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Ishmeet Kaur Chaudhry

Ishmeet Kaur Chaudhry

A Childless Mother

Yelp of a child crying, the voice cuts through
Breasts stiffen, hurting hard as a rock,
Piercing every hair-like red vein.

With every new shrill the heart beats louder,
louder, even louder,
deafening the ears.

The cry beats like drums in the ears,
every shrill hardens the lacerated breast
wet and lactating.

Eyes wander searching for the child.
The shivering legs tread in the direction of the sound,
the ghost beckons me.

The grip of my hands loosens, yearning to hold
the little soft and tender child
not a stillborn fetus.

I am a body, graveyard; I am a heart, life less
I am a mother, childless
and my hands empty and bare.


I gather the raindrops in my palm
trying to hold the invisible thread
that seems to connect the earth and the sky
the water slips out of my palm, wetting the hand.

The sky is distanced and far, invisible
shows only when I climb the roof-top of a sixteen storied building
the shine of the roof-tiles fail to match the glamour of the shining moon
and the radiance of the stars.

Once what was the scenic country, the rustic and dusty
has been shaven to embrace the tall concrete blocks
the savagery of the wilderness cultivated into
aesthetically designed gardens and the framed landscapes.

The dusty storms wind across the smoggy city
threatening the brutal hands that shove away the life-giving force
reduced to a powerless puny creature, carried away by the cyclone
raising the bare hands in prayer, but to no avail.

Bare Handed

The Day begins with meetings and
ends in mating.

...and I keep wandering
in thoughts,
a desire to find my lost self
that was dismantled
through the heavy words, discussions and arguments all day
and the moving thing that presses against my body in the darkness.

My life is a quest,
a journey, that seeks to find itself,
to locate…re-locate,
to gather
the scattered pieces that make me
But every day, I am crushed into a powdery fine concrete.


Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years move on,
Centuries turn…nothing changes,
yet everything changed.

Leaving behind our village
we entered the strange land,
…a new country, partitioned into two.

We counted the distances
not in kilometres but in time,
in years and in the gaps we had acquired in our hearts.

Those who ate together
were not ready to see each other’s faces
friends had turned enemies.

Time flew as birds
with distances growing
complicating the visa procedures.

Tight borders,
barbed wires, thick trenches,
…no more accessible to us… our own village.

We lately learnt from the papers
that where once Jhelum draped us in love
lies a nuclear plant.

The dots that made the lines
have thickened into borders.
Moving distances, far away from our homeland
into the unknown lands, acquiring new houses
carrying on with memories of the past.

The greens of the hills, the smoothness of Jhelum
The winds that carried messages of love,
the love songs and the lovers, the gossips and the whispers,
now lost in the hot plains and the deserts,
the dirty waters, imprisoned in the two-storied flat of a skyscraper.

No gossips, no whispers,
no love and no lovers,
all lost in lust. The dry wind carries with it
the gloominess of lonely hearts and obsessive disorders
…of incompatible couples jostling against compulsions of life.




Charanjeet Kaur: Editorial

Bill Ashcroft: In Coversation with Sayan Dey
Shanta Gokhale: In Discussion with Sayan Dey
Shashi Deshpande: In a Chat with Ananya Sarkar

Shikoh Mohsin Mirza: Svetlana Alxievich

Literary Articles
Debabrata Sardar: Tracing the Transition
Manjinder Kaur Wratch: 1984 and Amandeep Sandhu’s Roll of Honour
Manzoor Ahmad Najar: Heemal Nagrai
Pharmenash Ch Marak & Dwijen Sharma: Pastoral Modes in Ruskin Bond
Subhra Roy: Naga Identity through Myth and Magic Realism

Book Reviews
Ananya Sarkar – ‘Before We Visit the Goddess’
Kalyanee Rajan – ‘The Glass Bead Curtain’
Smitha Madanan – ‘The Vegetarian’
Sruti Md – ‘A Symphony of Chance Encounters’
U Atreya Sarma – ‘Syamala Dandakam’

Ambika Ananth – Editorial Note
Anoop Sharma
Debasis Tripathy
Dev Dutt
Ishmeet Kaur Chaudhry
Jibrael Jos
Malavika S Udayan
Malsawmi Jacob
Pooja Agarwal
Sagar Mal Gupta
Sanam Sharma
Tejasvi Saxena
Vihang Naik
Vivek Sharma

U Atreya Sarma – Editorial Musings
Bhanumati Mishra – ‘A Raging Goddess’
Bosco Propócio Afonso: ‘Memories of Margarida’
Enakshi Biswas – ‘The Slap’
Muhammad Faizan Fuzail – ‘The Girl in Hijab’
Shweta Tiwari – ‘An indelible journey’
Shyamasri Maji – ‘The Nettle Leaves’
Sushant Dhar – ‘The Lost Home’
Suyash S – ‘The Crazy Stalker’
Tuhin Harit – ‘The Time Machine’

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