New Poetry Book – Cover Release And Other Stories


I am again in process of shifting houses. Still searching for the home that doesn’t seem to exist and in between the chaos a good news floated in like gentle breeze.

Rain is generously filling the empty pockets of the streets. From scorched to sodden, the city struggles to cope with monsoon woes while the nature blooms with joy.
Mogra, raat ki rani, champa, chameli, sadabahar and many more traditional flowers are blossoming across Delhi. Parakeets are making a racket outside my window. They are looking for nesting places.

Cover Release 

Duet is a very special poetry collection in many ways. I will tell the story in detail later but there is something I need to share here. It is a collection of collaborative impromptu poems James Goddard and I wrote during our daily chats on Facebook Messenger. There will be a separate post with all the details about how we managed to blur the individual lines and the distance that separated us.

I am so proud of this joint collection.

Here is the full cover of the book.

Duets - Leaky Boot Press The book will be released this November but the pre-orders have begun on all online book vendors. Here is the link DUETS  

And for the readers in India DUETS 

Now you must be wondering who the other collaborator is. 🙂 Many of you know him as the publisher of Leaky Boot Press, my friend and mentor who writes those fabulous poems and short stories he prefers to call “little pieces”  and a photographer par excellence but there is a lot more to James than he decides to reveal. I will be doing another post just to introduce you to his work. One of the most brilliant writers who unfortunately prefers to underplay his writing and the role he has played in the lives of many of us writers. Stay tuned.

In another news my other poetry books Wayfaring and Collection Of Chaos  reached Poetic Justice Books and Art  in Port Saint Lucie, Florida thanks to Kris Haggblom and Dominic Albanese who is a friend and fantastic writer.

I am feeling chuffed to see my books featured along with some of the finest writers. The shelfie is a sample of their small press section and includes LBP too.

A few friends have bought some of the books and are reading them. I am eagerly waiting for their feedback.

Meanwhile James gifted me with my favorite multilingual print edition of Le Zaporogue XVII 2017-18 . I have a wonderful short fiction titled El Pino Ruins in this edition.  The book has some excellent works of writers/artists/photographers. These are a few more editions that have my poems and short stories. So honored to be in this exquisite company thanks to editor-in-charge, poet, author, academe, Seb Doubinsky. The printed books are available on lulu.com and you can download them for free too.

Now for another review news. Ampat Koshi is a well known writer, critic, editor and theoretician. I had gifted him Collection of Chaos long ago. A few days back to my surprise he posted a note about the book and the effect a particular poem has on him. It deeply touched me as a woman and as a writer. I am grateful to him for voicing his thoughts that mean a lot to all women in today’s time.

I am sharing here the full note in quotes.

A review of “Collection of Chaos” by Tikulli Dograi

This review is probably the most painful one I ever wrote. It is not a review but an apology. It is about my failure as a critic. Long back Tikuli gave me this book to review and I never did it though she said good things are worth tarrying for.

The reason why I never gave her the review for which she must have written me off and added me to her list of proofs as to why men are evil, rightly so, is for a simple reason. She wanted me to read the book as a book of poems but though I started that way I soon came to a poem that made me stop reading and drop the book for the opposite reason from what one may think – meaning I did not drop it as her writing was bad, – she writes beautifully – but as I could not handle the emotions in that poem. After reading it I could not proceed. As a writer I came up against a brick wall. I did not want to write a review any longer but a letter, a letter asking her to forgive men but could not bring myself to do it. And it was anyway not what I was supposed to do. We drifted off from each other but she continues to write prolifically and even won a best blog award some time back. I do not know if she is still on my list or not, but probably she is not, and rightly so, if she unfriended me for breaking my word about giving her a review. If still there, apologies again many times, sincerely, Tikuli.

