Archives for posts with tag: 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.

Hindu wedding ritual in india
The Reminder Ritual
by Prerna Bakshi

Twenty-one bangles on each arm,
red and white in color,
to be worn for at least a month,
usually a year – a signifier
of a newly-wed bride.

Given by the bride’s maternal uncle and aunt
on the choora ceremony, just before her wedding,
one by one the women in her family
would slide those bangles
onto her fragile wrists.

From this point on, she has to wear them, and
get used to their weight,
until such day when they could
finally be removed,
by her husband.

My husband never
had to remove those for me.
The Australian Customs official did that job,
when she said in a loud, stern voice:
Take those things off! Put them down here!

As I took those off one by one,
saw them going through the screening machine.
The last time they made their jingling sound.
Australia will never
hear them jingling again.

All good migrants
need a reminder, and so did I.
They all have to go through
the national initiation ritual.
The reminder ritual.

This is not your country anymore.
This is Australia,
the lady officer reminded me.
It was then when I truly knew,
I had arrived.

SOURCE: First published in Peril Magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Writing this wasn’t easy. It took me almost a decade to write about this experience.

PHOTO: “Wedding, India” by Prashant Zl, used by permission.

Brisbane - Prerna Bakshi1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A Pushcart Prize nominee, Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet, and activist of Indian origin, currently based in Macao. She is the author of the recently released full-length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. Her work has been published widely, most recently in The Ofi Press MagazineRed Wedge Magazine, Off the Coast, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture, as well as anthologized in several collections. Find out more at prernabakshi.strikingly.com.

AUTHOR PHOTO: The author in Brisbane, Australia.

01KovalamBeach&Kerala
Caught unaware
by Vijaya Gowrisankar

The office was abuzz with enthusiasm,
as the one-day picnic to Kovalam beach
dawned closer.

The golden beach, gray clouds with
peeking sun welcomed us, just a week
away from monsoons.

Playing cricket, catching disc, building
sandcastles and relaxing was the agenda,
in small groups.

The tempting waves, urging to get the feet
wet, was hard to resist and a few of us
ventured out.

Our giggles filled the air, just dipping
till our waist, linking our hands, and
going in deeper.

I was caught unaware of when the tides
changed, my friends pushed my body and
head into the water.

The salt water found its way into my ears
and nose, my spectacles swam away in search
of hidden pearls.

I finally came up, spluttering and coughing,
after a futile search of my spectacles, with
a feeble smile of acceptance.

It was an enjoyable picnic, tinged with
a nagging headache, with my eyes straining
in the absence of its support.

PHOTO: Kovalam beach, Kerala, India.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We went to the Kovalam beach near Chennai from our office, just a week before the tsunami hit Chennai in 2004. We were all glad that we had not gone to the beach during the peak of the monsoons.

gowrisankar1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Vijaya Gowrisankar released her second book of poems Reflect in December 2015. Her first book, Inspire, published in December 2014, reached bestseller status. 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, Taj Mahal Review, along with Silver Birch Press.

sunil
Half a Ton
by Vincent Van Ross

I was a great fan of cricket
I used to see myself
As a reflected image
Of legendary batsmen
Like Gary Sobers,
Vivian Richards,
Don Bradman,
Tony Greig,
Sunil Gavaskar,
Sachin Tendulkar,
M S Dhoni
And Virat Kohli

I was talking to my friend
About it the other day
When he mentioned
That I should do something
Like Yuvraj Singh
Who scored 36 runs
In a single over
Scoring six runs a ball

I swept him
Off his feet
With my response:
“If that is the case,
I will score
A half century in one over”

“That is impossible,”
Protested my friend
Who got bowled over
By my googly

“That is impossible
Only if you think
In a straitjacket
But if you think
Out-of-the-box,
That is very much possible,”
I explained

“How in the world
Would you score
A half century
In an over?”
Countered my friend

“There are only six balls
To an over…
Even if you score
The maximum number of runs
Which is six per ball
You still end up
Making 36 runs”

“That is what I said…
You are talking of a perfect over
Where each of the six balls
Is a fair delivery
And, I am talking of an over
With two no-balls…”

That caught him off-guard
And he looked at me
With utter disbelief
And I continued
Singing merrily
As if that was my swan song…

“That makes it an over
Of eight balls, right?
If I score six runs a ball
I make 48 runs in the over
Add to the two extra runs
For the no-balls
And, we have fifty runs
In the kitty”

PHOTO: Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.

Ross

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: 
Vincent Van Ross
is a journalist and editor based at New Delhi in India. He writes on national and international politics, defence, 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.

socar
A penumbra of vision
by Vijaya Gowrisankar

I step onto the stage in my favorite red attire
Absorb the expectations of the esteemed audience
They inspect the handkerchief and the dough
Confirm they can’t see through this combination

One after the other, varied hands write numbers
Chalk scrapes and my mind’s eye deciphers them
Next is the language — English and international
I answer the queries, replicate the lines in speed

Completing simple lines to pictures evoke gasps
As natural as next breath, I continue with swift strokes
Is it the practice, the technique or art in my blood?
My passion takes over, I conclude with my pictorial signature

I remove the black cloth that numbs external sensation
I open the firm knots and the dough stuck like second skin
Drenched in sweat, I struggle to open my eyes to see the world
Step out of my magical sphere to expressions of awe and accolades

PHOTO: P.C. Sorcar, Jr., performs his trademark X-ray Eyes trick in India. (Photo by Sanat Kumar Sinha, All Rights Reserved).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: P.C. Sorcar, Jr., is known for his X-ray Eyes trick. His father P.C. Sorcar had also perfected this magic. This poem is a tribute to this fascinating act — the last trick of his magic show that I attended as a child. For a long time, I was in awe of this act. Even today, when I close my eyes, I can see it as a vivid memory. See for yourself on youtube.

gowrisankar1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Vijaya Gowrisankar released her second book of poems Reflect in December 2015. Her first book, Inspire, published in December 2014, reached bestseller status. 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, Taj Mahal Review, along with Silver Birch Press.

