Skip to content

What Is Love In Your Language?

Suchita Senthil Kumar

The moon is suddenly not nilavu,
it’s become the chaand and the stars,
they’re somehow not vinmeengal,
they’ve become tere aankhon ke taarein.

The sound of my inhalation and exhalation,
it’s your name in rhythmic repercussion
and now I’m breathing in a language
I don’t know to speak a word in.

The instrument you belt around your waist
would’ve been the kuzhal to me but
it’s the bansuri now, and I hope to fill
my heart with its voice, or yours—both.

I compose poems in syllables
I’ve seen your lips spilling at night
and now I’m writing in a language
I don’t know to spell a word in.

I wonder if you hear my idhayam
in the silence of these early nights
and not my dil, just the way I’ve
been listening to your dhadkan.

In the crinkle of your eyes, there I see it
and in the lilt of your smile, there I see it.
It’s kadhal to me now, because I don’t know.
Tell me, what is love in your language?


  • nilavu: moon (Tamizh)
  • chaand: moon (Hindi)
  • vinmeengal: stars (Tamizh)
  • tere aankhon ke taarein: the stars of your eyes (Hindi)
  • kuzhal: flute (Tamizh)
  • bansuri: side-blown flute instrument (Hindi)
  • idhayam: heart (Tamizh)
  • dil: heart (Hindi)
  • dhadkan: heartbeat (Hindi)
  • kadhal: love (Tamizh)

Photo Credit: Suchita Senthil Kumar, 2021

Suchita Senthil Kumar is a writer creating chaos. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Live Wire India, Jaden Magazine and Hooligan Magazine among others. She was a student of UNICEF’s Voices of Youth Mediathon ’21. She tweets as @suchita_senthil.