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.


WAYFARING copies are here ! ; ORR Interview And Poetry At LBP

A lot is happening at the same time. Delhi is shrouded in toxic smog but our shopping  has started in full swing for the upcoming wedding of my son. I hate shopping. ;( It drains me out physically and mentally but this time I am excited so enjoying the researching and hanging out with my boys for some time even though it is walking miles and miles in the midst of shopaholics.

This is the sight that brings relief to tired burning eyes.

Did I share the photograph of the couple? They make a lovely pair. Perhaps you can say a little prayers for them and send your blessings as they embark on a new journey. Can’t wait for these two to get married. 


Perfect 10 / SnigdhAditya


To add to the good tidings my new poetry book Wayfaring is here. Not very many copies. I have earmarked a few for friends and guides. Rest of you can buy it from amazon or any online book seller worldwide. Do let me know if you pick up a copy. Write a short review, post a reader’s selfie. Show your love any way you wish. I am looking forward eagerly.

Here is what joy looks like

I shared a teaser video earlier and here is another fantastic video of my poetic journey with Leaky Boot Press. The video is created by my Publisher friend James Goddard.


It can get hard sometime but when you are approached for an interview by Kulpreet Yadav, India’s best selling thriller writer, friend and editor of a fabulous lit mag Open Road Review, life gets a new high Check out his Andy Karan series and new Vicks Menon thriller Murder In Paharganj on all major book sites. ORR earlier gave space for my poetry. It is a magazine I am proud to be associated with as a contributor.

Except from the interview:

“Kulpreet – As a poet do you have a long-term goal? Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Me – “For a writer, it is very important to develop their sense of their literary journey. To evolve and grow as a human being and as a writer is the only goal I have. I don’t think about future. Let’s see what the universe unfolds as we go along. As a writer, I just want to enjoy the process.” “

Here’s the link to the full  interview 

When there is so much goodness around one needs to celebrate with some sinful chocolate mud cake from my favorite Cafe Delhi Heights. Give it a try if you’re in Delhi.

Keep watching this space for more updates on the book or check out the book page at the top menu of the blog.


Summer Of Love – A Poem


The sapling you planted
near the pond in the courtyard
has blossomed
The lusty boughs of your mango tree
are laden with pale green; ambrosia
is fragrant on the southern wind
The black bees flock to the nectar filled
mango blossom and fill the
pleasure garden with their songs
From a high branch a cuckoo
calls his mate, his song piercing
the shadows across my heart
Below, the sun flirts with the
water lilies as it warms
the cool waters of the pond
The swing, unused now,
moves gently when caressed by
even the lightest breeze
The days have lengthened
since the blossoming of our love
and summer is lonelier than ever
My hammock sways to music
I cannot hear, as I recall
Those fragrant, leisured days
Our joyful laughter and games,
our feet soothed by the
waters of the lotus pond
Twigs and flowers in our hair from
guilty afternoon naps in the grass,
books left upturned on our bellies
Seasons quickly change,
luscious fruits, long summer
evenings filled with birdsong
The blossoming of our love
in the pleasure garden
our first kiss, lying side by side
And then came the season for grief,
we parted in silence in the early morning
before the sun had dried the dew
Years passed and we were apart, but this year
the lane that leads to our garden
is fragrant with love
The lotus pond is brimming with pink buds
the courtyard is carpeted with golden petals
the air is filled with the cuckoo’s call
Won’t you come my love

From ‘Collection Of Chaos‘ my debut poetry book. You can buy the book from any online bookseller including amazon. Do check out my new collection ‘Wayfaring – Poems By Tikuli‘ that is available for pre-order now.

Poetry News -‘Wayfaring’ Is Now Available To Pre-Order

It is a beautiful day in my city, cool breeze, cotton clouds and a melodious cacophony of birds and crickets outside my window.  I’m listening to Nina Simone on YouTube with a hot cup of coffee and some clotted cream shortbread next to me.

A perfect time of the day to share another good news with all of you.

My second book of poems published by Leaky Boot Press is now available to pre-order. It has a very different set of poems from ‘Collection Of Chaos‘ which was published in Jan, 2014. This book is very special to me for various reasons. The entire process of writing and assembling this book was a learning experience in various aspects of writing, editing, and presenting a literary work. I also realized how hard an editor’s job is. No one thanks them really.

James Goddard, who is a fantastic writer/photographer/editor/ mentor gave hours of dedicated time all through the making of this book and before that to help me polish my writing.  You will see what a fabulous job he’s done. Thank you Jim.

