Spring In Delhi, A Poem, A Story And Some Thoughts


The more a voice gets stifled, the louder it gets. So much has happened in past few days. There is too much anger and anguish inside me and I am just not getting into the rhythm of regular writing. Pages are still lying blank. Pen poised over them like a finger on the jugular.How can one remain composed when  voices of dissent are silenced. When Rohith Vermula is pushed to commit suicide. When peaceful dissenters (students) are painted as “anti nationals” charged for  sedition without any proof, for just having a different political ideology and guess which one got targeted as a terrorist and why? When news channels incite the public with doctored videos/audios. When evidence is manufactured. When goons are given protection and encouraged in their hooliganism. When students, teachers, journalists are beaten up for speaking up for what is just. When Perversity rules. When acid is thrown on the face of a  woman tribal right activist to muzzle yet another voice of dissent. When the country burns in the fire of communal hatred. When you are hounded and trolled for your stance on what is happening right now in the country When a twelve year old child is hit and her father killed for asking a second helping of meal. When the tragic suicides of the farmers is termed as “fashion”. When there is a complete breakdown of law & order. When anger kills the power of reason. When you are targeted because of your gender, caste, name, political stance or simply because you use your mind and speak out against the unjust.

It makes me uneasy. Makes me pause and reflect.

I fear for my life every single time I open my mouth in this country where I was born and raised. Who will stand up for me or any ordinary citizen? Who will listen to our pleas? I am not as articulate as many of my writer friends but I am a thinking and concerned citizen. A woman trying to stand for her rights and her dignity. A mother watching two young adult sons growing up in an environment that is getting vicious day by day. I taught my children dissent, I taught them to participate actively as citizens. I taught them to be discerning without being judgmental. That is what my parents taught me. I do the same. Does that make us Anti Nationals? Tell me how? Be very careful when you label anyone. Know its power. Labels box you in. I have been boxed in and I know how it feels. It dramatically changes your life in a matter of seconds. Most of the times scars you for life. Listen to that little voice of conscience and dissent that is knocking from within you to wake up. Listen and act.

In the midst of this unrest the spring came quietly to the capital bringing myriad hues of flowers. Every roundabout, every garden, every park is a riot of colours. The barbets, the flaming golden woodpeckers and the parakeets and many other birds are here. The roadsides and roundabouts are full of nasturtiums, yellow poppies, purple asters, yellow violas, red pitunias, Cinnenarias, dog flowers, marigolds, sweet peas, sweet williams, chrysanthemums, dahlias and bougainvilleas in varied hues have painted the city in every colour. Some of the Mango trees are blossoming too and then there is this distinct fragrance of the Saptparni tree across the city. The coral trees and the Silk Cotton trees are beginning to bloom too.

Delhi also hosts flower shows during Feb-March. I went to he 29th Delhi Garden Tourism Festival Yesterday to get soaked in the colours of basant (Spring)

And when we talk of flowers and blossoming how can we forget poetry. A poem got published in prestigious Open Road Review Magazine recently. You can read it HERE.

A Short Fiction also found a platform in Read Fingers, a portal for those who enjoy reading and writing. This story is very close to my heart. Do read it HERE.

Heartfelt gratitude to the editors who appreciated my work and included it in their magazines.

Talking of magazines, if you have not submitted your piece for Cafe Dissensus March issue (23) then please do it fast as the last date is not very far. Here is the submission link. I am guest editing the issue this time. 

I will leave you with this brilliant piece by my friend Nabina Das. – ‘After Every War’: Reading poetry in the dark times 

And One more by Saif Mehmood – Repression and Resistance, Delhi 2016: Through The Prism Of Urdu Poetry  

 

 

 

 

More September Highlights – An Omnibus And A Review


William Burkholder is a poet-editor, artist and an activist. We have been Facebook friends since 2009. He is also one who published my poems in Troubadour 21 when I was at the initial stage of learning. He is also co-founder of SCCA (The S.O.U.L Collective Of Collaborative Arts ). a non-profit corporation.

product_thumbnail.php(Pic sourced from lulu.com with William’s permission)

Sometime back he compiled an International ‘Collaborative’s Omnibus‘ which is the fourth collection of creative works published by the Source of Universal Love and has work of many good writers from across the globe.  I am honored to be part of this collection. The Omnibus includes 10 poems and 4 short stories written by me. It feels good that people across the globe are reading my words and buying this book to aid a charity.

