by ‘Belles-Lettres’ (2015) – a story-writing competition by Government Law College, Mumbai. Her short story, ‘Tales To Tell’ was included in the anthology published by BEE Books, 2015.