Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Issues’ Category

Issue 5: Spring 2015

Fiction

What Happens In India Does Not Stay In India

She felt for the step behind her with one foot, then the other, hoping illogically that if she walked all the way to her parents’ room backward, she would unremember the entire conversation.

The Discipline of Haircuts

The touch of Sultan’s hand was warm and rough, almost electric against his skin and Avinash suddenly had a vision of holding his hand to his nose. What would it smell of – tobacco and hair-cream?

Poetry

Untitled

Like those asleep, she gathers us into her embrace,
One by one, she comes and gathers us into her embrace;

For Wagah On Sunday

was Partition not enough.
was this body only yours
that you could hurt it like this.

Atithi Devo Bhava

How unnerved they are
by our friendly, yet obnoxious neighbours
who look at them like exotic creatures,
only faintly resembling us Indians.

Essays & Interviews

Datuk in the Wallet

I kept Datuk close to barely-there Nepali and Indian rupees, flush against the photo of the lover I reunited with in Chennai, and then in Kathmandu, although—assuredly—they would have despised each other the first time they met

Battling the Sea: Maldives

A coral archipelago of about 1200 islands, Maldives faces a formidable foe in the sea that besieges it… An average ground elevation of just 1.6 metres renders it vulnerable to growing sea levels, a phenomenon that threatens to create millions of environmental refugees across the globe before the end of this century.

In Conversation with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Stories create the world. Seeing stories that look like your own, that you’ve never read written down before, or that are stories you’ve never thought of before that change your whole idea of what is possible, are a big revolutionary deal.

Art

001Khairani Barokka

Freedom-1Celeste Regal

Brutality is often brushed aside; victims are expected to quickly forget. This creates a walled-off disconnect with the rest of the world. I seek to transport the viewer toward events and responses most people would rather ignore.

1-620x465Samina Farooq

1-Legal-Genius-3Dinusha Jayawardane

Reviews

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

All Mili had ever wanted was to be a good wife. A domestic goddess-slash-world’s-wife-number-one-type good wife. The kind of wife her husband pined for all day long. The kind of wife he
rushed home to every night because she’d make them a home so very beautiful even those TV serial homes would seem like plastic replicas.

Home, Uprooted: Oral Histories of India’s Partition by Devika Chawla

‘Home’ as a figurative and emotional entity is a difficult concept to configure, for those who were forced out of their natural homes and then went on to build homes in a different environment, starting out as sharnarthis, or the dreaded term, refugees.

Jaya Nepal by Martin David Hughes

Jaya Nepal opens with the protagonist, Benjamin Creed, a young wide-eyed, jet-lagged Peace Corps volunteer, arriving in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu…

Sultana’s Dream by Begum Rokheya Sakhawat Hossain

Sultana’s Dream was first published in 1905, ten years before the American feminist and novelist, Charlotte P. Gilman, presented her feminist utopia, Herland. Yet Sultana’s Dream languishes in relative obscurity, and even those interested in feminist science fiction are often ignorant of this work…

Issue 4: Fall 2014

Fiction

Corvus

He had re­entered my life like a changing season: without omen, a single door opened
onto a transformed landscape, rainfall from a cloudless sky, a tree that burst into ripeness overnight. I prepared for him to leave it the same way.

Black July

She marvels at these feet, at their earnestness in moving away from loss. At the biology in her that has so assuredly chosen her unborn child over her dying husband.

Why It Often Rains in the Movies

In the early days of our marriage, I’d been moved a few times from twitch in the pants to passion, but it was only in the movies that tabletops, walls, balconies, and bathtubs were ideal surfaces for sex.

Poetry

Badaun

mother, the banyan spreading
a colony of tarantulas through her bones

Letter from Nabila Rehman to Trayvon Martin

They will call us collateral
for someone else’s
safe sleeping.

Sly Smile

“Don’t give them money, it goes to the mob!”
Yes, dark criminalizes here,
Too.

Stoichiometry

Measures of salt seep from orgasmic arch
Sufi foot taps echo in New Delhi slum

The Prayer

One crow, then more, in the pebbled courtyard.
New voices join in, here’s to dawn, to dawn;

Essays & Interviews

Red Thread at Fatehpur Sikri

All around me the brown faces are my face, and their retroflex consonants also curl the tip of my tongue and ricochet off my palate. And as I wander through the bazaars, elbow­-to-elbow amidst locals and tourists, I find I am nostalgic for memories of a life I did not live and to which I can never return.

