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Parag Mallik

Parag Mallik


Emergencies dissolved into pastel goodbye
kisses for families planted with mourning.
Natural nicotine liquefied over our journals
held between fortune-free, shaking palms.
Deficiencies of time are lost into the loving
words falling from our lips, words we always
meant to say.

Obvious traces of fear vanished, scattering
reluctantly into the dust of forgiveness.
For the broken dreams that now lie in deserts,
dreading the advent of darkness, no tears
of regret are left to flow.

Thoughts never bubbled to us that this train to
nowhere, was the last we have boarded.
Hollow hopes hit us in terror, trembling knees
and sealed lips come together at twilight.
Early morning we could've loaded our best tea
and honey, sweetest oranges, and grandma's
muffins in pretty silver foils but now it's late.

Wilting faces wish to have seen and believed
apocalyptic visions, woven in newsprint,
Over the weather forecasts, in colored comics,
overlooked as we drowned in cold ambitions.
Rags of selfishness dressed our souls which
change hues to repentance leaving us bleak
like orphans, no futures to draw over palms
Little birds have gone numb into silence as the
skies have begun to fold over the harsh rains
over shelters we've broken through aeons.
Dawn gulps away dimmest of lights, gobbling
the streets to leave lifeless, empty avenues
slowly, as the last train whistle blows.


A home I've made along the strands of the rope,
Breaths coiled in my loops under the dark bed,
C rying aloud at the edge of the knife among the apples,
D iving slowly in depths of the bottle of sleeping pills,
E choing over the muddy stones on the cliff,
F orever hidden beneath the pebbles along a rail track,
G rowing louder between sand specks on the river bank,
Hoping to fulfill my greed for depression,
I nstincts feeding over a broken heart or failure,
J ust satisfied with pressures hauled on shoulders breaking your knees,
K icking you in the chest with feet of dejection and pessimism,
L ovingly looping around your neck with
M alice mangling every will to survive,
N ever able to cross the flames of happiness,
O pening welcoming arms for you at the table,
P epper and gloom sprinkled to gobble you up.
Q uestions I create to hang in corners of your brain causing
R easoning to fade away along with your joy.
S tings of my seasoning sinking into your ribs,
T ears gushing in oceans from your eyes,
U nder the mask I make you wear-
V elvety on the outside, thorns within.
W aiting eagerly in your flesh for
X erarch veins in your palms to make
Y ou lose your body to me and
Z ip up the pain right into the blood.
Thank You Dear.
She will envelope her palms, dense
prayers trapped within, before her
divine imagery of God, begging to
fill the cups built of her fingers with
time up to the brim so she can serve
her little home and her labour from 9
to 5, toiling to read through the pages
of his untidy cursive and yet have
solitary air to breathe.

She folds the fabric of her dress into
deep creases and grooves, begging
for vivacity - enough to bring home
the few notes that fly away into her
bills and to the stores, fetching
muffins of joy, he desires, and to
segment her thoughts into little chunks
of comfort for her tiny tot.

She bows really low, curving the back
of her neck, begging for a few drops
of faith that may fuel her single arms
to wipe away all the tears, to embrace
her little universe in a loving hug, and
to knit promises she can wrap around
her home because even when alone,
doubled is
her joy,
her faith,
her love.

I can wrap minds around few words as I hold hands and pour voices into my ears over the
pale rays at sunrise. I don't understand the pain in my chest severing my body into unequal halves that sometimes scream in anger.

Your compliments slide over my shoulders and fall down to my ankles and I don't understand mirrors when they try to talk- telepathy flowing through the winds awakening a soul which is at conflict within myself. But when am I not?

Is it just me leaning over the cliffs in my mind
to talk to myself as I thump at the glass wall between us separating a clash of contrasts that desire to blend.

I stare into the glass outlining the silhouette within, as it glows dark along the edges, purple acid flowing out of perimeters, sculpting that body into a person I try to be, everyday.

Splitting, cracking, tapping along the bones, violet shields clouding my eyes, barring the vision of the person I want to be.

Tall legs, clean eyes, lean arms, holding together the joints of perfection, happiness gleaming out of every bone, cracks healing in succession as clouds begin to sway.

Reality shines through, leaving the cracks- never mended, the laughter- hollow and the mirror- broken glass.



Charanjeet Kaur

Lucha Corpi: In Conversation with Ketaki Datta
Mamang Dai: In Conversation with D Ramakrishna

Literary Essay
Sharad Chandra: ‘Theatre of the Absurd’

Literary Articles
Devika Karnad: ‘Lakshmi Kannan’s Going Home
Kaushik Acharya & Kiriti Sengupta: ‘Commentaries on The Gita
Shailja Chandra: ‘The Mona Lisa Phenomenon in Gulzar’s Writings’
Subhra Roy: ‘Re-reading Easterine Kire’s Bitter Wormwood
Tuhin Mukhopadhyay: ‘Anita Desai’s Voices in the City
Yogesh Kumar Negi: ‘Himachali Folk Music’

Book Reviews
Chandan Das – ‘A Certain Way
Manjinder Kaur Wratch – ‘Murder In Mahim
Nirojita Guha – ‘The Ocean of Churn
Rittvika Singh – ‘Baaz
Subashish Bhattacharjee – ‘And Gazelles Leaping’ & ‘Cradle of the Clouds
Tuhin Sanyal – ‘Dreams of the Sacred and Ephemeral
Wani Nazir – ‘Where are the Lilacs?’

Ambika Ananth: Editorial Comment
Ambika Ananth
Amrita Bhattacharyya
Anil Bairwal
Nilamadhab Kar
Parag Mallik
Rahul Jayaram
Shelton Pinheiro
Sunil Sharma
Swati Srivastava

Smitha Sehgal – ‘Editorial Musings’
Chandra Mohan Bhandari – ‘Himalayan Splendour’
Debasis Tripathy – ‘Convenient Friendship’
K Srinivasan Subramanian – ‘Tulasi has flowered’
Mohammad Shamsur Rabb Khan – ‘Old Man’s Fare’
Palak Sharma – ‘The Strange Journey’
Pragya Bhagat – ‘Portrait of an Old Man’
Shweta Tiwari – ‘His Love’
Sunaina Jain – ‘Lost and found’

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