Archives for posts with tag: India

Gowrishankar
The Highway
by Uma Gowrishankar

I have said this so many times to my son
I want the front door removed
so that I do not have to answer the bell.
Then our home will become an open passage, he argued,
something like a road where everyone can walk by.
Isn’t it one already, I asked, not just a road, a highway?

My grandfather lived in a rambling house
dark and deep like the tunnel of memory,
divided into five areas of living and utility, open
for every acquaintance, he called family.
The front door made of heavy wood
was not meant to be closed during the day.

My grandmother a fragile asthmatic woman
could not move the iron latch weighing
five kilos from its tunneled slot — she depended on him
for that. Out of the open door wafted
the smell of food: she cooked pots of rice, simmered
lentils in juices of vegetables for those who visited —

an open door is an invite.
What if you remove the bell instead
my son suggested pulling me out of my thoughts.
Do not answer the door, pretend nobody is in.
I do that now most of the time, remembering the days
my grandmother shut herself in, mind sealed
behind the opaque cataract of forgetfulness.

Photo by Shiva Subbiaah Kumar.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As I wrote this poem I kept going to the thought of how the front door remains shut now, no one enters. We fear the invisible intruder as the news seeps through the walls of localities in the neighbourhood becoming containment zones. There was a time I longed to have my home for myself, not to have to open the door to share the space. Now that I am forced into such an existence, I recall the time when people like waves came through the door, and regret that I had foolishly desired for self-isolation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Uma Gowrishankar is a writer and artist from Chennai, South India. Her poems and fiction have appeared in numerous journals, including CityA Journal Of South Asian Literature, Qarrtsiluni, Buddhist Poetry Review, Catapult Magazine, Curio PoetryPure Slush, and Postcard Shorts. Her first full-length collection of poetry Birthing History was published by Leaky Boot Press.

pm door
Never-ending wait
by Priyanka Mukherjee

A ball rolled in through my open front door
No one was there to take it back
I wished to see the tiny hands again
Ones that played with me long ago
Through the open front door
The emptiness deep within my heart
When they left for greener pastures far
Never returned to play with me again
My front door still awaits their return
The mornings are misty and the grounds soft
The seasons changed but never the time
My lined eyes eagerly await
To see the innocent grin again
Of the one who played with me all day
Through the open front door of mine
The nights are dark and lonely too
The wind outside rages a battle
Against my front door that stands guard
My only soldier of this war
It had seen the happier times
When the doors of my heart were ajar
Now no more I wish to wait
The hands are gone that made me play
Alone I stand and look outside
Through the window at the back
I do not wait for the ball anymore
I have closed forever, my big front door.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In my country, many sons and daughters leave their parents and go to distant lands for a better future. Sometimes, the children never return and the aged parents are left to fend for themselves. They keep awaiting the return of their offspring and sometimes pass away with this wish. The aged parents also miss their grandsons and granddaughters, and the time spent visiting and playing with them. My poem is for those who have stopped waiting and are trying to deal with their lives in a different way.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Priyanka Mukherjee is the mother of a six-year-old, a wife, a doting daughter to two sets of parents, and a teacher. She is an avid reader and a passionate traveler. Home quarantined, she is reviving her writing hobby and penning down her thoughts. Some of her poems will be published in an anthology in the coming months. As a teacher, she loves guiding young minds and tries her best to inspire her students to become avid readers. For more, visit her blog and find her on Twitter.

