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Malsawmi Jacob

Malsawmi Jacob

After sunset

A strange languor has taken over
this moment between day and night
as colours fade from the sky and around
to muted grey that holds no promise.

Passed and gone are youthful visions
head-bent shadows that marched away,
there are no fresh dreams to greet you
beckoning beyond a bright horizon,
but ghostlike silhouettes at memory's edge
in the melting thickening darkness.

The dusk descends into deep night.
Will there be another dawn?

Weather changes

The morning's sky was clear
but soon became overcast
all the blue hidden away
like well-kept secrets.

Uncertain as the weather
life's twists and turns
take us through winding paths

at times to dark jungles
labyrinthine prisons
we find no escape from until
some guiding light leads us out

sometimes we trudge
up mountain routes
on rough rocky surfaces
straining every muscle
in the strenuous climb

or we slide down
some slippery slope
to a green pool
watch the water-band perform;
tadpoles on the guitars
turtle on the drums
catfish on the piano
mister frog the vocalist croons
of love and joy and woe
dragonflies whizz about
like friendly fairies.
What a show!

Here and there

Gulmohar flames red overhead
under blue blaze of sky
while the fierce orange sun
burns brown earth into cracks.
On some cool shore far away
white waves lap silver sands.

The streets are loud with traffic noise
cacophony of blaring sounds
muting music, silencing songs
the koel's melody muffled.
In some woodlands far away
songbirds warble on green trees.

Mister Raju middle aged
with a respectable paunch
sits a-snorting in his car
that's stuck fast in a jam.
O, that old guy in the hill~i
churning out tale after tale
to the delight of all.

Young man Martin on a bike
helmet in hand
wearing a workday-morning face
weaves in and out among vehicles;
he's fashionably grumpy
gently, gently let him pass.

Madam Rita's running for the bus
Oho! It leaves before she reaches
Poor hassled frazzled woman!
Beside the cratered roads
on garbage heaps
cows and street-dogs feed.
In a far-away land
cattle graze on green grass.

Mister X in office
is normal in every way
looks after himself and his own;
he's moderately honest
but doesn't mind a side income
when it comes his way.
Some worse by a hundred shades
hold our lives to ransom
O my people!

The mighty poet sitting in a bank~ii
sees far and wide with eagle's eyes
the myriad appalling images
of our highways and byways –
has seen them all, fore-suffered all.~iii

My eyes are growing dim
memories are fading,
yet I remember
violet hyacinth blooming in a pond
and I remember
the wind blowing through pine trees.
In the bay the dolphins play
somersaulting in the air
over green water
while seagulls wait on the shore
for our coming home.

i Ruskin Bond
ii TS Eliot
iii The Wasteland




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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