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Posts from the ‘Issues’ Category

Issue 16: Fall 2020

Fiction

Cotton, Grass and Rain

She smells of fresh laundry, of rain in strange lands. He knows now that her perfume is Cotton, Grass and Rain by Marc Jacobs. He likes the softness of her, because she makes him forget the hard edges of his mother, the dark corners of his loneliness, the dry scratch of his own thoughts.

Double X

Nishu wanted a Double X for his birthday. He confided this daily to his grandmother, Bernie, who, at eighty-three, had lived through a war, and endured displacement, and knew a weapon when she saw one.

Mustafa’s Wife

At times, she can’t remember his name. The nameplate outside the house says ‘Mustafa Muhammad’. The house belongs to Mustafa Muhammad, yet he is the visitor who comes and goes. She has come to understand these walls and they know her well, too. She sometimes reads to them, especially things that move her. The walls listen.

The Price of Goat

Dadu brings the thick, bright red curry in a bowl that Mummy uses to keep cut fruit. There is a shiny layer of oil along the edges; little pieces of meat float in the middle. “What do you think?” he asks. I am eager to try it. It’s only because I am hungry!

Poetry

Small feelings

The New Word We Learned by Babitha Marina Justin

Essays & Interviews

The Untaken Frame by Ricky Toledano

What really stopped me from pulling the trigger, placing my camera back in its holster, was a sensation similar to that which occurs just before picking a flower, when doubt shades the choice to possess beauty by destroying it.

Interview with Wanphrang Diengdoh by Sneha Krishnan 

Reviews

99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai

A literary feast.

Purple Lotus by Veena Rao

A polished narrative of survival and empowerment!

When Lovers Leave and Poetry Stays by Jhilam Chattaraj

Reads like an embalmed memory!

Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

To the Sitas of the world, with love!

Rituals by Kiriti Sengupta

Throws riddles at the reader!

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Raw brilliance!

Issue 15: Spring 2020

Fiction

Auspicious

The music rushed back. I felt her bare arms slide over my skin as she rose and sat before a mridangam. Drum and sitar, we played the tone she directed. The sound mixed notes of nostalgia with the clanging present, the rhythm of the future. 

Broken Dolls

From the wardrobe she shared with Santanu, she pulled out her maimed dolls and spread them out on the bedroom floor. None of them was as broken as her brother. She kicked her dolls and stomped on them and pulled out their hair. Yet, nothing could assuage her anger.

Insignificant Man

I resolved to spend my days tailing him around the house, to win over his friendshipWho knows? Perhaps one day he would bend his head over, hook pinkies with me and show me his secret diary, just like Anjali, my best friend back in school, had! 

Maachér Jhol (Fish Stew)

You center your ethnic cravings around tandoor, samosa, naan, aloo gobi — never kitchüri or dal. Those meals still remind you of the childhood shame of being Indian.

Poetry

A Textbook Afternoon

The end of the road

Veyil

Bardo Thödol for a Woman from Kumik

Essays & Interviews
Reviews

A Dinner Party at the Home Counties by Reshma Ruia

Intelligent and powerful! 

Where the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow by Rashi Rohatgi

Fearless and Breath-taking!  

Sunshine Blooms and Haiku by Sneha Sundaram 

Beautiful ode to the haiku form.

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

Lacking impact!

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Exploiting the power of ambiguity with a clear authorial voice!

Gariahat Junction by Rituparna Roy

Lyrical debut by a promising writer!

Issue 14: Spring 2019

Fiction

Road to Gede

Don’t you know a stranger can’t cremate her? Her soul would keep wandering and won’t find peace, if a relative does not cremate her. I’m sure you must know this. If you don’t claim her body, you’ll regret that for the rest of your life. Trust me, I know it.

Lunch to Tea

“Don’t you remember?” He doesn’t understand why people are always asking him that.?He rattles his memory. He scolds himself for drawing a blank just when it is most critical. He pictures the old woman at the dining table, smiling to herself, enjoying a hearty lunch of kadhi and rice all by herself.

Snow Day

Kabir had listened as a group of men argued over who was really behind the terror their neighborhoods were facing. It was widely believed that vigilante groups supported by the Administration were carrying out the raids.

