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Parvinder Mehta


Parvinder Mehta



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AN UNWRITTEN LETTER

Mother, do you ever think about us?
your aborted, unlived daughters who dared to grow within you
but never came to be.

Mother, do you ever cry for us?
Our undreamed aspirations simply quashed by
your hateful silence, your murderous complicity
to banish us from your womb for that imperative birth of a boy.

Mother, did you not hear our hearts beat?
with pulsating rhythm, did you not see our
silhouette and shadows floating on that monitor screen
when the doctor scoped us to find our sex?

Mother, do you ever imagine us?
How we could have lived and grown
How we could have loved if not thrown
away into infested purgatory of non-being.

Do you even feel our pain of separation?
Will you ever read this unwritten letter
from all of us—me and my other unborn sisters
who met the same fate
sucked out like an unwanted weed
evicted forcibly with our pathetic placentas
smothering our unformed beauty
because we did not come with that
coveted mark of maleness
with promises of generations beyond?

Mother, do you remember us? Mother, do you remember those pounds of your flesh?


WHEN POEMS ARE BORN

A blank page invites
to scribble my thoughts,
figuring out jaunty emotions
as alphabets dash out happily
in a chorus of creativity
displaying a choreography between
thoughts and emotions, words and phrases
evoking melodies of sensual and sacred.
The mind ruminates on raw rhapsody
in tinkling of anklets when the dancer taps her feet
or of a nervous, shy bride claiming happiness
and creates a rainbow of feelings-- fleeting and flickering
memories sewn with imagination of things to come.
A poem emerges as words and more words
snuggle together in sheer ecstasy of
being born with new meanings.

A blank page reminds me
to carve those labyrinths of passive witnessing
as alphabets crawl out in painful shock
displaying the swallowing fissure between
aphasia and acknowledgement
evoking a numb necessity to narrate.
The mind ruminates on raw cruelty
like birthing pains of a mother forced to be
her body stretched within and pain without.
Or like violated men tortured,
drowning in their own pools of blood
ravaged by pain strewn together
as a patchwork of sighs and whispers.
Another poem forces out as words and more words
comfort each other in sheer anguish of
silence about trauma of bygone darkness.


ON READING POETRY

Oh the wonders of reading poetry!
Such a calligraphy of emotions the cornea
comes upon, eyes kissing the black alphabets,
caressing each word as a passing train.
The mind marvels at the stealthy meaning
embracing its labyrinths. The lips quiver at
the gushing emotions like a blushing bride.
Fingers nervously itching to turn the page
wondering about consummation. A smile,
a twitch, a frown, a brow rises in surprise,
doubt, even amazement. Words breathe and
conduct an invisible choreography
of feelings satiated. The reader finally
composed by this composition, an emboldened
lover bursting with ecstasy.


EATING MANGOES ON A RAINY DAY

Oh, what a pleasure it was –
eating mangoes in the rain
under a canopy in the verandah.
Mangoes—yellow, ripe and luscious
Rain—voluptuously drenching, kissing
the hard, granite floor.

Oh, what a symphony of senses—
that mingling of sounds, sweet smells,
scrumptious symphonies, an unheard
saga of love, contours of soft succulence
surrendering to sheer, innocent pleasure.

Oh, what a torrential joy--
Raindrops smashing
the concrete and trying to fly back up,
droplets hurriedly trying to caress
while you seduce the deep yellow
ripeness melting in your mouth.

Oh, what simple lessons—
cool mesmerizing splashes
reminding of life’s vitality,
to behold a supreme sense of
surrender. To be alive, to feel beauty
of the body and the everlasting soul.


UNHOMELINESS: A WALK AT THE BEACH

A solitary, luminous flake
peering out of the sandy shroud
seeks me. Demanding a nod at its
passive being, unnoticed by
countless beach swimmers,
its sun-kissed glare dazzles me,
invites me closer.

I drag my callous feet
and feel its brittleness.
An invisible bond
between fractal fragments,
My toes shield its sheer
flimsiness, an ephemeral
moment whispers before
the waves wash away
this fragile rhapsody.

The waves swash over
my age-dried feet protecting
the flake, from cold water’s duel
with the hot sand. Distracted from
the luminous, fragile fragment
I find a displaced duplicitous sea-weed,
mapping desperately, tangling my foot
with claws of anguish.

It pleads me to hold on
as I wait for the final drowning.
A thought jitters.
I wrench the terrible weed off
my trembling feet, refusing to budge
to its dark, shapeless thoughts or
wait for the waves to violently reclaim us.

Another emptiness washes my naïve feet
with a new urgency, calling me to
leave the ground beneath
and cuddle the liquid warmth
enfolding the chilly waves
that draw lunatic thoughts.

A dead bird warns me of the impending
danger in this deadly embrace.
Dead fish on the shore call my name
no comfort for their open blank eyes.
My unwavering feet stand firmly
as I see another luminous flake
washed in the annals of eternity.

I do not embrace this motion of death
and walk onto the still glances of life instead.
Choosing to live on with my fragilities
I leave these ephemeral temporalities
bathing in dark luminosities and join
those crowds of nature-lovers.

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Articles/Discussions


Editorial
Charanjeet Kaur: Editorial

Conversations
Nicholas Grene: In Conversation with Pawan Kumar
Sami Ahmad Khan: In Discussion with Atreya Sarma

Literary Essay
Aditya Kumar Panda: Meaning and Limits
Ananya Dutta Gupta: Tagore – a Muse or Guardian?

Literary Articles
Animesh Bag & Gobinda Banik: Restless Hollow in The Circle of Reason
Anushree Thareja: The Agony of Being Adivasi
Archana Gupta: Love and Desire in Amrita Pritam’s The Revenue Stamp
I Watitula Longkumer & Nirmala Menon: Mamang Dai’s The Black Hill
Irina Talashi: Kashmiri Proverbs
Juri Dutta: Ideological Conflicts in Birendra Bhattacharya’s fiction
S K Sagir Ali: Short Stories of Afsar Ahmed
Soumana Biswas: Impact of Testimonies in Partition Fiction
Sumallya Mukhopadhyay: Of Forgotten Histories

Book Reviews
Ananya Sarkar: The Liberation of Sita (Volga)
Anubhav Pradhan: Personal and National Destinies in Independent India: A Study of Selected Indian English Novels
Atreya Sarma U: Not Just Another Story (Subhash Chandra)
Gopal Lahiri: Kautik on Embers (Uddhav J Shelke’s Marathi novel trans. by Shanta Gokhale)
Mala Pandurang: Home Between Crossings (Sultan Somjee)
Mona Dash: Spark of Light (Short fiction by women writers from Odisha)
Sobia Abdin: Four Degrees of Separation (Rochelle Potkar)

Poetry
Ambika Ananth: Editorial Comment
Arunima Takiar
Debatri Das
Maere Damisr
Parvinder Mehta
Sheel Galada
Shernaz Wadia
Shweta Mishra
Venkata Chandeeswar
Zinia Mitra

Fiction
Smitha Sehgal: Editorial Musings
Jayaram Vengayil: Such a Short Journey
Mondit M Mahanta: Frangipani
Nabanita Sengupta: The Game
Narayani Das: The Little Girl
Nilutpal Gohain: The Sacrifice
Sangeeth Simon: Platform

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