mathur 1
Through the Front Door
by Devika Mathur

I have a wooden structure that looks after me,
a thick shield of elastic worries,
a poet’s mind locked inside the carving,
I often stare at my front door with a madness slapping across the air,
the room stands empty with a fever of different music
and a lullaby of painted comfort stands there
disguised as this door.
My left arm often collides with the knob,
strange to me, I see myself through different holes of the door,
I eat my sins as I perceive my mind through it.
This door talks to me during vacant nights
I remember a visitor coming once and praising the carving of this front      door,
I did not listen to any of it
I had my own notion of things floating through its hole,
the swollen memories of the past, the bruises I had, the velvet dreams I      had
My interpretation is of murals stuck on its face with a valiant varicose      hanging above it.
a nurse, a doctor once walked through it
treating the broken shards of the mind,
a horror of forlorn mind that people are afraid to speak of.
I see things happening, flower blooming through this door,
a cotton field entrapped in this lilac mouth.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The door acts like miracles, memories.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Devika Mathur resides in India; she is a published poet and writer. Her work has been published in Madras Courier, Dying Dahlia Review, Pif MagazineSpillwords, Duane’s PoetreePiker PressMojave heart reviewWhisper and the Roar amongst various others. She is the founder of surreal poetry website “Olive skins” and writes for myvaliantsoulsblog.wordpress.com.

Dcosta door
Welcome to the D’costas’
by Michelle D’costa

The safety door is our defense mechanism.
We don’t let people in easily.

We’ve recently moved
to India. We’re still not used to
you. Lurking just outside
our safety door, hoping to
get a glimpse of

The safety door is our defense mechanism.
We don’t let people in easily.

the Gulf Return family’s life.
You want to borrow oil from the Gulf,
your mind is converting rupees into dinars.
Put your ear to our door, listen carefully
for my parents’ stifled screams

The safety door is our defense mechanism.
We don’t let people in easily.

when they were under a sponsor.
If you make it past our safety door
and then the main door.
If you enter my room and see
the view from my window —

The safety door is our defense mechanism.
We don’t let people in easily.

Trees and birds — a writer’s paradise.
You will then hear my parents’ cries
very clearly. The cries from the past
that allow me this present. There were
good times though. We had no safety door

The safety door is our defense mechanism.
We don’t let people in easily.

in Bahrain. Yes, we were safe. Catholics
in the Gulf. Here the cross on our door and
the bones in our garbage
give us away. We fasten the chain
on our main door and sleep with one eye open.

View from my window-Michelle
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love this prompt. I never really thought about the contrast in residential front doors in Bahrain and India. There’s a lot to get used to when you move to a place you call your own country after spending a lifetime elsewhere, and the safety door is only one of the things. I have included a photo of the view from my window because through this poem, the reader has already entered our front door. In this time of isolation, while I work from home, the view from my window keeps me going, and every time I begin to feel at ease looking at the gorgeous greenery, I remember the sacrifices my parents have made for me to be able to enjoy this today.

Michelle D'costa photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle D’costa is a Mangalorean from Mumbai. She was born and raised in Bahrain. Her poetry and prose has been published in over 40 literary journals, including Eclectica, Litro UK, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Coldnoon, and more.  Visit her at michellewendydcosta.wordpress.com.

Das front door
These locked-down days
by Subhankar Das

She said come on baby light my virus.
I looked at the deserted road
From my balcony
There were two crows
In their nest
On top of a long long light post.
They know about distancing baby.
The she crow will soon be talking
With her babies.

She is so far away
How can I even try to set the night on fire?
Come on baby light my virus she said.
It was a long distance call
In these lock-down days
The front door is always shut
No one comes knocking.

I will come when all this ends
She said
Or maybe this is just a line she thought
To write on her blue top?

subportrait

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet and Publisher of Bangla experimental stuff, Subhankar Das has 30 published books of Bangla and English poetry.

Shankar

Open/Closed
(a haibun)
by Shloka Shankar

We must use what we have to invent what we desire. — Adrienne Rich

Our house has often been mistaken for a garage at first glance. With its Prussian blue double doors and brass knocker, it takes a few minutes to register it as a “residence.” We don’t have a compound or a gate; maybe that’s why. My parents and I have been living in our house for over 25 years now. I’ve held the door open to new friendships, old acquaintances, and (proverbial) opportunities. We have seen our doors close behind family members who no longer visit and severed ties for reasons we mutually deemed fit. It’s good to declutter every once in a while.

