Category: love

just now.

dear mama,
each passing day breathes a loving, searing, dance of homecoming & farewell- imprinting body & soul with evanescence replete with the lightness of the dragonfly hum in summer, and the deep, dragonbreath magma-song of grief.
but today…today is just goodbye. once more.

& here we are again:
one more spin round the sun,
one more year, stacked
upon another & another & another.
but today feels like just now.
just now, i heard you were gone,
just now, i flew up in night-sky
mantled in disbelief,
then landed & watched you,
so uncomprehendingly still beneath a sheet,
just now, & you were ashes.
just now, & you were ashes dissolved in warm ocean.
just now, & you were completely gone,
so very quiet now, & absolutely everpresent.

just now, & me,
four years older & catching my breath,
preparing for another spin round the sun.

Last night. Writing on a dream. Full moon weaving its watery magic.

a great-grandfather visits.

last night,
in quiet unshaped dreamwaters,
you visited for the first time.

you died so many many years before i came to be.

last night,
in quiet unshaped dreamwaters,
we sat you and i, on a rowboat,
drifting towards a dawn mist soft as silk.
your wife, my father’s mother’s mother,
sat with us.
we sang for you unspoken words in the silence,
unbroken by water and sunrise.
and then you stood up,
and on the next breath, you were no more.
dissolved into the watery quiet.

for the first time since i came to be,
i loved you.

once in a while you visit : a memory of my great-grandmother.

once in a while, you visit,
sudden, un-beckoned, always acknowledged
with a smile infinitely sad and tender
that unfolds its butterfly wings
and dragonfly depth
in the space between breaths,
somewhere between my remembering heart
and my childhood me.
once in a while, you visit,
bestowing upon the instant
scents and tastes, confetti-like,
and right now, it was a waft of Sunday and winter,
the pastel clear sweetness of dragées,
sugar cool like old-fashioned water, and sticky;
right now, it was a murmur of your smell,
honeysuckle cologne too fresh and flowery for truth,
weaved into the vaguely brittle mustiness
of your deep old-age,
and a hundred years of gazing up at the moon every night,
before sleep.

my mother’s mother.


i don’t HAVE a country,  i AM the stories of my life lived & dreamed,
the stories of my parents,
the stories of this life & the one before & the one before
& all that flowed in between.
India is my mother’s land.
when part of myself was part of my mother part of her mother,
i was a tiny egg in my unborn mother in her mother’s womb,
& my unconceived cells breathed the music of India,
her carnatic clamours & temple bells,
muezzin calls floating in & out of tune in jasmine-clad air,
her immense sadnesses & her knowing silence,
the sandalwood song of my mother’s mother’s skin
& her hips rolling slow in cotton sari,
wrapped around her warm belly & my unfurling mother & me- unthought of.
India is not a country to me,
she is this unspoken song always remembered.
and this is why my heart breaks every time my feet land on her noisy, dusty, impossibly contradictory soil,
& every time i say goodbye, my heart breaks once more.

Valentine’s Day : Nagukunda, a lovelorn song in Spanish made in Rwanda.


(Nagukunda; guitar & vocals: Bizi; accordeon: Estelle Lannoy; lyrics & vocals: Arusha Topazzini)

Nagukunda means ‘i love you’ in Kinyarwanda.
I recorded this song in Kigali in 2008, when i was visiting my mother who was living and working there, training journalists at a newly set-up radio station. (more…)

the man with the funny hat : a poem

he was called Fernando. my grieving buddy extraordinaire.
we met down the road from where my flat used to be, on a tiny cobbled street squeezed between a tiny park, a big new church and a ring-road, on the northern edge of Paris.
i was sitting at the local cyber-cafe which looked more like India than Paris and felt so familiar after 18 months of living in Goa.

i noticed his violin first.

To My Unborn Child : a mother writes.


i was my mother’s only child, and she almost died giving birth to me.
we were best friends. the kind that bicker & argue all the time.
we were also so incredibly stubborn.

my mother died in 2013, when i was 32 years old.
we had just spent 18 months living together in an absurdly large house in Goa.
18 months with my mother and her liver tumour. (more…)

O vento : a song-poem


(Guitar & percussion : Michel Ongaro ; lyrics & vocals : Arusha Topazzini; mixed by the one and only Jacktone Okore)

on a rain-tinged evening i wrote the following song-poem, thinking of the many times when i, a young child visiting family in Bombay, watched other children walking up and down the seafront by the Gateway of India.

they were about my age or older, some barely had any clothes on, their skin was coated in traffic and sea-air dust, their hair matted, and their eyes, faraway.  i was a child watching other children, and seeing no part of life-as-i-knew-it reflected back. i knew something was very wrong, but i was too young to understand it fully in my mind. i understood it in my heart and my child-eyes instead. (more…)