Sunil Kaushal


Sunil Kaushal


In The Darkness Of The Night


Some nights when sleep eludes me, I go through my day,

in the darkness of the night.

Yesterday my maid came with bruises and contusions-

heard her story, sympathized with her, gave her medicines,

her battered body disturbs me, but knowing her husband

going to the police station with her, daunts me

in the darkness of the night.


Today, her daughter came instead, missing school.

One look at the sink, two slices of bread, a cup of tea heating

leaving the duplicate key, I left for my children’s PTA meeting.

Her helpless eyes still haunt me,

in the darkness of the night.


A young beggar woman in tatters, knocks on my car window,

thankful the light turned green, I looked away.

Draped in my sequined designer sari, walking with a sway

smirking, she flaunts it in my face,

in the darkness of the night.


Another crossing, midnight, a little girl sells flowers

I buy a few, redeeming the guilt of my Tiffany’s perfume.

She wanders into my room, places a crystal vase of roses,

their fragrance taunts me,

in the darkness of the night.


When my daughter, asks permission,

for a sleepover with friends,

no way ! She’s into her sixteenth year !

I pretend to be asleep

when my son flicks the car keys;

boys will be boys I say

when he takes his girl friend for a jaunt,

in the darkness of the night.


The media screams hysterics

another murder, another rape !

French and ballet leave no time

for my daughter to learn judo-karate.


The government must protect women

I sign a petition.

but cannot sign off the sleeping pills,

I now badly need,

in the darkness of the night.




Hymns Of The Night


It’s eventide, shadows lengthen,

cymbals and conch shell resound,

incense sticks vainly outdoing street fumes,

prayers of gratitude and supplications

rise heavenward,

in an effort to untangle the days tangles,

awaiting answers over many morrows

after night long vigils singing hymns.


Golden rays hurrying home, having played

hide and seek day long with the ‘Parijat',

snag their hems leaving orange specks

holding white crowns

their breath an hypnotic ‘October’

seeping into velvety dusk.

Viscous indigo, deepens the textured

midnight mystique

an impregnable darkness

where sight loses it’s the way.

‘Raat Ki Rani’ vying, suffuses heady intoxicants

to dripping dewdrops adding one more hymn

to the rhapsody unfolding in the moon garden.


Shimmering city lights, speeding vehicles,

outshine the sparkling sequined veil,

around a tranquil luminescent moon.

The stray dogs residents of this address

stop barking at the explosive pistol shots

it’s the spoiled drunk brat,

shattering midnight peace.

hurtling daily recklessly,

his bike silencer removed.

Little infants in the neighborhood

wake up crying, frightened.

Anxious mothers predict doom for the rider,

watchmen shake heads,

the dogs go back to their beds

on garbage  bean bags,

curled against the cold.

Hymns died out hours ago.


A moonlighter, having missed the last bus,

walks briskly through his obscure fears and

 empty parks, deserted public places,

 but for the homeless no vacant spaces,

at the bewitching hour

hearing footsteps of invisible ghosts,

recites the ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, traversing dark roads.

His own echoing footsteps resound as eerie hymns.

The chanting taken up blasphemously

by crickets, cicadas and katydids,

chirping rhythmically for a female mate

in an uncanny nocturnal chorus


The sultry night, a maiden ripe, is ready for romance.

Glistening ebony limbs awaken,

vulnerability heightens, melting

in the warmth of feverish explorations

to dark skinned pleasures

in  runes and undulations

of valleys and mounds,

in a deafening crescendo

bodies sing hymns to the night.


*Parijat – a very fragrant white flower with an orange pedicle, that blooms at night.

* October- another name for Parijat as it blooms in October.

* Raat Ki Rani- another very fragrant white flower that blooms only at night, meaning Queen of the Night.

* Hanuman Chalisa- a prayer for protection addressed to Lord Hanuman ji.




Self Portrait


I am not fair as the moon


nor a body celestial in the heavens


still, moonbeams descend to learn


the mysteries of fertility from my feminine


as the trajectory travels from crescent infancy


to the gibbous of my many moons


which nobody noticed or raved about


except for three stars that twinkled waiting


in the sky of some past birth


to shine on earth


as the womb labored to impart them light


and I become a super moon as resplendent as the sun


my young stars bathe in my moonlight, I am fulfilled.


Somewhere between the gypsy that was


and the matriarch that is


a woman bloomed like a flower from a seed


intuition led to verdant pastures and meadows


where the unicorn awaited me, flying


to lands of my dreams


some earthly, some divine destinies fulfilled.


Satiated in a fragrance exotic

lavished by the eternal spring


now with changing seasons, the flower wilts


garners a few grains of wisdom,


learning lessons as the fragrant silk of cheeks wrinkles


the joy that lay in raven tresses


supple body or rosy lips


finds peace in the arms of nature that blesses.




Dr. SUNIL KAUSHAL is a gynaecologist turned writer with a passion for writing short stories and poetry as well as essays. A trilingual writer writing in English, Hindi and her mother tongue Punjabi. She also writes haiku, micro-poetry and limericks. Published in a number of National, International anthologies and magazines, has won many awards and competitions. Her poems have been translated into French, German and Greek. She has received many awards. Currently her book of poems and translation of her brother P.S.Gill’s book, from German to English, keep her busy. An accomplished actor, she has done a number of stage plays, TV and radio programs. Having been on the Advisory Committees of National TV and All India Radio, she brought about a number of changes for Women and Children’s Welfare.   In 1982, she was awarded ‘Best Lioness President’ Asia. She has also been chairperson of a number of socially committed organizations for many years and is associated with Mother Teresa’s Home. She is blessed with a daughter and two sons and is an indulgent grandmother to two lovely grand- daughters and a handsome grandson. She lives in Pune City, India. She listens to Indian Classical and Sufi music, when not writing, blogging, or sketching. A session of Yoga first thing in the morning charges the batteries of this 76 year old keeping her in love with all things in life..


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