Project Description

Shanta Acharya

Shanta Achayra

Shanta Acharya was born and educated in Orissa, India. In 1979, she came to Oxford where she completed her doctoral thesis. Between 1983-5 she was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard. In 1985, she started her career in investment management with Morgan Stanley in London. She subsequently worked as a Portfolio Manager with various firms, including Baring Asset Management. She is currently Associate Director, Initiative on Foundation and Endowment Asset Management at London Business School.

Her doctoral study, The Influence of Indian Thought on Ralph Waldo Emerson, was published by The Edwin Mellen Press, USA, in 2001. Her three books of poetry are Looking In, Looking Out (Headland Publications, UK; 2005), Numbering Our Days’ Illusions (Rockingham Press, UK; 1995) and Not This, Not That (Rupa & Co, India; 1994). She is also the author of books on asset management. For more information, visit her website:


The song of humpbacked whales –
sound air makes when you blow through conch shells –

Their uniquely decorated flukes fall on waves,
huge white flippers slapping the water.

Forests, canyons, rivers, waterfalls,
vast double rainbows that hold us in thrall.

Imagine a grizzly bear on its haunches
in the bend of the river scooping up silver slivers,
tossing minnows into its yawning mouth.

Blush of a bride in the sky at sun rise, sun set
spread in ever widening abandonment.

A smoking volcano blowing spectacular hoops
of fire, molten lava flowing for days,
depositing ash on the tray of land.

Imagine cloud formations of all configurations,
dove white to crow black, altocumulus to tornado chasers.

The smile of a camel filling the desert;
a cheetah in motion, the dance of King Cobras;

Sighing of leaves when the wind gives them a shake;
hawks rising on tides of wind, soaring on wild wings streamlined.

Imagine a colony of bats meditating upside down
on an ancient tree grown big like a grandparent –
branches, trunk, roots jostling together for space.

The beauty of a snow leopard living in recluse
at the feet of majestic Mount Everest.

Imagine the wings of a butterfly hovering;
their translucency in moonlight revealing…

Now open your eyes wide and witness
our world bereft of nature’s blessing.

Published in The Literary Review, USA, and The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry edited by Sudeep Sen (HarperCollins, India; 2012).