Old retro bike.
Tired Memories
by Shivapriya Ganapathy

between
the left and right handlebars
my childhood sat plop with

not-so-tight a grasp
on a brakeless bike-

(the one bought at a local garage for some cousin, and
generously passed down)

a skeptic green leaning over
our sturdy brick wall

for a week
the pedals whizzed up
and down
chasing the wind…

a bump here, and a dent
there, as i

wheeled my way to
bruised elbows and a
bleeding knee, which

ammi hushed wrapping me in
longer skirts and a tirade for
rest of the week admonishing

as though the bike had brought out
some devil in me

i would laugh off in a
swish of green cloud
barely touching the ground, even as

my snaky hair with its twisted heads
waved at the mountain sky

swiveling my bike
in those ribboned lanes my way
downhill,

ghost winds howled into the
open mouth and wide-eyes of a
now fossilized
girl

today, i turn the dusty green cycle
over in my mind, and

find my tired memory
lying flat —
a pale scar on my skin, the

only keepsake from
bygone rides

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The moment I learned the theme for this series, I was instantly drawn to it because cycling is one of the few outdoor activities I absolutely enjoy to this day. Funnily, when I sat to pen it, I realized how subjective and patchy memory could be, with incidents from my childhood and that of the long-lost green cycle bobbing up and down in my mind at their own pace (in a non-linear fashion). So this poem is one of nostalgia for the wind on my face, curvy roads downhill, and a carefree time.

ganapathy1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shivapriya Ganapathy lives in Chennai, India. She graduated with a Masters degree in English Literature, and is now a research scholar working on lesbian feminism and language. She mostly writes in free verse but also dabbles with haiku, tanka, and other Japanese short forms of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Whispers, Verse Wrights, Word Couch, Wordweavers, Spilt Ink Poetry, Sonic Boom, The Squire: 1,000 Paper Cranes Anthology, and The Great Gatsby Anthology by Silver Birch Press. She also maintains a personal blog and finds writing with a mug of coffee beside her therapeutic.

colaba-causeway-market
Getting the nod
by Daniel Roy Connelly

Straight through a red light, clip a beedi seller on the kerb with my wing mirror, pull out way too soon onto Colaba Causeway, horns everywhere, cows everywhere, indicate incorrectly then turn left instead of right at the Mahatma Gandhi fountain, stall on several technical points, examiner not happy.

Nod backwards at a bottle of Black Label boxed and wrapped on the rear seat of the Escort, all smiles, told to drive expressly every day so as to improve, pink chitty, copied 7-fold, in my hand, congratulations, sir, you are now legal on the roads of India.

PHOTO:Colaba Causeway market” (Mumbai, India) found at mapsofindia.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Getting the nod” — a tiddler — forms part of an absurdist memoir I am writing. It isn’t about learning, but test day. It came very quickly in response to seeing the prompt, though it is something I have wanted down in writing for years. That’s the beauty of themed anthologies.

drc.jpg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Roy Connelly was the winner of the 2014 Fermoy Poetry Prize and the 2015 Cuirt Prize for New Writing. He has been published by Magma, The North, Acumen, B O D Y (amongst others) and is forthcoming on Uncle Vanya in Critical Survey. He is a professor of English, theatre and creative writing in Rome. Visit him at danielroyconnelly.com.

Vijaya-Lakshmi-Pandit
On the pedestal
by Vijaya Gowrisankar

As I child who was curious and had questions galore
My favorite was to my grandma to seek her reactions
“Why the name ‘Vijaya’ and whom should I look up to?”
Her soft, gentle voice answered, “Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit”

She narrated stories of this famous achiever in small tales
A highly educated person, whom she admired with awe
A well-travelled lady who represented India globally
With firm beliefs, she held her ground for what was right

I stuck her photo on my cupboard inner wall for inspiration
It was no coincidence when I selected her for my research paper
I read her memoir that revealed her life and decisions she took
Unconsciously I emulated her as I followed my heart’s voice

From her books, I visualize her to be gentle yet strong
A go-getter, a visionary, she believed education was the key
She redefined the boundaries for women in Indian politics
Her influence in my life goes beyond the same first name…

PHOTO: Indian diplomat and politician Vijaya Laksmi Pandit (1900-1990).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My grandma was in awe of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. My name choice was influenced by this famous achiever. My grandma told me stories of what she knew, and I went on to read more about Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit as I grew up. This poem is an attempt to show the admiration and how this lady has influenced my life.

Gowrisankar

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Vijaya Gowrisankar
released her second book of poems Reflect in December 2015. Her first book, Inspire, published in December 2014 reached the bestseller status. 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, Taj Mahal Review, along with Silver Birch Press.