First Review Of ‘Wayfaring’ And City Musing


 I’ve watched this city moult. The change in its personality. The struggle to live and work through the masquerade of urban beautification. The slow and painful makeover. The contradictions. The altered demographies. The inequities. The restlessness and the river that quietly flows through it all.  I’m composing a new set of Delhi Poems. Somewhat ungrand this time.

The city around me is a fucking cemetery darkened with age where buildings stand cramped together like old, forgotten headstones representing a rift between living and dead. Pigeons, like monks at prayer, line up on balconies and window ledges. Nothing romantic or mysterious. Nothing historic or glorious. Nothing eerie. What lies beneath is dead. What lies above is stagnating. Slowly it will all crumble and die to give place to a yet another set of graves. Funeral is the word filling my mind right now. Somewhere a bird sings a mournful song. Must be a nightingale.

I muse about this as I walk around the city of Delhi. I feel that the culture has died in the eyes of almost everyone you see. If this is a fact, then I guess we must be independent of it, and seek out those who are also independent of it, in order to live at all among the ruins. I look at a different perspective. Vitality lies in the past, whose traces remain in those very ruins, but we cannot go there: our relationship to that, like our relationships to those we love, must advance, change – which is the very thing the ruins refuse us – but in its balance of decay, a change disrupts it, so any thought is a victory. Nightingales can learn plenty new songs. Delhi has layers and layers of surprises. It is a city full of emotions.

Emotions make me think of a blue Yamuna, a river we have collectively brought to a slow death with our neglect and apathy. No one cares to visit her banks or give a little thought to her. The monsoon rains give us a glimpse of the glorious river momentarily but then again she reseeds to be dismissed as a dirty sewer. No one thinks who turned her to be what she is now. I think of the women in my country as I look at her from a distance longing to reach out and touch its waters. There is something so deeply comforting and soothing about sitting at the bank of a river. I am dreaming of a blue Yamuna.

The River Yamuna from Nizamuddin Bridge, Delhi.

I’m sailing on silent waters
between dreams and 
half rememberings
In a floating world 
where nothing is as it seems

 

November has been benevolent in more than one ways. Someone special has brought good tidings in my life. A daughter I always yearned for. Bless her. She’s an exceptional poetess too.  There is still a hint of autumn in the breeze but slowly we’re heading to the real Delhi Winter with all its glorious flowers, snug, colorful woolens, fests, music and art festivals, visits to the monuments and parks. Winter is also the ideal time to experience the incredible Delhi Street food, the pipping hot aalu tikkis, kachoris, gajar halwa, hot jalebis, spicy sweet potato and fried potato chaats and also cold rabri falooda. yes, I’m one of those who love to eat ice creams and kulfis in winter. 🙂 exploring the city for authentic food is a journey of discovery in more than one ways.

Speaking of journey reminds me to tell you about Djelloul Marbrook. He is the editor-in-chief of The Arabesques Review Magazine. Originally from Algeria, he lives in the US now. An exceptional poet, writer, he’s someone I look up to as a student learning the craft of writing. You must check out his website and YouTube channel. It is a gold mine for poetry lovers. When my publisher and friend James Goddard told me that he’s reviewing my book I was slightly nervous but at the same time extremely happy too. This is the first review for ‘Wayfaring’ before it releases on the 20th of Nov. I don’t have words to tell you how proud I feel right now of my evolution as a poet and as a writer. He has written a glorious review of the book and touched the soul of my poetry.

Here’s an excerpt : 

Tikuli is a skilled plein air painter; her palette of words is spare, meticulously chosen and applied in a variety of metrical patterns that, while not avant-garde, are modernist and reliable. The reader is never required to study her metrics; her focus is on the act of recollection and its requisite imperative. She has stories to tell, portraits to paint, ghosts to address, and issues to redress.

The complete review can be read here – A Journey Beyond the Baggage of Pronouns in the tradition of Hafez Rumi and Al Arabi 

The review moved me deeply and to place my poetry in the league of some of the greatest poets of all times that I love and admire is very humbling.  Thank you Djelloul for this precious gift. I will cherish your words forever.

On another note, I have not been very regular with my blog post except the recipes but will soon resume updating the other blog categories too. I plan to visit some old, historic places this winter.

I’ll meet you at another place, another time, another field. The prettiest and most resilient flowers grow in broken spaces like the cracks in the sidewalks. Look out for those places.

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‘Collection of Chaos’ at Cena Poetica di Samuele Editore


A few days back I had written about the Italian Connection.

