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Shelton Pinheiro

Shelton Pinheiro

Every morning
She steps off the boat
Cautiously picking her way
Through old women
Dried prawns
Chinese toys
And pirated Paulo Coelhos
To board a red bus to work.
When the afternoon sleeps
The air conditioner hums
And her eyes droop,
The tea man, passing,
Stops for a few minutes
To listen to the lapping of water
Against the old yellow hull
Of the evening boat
Already docked and silently rocking
In the cool green shallows
Of her tiny, swaying head.
The reader reads her book
seated on the stone bench–
sometimes she pauses, to look
past the monumental stench
of history, bloated, rotting
among seaweed and debris–
the old man beside her is plotting
lunch–across, the ex grand prix
racer, half French, half
dead, freckled, thinning at the top–
walks over, greets the staff
of the new antique shop
all the while, thinking
of something completely
different, like head shrinking,
jujitsu or even bruce lee;
he narrows his silver eyes
as the light lingers and slips–
exposing the strange disguise
of the evening–something flips,
and here we are, it's getting warmer
themuzzein cries–the wind dies
in the mouth of the day–and by Vasco Da Gama,
he says, I swear I heard a thousand sighs.
Standing in unlit corridor, I spread shabby white sheet
over cool blue rexine: number twelve, side upper berth.
Train, wracked by deep cough trembles, moves. Explosion
at restaurant in Lyon in France: Source AFP. I push
dark suede moccasin under seat across. Shots fired in car chase
north east of Paris say police sources. 20 year old unrecognisably
smudged picture is me enough: ticket inspector nods.
Hostages taken North East of Paris, say police. I swing myself up
to reach berth over woman reading book. Kundera
smiles on cover. Police, helicopters rush
to corner two missing suspects in Paris attack,
say French officials. I prise open rusty jammed reading light,
draw curtains over faint urine smell leaking into
warm banana fritter. Paris massacre suspects holding one
hostage: police source to news agency. I close eyes before I close
book. Suspects killed, hostages emerge from Paris
supermart, say officials. I emerge through
small, crowded door. Birth into dark.
Suddenly the bend
and then the dip
into the deep valley
forests sandwiched
between mountains
bubble wrapped in mist
after the heat
the dried vomit
on the red bus
the questions
left behind in the plains
and just like that
suddenly the bend.
The Men from the Hills
And in those days it came to pass
The metro rail, above
First the sky, it blackened out
And then the light, it bent
To squeeze itself into a slit
and slip out through a vent
inSubramaniam's stall upon
a plank, upon a drain.
Inside the stall, sandpaper men
sipped strong and bitter tea
before the day began and they
could climb the scaffolding
to watch the red buses below
go brown on rushing roads
and kick the mindless concrete walls
thinking of hills and home.
For in the night it's all the same
the sky, the air, the moon
except the mosquitoes that sing
a dirge in twelve bar blues
but when the dawn awakes, the rotten
walls, they come to light
together with the soft grey rats
that scamper past at six.
For some come out to dig a pit
while some stay back to shit
Some come out to sweep the drain
and others just complain.
we will close the windows,?take down the picture frames,
lean the umbrella against the sill,
switch off the mains,
and browse through the mobile phone
to find the number of the
rickshaw man who'll
take us to the nearby town–
all without even letting out a sigh.
That's later,
much later.
When it actually happens,
we'll go blank,
inside, a door will bang shut,
our displays will quiver,
and the cursors will blink–
we'll stand by the broken sink
like mute ghosts of our selves
left behind in the room
while we've stepped out for a drink.
Barely two days later
we will speak of how there were things-
little things-
themould on the bread
the row of ants under the cupboard
the dog in the pool
the spilt milk
the sore throat
the decaying orchid in the porch
the corrupt file in the hard disk
the flat tyre
the broken vase
the lost wedding ring
the break in at the office
the missed red bus
as if it all made sense,
as if it would have been a shame
if it didn't happen.



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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