The Journey Home

While West Pakistan controlled Bangladesh, all visible manifestations of culture and
nationalism were suppressed. The suppression became more and more violent over time, as intellectuals actively urged Bengalis to be proud of their own culture and heritage and to resist Pakistani control. Nearly 1,000 academics, journalists, physicians, lawyers, writers, artists, and engineers were murdered, and my Nani and Dada were two of few who escaped this systematic slaughter.

Art

001Malavika Rajnarayan

Linear drawing demands sharpness in my articulation, a keen observation and keeps my intellect nimble. The human figures I draw reflect this attempt for nimbleness and strength. My language and aesthetics are closely aligned to Indian and Asian cultural traditions, where the poignancy of ideas are conveyed through beauty, grace and poetry.

1_Ambassador-ColorCourtney Stephens

Even though the city can be very chaotic, I think of it as almost silent, as though parts of it died awhile ago and are quietly dreaming themselves into the present.

Reviews

Family Life by Akhil Sharma

Akhil Sharma follows his award­winning debut, An Obedient Father, with Family Life, a first­person bildungsroman about a boy and his older brother migrating to the United States East Coast from India in the late ’70s.

Fragments of Riversong by Farah Ghuznavi

Farah Ghuznavi’s collection of short stories is an opportunity to journey to Bangladesh, to live alongside the characters and share their dreams, aspirations and fears.

Her Name is Kaur by Meeta Kaur

This anthology is a pleasant and refreshing surprise. I found myself captivated, moved, and inspired by the wide­ranging essays written by young Sikh­American women.

Issue 3: Summer 2014

Fiction

The Humanly Dog of Colonel Haider Usman

Ms. Bhonsle knew the diplomatic power that is necessary for a single woman in her fifties who lived alone. Indeed, balance meant a moderation of excesses that would otherwise not fit into Indian middle-class life.

Skokie Nights

Rimi loved the tragedy—or rather, the poetry—of teenage girls found dead. She didn’t want to be raped or murdered or harmed in any way. She just wanted to be a corpse, like some girls wanted to be a bride or a princess.

Poetry

A-B-C-D

A for assimilation
B forgetting the brown
C for Columbus, not Colombo—
that song that every immigration child knows

Republic Day, 2014

I wanted to parade a toy soldier,
Impotent and unmanly,
In this country of men and manners.
I asked the police for permission.
They said, sorry,
We only parade puffed up chests.

forest, matheran hills

notice, she said, language body nature prayer
follow the same rules of resting

My Father’s White Shirts

i fill the washing machine with soap and a week’s worth
of my father’s undershirts
tangled like a clutch of heron’s eggs ready to hatch
only one will live

Oranges, memory

I buy one and dig my nails
beneath skin. Ride these waves
of scent with me

Essays

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni on Books for Young Readers

I wanted a story that would be a great adventure for readers, but also one that would introduce readers to the Indian landscape, Indian ways of life, and Indian philosophy and values. I wanted a magical object out of Indian myth. I wanted a reverse quest tale (returning a magical object to its original home) . . .

A Dynasty of Dust

India can harden hearts or fill them with the ripe, sweet fruit of compassion. If the pilgrim is sincere, and attentive, and lucky, then India might deign to reveal partially glimpsed hints of the truths that lay hidden beneath the surface and beyond the cloaking veil of maya woven out of dust and traffic diesel fumes and smoke from wood-fires in rusted upright oil drums . . .

A White Girl Makes Bangladeshi Piaju

Being from Vancouver, I’ve tried South Asian cuisine in fusion form, because Vancouver is the First Lady of fusion food cities. However I don’t recall ever having a traditionally prepared South Asian dish, let alone preparing one myself. I hoped with the available resources I would be able to meet the challenge. So, to Google . . .

Art


1_American Beauty II_2014_hibaHiba Schahbaz

I am investigating issues of self-identification within the lexicon of miniature painting, and in the process, re-contextualizing miniature painting in contemporary art. By observing the symbolism and iconography of the cultures around me, I construct imagery that fuses the real with the imagined.

1_The Edifice Butterfly_tulikaTulika Ladsariya

My paintings are a social commentary on the division of society through the iconography of labor. Bricks, lumber, plaster, and bright house paint recur in my oeuvre. Through this process of hunting, lugging, and working with heavy material, I try to empathize with the workforce that I depict and choose to think of art as labor.

1_hayfever_michelleMichelle Cherian

As I wander through the streets of Kathmandu on a crisp morning, I take in 80s neon pink, stark black-and-white stripes, an emerald green satin sash . . . These are the immediate colors and textures that glide through my mind as I download this moment’s inspiration.