Dear Bhagya Lakshmi

As I begin to piece my guess together, I hear the familiar hoot – Bhagya’s horn and the curve of white that is nosing into our compound. I can’t say how glad I am to see our genteel, age-old Ambassador car right where it belongs.

Poetry

Hum Kisise Kum Nahin

Letter from a Daughter by Shaleena Koruth

The Wolf who cried Boy by Tript Kaur

Tired in a Book Fair by Vishnu Bagdawala

Essays & Interviews

The Dignity of an Unheralded Artist on the Streets of Bangalore by Richard Rose

Only the narrowest of minds would deny that the act of creation should not be only the preserve of those who receive formal recognition for their work.

Eight Months in Andhra Pradesh by Emma S. Marcos

I imagine an appearance of the goddess Durga, astride a collared lion, her many arms wielding a trident, thunderbolt, lotus, sword, and cellphone.

But the truth is, my memories of those ninety-degree noons, the peach and cherry-colored clouds casting jagged shadows over the hills, are already beginning to fade.

Interview with Tishani Doshi by Mariyam Haider  

Reviews

A Bombay in my Beat by Mrinalini Harchandrai

A stimulating read

A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian

Innovative and fresh!

A Roll of the Dice by Mona Dash

A bold memoir full of hope

The Runaways by Fatima Bhutto

Creates a breathable world

The Last Vicereine: Love in the Time of Partition by Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang 

Slightly disappointing

Utopia Revisited 2050: We Journey into a Brighter Future by Bhaskar Sompalli and Prem Menon 

Telling us how technology could solve problems

Wayfaring by Tikuli 

Refreshing and unpretentious

Art

Madhubani Paintings by Nupur Nishith

Issue 13: Spring 2019

Fiction


 

Italy Second-Hand

The Boy Who Will Cure Everything

Poetry

An Evening in Hazrat Nizamuddin

A marigold rolls
on marble
like a hundred girls crossing their arms
over the closing eye of the sun.

Walking on Marine Drive at Midnight

The sea cuts its mouth open
and gurgles a lullaby for the
sleepless. The cities we love
grow in different dialects and

forget old dreams.

Lucky

When the crumbling reaches your face,
you’ll have to keep calm,
because even your tongue
will fracture into fault lines.

ode to mehendi

i keep my hand pressed against foiled lace so not

to wrinkle a design so not to ball up in remission
at my mother’s feet with nothing but a child’s

dream in hand what if i wasn’t an only daughter

Essays & Interviews

Adventures in Nose Piercing by Lakshmi Jagad

I just want to look pretty, and that seems like a reasonable aim for a diamond to fulfill. I like the tiny invisibility of this diamond. It feels more girl, less woman. It feels naive, hopeful in the best way possible. It makes me think I can write my own roles, play them the way I think fit, discard at will, and move on.

On Summers with Totto-chan by Priscilla Jolly

When I had a moment to myself, I placed both my palms on a tree trunk, laid my forehead against the creased bark, closed my eyes and wished it would say something, anything to me. To see if landscape would speak to me, to see if it would give me a world, just as it did all those years ago.

Reviews

Green is the Colour of Memory by Huzaifa Pandit

We are what our homes make us.

In The Sanctuary Of A Poem by Salil Chaturvedi

Opens our eyes to beauty in the seemingly mundane.

Eating Wasps by Anita Nair

Every choice requires courage.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Stands on its own.

Issue 12: Fall 2018

Fiction

Lose Yourself

Every time, he’d apologize. Every time, he’d place a hand on her back, and rub counterclockwise. No one knows me like you do, he’d say, which was true to an extent. After all, Sita and he were friends since elementary school and after what happened to Sita at UConn and when she returned, he was there, ready to welcome her.

A Different Music

Yes, she admitted to her shell-shocked parents’ friends one evening: she liked John Denver more than Iqbal Bano. She understood him; the lyrics made sense. But more importantly, his songs made her happy. She had heard them call it “hippie music” but she didn’t care. She wanted it, she needed it, she craved it.

Zahida

“It was during those days that Zahida became certain there were some things she knew better than others, and this was definitely one of them: the shelf-life of death was shorter than any other item in this world, and would not last, even a single day, on her Chai trolley. It expired immediately, and Zahida knew that if it was not thrown out, it would quickly begin to stink up the place.”

