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Durham University

Department of Anthropology: Writing Across Boundaries

Soibam Haripriya

Soibam is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. She is also a poet. Her poems have been included in an anthology called "Tattooed with Taboos" published by Loktakleima Publications (2011), Imphal, Manipur.

As a scholar of Sociology, she is currently engaged in documenting and analysing changing meaning of "sites" in the context of military operations. She is in the final phase of writing up my doctoral thesis.

The poem was written in the context of revisiting 'fieldnotes' and half written chapters, after a conversation with a fellow researcher who was going through the same phase. It was written, she recalled, ' after one of the umpteen tea breaks in the tea stall right in front of the library where we work from'.

Abandoned Chapters

I visited the abandoned chapters;

they had grown sullen and strange.

The scribbled notes

as if a morose,

neglected lover

wait for me

to decipher their bitterness.

I coax the words

to enlarge their meanings.

I cajole the mundane

for a missing clue.


says the law of writing,


another hour


perhaps two

lie folded

amongst escapade tea breaks,

In the loneliness

of losing words

and thoughts,

I pour over words

and words.

A leap years' pact hung above

-Damocles’ sword.