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Sanam Sharma

Sanam Sharma

The lunch hour

It's lunch hour.
An unfriendly mob is unleashed,
onto the narrow city streets.
They edge past each other,
twiddling away on their phones.
Rarely do they look up, yet,

all walk in neat self-designated lines,
dodging, hopping, and swerving past one another,
like that cluster of ants, that often,
scoots along my garage door, at home.
Each one of them,

blinkered by a thought, or a demon.
The queue at the bank teller grows.
As a few more join in, it runs out of space.
So, it wriggles around itself, twice. Almost.
Still fixated on their phones,

they do not look up, yet, gently,
Nudge and weave, keeping their places,
in the meandering queue. Like a herd of sheep.
A bunch of them await, at the pedestrian crossing.
As the walking man turns green,
they all march on, heads down,
fingers fidgeting on their phones,
tailgating each other in undefined unison.
They flock to the corner shushi bar,

to check out its new 'lunch special'.
As they reach the top of the queue, they
look up, at the menu on the wall and
order their meal.
Another queue forms on the side,

almost perpendicular to the first one.
These are the ones that have ordered, and await.
So they get back to their phones.
All of them.
Heads bowed, fingers dabbling on screens.
A few moments go by, and

they all start disappearing. At great pace.
Squirming back into tiny cubicles,
stacked up within towering high rises.
Within minutes, they are all gone.
And the wind, starts to howl again,
freely through empty laneways.

The lunch hour had ended.

Avenging Fairy-tales

I am trying to rescue tales. Those forsaken fables, haunted
for long by tragedy and betrayal. Star-crossed
lovers, sacrificed callously at the forlorn
whims of selfish writers and poets. They irk me.
Annoy me, to no end for they undersell love. Deprive it,
leave it punctured and bleeding.
On purpose.

So if again, they make her brave the darkness
of an unfriendly night, I must alarm her.
Tell her that the night is shrouded in deceit. Half-baked
life-boats await her, and, a rowdy river knows
no mercy. Pick wisely, I will suggest.
jealous fairy-tales, will hand her a flawed pitcher, destined

to melt with the raging river.
Then, as the scorching noon
returns, the next day, I will whisper a nightmare
in his ears. As he sleeps on.Clueless.
A faint rumble.Cluttering hoofs. Dust storm, flung up.
Tlottlot. The foe marches in the distance.
A minute more, and he will be bartered away.
By her.
Blunt arrows will beget demise. So, I shall pull him
out of his slumber. Just in time, to saddle up

and ride off with her into the sunset.
Oh yes, I will pause those love tales,
just before tragedy strikes.
Avenge them all. For the sake of love.
I must re-write them all. Those love stories.
Rainbows will not be traded away for gloomy
strokes of despair. Sunsets will be drenched in
deep red but not from the curdled
blood of butchered lovers.
Nights too will smell of soothing summers,
and moonlit jasmines. Then, at the stroke of midnight,
the magic won't fade. Lovers will not part

and love shall flourish.
It's time. For a new folk-lore
that doesn't dwell on betrayal
and loss. A folk-lore where lovers
will grow old,



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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