Here is the cover, a gorgeous photograph by James Goddard. I will tell you the cover story later 😀


There were times I felt that the book was jinxed but here it is to pre-order  .  Soon it will be available with other booksellers and online retailers worldwide too. Keep checking.

You’ll buy, won’t you? Show some love for poetry folks, we need it especially in the times we are living in.

The printed copies have arrived in England and will soon come to me too. The book releases on Monday, 20th Nov, 2017 and will be available with all online book sellers across the globe.

I will be getting some extra copies that I have earmarked for a few people. Some will be on sale too. Maybe at a lower price. Need to figure out the numbers and other logistics.

I will keep you updated on events connected to the book though there won’t be any readings etc for now.

Stay tuned.

Cheers !


“Collection of Chaos”Reviews And Winter Blooms

The eternal seductiveness of life

2016 began with some good news. A few online publications, visits to the Delhi Literature Festival and the Crime Writers Festival plus two wonderful reviews of my poetry book ‘Collection of Chaos’. I won a few twitter contests about crime writers and the prizes are awaited. More books to read. 🙂 

I also went chasing the scents of those who lived and dreamed in the city of Delhi. explored the tombs of Safdarjang, Mohammad Shah and Sikander Lodhi etc. I have a few more walks lined up for next few months. Some photo opportunities  and food trails to look forward to.  

The winter has finally crossed the threshold of Delhi like a shy new bride and this is the best time to enjoy the unbeatable delicacies of Old Delhi and bask under the winter sun in one of those fabulous gardens the city has.

You may just come across a group of young poets sharing their verses, sharing their views about their city and its history.  There is something about ruins and poetry that’s inseparable, winter just adds a veil of mystery to it.

Delhi becomes a flower girl in winter. The beautiful Gazania, Phlox, Cineraria, Salvia, Pansy, Candy tuft, Alysasum, Petunia, Gerbera, cosmos and many more are painting the city in myriad hues. The magnificent Dahlias are in full bloom too. Some trees that are adorning the city streets with their lovely blossoms are, Red Silk cotton,  kachnar, and the intoxicating Saptparni. The winter flower show is coming up next month and I am so looking forward to it.

Talking of flowers and poetry, while I wait for some submission results. two authors recently reviewed my two year old poetry book.

Vibhuti Bhandarkar is the author of ‘Not Totally Unbelievable‘ a collection of fantastic short stories about the mystical, magical and paranormal. She is also a blogger and an artist and has her own fashion label called YOLO By VIbz 

This is what she has to say about the book,

” Tikuli’s collection of poems are a deluge of emotions, each separate piece a heavier thought than before. Her words definitely come from a lifetime of myriad experiences and jarring observations, from changing times. From the little understanding that I have of poetic meters and such, Tikuli has ventured to utilise very different forms of poetry, and yet maintained her voice in it. She has given expression to a whirlwind of emotions and yet Tikuli manages to maintain order in the usage of correctly chosen words.


You can hop on to her blog for a complete review –  Krishmaklaver – Collection of Chaos – Book Review

The second review comes from the incredible Rhiti Bose. writer, blogger and the Editor-in-chief of  Incredible Women Of India . Her short stories have been published in an anthology named ‘An Atlas of Love’ by Rupa publications among other places.

Rhiti says,

“She plays with the words like a master craftsman, creating one masterpiece after another. The poems are mostly in free verse and Tikuli makes use of it suitably. Each poem has its own story to tell, there are not just mere verses depicting the abstract, each line has a meaning, every word has a tale hidden underneath.”


Do read the full review at Collection of Chaos by Tikuli – A Review  


I am also guest editing the upcoming March issue of Cafe Dissensus so do please SUBMIT your entries. The last date for submission is 28th Feb. Theme – ‘The Book That Made an Impact on You in 2015’ .


The book is available with all online book vendors. Do get your copy and hey, let me know your views too.


enjoy this little poem from the set published earlier in Cafe Dissensus,

rain pours like old jazz,

scribbles itself on roads that

shimmer like piano keys,

liquid notes cling to the

silhouettes of trees, the last train

leaves the station, taking with it

a sea of salt laced bodies, night

swallows the evening

Memorable Kaafiya – The Poetry Festival And The Launch Of ‘Kaafiyana’