Poetry

Blue

To meet you and feel cut open
like fruit, like a suitcase that bursts open while you
collect your boarding pass

the truth is
hindi is a warzone with thunder and blunt
edges, and my feet slipping always

Essays & Interviews

Cowboys and Indians by Nathaniel Wander

It’s often said that anthropologists study a people. In fact, what we do is to learn from and with them.

Homecoming by Shruti Mungi

“It’s a thought that haunts me everyday, making me feel as young and naive as the day I left home in their eyes, as the day I had last fully known my parents. Perpetually ten.”

On Friendship and Writing by Varsha Tiwary

“If writing is an act of self-acceptance then no technique helped me tap my inner writer, than the quiet, reassuring knowledge that just a phone call away, another beautiful, intelligent, completely sane and poised woman felt just as insane and messy inside as I did.’

Reviews

Ghost in the Tamarind by Subramanian Shankar

The narrative is memorable with every character forming budding attachments with the reader.

Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar

The Prematurely guilt-ridden, and perpetually seeking pardon for leaving home.

When I Hit You Or, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy

Critiquing the selective interpretation of an ideology.

Table Manners by Susmita Bhattacharya

Evocation of geographical space and the character’s place in it.

Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan

Humorous, absurd and imaginative.

Issue 17: Spring 2021

Fiction

The Best Medicine

When she’d sense her husband’s hand rising to hit her, she’d finally look up, her pupils would dilate, her hands would stop shaking and she’d breathe a sigh of relief. The pain she could handle, the anticipation she could not.

Boat to Battambang

Like a magician, the shirtless, shoeless boatman leapt into the water and walked on it. Not entirely – he was half-sunk, up to his thighs. Which also meant he half-floated. It seemed magical because prior to his jump everyone had assumed the Tonle Sap possessed depth; a lake, after all, seems to suggest that there is an actual “beneath” beneath the surface.

Obedience

This place was a purgatory… There was no frenzy, chaos, or mass of thronging humans, no hint of the several thousand different noises at once creating the opera of India.

Poetry

A Birdsong

someone stole her voice
on a moving bus.
suddenly the city
stops churning, and stares.

Cox Bazaar

That night at Cox Bazar             he ate them,
devouring mouthfuls.
His hunger wouldn’t end.

Bovine Intervention

My parents too pick me up without fail every time I land

at the Bhubaneswar airport. 17 times in the last 6 years. I count

because cumulation offers resilience that nostalgia

doesn’t.

Essays & Interviews

Foreigner by Rachael Bates

I am seasoned to India’s chaos, the caterwauling horns, the maddening smells that make me scrunch my face against a waft of sewage one moment and fill my lungs with tandoori chicken the next.

The Year that Was: Life, Art and Feminist Axioms by Simran Chadha

Aishwarya played by the rules; she believed the myth to be reality— the reality of a patriarchal world wherein patriarchy of determined not by gender alone but the conduct of those in authority.

Seth’s A Suitable Boy on the other hand is contextualized against a lesser known India— the India of the Brown Sahibs— a class of upper-class Indians reared as per Macaulay’s A Minute on Indian Education— a class, British in all matters except the color of their skin.

Interview with Fahim Irshad by Sneha Krishnan

Reviews

One Man Two Executions by Arjun Rajendran

Merging history and poetry!

Flowers on the Grave of Caste by Yogesh Maitreya

Storyteller with firm social convictions.

Morning Light by Manohar Shetty

Craft of Patience.

Name, Place, Animal, Thing by Lux Narayan

Emphasizing Action!

The Black-Marketer’s Daughter by Suman Mallick

Intertwining dreamy expressions and harsh realities!

Atlas of Lost Places by Yamini Pathak

Immigrant pasts and futures.

Big Bad Wolf by Suleikha Snyder

Much needed inter-racial pairing

Issue 11: Spring 2018

Fiction

Mountains In Her Eyes

The automatic doors suddenly jump open and a batch of Indian passengers come through, bedraggled from their journey. Their eyes scan the crowds on either side of the aisle, in search of loved ones. A few minutes later, a new batch appears, and amongst them is Annapurna.

In Exile

Soon it would be Bohag Bihu then! The letter had most certainly brought on these thoughts. His mother had probably woven twenty gamusas on the loom by now. He imagined her sitting by the kitchen shed, sliding the shuttle and pulling in the reed. Ratul watched the kite dip and sway and reach out till it was little more than a speck.

Chaawri Bazaar

“You make me late every morning,” Azhar said, shaking his head in exasperation, as he saw Seema skipping over the front steps, shouldering her school bag, her braids bouncing with her walk.
“What can I do,” she said, “I need to wait for my turn to bathe.”
Azhar looked her up and down, pretending to be surprised, “This is after bathing?”
She made a mocking face, “Don’t worry, you look like no prince either.”

Defiance

“This is how my life is clearly marked – pre and post-eight – an age that defined the rest of my life; when the only window which I had into Abbu’s world closed on me.”

Poetry

On the Last Night in Dhaka, Bangladesh

After a morning highway ride
to Savar, passing roadside piles
of white bags stuffed
with broadcloth pockets,
gingham shirt fronts,
denim lapels—tons
of cotton remains
from factories—

Curfewed Friday

Things were different once
The cleft sky wouldn’t burden
my leaking skull.
During the famine of addresses
I inhabited some square feet.

Polly-Mango

After the last bell sang release
we poured out of school
onto open street like an undisciplined army
Girls in rust
convent school uniforms
(skirts: knee-length socks: knee-length
nail polish: you’re going straight to hell)

Essays & Interviews

An Interview with Amulya Malladi

Roots, Music

Mumbai Noir – Bombay and Its Underworld As Seen Through Literature

Reviews

Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey by Lopa Banerjee

There is a sense of happiness in forgetting. But the acts of forgetting and remembering are inseparable. There can be no remembering without forgetting, and vice versa. The distance between the two is a language – the language of memory.

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

The fresh, outlandish opening of the novel that shatters the usual expectations associated with this sub-genre and foregrounds its narrative design, is definitely one of its highlights.

Polymorphism by Indira Chandrashekhar

Casts a net of stories in which her narratives slip through like eels among the reeds of reality, keeping her readers in swift pursuit.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

It is an epitaph in the form of a novel written by Paul Kalanithi for his own burial – an epitaph negotiating death, ensuring his memory lives on in time, creating a profound impact on anyone who visits it.

Art

1_KrishnaSreedevi Gummuluri

Despite a rough start and a secretive past, Krishna chooses to live in the moment and inspires everyone through his strong will and wisdom.

4_ElephantKamolika Roy Chowdhury

On a quiet afternoon, when a lull prevailed all over and most birds and animals had withdrawn to shady hideouts to escape from the hot afternoon sun, a mother elephant carefully guarding its calf, escorted it to this waterhole for a drink.
Location: Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Date: October, 2014

1_afternoon-nap-with-jeannieShruthi Chandrasekaran

…an affirmation of the joy that already exists in my life; and I am excited and happy to find that other people share these joys…So here it is, and I hope it reminds you to carry with you the bursts of happiness and colour that occur alongside the burden of functioning.

Issue 10: Summer 2017

Fiction

The Fragrance of Freedom

In the midst of the dust and darkness and distant sound of gunfire, Arul sat like a God, his limbs extended effortlessly, his face open and neutral; he looked breezy as if he was fragrant with freedom.

The Second Honeymoon

They were meant to leave next week, very early, Subbu had said, and Lalitha was already dreading it. She couldn’t imagine surviving even a minute with Subbu without the blanket of everyday routine wrapped around her tired body. And to think she would be alone with him for one whole week!

The Housewife

For the few times that Ruplekha and Rion dated, during the three months of their official engagement, the time allotted to them by their parents for “getting to know each other”, she found him to be handsome, well-mannered, and with a good sense of humour – all of the attributes she liked.

Poetry

Pain/Takleef

bongaigaon

the caked muddy houses
the ponds
and the fish.
You cannot be from there
and still be here.

Mulberry Tree

the tree cast an afternoon shadow
that made my mother think
of the black eyes of crows, the running
water in the dark.

A Touch of Darkness

There is a beauty in piercing the darkness of judgment
by making love, finding freedom
in luminous iron chests – fragrant dahlias.

Essays & Interviews

An Interview with Hoshang Merchant

I wanted to write the secrets of an Indian gay world, the knowledge that I picked up in the gay terrain of 1960s Bombay. I wanted to shape the literary world of the gay writings of India through this anthology.

The Efficacy of Modern Democracies at and beyond Home

With the normalization of Trumpism’s exclusionary rhetoric, neoliberal capital exacts an alarming sway on democratic pluralism in the hardline Hindutva societies of Modi’s India.

Reviews

The Cosmopolitans by Anjum Hasan

Qayenaat is a refreshingly different protagonist. She is not the typical Indian woman. She is fifty-three years old, single, keeps in touch with her ex-boyfriend, is not afraid to take on lovers and doesn’t have a religion. She does not have a steady job but has an intense love for the arts.

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag

…The change in the family’s circumstances as equal parts disaster and miracle, unpredictable in its causes as well as its effects.

Good Girls Marry Doctors: South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion edited by Piyali Bhattacharya

The book provides a window into the complex world of the South Asian female experience which is as diverse and as multifaceted as the South Asian cultures themselves.

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words deserves to be read and re-read, for it is an incredibly sincere account of the journey of a writer who, while at the peak of her creative abilities of expression in a particular language, courageously chose and attempted to learn to read and write in another one.

Art

01_2011_dots_green_redKrittika Arvind

I just like to ‘dot’ my thoughts down rather than jot them down. The grappling in my mind for the right word, in the language I want to express myself in kills the spontaneity and easy flow of the thoughts and feelings. The visual languages I use help me record thoughts in the form of wandering dots, dashes or lines to create patterns.

Issue 9: Winter 2017

Fiction

Gone

Any dreams of a special night had dissipated in his clumsy embrace, his evident unease. She’d promised herself that she would contain her tears, but how could she, when the person she held closest in the world felt so foreign?

Hood

“Go home!” Viraf was told. Not to his South Bombay stomping grounds… Not to Seth Building and his loved ones… No. Go home to Iran. To a place he’d never seen.

The Road to Shillong

“Manas died an hour ago, in an accident on the road to Shillong. Yet, by an incomprehensible error, he was sitting in my room, by the window, with a sad air of regret about him.”

Windows

“Back on the streets, his misery is only enhanced by how the world around him seems still the way it was, while he has just earned himself an experience that is supposed to be one for a lifetime.”

Poetry

Belonging

always unable to pass
checkpoints, traverse your canyons. Punished or blessed,
I can’t tell through the ache, my body

A Litany (for the native informant)

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of the only brown person in the room.

The Lake (Haibun)

These trees understand PTSD; their branches are hacked everyday. Purging in autumn, reborn every spring. They share in bounty, they share in pain.

Marrow (Nariman Point, Bombay)

We don’t speak the same
language at home, can I teach you
the word for peanuts staining newspaper

Essays & Interviews

On Being Left Behind

This picking up, caressing and eventually letting go of third languages becomes a habit — they’re transitory, like you. And because you never stay in your home state, your mother tongue is never on the syllabus. But English stays. You don’t even notice when it becomes your first language.

To Complicate a Love Song: An Interview with Vivek Shraya

For me, queering gender suggests a kind of deliberate subversion of gender. I am not trying to subvert gender — I am trying to be myself in a world where I am seen as a boy who is subverting gender.

Reviews

Moving Forward Sideways like a Crab by Shani Mootoo

The novel… highlights Trinidadian Indian culture which has been severely underrepresented in Caribbean literature.

Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

M was a man who ate the West, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” Religion was something as foreign to him as Bollywood, but not for long.

South Haven by Hirsh Sawhney

The book is ambitious in trying to cover not just the immediate issues of the Indian immigrant family, but broader issues like bullying, the lure of sex, drugs, and the problems with education.

Tell: Poems for a Girlhood by Soraya Peerbaye

Soraya Peerbaye is a Canadian poet currently living in Toronto. Tell: Poems for Girlhood, her second collection of poems, received the Trillium Book Award and was shortlisted for the prestigious Griffin Prize for Poetry, awarded to Canadian poets.

Art

01_AmmiBeena Azeem

I explore the push and pull of race and sexuality, ritual and religion, the human condition, submission and domination, and positioning of females culturally and traditionally….

01_BecausePallavi Singh

I am exploring the grooming culture amongst Indian men, that is showing a change from the traditional alpha male. I have approached this phenomenon from the lens of commercialization and corporates. Armed with creative marketing, they have made way for a male centric society to open up to personal beautification, traditionally considered to be a feminine affair.

Issue 8: Summer 2016

Fiction

Cardinal Directions

These are the bright points in Atif Janjua’s work week, or fortnight, perhaps — in truth, the meetings come in a non-calendrical pattern.

Fragrance

He didn’t know how many days had passed, for he had lost track of time, of day and night, of weeks.

Letters from Nairobi

I understood mostly the sadness written large on her face, which if I looked close enough was tear-stained perhaps for the life she had led or more likely for the life that has passed her by.

Poetry

kurinji flowers

blues, stitched across
rust-red valleys
streak the earth,

The well belongs to the landlord (Kuan Thakur Ka)

The stove is made out of mud
The mud is sourced from the lake
The lake belongs to the landlord

Under your footstep, Mira steals saffron

Halo of bees pealing: unmantle
stigma. I lick fingers, stinging
simmer, smearing erupt blue

patch of sky

in this new home
a sterile backyard
compact patch of grass baba mows

Traveller On Foot

I skip the part where he sat down.
Only walking interests me.

Essays & Interviews

Hari’s Mercedes

“If she does not speak Hindi, you do not speak Spanish, and neither of you speak much English, how do you communicate?” Words come out of my mouth in Hindi. Hari only smiles. I am truly puzzled. How am I going to explain the wedding vows to the bride? For four thousand years, Hindu marriages were conducted using scriptures written in Sanskrit that most men and women did not understand. In my effort to modernize the rituals, I insist on translating the important vows for couples. I suppose today I will have to skip that and return to traditional ways.

Sofa Talk

In the last decade or so, women from Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries increasingly feature as backup dancers who flank the heroine or hero in Bollywood films. Casting skinny white women as backup bestows clout, panache, international credibility and foreign style. Some of the Russian and Eastern European women might indeed be excellent dancers, but the decision to cast them in Indian movies ultimately reflects the symbolic and preferred nature of whiteness.

Spirited Karachi

Empress Market is nothing short of your imagination. Their policy is simple: everything must remain in the open. And so it does; the products are lain right in front of you for your picking. It’s dark inside and what light that does break in from the canopy engulfs what it lights in dominating colour. The spice section shines a dusky, ethereal orange.

Art

6_marinae2Ansel Oommen

The ballpoint pen offered a discrete advantage in its ubiquitous and functional camouflage. The rapid punctuated sweeps of my work mimicked the organic strokes of transcription. In a second, I could draw a leaf or solve a quadratic equation or write an essay, even shifting between tasks…

2_Floral-BouquetAruna Ivaturi

The ‘tree’ in the ‘grass field’ is formed of nanorod bunches scratched from the substrate surface for transmission electron microscopy measurements.

Issue 7: Winter 2015

Fiction

How to Sell

As a woman, being smart is dangerous unless you cut it with sexy. It seems trivial, but chalk it up to the thousands of unspoken but shared truths between mothers and daughters.

In the End

Pushed against two walls were white bookshelves that Bharath had not taken, though they were, technically, furniture. There were gaps, like broken teeth, where his books had been.

Silk Stole

Even her once-dark, voluminous curls were growing thinner by the day, like her Supperware income.

Poetry

Reading the News from Nepal

What cracked was a place where metal wheels stamped with prayers
spin to spool the words away.

Banner

What deity governs this smelting
ore—slogan, heresy-talk, and your face

Is the postcolonial always already normcore

For hard times, learn to monetize your damn brown self
We are all #bindis now

Essays & Interviews

An Actual (South) Asian American Speaks from the Ruins of Best American Poetry

Our anger over the faux-et’s appropriation and dishonesty is absolutely necessary. We are right to be angry and to demand that this whole matter be corrected, addressed, and fixed. The stake is the erasure of people of color in a system structured to eliminate us through the pretense of “good” poetry, which presumes poems should be chosen without taking the representation into consideration. Yes, racism still exists, and there are still whites-only poetry communities and spaces.

Makers of Memory: Women in Occupied Palestine and Kashmir

The corporate media have failed to tell the whole story of what occupation looks like in occupied Palestine and occupied Kashmir. Contrary to Western assumptions and stereotypes, Palestinian and Kashmiri women continue to live with dignity and act in resistance. As storytellers, mothers, and organizers, women make up the backbone of these movements for sovereignty and independence, breathing life into what freedom could look like.

The War on Education

How can girls from Afghanistan/Pakistan come from educated backgrounds? How can Pakistani men and women have coeducation with all the taboos in their society? How can Pakistani families live in a house? How can a village schoolgirl be brave and intelligent? It’s just all simply unheard of. And if someone defies the stereotype—well, they’re an exception. They are of little consequence, or deserve to be shot in the head, or they are a CIA agent.

Art

1-Bath-me-7Sudipta Modi

1-elephant1Kalyani Ganapathy

Reviews

Dear Mrs. Naidu by Mathangi Subramanian

The most profound message underlying this gentle, funny book is that you can only change your world if you have the courage to change yourself first.

Rainsong by Pratyaksha

The author compares the layout to a plate of food: the short pieces are like hors d’oeuvres, adding piquancy, aroma, and flavor to the main course, which is the long story.

Ram-2050 by Joan Roughgarden

This is a science-fiction tale that attempts to distance itself from its religious predecessor—the reader has to keep this in mind when he embarks on reading this book. There are no kingdoms, only corporations. There are no Brahmins, only geeks.

Tiffin: Memories and Recipes of Indian Vegetarian Food by Rukmini Srinivas

The book is truly a feast for the mind, providing recipes interspersed between personal anecdotes and stories, a veritable compendium of tiffin or snacky food that can be eaten at any in-between meal times and occasionally substitutes as a light meal, taking the reader beyond the limits of idli and dosai that commonly define South Indian cuisine.

Issue 6: Summer 2015

Fiction

Swimming at Midnight

Adjusting to calling myself blind was like adjusting to calling myself a wife, or a mother. It changes how people see you – how you see yourself.

Hands Held To His Eyes

I entered one of the conference rooms to find everyone huddled around a radio. Indira Gandhi: shot. Shot. The word in English is more onomatopoeic than we realize.

Poetry

Back home

She asked me not to sit
Not to touch anything
Or even be touched

Baffle Roof

The pastels used to coat windowed
Barriers against the chill of Rajasthan’s
November—-another strain of roof.

Brink

Closed eyes dusted with ash
Charcoal and red it clings to the skin
Ebony, brown or white?

Essays & Interviews

Love Language

Balancing on the tricky tightrope between “Indian” and “American” already felt hard enough without throwing language into the mix. I occupied this space of linguistic liminality, neither feeling completely bilingual nor completely monolingual.

Summer Pervez In Conversation with Olivier LaFont

Acting and writing fulfill two distinct needs in me. I’ve always looked at them as facets of storytelling, which is my central passion. In fact when I act I ‘write’ my character and scene as I do it, and when I write I act out the characters and scenes in my mind. So the two are inextricably linked.

Art

1_Kirigami-Exploration11Uttam Grandhi

…Paper and origami teach me the true sense of tolerance. You fold it, crumple it or slash it, paper sustains everything and produces a beautiful piece of art.

1_HoliLouie Crew Clay

4_haridwar_bottleChrista Pandey

1_Even-the-Elderly-Enter-the-FrayLilla Dent

Reviews

Atmospheric Embroidery by Meena Alexander

Towards the end of Atmospheric Embroidery, one realizes that Alexander’s angst about dislocation is no longer dictated by the geographical or cultural, but rather by the metaphysical.

The Normal State of Mind by Susmita Bhattacharya

Susmita Bhattacharya’s debut The Normal State of Mind is not your typical novel. Here is a book dealing with big subject matters: the limitations put upon widowed women, the illegality of homosexuality in modern day India.

Warrior by Olivier Lafont

Olivier Lafont’s debut novel, Warrior, is a frenetic, adrenalin-charged fantasy caper. Its hero, Saamu, is a Indian demi-god and must save the world from an imminent apocalypse.