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Nandini Sahu


Nandini Sahu



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Freedom

Sometimes I ponder
that my country's limbs
are crushed down somewhere
in the busy traffic of a metro
while freedom hides with shame
in its sixty-fifth year
under the bed of the battered baby
deserted by parents, unknown,
in the trauma centre of AIIMS, New Delhi, India.
"Average three infants deserted daily
in the capital"—reports
the daily newspaper.

My fingers nimble
by the cold wind.
Bruises everywhere
in the hurt air.

Here, molested children
and abandoned old parents
prize their freedom
in wakeful dreams.
And
silently smile.
I scream inward
to refurbish the old world.
The sun is a falling rock.

Sometimes I wonder
why my country's limbs
are crushed down somewhere
in the false assurances
of power and failure
and in the fate of the girl
gang-raped in a bus
by aged men and a minor
her silent death in a
hospital, afar,
the depths of our rage.
I look at freedom in the eye,
freedom, the dry drone of
just a ritual.

In my ignorance, I wish
to end this season
thechaotic drum beats freeze around me
turning into twister pillars.
Each hour, each second
pass through my waiting veins
like the shadow of a triumphal arch.


I try to understand the only freedom
I discern
the freedom of the womb
and the freedom of the ashes.
Freedom hides somewhere
in the contours of my
country's body, alien.


Aging Winter

The wind's wave is waiting quietly
to be carried by the wings of spring;

the dream upon which I would wake up
suddenly in the night is like the exhausted fairy

because here I have lived life within stories
a glimpse of my destiny and destination

a homonymous world, where light grows
stronger, but fog doesn't disperse.

At times even history is a dead river
aging in the paddy fields like a metaphor.

The blue blooming flowers round the corner
peer into the cold glass of the window.

It's a different adult would, sans
the lacerated fetus of hope.

No one had warned me to hide
my eyes from there; it was a tender feeling like

seeing my identical cousin now living in North
Africa, in a foreign land ahead of the ageing winter;

I have heard, or perhaps my mother's
anointed body believes, that she had planned

a hundred brothers for me, elsewhere,
while we, all her girls, queued up like wounded flags;

today , for her , the aging winter is
tangible and intense; she always knew it

she is like a mythical underground statue
buried during the Kalinga war, her

myth, oral enough for the world, noiselessly
moving like a shadow without flesh

the skeleton suppresses an irrepressible
grief -- is it summer even before the spring?

My mind is vacuum, hunger and pain
of a million years have invaded

me . An aged laugh disturbs me
carrying a sleeping child in her arms

clinching its fists; the child's blank
innocence is like the innocent animal figures

in the suburbs of the Konark, whom time
has brushed aside to age gracefully with dust and water.

This physical poem excludes me from memory's mirrors;
it's time for my story to move on.


Something Else

To speak about pearls, shoals, ocean hearts is one thing,
but oh, to ooze shoals of secrets form the four cells is something else!

To dwell on the past and look back in angst is one thing,
but oh, to look ahead, forgiving the grievances is something else!

To live in a country of ghosts, in the midst of their murmurings is one thing,
but oh, to silence all sounds, flawless yet moldy, is something else!

To be the ripples and waves on water is one thing,
but oh, to be the unseen, unheard river of words beneath is something else!

To follow dreams of commonplace yearnings, the crops of desire, is one thing,
but oh, to be the myths of discovery, Archimedes' bathtub, Newton's apple is
something else!

To have a future resolved, for days, weeks, months, years is one thing,
but oh, to follow an unknown alibi for a lifetime, unapologizing, is something else!

To be the crowning glory, nurtured, groomed, fed is one thing,
but oh, to be driven inward, lay claim on a wider world, be an incarnation is
something else!

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Articles/Discussions


Editorial
Charanjeet Kaur


Conversation
Amandeep Sandhu: In discussion with Charanjeet Kaur
Jayanta Mahapatra: In a chat with Jaydeep Sarangi
Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao: In conversation with Amrita Rao

Literary Articles
C Bharathi and S Kalamani: Divakaruni’s Sister of My Heart
C M Bhandari: Travel and Travel Writing
Maya Vinai: Malayatoor Ramakrishnan’s Five Cents of Land
Peter Nazareth: Sasenarine Persaud's Unclosed Entrances
Sharmistha Chatterjee (Sriwastav): North-Eastern and Australian Poetry

Book Reviews
Ambika Ananth: ‘The Bliss and Madness of Being Human’
Atreya Sarma: ‘Silent Days’

Poetry
Ambika Ananth: Editorial Comment
Abhay K
Alok Mishra
Amarendra Khatua
Chandra Shekhar Dubey
Goirick Brahmachari
Latha Ramakrishnan
Mihir Chitre
Nandini Sahu
Niranjan Goru
Premjish
Raj Ponnaluri
Romi Jain
Rochishmon
Sanjeev Sethi
Sinduja Rangarajanis
Sohini Basak
Umar N

Fiction
Atreya Sarma: Editorial Musings
Aatreyee G: ‘The Interview’
Anirudh K: ‘Idiot Savant’
Aruna V: ‘Broad Beans’
Ashoka Sen: ‘Afternoon Tea with Lord Ganesha’
Debashis: ‘An Official Assassination’
Priyanka R B: ‘The Serpentine Kiss’
Sahadev Sahoo: ‘The Girl Selling Books’
Sashikanta Mishra: ‘Renunciation’

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