With a Different Stroke by Nandini Sen

Nandini Sen is an anthropologist who runs the virtual book club ReadinGLa(d)sses. She was one of the storytellers for Edinburgh City of Literature’s Story Shop 2016 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and had an article published in the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures in November 2016.


With a Different Stroke



We smelled the forest under the bare sky,
Weighed the warm wooden furniture at the coffee shop,
Stood in the road and walked away.
I knew that if we met again
In an unknown twilight zone we would begin
And end whatever we were whispering,
Talks of castles, cathedrals, hills and glens.
I felt numb as I watched your cold, wavering car
Fading away at the turn of the road.


Reality and dreams mixed;
We cycled down mystical paths
And got off at the foothills.
You invited me to your home against the smooth, green terrain.
We entered the quietness without knocking on the door.
Once again we met
When evening set in Edinburgh;
We were ready with our intimate talk of the town,
Awaiting your entry.
The clock chimed five,
And we began our journey over the deep River Forth.


We sat and played bridge around the old oak table.
Hamish and Heather were absurdly quick and clever;
My partner and I could hardly twist the cards.
I never regretted those wonders emerging from their wins.
Sometimes we listened to Tagore’s solemn songs;
They mingled with Robert Burns’ poetry, while
The middle ground Beatles and Floyd
Hammered a rhythm in our brains
To the beat of the TomTom.


The everyday monotone engulfs us;
We go to Scott’s monument and catch the fresh air,
Enjoy our usual trance out of single malts,
Return home by ten.
We sit down for a couple of hours watching Trainspotting,
And shudder from a feeling of ennui.
Let us once again go
Smell the fresh, green forest.

Nandini can be reached via Facebook through ReadinGLa(d)sses.