“Hey, where is the birthday party happening?”, a friend asked me a few days back.
“At the amphitheater of IHC. I hope you are coming.” I replied.
She looked confused. “IHC? Isn’t  Kaafiya – The Poetry Festival happening there? Anything special about this festival?”
“Yes, it is not just another poetry festival. It is an effort to bring the poetry enthusiasts from across the city together, going beyond the boundaries. An effort to take poetry, music and dance to a different level. ‘Kaafiya’ means ‘rhyme’ and the purpose of the festival is to bring the poets/artists together. You know, “mile sur mera tumhara, to sur bane hamara‘? Unity and harmony through different art forms.That’s Kaafiya for you.There will also be the much awaited launch of ‘Kaafiyana’, the bilingual poetry anthology. My Hindi poem is part of the collection. Do read. What better way to celebrate one’s birthday than by celebrating poetry. For a poet it is a dream come true. No?” I smiled.
“Wow! yes, of course. Sounds good. Congrats and best wishes. I will try to come.”She said.

I turned forty eight this year and celebrations for me have always had different meaning. Doing what you love most is the best  way to celebrate life. This was where i wanted to be.

I wasn’t able to attend the first day of the festival for health reasons but the two-day fest began on 10th of October with a bang. Day 1 saw a series of discussions with eminent personalities that included Shri Ashok Chakradhar, Peggy Mohan, Sukrita Paul Kumar, Nishad Zaidi, Prof Abdul Bismillah, Janab Sohail Hashmi (Delhi heritage Walks) to name a few.

Day one also saw some exquisite poetry reading by young emerging poets. The high point of the first day was a mesmerizing dance performance by guru Rashmi Khanna called ‘Timeless Lore of Love‘. The poetry recitation by Saumya Kulshreshtha and Rashmi’s spellbinding performance based on that held the audience captive. From what I heard this was one of those rare choreographed performances that will be etched in the minds of poetry lovers for a very long time. I regretted missing Day 1 of the festival even more after attending day two.
The reason I decided to write about Kaafiya is very personal. I support their cause. Unlike many of the other poetry events I felt an instant connect with the spirit with which the whole event was organized.

The beautiful amphitheater at IHC was radiating with the warmth, the love, and the hard work that team Kaafiya and its supporting partners Readomania and others had put in. There was a sense of harmony and belonging that immediately made you feel connected to everyone present there, known or unknown. It takes a lot of effort to win hearts and mentally stimulate the minds and thoughts of people and this poetry festival totally rocked at it. Everyone connected to Kaafiya , the main organizers, the volunteers, the participants, the partners, worked relentlessly to make this maiden event a huge success. The runup to Kaafiya began in August with events spread across the city, open mic, slam poetry sessions, creative workshops, lectures etc in collages with the help of their ‘poetry ambassadors’ and in private gatherings all across the capital, one of a kind heritage poetry walks were organized with youth for heritage foundation, and poetry events like Rhyming with Poet’s Collective celebrated the rich heritage of poetry all through these three months. Every Tuesday #KaafiyaMilaao trended at number 1 on twitter as poetry enthusiasts shared their short verses in both English and Hindi on this social network.The tradition still continues. Do join in folks.

So you can imagine that the overall festival was not just for these two days at IHC but was spread over last few months. Kaafiya fest at IHC was culmination of all these super events organized so wonderfully by Yaseen Anwer and other members of organizing team Dipankar Mukherjee, Saumya Kulshreshtha and Vikramjit Singh Rooprai. I think the most remarkable thing about this fest was celebrating poetry in both English and Hindustani. There is an urgent need to bring Hindi poetry to mainstream and I was thrilled to listen to some fantastic poems by the young poets. Kaafiya, in my opinion, is doing a great job in encouraging these young poets to come out and showcase their talent . To give them a platform is something amazing. It instills faith and courage in them.
I missed the first session of Day two but reached in time for the next. The eminent personalities that graced the second day included Sumant Batra (Kumaun Literary festival), Aditi Maheshwari, Raj Liberhan, Keki. N.Daruwala, Rana Safvi, Darain Shahidi (Dansangoi), Lubna Irfan, Vikarmjit Singh Rooprai to name a few. The topics for discussions were carefully chosen keeping in mind the relevance and importance of subject matter. The idea was to engage the audience in most fruitful way possible.
I loved ‘Dastaan-e-dilli’ , I had heard a lot about Vikarmjit Rooprai and was curious about his work. This section of Kaafiya was simply out of the world. To know the city of Delhi through poetry was a new experience for me.  I hope the videos will be uploaded soon for everyone to watch and listen.
‘Aawaaz-e-dilli’ was something I will remember for life. What an amazing blend of poetry. Shiva Singh, Tauseef Ahmed, Azhar Nawaz, Mudita Rastogi , all of you won my heart. Simply superb. Those you attended the festival will agree with me on this. The audience was jubilant and cheered the poets on every sher, every nazm, very verse. Thank you poets for sharing your treasure of words with us. I am sure you inspired many among us.

