Two Haibun: Small Moments

By Sanket Mhatre

Small moments

A second here, a minute there. I choose to remember or string together for something more divine.

1: It started raining outside my office window. I noticed the droplets running at Godspeed. I realised they are competing with each other. Ferocious; neither of them stopping to think the whyness of the whole situation. What if these droplets stopped midway and looked outside? What would happen?  

2: A sparrow entered our floor. What surprised me was that she wasn’t scared. It’s as if she knew the place. She didn’t fly here. She sauntered. And then she sat on a desk and flew away. Did my office pay her? I would be grateful if they did. She made me think of the freedom you bring. Were you a sparrow eight years back? 

3: It’s so green outside, it’s difficult to tell the time. There will be a place for us just like this. One without coordinates. That place will be green too. We won’t be alone. There would be a lot of us. You and I sitting next to Tukaram and hearing him sing his hymns. We’ll meditate with Dnyaneshwar. We’ll watch Van Gogh paint, and Rembrandt grow his tulips. Maybe, we’ll find Rumi too alone on a rock looking at us while we look at him. We belong there. And I know, it exists. My science tells me so.

4: I move back and forth - a line is stuck in my head. It’s for you. It plays and plays. I get tired. I choose to write a letter instead to you.

5: Every time I step out of my building, my heart beats faster. I see myself running out of the gates onto the wide-open road, and the wind blasting over my face. Is that freedom? I’m afraid of freedom. Of squares disintegrating. Of shapes disappearing. If freedom ever had a body, it would be yours.


spotlight —
my turn to karaoke
your favourite song


Imagine yourself in a prison. Dark, wet walls. The works of Shawshank redemption.

Now imagine staying in it for two decades. Knowing every crevice, understanding the texture of every brick. (You understand it, because how else will you survive?)

Now imagine one day, your prison gets a window. A high one.

Nevertheless, you own a piece of sky, a tiny cloud.

But these are yours to see.  

You keep looking at the clouds for days. They put you to sleep and they are there when you wake up. They are your friends. You have a real bond. You talk to them. You fight with them. You make up. You stop talking. They never talk back. Then you know, they never did.

You belonged and unbelonged to them. 


And in all of this, as if to distort the dynamics, overturn the interplay, a butterfly flies by. 

Carefree and fearless. Spreading its wings, owning every inch of the outside world. As if it knows the world by heart. 


As if, it will never get trapped. It flies and flies instilling hope in the innate nature of flying.

At such times, you look at the butterfly, taking in its freedom without questioning the science under its wings. You feel it. And only you feel it because you always wanted to feel being outside your prison walls. 

You don’t google that butterfly. You don’t look for its species. You don’t understand its life span and migratory pattern.

You stay in its hopeful flight. To make it yours.


body double —
everyone watches me
in the cinema hall

Sanket Mhatre was the chief assistant director of Kavyotsav 2001: the first bilingual poetry reading festival of Marathi and Kannada poets. He has held several poetry reading sessions in Mumbai and across Maharashtra. He performed at Kavyahotra 2018, the 72-hour poetry reading festival in Goa with 9 poets from other languages. Widely published, he performs at old age homes under the program (नातवंडांच्या कविता or Poems By Grandchildren). He is a renowned lyricist. His title song for the daily soap 'Radha Hi Bawari' was awarded the best song at Zee Alpha Gaurav. Crossover Poems is his brainchild, that started with The Poetry Club to unify poets from multiple languages, and embracing sensibilities unique to every language.