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Sunaina Jain

Sunaina Jain

Sunaina Jain


Was it outside the Connaught Place or Jama Masjid?
Who cares?
Was she forced or self-initiated into the art?
Who bothers?
Was she an orphan or an abducted victim?
Who knows?
A girl, tender was her age
tapped at the glass of a Mercedes Benz...
She in tatters, wearing a blouse in muddy beige
With a green skirt, the hem touching the ground
Still something to leave one astound
The drawstring touching her knees
Her skin smeared with grease
A limp in the leg
as she propped up on her lonesome crutch
All ready to beg!
A white-metalled 'Om' in a black thread adorned her limpid neck
Will it lift her out from this wreck?
Disheveled, frizzy hair in an untidy plait
She tilted towards her right for a more wobbly gait
"Hey you stinking girl! Go away!" yelled a young boy
as he fiddled with his metal toy
She pleaded showing her dented aluminium bowl
Her dignity had suffered a big toll
'Self-esteem' - a distant word from an unknown lexicon
She might never know what she lost and what she won!
Empty bowl still waiting in hope
as she placed her hand on emaciated belly
A novice learning how to cope
"Son, Don't respond to these children" came the stock reply
But compassion is something money can't buy
Shooed away by the custodians of culture,
she obliquely casts her eyes at the vulture
standing afar
Oh! but the clinking of green glass bangles around the wrists
as she moves the baggage of her hopes
to the next car,
shaking her closed fists
The jingle still echoes,
Whatever comes and goes.


Standing outside a sprawling shopping mall

With feet oddly balanced on the ground
and a little girl tucked close to his
pot-bellied tummy
Elbowed by the jostling multitude,
he steals glances
and wonders at his own smallness

Out of one corner of his eye,
he looks in rapture
at the tree
of rainbow- hued merriment
Enamored stars, colourful balls and neatly-packed dummy gifts

Children taking joy-rides
as he looks at them with a despondent hope
They are rehearsing their future roles
riding cars and motor cycles

Hunger strikes him hard too
as his sister wails in agony of starvation
Out of the motley crowd
appears a man dressed in red and white
with a huge bag slung over his shoulders
From his treasure bag
takes out sweets and cookies
'Happy Christmas Children!'
as he hands over the packets

The 'Santa' sees his own past reflection
in the eyes of the little boy!


Raucous laughter
Raunchy jokes
They seem to be slovenly Rockers
hopping about carelessly
along the concrete pavement

But I am an old haggard
How would I know fashion?
Torn denims, erect pointed hair
sleek gadgets gleaming
as they spike the punch,
taking pride in their boorish behaviour
The thick soot
coming from the smelly mouths
blackening the air
Who bothers about
the noisome garbage around?
eating cookies spiced up
with marijuana
Do they transcend this ordinary world?

The reek compels
me to pucker my nose
Snide remarks hurled
as if pointed stones pelted at me
Yes! I deserve these
What do I know about fashion?
I am a misfit here
Spoiling their sport

After all, don't we know
Politics is a dirty game?
This bunch of youngsters
can't see our country going to dogs
So, they sit here crouching now....
utilizing their time...


A lush garden
studded with undulating pathways
A perfect setting!
There we nestled
and cushioned ourselves
on a humble bedspread,
not an exotic coverlet
The row of trees helped buffer
the scorching summer heat
Now we settled
We talked, we smiled
We sang, we wrote
and the ambience turned
into a poetic retreat
The rhythm of two conjoined hearts
springing into a lyrical outburst

A delightful, little soiree
of bemused creative rendition
Time raced past with a gallop
and the sunny day gave way
to a coral evening smudged with
azure of sky
Oblivious of the worldly facade
needed to be put on
like an overall
We chose ‘a world of our own'
A world of ‘a little space'
Cozy and cuddled up
Relaxed and nurturing
Rejuvenating the wistful
labyrinth-like garden of our hearts
where we lose
and find ourselves
Lose and find!
A perfect setting!


Another day
Another ray of hope
awakening her frigid senses
to a lukewarm sun rise
The bars of sunlight not yet bright
trying to arouse her lost vibrance

An uphill task now
to ready herself for day's toil
In a quandary, thinks ‘what’ and ‘how’
A challenge to plow jejune life's soil

The wearisome gait
leading to the unsalvageable mirror
For both, a long stretched-out wait
Her image seeming queerer
as she tries to re-assemble the wreck,
The dismembered pieces of haywire life
sticking like mill-stones around her neck
Amputated limbs reminding her of perpetual strife

The dancing rhythm of feet
echoing in her whole being
She peeps through the perforated sheet
to glimpse the flicker of hope though fleeing

Along with limbs, she lost her love, her dreams
Now a wheel-chair her faithful friend
and enchanted music player on the shelf gleams
As she yearns for a hairpin bend
to reverse the sabotage
If only one chance life could lend!



Charanjeet Kaur

Nirendranath Chakraborty - In Discussion with Aju Mukhopadhayay
Rajni Tilak - In Conversation with Anjali Singh

Charanjeet Kaur – “The Partitioning of the Sub-Continental Mind”
Dilip Jhaveri – ‘Voices from Persia and Ireland’
Kamla Bhasin – ‘Roots of Patriarchy’

Aditya Kumar Panda – ‘Determinants of Translation’
Kamayani Kumar – ‘Mediating Partition narratives through Visual Culture’
Madhvi Lata – ‘Girish Karnad’s “Naga-Mandala’
Rachana Pandey – ‘Men in Theatrical Performance’

Book Reviews
Ananya Sarkar – ‘Halfway Up A Hill’
Jaydeep Sarangi – ‘At the Crossroads of Culture and Literature’
KV Raghupathi – ‘My Friendship with Yoga
Lakshmi Kannan – ‘Encounters with People and the Angels of Hope’
Pratibha Kumari Singh – ‘A Gift of Goddess Lakshmi’
Revathi Raj Iyer – ‘In Other Words’
Srinivas Reddy – ‘Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling’
Sunaina Jain – ‘The Tree with a Thousand Apples’
Usha Kishore – ‘The Ending of Arrogance: Ksemendra’s Darpa Dalana’

Ambika Ananth – ‘Editorial Note’
Ashfaqh Hasan
BR Nagpal
Jim Wungramyao Kasom
Leena Sharma
Malcolm Carvalho
Md Ziaul Haque
Nitya Swaruba
Nuggehalli Pankaja
Prem Kumar
Madhabi Das (Trans. Subhasree Chatterjee)
Sunaina Jain
Ubaidullah Pandit

U Atreya Sarma – ‘Editorial Musings’
Ashok Patwari – ‘Padma’
Bodhisatwa Ray – ‘Kway Teow’
Chaganti Nagaraja Rao – ‘The Donor of Books’
Jindagi Kumari – ‘On the path of duty’
Lopa Mukherjee – ‘Through the lens of a camera’
Niyantha Shekar – ‘Shiva Park’
Rajarshi Banerjee – ‘The Mannequin’
Revathi Raj Iyer – ‘Tempest’
Sharath Suryan – ‘1800 Seconds’
Sridhar V – ‘Simply Baffling’

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