It has been three weeks now since our door has remained closed for the most part. As the world fights a war against an invisible, deadly virus, we have been given strict orders to “stay home, stay safe,” a mantra to save lives if practised dutifully.

My friends and fellow writers in the poetry community feel they have, like me, been preparing for something similar to self-isolation their whole life. I have always had a strong sense of dislike for groups or crowds of any sort and have been known to inhabit a small, precarious bubble. A bubble that has to constantly be protected against incisive words, the jagged edges of others’ actions, and the brunt of making the wrong choices.

I have burst my own bubble and recreated it several times. Perhaps the world needs a break from us at this moment—to put us all in bubbles and heal before we breakout again.

the play’s the thing unravelling our stories

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This haibun came to me in bits and pieces and evolved as I started writing it. Taking my cue from Hamlet in the monostich/one-line haiku, I feel like we are being forced to spend time with our conscience and truly introspect our actions that have caused the entire world to come to a deathly standstill. Are we the spectators of our own downfall? We are running out of excuses and time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shloka Shankar is a writer and visual artist from Bangalore, India. She enjoys experimenting with Japanese short-forms and myriad found poetry techniques alike. A Best of the Net Nominee and award-winning haiku poet, her poems and artwork have appeared in over 200 online and print venues of repute. Recent publication credits include Acorn, talking about strawberries all of the time, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Bones: journal for the short poem, and Failed Haiku among others. Shloka is the founding editor of the literary & arts journal Sonic Boom, its imprint Yavanika Press, and Senior Editor at Human/Kind Journal. Visit her on Instagram @shloks23.

Apoorva
It’s Not a Door Anymore…
by Dr Apoorva B Raj

It’s a Beautifully carved wooden bar
Which I always looked for
As a way for inviting the Joy
and a way for going to join the hues of Happiness

It’s being a shield of Protection
From all kinds of threats–
Theft, Loot, Rain, Flood, Wind, Storm…
Thus I believed it as a Safety wall of our life

As the time flew and the days filled with unseen Mystery
The wooden carvings Mocked at us looking at our yearnings
It started to Warn us not to cross it carelessly
It is still there at the threshold to prevent all the Miseries

But we started to feel it’s Not a Door anymore
It’s a Barricade in between our dreams and duties
It’s a Border if we step out…will stamp us back forcefully
with a Whip or take us cluelessly to the Quarantine

Now it’s a Board of Instructions
Now it’s a Bar of Restrictions
To our Psyche which always loves Freedom
And Fails to realise the unforeseen Future…

Raj copy

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem conveys the symbolic representation of the door in different situations. It says how the door was and is a protective shield from all the unknown worries. On the other hand how we are pessimistically looking at it in our gloomy world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr Apoorva B Raj is an assistant professor, Department of English, Govt. First Grade College, Mudigere, Chikamagaluru, Karnataka, India.

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The 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) are sending photos featuring the book in their home environments for a series we’re calling “Nancy Drew Around the World.”  Author Vijaya Gowrisankar provided this photo taken ouside the Sanskruti Building in the Thakur Complex, Kandivili (East), Mumbai, India.  Vijaya contributed the poem “Darkness now intrigues,” featured below, to the collection.

Darkness now intrigues

Glow of light a constant companion
For darkness was a frightening feeling
From streetlights to night lamps to stars
Or a torch that I always carried as armor
Or tightly clasped hands of elders as support
This defined me for the first ten years of life

Nancy Drew then crept in, to replace Enid Blyton books
Fingernails chewed as each page unraveled her strength
Sleepless nights where darkness was forgotten
As mind grappled with the plot of each mystery
Each book left me yearning for more, filled with awe
She became an inseparable part of my life and thoughts

An invisible friend, not an imaginary fictional character
She brought about subtle changes in my personality
My walk was more confident, fear fled to find another victim
I was more alert of my surroundings, no longer a shrinking violet
Looking at life and people with a different perspective
My parents smiled secretly at this transformation by Nancy Drew