Another high point of day two of Kaafiya was the poetry recitation session by actor, poet, painter and photographer, the gorgeous and talented Deepti Naval. I know I am going a little overboard with this but I always loved her work. Her recent poems are excellent. Though “dark” in her words they touch you somewhere deep. At least they resonated with me deeply. The conversation between Yaseen and Deepti was delightful and she was so gracious in answering all our questions.
By now the crowd was euphoric. One could see the energy that flowed in the audience. It was electrical.

I will try and share the video of kaafiya anthem ‘Delhi ke dil ka arman’ . You must listen to the fine lyrics by Aseem Abaasi.
Adil Sami held us captive with his musical poetry. A very interesting blend of two.

The book launch of our Kaafiyana was unique and one of a kind. It was done through a magical Odissi dance performed by Adrija Sarkar. Unforgettable is the word that comes to mind when I think of it.

Kaafiyana is a collection of bilingual poetry (Hindi &English). It features poems by the ninety poets who were selected through Delhi Poetry Challenge organized by Readomania and Kaafiya.
I really loved the way team kaafiya kept calling young talents to the stage to recite their poems between the main events. Many poets got a chance to showcase their work and were encouraged and appreciated by the audience. A few poet contributors from Kaafiyana also read their poems.
By now the evening shadows had settled around the amphitheater and the air had become a bit cooler. The audience had no wish to leave. Intoxicated by the charms of poetry, music and dance they wanted more.
Girish Sharma (Bandey) set the stage on fire with some great music. You had to be there to believe the kind of impact his presence had on the audience. They cheered, sang with him, urged him to sing their favorite songs, it was sheer euphoria taking over. His song Lappujhania (you can find it on You Tube) made the crowd ecstatic and rightfully so. The guy is a terrific performer. This musical poetic soiree was cherry on the top.
It is always a pleasure to meet old and new friends during such events but these two days of Kaafiya will be memorable for many reasons. You can check out the FB page, Twitter handle, and the website of Kaafiya for more information about the stupendous work they are doing in making Delhi the youth driven poetry capital of India. Also, don’t forget to visit Readomania website to get updated on the events like Readomania #TalkFest to be held in the first week of every alternate month starting from November at India Habitat Centre.
Lastly , I want to congratulate all the poets who contributed to Kaafiyana. It is a pleasure to be part of the group. Thank you Kaafiya for this wonderful opportunity to share my work and for bringing poetry to us in such a unique way. I wish all of you tremendous success in future events. A big thank you to the volunteers, hosts and hostesses who made the show so magical. Well done.

The people who made it possible.

Friends, do get involved with Kaafiya movement in every possible way if you are in Delhi/NCR.
Readomania, thank you for ‘Kaafiyana’. Looking forward to more such milestones.It is a great feeling to find it at number 1 place on Amazon.

All those reading this can buy your copy HERE. Visit the Goodreads page for Kaafiyana and leave your views.

This is my author’s copy 😀

Here is a slide show of some beautiful memories from the two-day Kaafia Poetry Festival. A few pix are sourced from Kaafiya FB page and the copyright belongs to the rightful owners. Sunny Lakharwal, thank you for permitting me to use your photographs in the slide show.

Thank you for sharing the joy.

Kaafiya ka Kaafila badhta rahe” as Yaseen says.

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‘Collection Of Chaos’ Review By Dr. Amitabh Mitra |Poets Printery

My little book of poems reached East London, in Eastern Cape Province of South Africa a few weeks ago and was graciously received by poet and artist Dr. Amitabh Mitra. He did a heartwarming review of the book on The Poets Printery’s ‘Books Live’ website.

The Poets Printery, founded by Dr.Mitra, is a small publishing house in the Eastern Cape which publishes chap books and journals.

Tikuli's book

Much gratitude Dr.Mitra for appreciating my work.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

These poems are staccato of images, shot repeatedly at close quarters, they penetrate and reemerge in hue of words and distances. I take it to the hospital and pick up a few poems after having repaired gunshot wounds. They talk to me in different times among many differences.I love the book, its untitled poems and imagery distinct of an Indian aroma within a life and a city living within itself…… “

You can read the full review Here

Amitabh Mitra is a poet, artist and a medical doctor based at East London, South Africa. His work is extensively published in the web and print. He also figures in the international roster of physician poets. You can read my review of his poetry book  ‘Stranger Than A SunHere.