1_Evry1wants2leave_shoiliShoili Kanungo

When I draw, I like using a lot of details. I think of the page as a nonlinear storyboard, with no guidelines for where to go and—hopefully—lots to discover. When I paint, I am a little obsessed with swirling lines. I do love lines.

Reviews

Celluloid Man: Back to the Future

The new documentary Celluloid Man highlights the legacy of P. K. Nair and the debt the country owes this visionary.

Geography of Tongues by Shikha Malaviya

Shikha Malaviya’s first book is a collection of poems that awakens the reader’s sense of taste, offering poems about pineapple pastry, mashed bananas and milk, guava leaves, red chilis and pomegranates, strawberries and mangoes.

Paging Ms. Marvel: The Perks and Perils of Creating an Islamic Feminist Superhero

The new Ms. Marvel comic series offers its readers something exciting, progressive, and new. Kamala Khan, who later transforms into Ms. Marvel, is the first major South Asian superhero protagonist in the Marvel comic book–verse.

Column

Ask the Unicorns

You do know the difference between procrastination and foreplay, don’t you? If you treat spending time with your book as just an obligation or, worse, a job—well, we all know how that kind of love affair goes.

Issue 2: Spring 2014

Fiction

Alexithymia

My thaththa conducts a neurological exam on his newest patient, the cricket. Antennae quiver as thaththa speaks. He asks the cricket to explain the meaning of the following expression: he kicked the bucket.

Once Again Next Year

From somewhere in the darkness rose the groans of a skinny, stammering boy and the chanting voices of a group of young men and women. Aaschey bachar aabar hobey. The annual slogan of the pujas that was meant to reassure everyone about the continuity of the festival, of joy and of life itself.

Poetry

Draupadi

In real life, she wasn’t blue like in the comics,
she was dark as soot,
probably darker.
She appears when we’re not looking
like
her parents only wanted a boy to do all the fighting

Street Dog Dreams: Rashbehari Avenue

Is he riding shotgun in an auto-rickshaw, his scarred ears
flapping in the diesel dust?

Eulogy to a Skinny Midriff

On summer trips overseas when I was 3, 6, 9, 12,
My aunties used to whisper, What are you feeding her?

Pankti in Five Padas

So you remember Superman,
not Shaktimaan, veal not enthu
cutlets in Ramarajan pants
turning up half hour early
to help the host host his party?

Essays

Raining in Bhutan

Pine air wood smoke crick of jungle insects peaked white chortens with relics in their bellies kuzuzangpo-la do you speak Dzongkha curfew 8pm too many voices culture kit in bag (maple syrup, Canadian flag pins) where you from chilip we had Americans here before.

Finding Home In Madonna Inn

The rooms emulated Bollywood as an ode to the homeland, while the décor, the ambience, and general visual appearance were carefully cultivated and curated to reflect an aspirational Middle Eastern lifestyle. These houses were ornate and grand, an interesting coexistence of nostalgic narratives of home and interpretations of the current life away from home.

Shifting Mobilities: Diasporas in Flux in Monica Ali’s Brick Lane

Although entrepreneurial labor is a valid way of achieving integration and attaining conventional ideas of success, it unfortunately seems to come at the expense of political participation.

Art

01_Main_WorkSa’dia Rehman

Sa’dia Rehman works with themes such as isolation, shame, and hidden social boundaries. Her installations, sculptures, and works on paper explore subjects that are considered taboo such as sexuality, power hierarchies, and normative ideals around gender.

01_smiling_manJoão Pires

Understanding India is as futile as finding the sun at night. Unlike any other place I’ve been, this is a country to feel, to take a deep breath and sense, and it will all come to you. Out of all this contrast and shapeshifting, there’s something that sweeps the whole country: life.

Sabina England

My film explores the emotional state of a woman’s mind: her relationship with self, her relationship with the other woman, her relationship with the divine, her relationship with Mother Earth, her relationship with humanity.

01_BrothersAmina Shafi

In 2010, I went with a team to Nepal to process refugee applications of ethnic Nepalis who fled Bhutan from persecution or were forcibly repatriated back to Nepal by the Bhutanese government. On my time off, I explored the cities of Damak, Kathmandu, Bhaktaphur, and Dharan.

Column

Ask the Unicorns

Start a “Touchstones” document or a small notebook. Absorb the rhythms and cadences of your touchstones. Feel their heartbeats.

Issue 1: Fall 2013

Fiction

Boys Like That

Boys like that are ugly babies. They smile at everyone and offer wilted flowers to tables and plastic chairs. Nobody picks them up unless it is an absolute emergency.