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vijaya Gowrisankar released her third book of poems, Explore, in December 2016. Her first two published books Reflect and Inspire, are bestsellers. She was announced as one of the winners of Inspire by Gandhi competition, organized by Sampad, a UK organization. She has been announced as the Winner of AZsacra International Poetry Award (Dec. 2015). Her submissions have been published in Forwardian, Triadae Magazine, iWrite India, Dystenium Online, Taj Mahal Review, and Silver Birch Press. A participant in the Poetry Marathon 2016  (24 poems in 24 hours, 1 poem per hour), she has also reviewed and edited poetry and fiction books. She participated in NaNoWriMo 2016 and completed her first novel in November 2016.

Find the Nancy Drew Anthology at Amazon.com.

My Life Force
by Vincent Van Ross

My prized possession
Is not the gold chain
I wear around my neck
Nor is it my collection of gems

My prized possession
Is not the sculptures and paintings
I have collected
Over the years

My prized possession
Is not the money
I have in my cash box
Or in my bank account

My prized possession
Is not my house or my car
Nor even the thousands of books
I have in my collection

My prized possessions
Are two frames
That hang from the walls
Of my living room

My prized possessions
Are the two pictures
Of my mother and my father
In those two frames

My mother and father
May not be with me anymore
But, they bless me from that wall
They are my life force which keeps me going

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My father A Van Ross (left) and mother Treasa Van Ross (right).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I lost my mother in 2001 and my father in 2015. But, they are still alive to me. I feel their presence in their photos that are hanging from my living room walls. I still kiss them and seek their blessings every time I leave my home as I used to do when they were alive. I feel as if they are peeping out of those pictures and keeping a watch over me and blessing me all the time.

ross

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vincent Van Ross is a journalist and editor based at New Delhi, India. He writes on national and international politics, defense, environment, travel, spirituality, and scores of other topics. Apart from this, he dabbles in a little bit of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and humorous writings. Vincent’s articles and features have appeared in over a dozen newspapers and magazines in India and Bangladesh. He is also a renowned photographer and an art critic. His poems are littered in anthologies and journals across the world and on numerous poetry sites and facebook groups on the web.

sharma
Kurta
by Sunil Sharma

The Kurta
My treasured item.
From the past
that links the present

the kurta
cotton fabric, homespun
worn by a generation of Indians
even in the post-Gandhian times

my father wore that to work and in home
a khadi kurta and pyjamas and never felt
inadequate!

he died suddenly and bequeathed few heirlooms —
books and diaries and…the kurta of Khadi, his fave dress.

I was in mourning life-long
missing him often on dark nights of life
when you feel abandoned

and then, I would wear that kurta and feel connected with a liberal man
the present
merging with a past
that past blending with the present
a seamless flow, linear-spatial
swirling with memories still relevant

a relic, living!

a kurta — not of value to the other siblings
dressed in designer clothes, western style
but for me — a vintage item taking me back-n-forth in time
and to a man, there-yet-not-there.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My father’s kurta.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The hand-me-downs — part of the culture of developing nations — join generations and are used in frugal economies by hardworking families, trying to survive in grim conditions. One such prized item was a kurta from my dad. He died in his fifties. I was young and was totally devastated. Then one day I wore the kurta and felt reconnected with his spirit. Since then, that kurta has been my most prized possession and a link to a loving father and some sweetest memories of growing up in a small north Indian town.

sunil-sharma-profile-picture-2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma writes prose and poetry, apart from doing literary journalism and freelancing. A senior academic, he has been published in some of the leading international journals and anthologies. Sunil has got three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited five books of poetry, short fiction and literary criticism. Recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012.  Another notable achievement is his select poems were published in the prestigious UN project  Happiness: The Delight-Tree-2015. He edits English section of the monthly Setu, a bilingual journal from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.