You can buy ‘Collection of Chaos’ from all online book sellers including and Flipkart

Launch of ‘Melange’ and Other Exciting Things

There are phases in a writer’s life when one side of the paper is white and the other silent. Since sometime I was struggling with my writing not because of lack of ideas but due to a kind of disillusionment with myself, with what I wrote. Words seemed fake so did the effort to put across something that did not agree with my heart.

I have mentors and friends who have seen my mood swings and low phases, the struggle and drawbacks and they have always manage to spark that dying amber in me.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~albert schweitzer

In the midst of all the upheaval imagined or otherwise three news lit up my life like nothing else.


Launch of ‘Melange – a potpourri of thoughts‘  an anthology of poems by Poets Corner group. I have a poem in this wonderful collection along with illustrious poets/ writers like Vikram Seth and Shekhar Kapoor. The book also has some exceptional poems by some very talented poets, mostly members of poet corner.

It was the first time I came out of the closet to step out and attend such a fine gathering of poets and what a delightful evening it was.

It was a blessing to listen to some of the emminent poets like Padma Shri Smt. Padma Sachdev – Sahitya Akademi Awardee (1971), Padma Shri Dr. Sunita Jain – Poet and Academician, IIT-Delhi, Dr. (Mrs.) Kusum Ansal – eminent poet and entrepreneur, Ms. Loveleen Thadani – AAFT Academy Award recipient, documentary film maker, theatre producer and poet, Pratap Somvanshi -poet and senior resident editor, Dainik Hindustan, Neelima Wig – an eminent poet, courseware contributor at Oxford University. Loved poet Tina Gulzar’s heart wrenching poem ‘Jigar’. It was exciting to see Hindi and Urdu poetry being recognised. Dr. Sachdev’s poems in Dogri and Hindi were music to the ears. I wish someone had recorded the readings.

An evening of meeting old friends and new, of a nice dinner afterwards with my besties ( I missed my younger one) and achieving one more milestone of once more seeing my name in print.

(Check out all the photographs of the launch and other announcements on Poets Corner FB page.)


I had submitted my poems to Open Road Review some weeks back and was eagerly and impatiently waiting for the announcement from them. Yesterday I got the news that one of my poems is part of the current issue of ORR. Everytime my work is appreciated it fills me with a new confidence to work hard and share my writings. It is a never-ending journey of my student heart. You can read the poem here. Do explore the works of other writers too.


While filling the void created by the lack of inspiration I indulged in the next best thing – cooking. I am a complete food lover and though not a food blogger I love to share my recipes. So, that’s what I did and was pleasantly surprised when Baggout picked up one of the recipes to feature in their Top 15 Food and Drink posts from July. 

Life gives to you in more than one ways if you are receptive. Sometimes we think we aren’t open to its abundance but we are, always.

All these little things are a constant reminder that nothing dies, it just takes another form.

Heartfelt gratitude to Dolly Singh and Poets Corner, Kulpreet Yadav & the editorial team of Open Road Review and baggout team for recognising my work.


‘Collection Of Chaos’ Review – Kalpanaa Misra

Last few months have been really a whirlpool of let-downs and the loss of so many precious things, people, left me disillusioned and dejected but I got a pleasant surprise the other day when @Kalpanapster tweeted a link to the review of my poetry collection. It is always a joy when readers express their views about something you have written. It helps to look at the work from a different perspective and improve upon it. Poetry books aren’t so much in demand and for a student writer like me every feedback is a step forward to more writing and learning. Good to know the book is still in circulation.

Thanks kalpanaa for appreciating my poems. Writers supporting writers is a very good thing in my opinion. While you read the review on Kalpanaa’s blog, do click on other pages and read them too. Didn’t you pledge to read diverse subjects? She is a traveler, writer, healer, reviewer, language teacher and most of all a wonderful person. Go explore her creative world.

Read what Kalpanaa has to say about ‘Collection Of Chaos’ .

“Skilful language with a controlled use of dramatic images makes the heartrending subjects she writes about bearable, as they touch you and caress you but are rarely violently demanding of your attention.I don’t enjoy language that’s too adjective laden, believing always that ‘less is more’ and Tikuli’s poems are sparse, delicate yet full-bodied. Sorry if I sound as though I’m writing about a wine. In my defence, wine and poetry have a lot in common. You think they’re going to make you comfortably numb and they end up seeping into the most emotional and well hidden corners of your being, extracting that which you would rather keep hidden, even from yourself.”