The Summer of Young Uncles

That summer, all of Saima’s uncles began appearing. They were like those Russian nesting dolls made out of the same mold: some with red moustaches, some with brown, some short, some skinny, some fat, but they all had the same look.

Amrikan Dreams

Krishna held firm to the view that a traditionalist was a dependable man. A man of moral fiber who would never let a beautiful woman or wayward daydream distract him.

Poetry

what it’s like to be sri lankan in 2012 for those of you who aren’t

It’s going home to Jaffna if you’re young, Tamil and male and not automatically being snatched by either army. Maybe. For a moment.
It’s white vans.

Kalkatiya

she asked the emissaries, “How much
for a day’s toil?” They carried us away to a dock
and locked us down. Paid in irons, we tore our throats…

At the Dancing Square—Chowk

Not all men are tone deaf unable to hear the call
of hunger. Body, bosom, bare hips, needless to say
bare feet. She cannot afford the luxury of sleep.

Model Minority

the Punjabi slips
pungent
against my teeth, weeps
when I stumble
at its edges: arches
and whorls I cannot read.

Pickling

embalming mangoes in mulled mustard oil, she tells me
the best of the season must live longer. So each April
she carefully preserves. Pickles in glass jar churning…

Here Is a Red Cat and a White Cat

All these children with their dark glossy hair;
They sail on in their small shoes.
They are floating upward almost…

Essays

Flying Saucers

I took the glistening black vinyl out of its sleeve, removed the dust wrap, placed it on the turntable.
… Lost in the grooves of these long-playing records is the history of discography, which began in 1902 with the founding of the Gramophone Company of India.

The Cab Driver and I

The driver freezes in the middle of his three-point turn. He gazes up into his rearview mirror for a better look at me. “You’re from Pakistan, and you teach Americans?” His frown is so concentrated that he looks angry.

Bitter Honey: Sexual Violence in Desi Hip Hop

Although generally approbatory attitudes toward sexual violence in music would not necessarily lead directly to rape, they create and reinforce a culture that allows rape, facilitates woman-blaming, and disempowers women. In the context of the Delhi gang rape case and the protests that ensued, it is important to note that this culture attacks women just for being women.

Race, Class, and Gender at the Margins: Exploring My Name is Khan

Post-9/11 Islamaphobia, enveloping all brown-skinned people into one homogenizing dominant gaze, opens some room for mutual recognition of Otherness at the margins of American society.

Art

Freedom Colour

… moments where the “play” that arises from the festival allows for a freedom of transgression between caste, class, and gender lines in India.

Indo-Caribbean

Indians have lived in the Caribbean since the mid-1800s, brought by the British as indentured laborers to work in sugar and rice plantations in Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, and other colonies.

Delhi Through the Night

…the gaze of a middle-class, academically-oriented woman from a relatively small town, who feels more comfortable and safe behind a camera as she walks anonymous through the wide and narrow, intimidating and yet liberating streets of the capital city of Delhi.

Sacred Heart

…delicate interplays between vulnerability and empowerment, intimacy and exhibitionism, and subjective and collective expressions of feminist, queer, and cultural identities.

Reviews

Fasting for Ramadan by Kazim Ali

In trying to grasp and define the contours of his own spirituality, Ali comes to some of the most startling and refreshing conclusions about his own religion and selfhood.

Karma Gone Bad: Or How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood, and Water Buffalo by Jenny Feldon

For an immigrant such as myself, who moved from a big city in a developing nation to battle the loneliness of living in the US, I was eager to read Jenny Feldon’s reverse experience.

The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry edited by Sudeep Sen

This anthology serves as a conglomeration of assertive, fresh voices, a long way off from the rich inherent, albeit stringent, tradition of Itihasas and Puranas.

Crossing Black Waters by Athena Kashyap

Kashyap writes of sundering, separations, crossings, reunions, and uncertain reconciliations. The break with an imagined home is never forever; return is always a possibility yet remains unsatisfying whenever it occurs.

Column

Ask the Unicorns

A spoonful of hot ghee is nothing like unicorn blood; and yet it is a way of extending the life of the butter. … Now I’m going to tell you the secret to immortality.

Editorial

Why Jaggery?

The publishing world often tries to put its writers into boxes: easily-marketable boxes. You can’t really blame them, in some sense—it’s much easier to create a shelf in the bookstore, label it ‘ethnic literature’ and then put all the ‘ethnic’ writers there, than it would be to market each complex writer individually. The big publishers want a young desi woman to write an arranged marriage novel, because they know where the market is for those books. There’s a reason they keep putting red saris on our book covers; they know what sells.


The inaugural issue of Jaggery is co-sponsored by the Asian Studies and Asian American Studies Programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.