Saffron Rain

by Ankur Betageri (February 2016)

And it poured and poured

as I held my umbrella and stood under the awning

of the bookstore

the creamy brightness of pages


before the grim downpour

of saffron urine.


It would stop

I should just take a few deep breaths

and relax

maybe light a cigarette

or watch the big-eyed girl

in the bookstore

who just looked up from what she was reading

and shivered

so I thought as I waited

but wind-caught—it lashed on our faces

over all of us

scared citizens of the republic

huddling under insufficient shelters

by the roadside.


It stank

I felt dirty

but I wiped my face with the hanky

and began to walk.


It’s better to brave the squall

and reach home

I can take a bath

have coffee

and forget all about the downpour.


Under the awning

I was going to get soaked

and the stink

and helplessness

in cold

would have made me puke

who knows on whose back?


But when I reached home

it rained rabid dogs

TV, phone and laptop

crackled with their barks.

And as I looked out the window

the urine poured and poured

yellowing the newspapers, history books and labs

as the roads of the nation

swarmed with flies.



Ankur Betageri is poet, short fiction writer and visual artist based in New Delhi. His published works include The Bliss and Madness of Being Human (poetry, 2013) and Bhog and Other Stories (short fiction, 2010).


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