Archana Shivmani Rao

Archana Shivmani Rao

I was raised in Chennai, Southern India. I was a Banking professional for more than a decade and after a long pause I have evolved as a writer & a poet. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in English Literature.

I am passionate about reading the classics, working on madhubani paintings and (at 11am) a large cup of chai.


August 2020

Ode to My Beloved City - by Archana Shivmani Rao (Photo by Nathan John)Photo credit: Nathan John

Ode to My Beloved City During the Pandemic

By Archana Shivmani Rao

In stillness…

you look even more magical

your roads – black silent snakes

the buildings – hush glitter boxes

the people – changing with changes 

you have tucked everything in your safe womb.

Your slumber, now is luminous.

Your slowness, now heals.

I shall wait … my beautiful Dubai,

for when you wake up,

you shall radiate with gargantuan strength!

Edition XVII

Edge of Your Love - by Archana Shivmani Rao (Photo by Mary-Ellen Greenwood)Photo credit: Mary-Ellen Greenwood

Edge of Your Love

By Archana Shivmani Rao

A quaint coffee shop,
just us and the half-eaten sandwich.
A trail of fading thoughts
akin to the white line of smoke
left by a passing jet plane in the sky.

Bridges of snow
between our chairs.
Suddenly a rainbow of my sighs
vaporize the pause.
The words unsaid
still hang in your breath…

Our journey is golden.
But for the yearnings that is so mismatched.

Edition XVIII

The Face - by Archana Shivmani Rao (photo by Tarek Roumie)Photo credit: Tarek Roumie

The Face

By Archana Shivmani Rao

Swallowed the sparkling light.
Like a wisp of thin smoke, I rise.
I float. I see you.
Dream. I am there in the corner, as dark as sleep.
Cry. I am the shape of your tears.
Pray. I dance at the rim of your consciousness.
The empyrean sucks me, gently. I am not I.
Time ticks. Fades the photograph.
Diluted  in your memories.
Remember me?
Or is it just another face?

Edition XX

The Face - by Archana Shivmani Rao

Lost but to be Found

By Archana Shivmani Rao

Everything we do is pictured
for want of likes and tweets
the comments we read and write
with mock pride and digital treats.

Nothing in our mind stays
opinions written about everyone under the sun
two minute fame is the goal
second-hand intelligence in the long run.

An excess of useless forwards
spreading menace and panic
didactic quotes are the new black
our shallow e-jokes so unromantic.

We touch phones more than people
deadly lure of the blue light
our texts are higher than real talks
dignified privacy not in sight.

Do you remember the last time
you counted the raindrops?
you ran on the sun drenched grass?
you played scrabble and checkers?
you wrote a letter with a pen?
you were bored?

Unashamed life of simplicity
found in those joyful days of yore
except in matters of love
Less is definitely more
Less is more.

Edition XXII

Homesick - by Archana Shivmani Rao (Photo by Hakim El Haj)Photo credit: Hakim El Haj


By Archana Shivmani Rao

Orange was my sister’s wedding saree
the lollipop I shared with my 3rd grade schoolmate
those painted horns of cows during the harvest festival
orange knocks its brightness into my eyelids.

White takes me to the first snow I tasted
the foam on top of warmed milk my mother serves me
the artificial teeth-set my grandpa kept in his steel box
I feel a hug in anything white.

Red – everything is first when it comes to red
first blush after hearing his compliments
the first realizations of womanhood
that first spray of vermillion on the new morning sky
red halts me wherever I am.

Black dares me, looks up from any crowd proudly
my dad’s moustache gleaming after a bath
the smudged kajal at the end of the day at the end of my eyes
the pitch black nights with mosquitoes during monsoons
black dips me into the inner folds of my mind.

Blue kisses me tingling fresh of life
the soap powder, that cozy blanket with blue flowers
the plastic sheet which covered the television box
my bicycle which served me loyally
blue breathes innocence into me.

Yellow laughs at me, laughs with me.
her chiffon scarf gurgling after a silly joke
aroma of turmeric powder on roasted potatoes
the scary school progress report cards
that colour of the street lamp when it rained
yellow tickles me fresh and funny.

Green is my song of summer
the frog I had to dissect in my biology lab
the raw mango juice with floating ice-cubes
huge banana leaves in the marriage halls
my school uniform and ribbons
green as the time stuck on No.31, 47th street home.

Return to the top