The truth is I have many friends on my list who have faced varying kinds and degrees of abuse at the hands of husbands, ex or not. I mean not just emotional or mental or spiritual or physhological abuse which is bad enough but also downright physical abuse, the worst sort. Apart from betrayals. Shashi Deshpande talks of domestic rape but there is also the issue of being beaten up that many women have faced. I guess I am writing for all of them also here, for all of them, for what it is worth which is not much, not as someone who understands all this, but as someone who at least once in his life was brought to a complete standstill by reading a poem by Tikuli. A painful one. Where she speaks for all of them.

I agree this still does not qualify as a review. I could quote the poem but prefer you people buy the book and find it for yourself. Maybe I could pose with the book and post a selfie. I do not know if that would help at all.
But what I can do is post the link and hope some of you buy it and read her and appreciate her bravery and searing art which are both rare qualities these days. Worth fostering. And if you get to see this, Tikuli, forgive me for such a late response. I am literally writing this to clear my conscience and try to do justice to something I probably cannot ever do justice to. With this assurance that your art is not in vain as such poems will definitely lessen the cruelty and brutality of men to some extent.

There are two more book news in line. I will update the moment I get to know the details.

Will be posting a few recipes too.

Till then keep sending your love and support.

Anne says,” Krudtuglen really knows what is good. 😻🌹” 

You can trust the cats.

Collection of Chaos

 

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Kitaab Review Of ‘Wayfaring’ & A Blog Feature


 

 

Spring came quietly in my city and suddenly it was ablaze with fiery Semal flowers. The stark branches tipped with its large crimson, orange and pale yellow flowers towering above the city structures look like giant brushes painting the city skyline. Semal is the first tree to bloom and pave the way for Coral tree, Jacaranda, Gulmohar, Leburnum etc. I spotted a few tesu trees along with the Lilac Kachnar.

The carefully landscaped roundbaouts are a riot of colors and so are the gardens in Delhi. The newly opened Central Park (Sunder Nursery) is in my list of Must Visit places.  The two Gorgeous pink bougainvillea trees in Lodhi Garden are a sight to behold. I  will try and do a separate post on these. Spring is Delhi is short lived with harsh winter in its backyard and summer on threshold but it brings the fragrance of mango blossoms. Tabebuia Aurea is another beautiful spring blooming tree that one should watch out for. I am trying to locate a Palash tree or Flame of the forest, as it is known in English, in Delhi. Perhaps some more spring pictures soon. 🙂

 

Meanwhile, a brilliant  review of my book ‘Wayfaring’ appeared  in the fabulous Singapore-based journal Kitaab. This is what a writer longs for. Good readers who explore what we usually don’t see in our own writing, reviewers whose critique is incisive and sensitive, and editors who take this dialog forward. Many thanks to all those who made this possible. Zafar Anjum, Sucharita Dutta-Asane at Kitaab, thank you for the way you always support poets and writers. This is a dream come true. Very honored and humbled.

Bhaswati Ghosh is a writer friend I admire. She has a very fine taste in music too. She writes and translates fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is also the Editor -at – large at Cafe Dissensus Magazine where I have some of my work published. One of the magazines I absolutely love for its content.

Bhaswati really gets it when she says, “If solitude is nature’s essential condition, loneliness, its second cousin, is a function of being human. As Wayfaring shows, we don’t always choose loneliness; sometimes it chooses us. When it does, it’s seldom romantic and more like one’s own shadow, impossible to disown.”

Please do read the complete review by clicking on the link above and do buy the book. It is available worldwide with all online book vendors.

In another new, Vishal Bheeroo featured me on his blog. We talked about ‘Wayfaring’ journey as a book and other things. Do read the full feature HERE  

Here’s an excerpt : 

“Wayfaring is the result of a much more positive attitude towards myself and to life in general.  One must never lose the sense of possibilities. That’s the healing that comes from within. I have tried to work that around in the poems in ‘Wayfaring’. Most of the poems in the book are intensely personal and at times I have used nature or another element as a mask to enable me to write about private feelings but mostly the poems are all about ‘laying bare’, befriending oneself and realizing that this difficult phase in life is intrinsic to being alive. This shift in thinking changed my perspective completely and when you read the poems you will see what I mean.” 