I am deeply grateful to William for making me a part of this noble initiative. It feels good when your hard work is recognized and appreciated.

Your support matters too. Do buy your copy and check out the other books by the Source of Universal Love.

The another big news of this month is that my review of author Nabina Das’s short story collection “The House of Twining Roses: Stories of the Mapped and the Unmapped” got published in the Singapore-based journal Kitaab. I absolutely love reading kitaab and it feels awesome to be a published there. The essay was read and appreciated by many good writers/editors and that itself is an encouragement. I am not a reviewer so when the author feels that my “words are gracious and constructive in their critique”, this means a lot. Maybe this is a sign that I should explore new possibilities.

Special thanks to Kitaab editor and writer Zafar Anjum  and review editor Monica Arora for accommodating my review. It is a milestone for me to be a part of such prestigious journal.It feels good to have a circle of supporters and mentors. Each one of you is special.

Here is an excerpt from the review,

  “Living in two or more places at the same time defines the coordinates of Das’ collection of stories. The nature-culture dualism in her stories, a rather likable binary, plays out effortlessly. The two female protagonists in “The House of Twining Roses” represent the two houses, two different ideologies, two life choices of women who grew together yet in different ways, like the two kinds of plant life around the house – the roses and the eucalyptus. The theme in each story too operates on two or more levels, I feel.”

I have known Nabina since almost seven years and I greatly admire her writing. The House of Twining Roses is a fantastic read. I recommend it totally. You can read the full review HERE.

September began with mixed feelings but I guess the universe has a way to close and heal open wounds. I am attending book readings, launches and other creative meets in my city and finally stepping out of my cocoon.

“Something’s lost but something’s gained in livin’ everyday.” says Joni Mitchell and I couldn’t have agreed more.

Book Review – Blue Vessel By Nabina Das


An excerpt from my Review of ‘Blue Vessel’ by Nabina Das, First published in Pirene’s Fountain. 

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The poems in Blue Vessel are feisty, playful, full of life: there isn’t a sign of melancholy, the gloomy dark clouds on the horizon. The collection offers a glimmer of hope—one can feel the grass, bees, birds, river, flowers, fields, morning dew, even clothes lines pulsate with life. For Das “metaphors are sometimes stars and a common sun” as in the lines from her “Never Poem”:

Hear. If you can from there
Wispy flutters inside the ears
A bug stuck, wings of sheer
Silk dying in a verse-like throb

Blue Vessel is a nomadic journey across cities, states, continents taking in the scenic fields, rivers and hills, breathing in the aromas, textures sounds and sights of everyday living. As you read her poems, you become the vessel.

To read more Click  Here 

Nabina’s Blog 

Nabina Das also has a novel titled “Footprints in the Bajra” from Cedar Books, India. Her second poetry book ( Into The Migrant City) and début short fiction collection  ( The House Of Twining Roses)  are also available now. 

Photo Credit – Nabina. 

Detritus: My Poem Selected 4Poetry Fest Anthology


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Guntur in Andra Pradesh saw more than 100 poets on 2nd July at the “2nd National Poetry Festival”. The Hindu covered the fest extensively.

A combined effort of P. Gopichand and Nagasusheela the fest was a huge success.

Two of my poems along with two of my friend and fellow blogger Nabina Das featured in the anthology called “posy of poesy”. We will get the cpoy of the book soon.

It is a great moment for me to be part of such a fest. We were invited to recite at the fest but due to some reasons We could not make it..

Here is One of my poems .. my favorite.

Detritus

I watched her as she slept

Dejected isolated and dying

Her frail body barely covered by dirty rags

Devoid of dark mascara, fiery red mouth

Painted cheeks and kohl lined eyes

Her face resembled the pale wintry moon

The room was bare but for

Old cigarette butts & broken beer bottles

The air was laden with stilled hope

And stagnant stories of human lust

Pleasing hundreds of nocturnal panderers

Her nights were aflame with

Loud music, liquor, smoke & men

As a ten year old it had seemed

Like an unending circus

Now Twenty summers later

The circus has moved on

Leaving stumps of memories

& the ghost of my mother

-TIKULI

Here is the link to Nabina’s contribution , a beautiful poem called

‘Finding Formother’

Finding Formothers by Nabina Das

Image from the internet PAINTING BY CLOUDE MONET of his dying wife.

Link to my other poem for the Fest anthology Drama in the Sky