A few poems from my debut poetry book ‘Collection 0f Chaos’  (published by James Goddard, Leaky Boot Press) were translated into Italian by Rachel Slade and  Alessandro Canzian   and read by Rachel at Cena Poetica di Samuel Editore in the beautiful town of Pordenone in northern Italy as part of  Samuele Editore’s poetry presentation and ‘poetry dinner’ held at ‘Al Campanile’ restaurant, a 15th century building where many talented poets including Nguyen Chi Trung presented their work.

 

 

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Rachel Slade reading her Italian translations of poems from my book ‘Collection of Chaos’ during Samuele Editore’s poetry presentation and ‘poetry dinner’ on 27th June, in the beautiful northern Italian city of Pordenone.

Rachel is a young American artist and photographer whose watercolor titled ‘Sea’  is used as the cover illustration for my book. A great friend and brilliant artist, Rachel brought my poems alive in the most poetic of all languages.

Here is one of the poems she translated and read :

You stripped me of my words
unravelled them quietly
pulled a good seam I guess
Took the braid of thread
and walked away
there wasn’t a single knot
a perfect weave
of silence and words
but how would you know

 

Hai spogliato me delle mie parole

mi hai dipanata con calma
sfilacciata per bene suppongo
hai afferrato il filo principale
e l’hai tirato
non c’era un solo nodo
l’intreccio era perfetto
di silenzio e di parole
ma come facevi a saperlo?

You can listen to her in the video below.

 

 

I quickly Googled the lovely city where the event was being held while chatting with Rachel and James as she informed us of the event’s details and sent pictures of the restaurant building last Thursday. I had closed my eyes and imagined how it would feel to be among a group of  such talented poets and listen to her read the words that were so close to my heart. I cannot describe the feeling.

June 27th  brought immense happiness to me as a writer. To be featured as part of such an important event was like  a dream come true and I waited eagerly for an update from Rachel about the reading and her message, when it came,  filled me with so much joy.

She wrote :
“I have to tell you quickly about yesterday’s reading. Shortly I will send you copies of what I read, and Alessandro will be putting up the video as well… but I really wanted you to know now that people really loved your poems my dear. In fact you have made quite the impression without even being here. Your poems spoke for you and I feel, very strongly, that they spoke for each of us in such a way that as I read them aloud I could feel people responding around me, both the men and women… it was deeply moving. Of course I brought the book and people were very interested in the press (James ) as well as your blog – many people speak, or at least understand, English so they will be visiting… Many people wanted to know more about you (O mysterious one…) and hear more about India, New Delhi, your life, the lives of women there… and so many sensed immediately your strength, your presence and the force and fortitude of authentic poetry….”
Later she commented on a photograph shared on FB, “The poems of  Tikuli bestow phantasmagoric superpowers upon the reader………

 

What surprised me was the appreciation that poured in via messages and tweets. Poets connecting with me, reading my blog, sharing, reblogging my poems, writing to me, sharing their work. Nothing makes a writer happier than this bonding with fellow writers and I am grateful to each one of them for joining me in my  journey through poetry. Thank you Bea Ary and  Roberta Lepri, it is a pleasure to know you and read your work. It’s a blessing.

 

Sometimes in life good things come to us without us expecting them, this was one such occasion—and one of the happiest times of my life. Thank you James for making this happen.

 

You can View these links too

Rachel Slade’s Art 
Samuele Editore 

Leaky Boot Press

You can buy Collection of Chaos from all online book sellers including Amazon and  Book Depository who do free online shipping all over the world. 

 

 

Full Cover of My Upcoming Book Of Poems ‘Collection Of Chaos’


I am super excited, very nervous  and giddy with happiness.

It is time to unveil the full cover of my upcoming book of poems ‘Collection of Chaos‘ .  The book will be available worldwide from lots of online sellers by the end of this month.

The gorgeous cover art is by a very talented young artist friend  Rachel Slade. It is an immense honor to have a her work featured on the cover. The watercolor painting  titled ‘sea’ and was painted in 2011. You can visit her website here Rachel Slade Art 

Thank you dear Rachel . ˙·٠•●♥♥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥♥

The Cover 

Collection Of Chaos

Collection Of Chaos

I am deeply grateful to my friend and mentor James Goddard of Leaky Boot Press , who is an exceptional writer and an amazing photographer, for providing me a platform to showcase my work and for spending long hours teaching me the nuances of writing and editing. He finally made me break my mental barriers. Well, to a large extent :p .

I will keep all of you posted about the release of the book. There are many many people who made this possible. I will write about them in the coming updates. A big thank you to all of you. I love you all.

Stay Tuned.