Thanks Vishal for giving me this platform.

If you have bought my books please do write a few lines about them and let me know via twitter/FB/Instagram or just leave a comment here.

 

 

Mini-Reviews And Some Other News


Le Zap

I never took writing fiction seriously. Someday I would just open a word doc and type furiously as if possessed by the very words I was writing and slowly a story would come to life.  El Pino Ruins is one such story that I am very proud of. It recently got published in the final edition of Le Zaporogue XVIII by various authors.  You can read it by downloading the ebook format free of cost from HERE  

This is what a fantastic writer friend Jerry Wilson had to say about my story

 

Jerry is one of the finest short story writers today and you must pick up his books. Just click on the link above.

Another writer/ columnist Kiran Chaturvedi also shared her thoughts with me.  You can read some of her articles by clicking the link.

 

Here’s the complete note.

“Dear Tikuli,

I read your wonderful El Pino Ruins short story today and enjoyed it very much. Loved the classic style and haunting mood. It has such a vividly evoked setting, and a rich narration that makes for a captivating read. You have paced the action fluidly and built the puzzle beautifully. You should write more prose and I suspect you are specially good at such other worldly story twists. “

Thanks so much Kiran.

Have you downloaded the free ebook? Please do by clicking the link above. 

 

Meanwhile, my second poetry book Wayfaring reached Sabine Pollack Merle in France. She sent me a very heartwarming note after reading the poems.

“I read your poetry book, Tikuli, and once again you have moved me with your words written here, and that you whisper in my ear…
Some of these poems have made me cry because they are so meaningful. 
It is such a precious one. 
I really can say but one thing, many people should read Wayfarer.
Tikuli, you are a beautiful woman. 
Brava !”

You can read her review on amazon.fr 

I posted these on Instagram earlier. You can follow me there.

Some copies of the book are up for review and I am eagerly waiting for more feedback. Do write to me if you are reading Wayfaring. The book is available with all online booksellers across the globe. Do get your copy soon.

Bhavana Nissima  is a fabulous writer, artist, educator and NLP practitioner. She is based in Hyderabad, India. I have always loved her writing. She is also a very compassionate human being and a friend I cherish. In last few months she unconditionally healed me from distance in one of the toughest phases of my life.  I am grateful to her for helping me connect with myself.

In August last year she did a wonderful write-up with one of my poems along with one another poet I admire. You can read it here –

#FridayLights — Issue2 

Thank you Bhavana for this generous gesture.

 

#superblurbloodmoon #shotwithOnePlus3T

 

The whole world watched the phenomenal #SuperBlueBloodMoon on 31st on Jan. I took these pix from my #OnePlus3T Sometimes I regret not having a good camera. The sight was enthralling to say the least, the rare convergence of a ‘supermoon’, a ‘blue moon’ and a ‘blood moon’. Thankfully Delhi weather didn’t play up that night and I was able to watch the total lunar eclipse.

I am writing some more of Hindi poems on Delhi and will soon start sharing. Last two months have been very hectic and I have been unwell too. Apart from a verse here and there I haven’t written much.

i

my soul
is impatient with itself, 
my inner – disquiet, 
my intellect – not satisfied, 
my heart – not still,
my mind – ruffled,
I’m restless as a
willow in windstorm.
If you are afraid to step into quicksand

stay away.

ii

mystery 
madness
chaos 
carnage 
passion
intrigue
phantasm –
landmines in poet’s mind 
tread softly

 

I am trying to get back into the rhythm and start reading more blogs from friends. Do keep giving the support and leave your comments if you visit the blog so I know you’ve been reading my stuff.

A small note to end the post –

We take people for granted. We feel ‘entitled” and this feeling of entitlement blocks us from giving or receiving and when we aren’t receptive to gratitude whether in receiving or giving then we may be lacking many other positive emotions.
Relationship becomes stronger and deeper when a little grace and humility is shown.
Great Relationships are precious gifts. Be grateful. 
Thank you for being part of my journey.

Love and Light.

‘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.