You can read the full review Here 

Show some love by reading the book. Buy it from any of the on-line retailers including Amazon, Flipkart, Book depository and more. Tell me what you think. You must.

Want to know what other (potentially) satisfied readers said about the collection? Click here. 

Thank you for all the support and encouragement.

Review – ‘Stranger than a Sun’ – Poems and Drawings of Dr Amitabh Mitra

Poems and Drawings of Amitabh Mitra
Published by The Poets Printery (South Africa)
Date of publication: February 2015
Pages: 59
Price: Rs.220/-

It was Dr. Amitabh Mitra’s paintings and drawings that drew me to his creative world. A medical doctor passionate about art, music and writing was something I found exciting. I have always believed that creativity expands our inner horizons and gives us a unique perspective on life. I could see it in Dr. Mitra’s art as well as his poetry in Stranger than a sun, a semi-autobiographical collection of prose poems and drawings. The book has an exquisite blend of nostalgia, romance, culture and art.

The charcoal drawings of the Gwalior fort add a hauntingly beautiful aura to the words on each page. You are at the same time in many place, drifting through different times, different ages. Every time you turn a page you are drawn into something which is familiar and yet strange. It makes you yearn for that which is now lost in the shadows, a moment from the past. A lucid dream where you hear the echo of a forbidden love,  the weathered stones whisper to you an unfinished story.

“What would you say … (poem4)

The arched stairs in the Haveli (charcoal on paper) take you into the intriguing labyrinth of its historical past and heritage where love, poetry, music still breath in each crevice, each corner. The poet  sets the imagination of the reader on fire.

For me, who has passed the fort many times during my travels, who has been to the lanes and bylanes of Old Delhi, the places instantly begin to pulsate with life. The landscape of Gwalior by the fort at one end and dotted with palaces, chatris and havelies from where the Marathas ruled and the narrow lanes of Old Delhi, the seat of Mughal empire, filled with aromas, colours, music and poetry, each place steeped in tradition and history of  its own.

There is a sense of disdain for age-old barriers  that flickers on some pages.  The poet talks about  falling in love under a rebellious sky.  The evening prayers from Jama Masjid reverberating in the air-filled with smell of spices, itr and cacophony of life as the lover secretly maneuvered the crowded lanes of old Delhi. The excitement of a forbidden love and the participation of a cashew vendor in making things work for the young lovers is a visual treat.

“I always waited, feeling the aroma of your itr and you came nearer… munching cashews we just looked at each other and only sometimes you would touch my ears as chacha jaan arranged to become busy …..way back home..” (19)

Throughout the book one tends to linger and savor the moment, taking in the longing, the pain of separation, longing and fluttering of hearts.

Nothing can describe loneliness better than the Ravines of Chambal. The feeling of ‘missingness’, the ache of a lost love runs through all the pages.

“You smell of summers, subtle and strange at many hours on many such days….) (51)

“loving can be so distant too… (45)

Most interesting aspect  of  Dr. Mitra’s writing here is his ability to bring together the past and present dissolving the  boundaries and the distance as the poems vacillate between India, Bhutan, Niger, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Each town, city, road finally joining with his hometown Gwalior without being jarring or out-of-place. The multicolored hues of cultural heritage, beliefs, seasons, the ecstasy of love and the anguish of loneliness that we see in his poems are intensely personal yet universal.

For me, the stillness in the monochrome of the charcoal drawings does not conflict with the vibrancy of the words next to them. It all came together beautifully.

The book brings to my mind medical professionals who are experimenting with healing with creative forms like music and art. One can see this streak of lateral thinking in Dr. Mitra’s work.

You can find glimpses of a humane approach to life as a doctor in the poems from Arunachal, Mdantsane and Niger where he sees his patients not just as clinical objects of study but in their entirety as human beings with all the frailty they have apart from physical discomfort.  A much-needed approach to holistic healing is evident here.

The poet is a seeker in the poems from Bhutan, looking for something elusive. A different shade of him that still has hues from his past and yet is different.

This is a book one would like to keep and browse through on and off.

On another note, the lack of good editing sometimes obstruct the flow of thought but it certainly doesn’t diminish the intensity of his work.

To sun it up  “It’s you and the fort rushing back, its last echoes remain in just another sun.”

Drawings from the book –  copyright Dr. Mitra.

I would rate the book 4*/5*

The review is also published on Poets Printery website.