Three Superb, Sexy Poems By Tamil Poet Perundevi

Illustrations by Rajasee Ray of Ladyfingers Co.

Translated by N Kalyan Raman from  the original Tamil poems by Perundevi

You can read the original poems in Tamil here.


68th Parting














For Kandasamy and Latha,

this is their 68th parting.

The first two times

they had individually


attempting suicide.

The next eight times

they said goodbye to each other

with lots of good wishes.

Once, as he was looking on,

Latha cut her palm with a blade.

Once Kandasamy smashed and broke

the TV set when a song they had used

as their private code came on.

Once Latha did not wipe

a treasured trace of their parting:

her glasses wet with tears.

Once Kandasamy burnt to ashes

the shirt to which she had glued

herself during their first kiss.

Latha (four times) and Kandasamy (once)

had also sobbed and wept during their long-distance liaison

drenching and damaging their laptops.

Without meeting her at all, Kandasamy

only sent her emails – that was one half.

Latha failed to see him while

she was looking at him –

that was another half.

They had each parted from the other, suspecting

the other’s fidelity to their mutual love:

Latha thrice and Kandasamy thrice.

(These include the time

Anushka appeared in his dreams half-naked,

a scene that Latha witnessed

in its entirety).

Because Latha blurted out her suspicion

without keeping it in her heart,

Kandasamy got one chance to part.

Because he left her in that fashion,

Latha got one chance to start a fight.

Even when they were together,

Kandasamy had stayed away

from her seven times.

Latha was not so bad, after all.

Because another man had wooed her


that woman of exemplary virtue left  twice on her own,

to punish Kandasamy.

They parted in their hearts too –

once because Latha wrote poetry

and eight times because Kandasamy

did not read her poems.

One day, to get rid of her nuisance once and for all,

Kandasamy stood before god and complained.

That very night, dancing possessed,

Latha won him back.

When their relationship went from gross

to subtle, he closed his Yahoo! account

(opened especially for her sake) seven times.

To compete, Latha deleted him from her list

and cut him off six times.

A few more partings elude

even their own memories.

“68 is a lucky number for partings” –

Kandasamy is trying hard to retain

these words of the astrologer, renowned for

picking lucky gemstones from planetary positions,

in his memory. This time, Latha does not look for

even a worm or an insect

to be her emissary.

69th, 77th and 88th

partings await them


May death, slated

for their 90th parting,

be not in a hurry

to jump the queue.


Translated by N Kalyan Raman from the Tamil poem, 68-aavathu pirivu  by Perundevi
















I’ve kept a hibiscus

as the screensaver

on my phone.

No matter if it is day or night,

the flower is constantly in bloom;

that’s nothing special, of course.

We can playfully

raise or lower

the brightness of the blue

sky in the background.

Why, we can even change

the very colour of the sky.

The hibiscus in this screensaver

has a shinier look and feels

more intimate than

the old hibiscus, pale red and crawling

with ants, in the backyard,

and its compact sky

fits right into my palm.


Translated by N Kalyan Raman from  the original Tamil poem, Thirai Paadhukaavalan by Perundevi


Time this time














Though fleeting moments lie

hidden, always, within

eternity, let us not

know eternity as a collection

of moments when we

found the treasure,

heard of the accident or

first tasted the saliva of a kiss.

While blessing us with its one hand

of lifespan, with its other hand


drags us forward


After losing us amid festive celebrations

of goodwill, it retrieves us later

as sick or unwanted persons,

as refugees in flight from

nations, classes and genders.

Innocent flakes of time nod off to sleep every now and then;

whenever that happens, just as Gilgamesh who sought

the boon of immortality lost it

in uncontrollable sleep, we lose all.

Eternity, though, never blinks.

It reckons our every step

as pieces of bread offered daily

at the feet of sleeping Gilgamesh.

With some sharp and deadly point

of cruelty, charity, betrayal or love,

this tiny speck of time tries

to draw us inside ourselves.

With eternity, though,

we lost the battle

the moment we were born.


Translated by N Kalyan Raman from the Tamil poem, Kaalam ikkaalam, by Perundevi


You may also like



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *