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Issue 8: Summer 2016


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.


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.


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.


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.

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