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Javed Latoo

Javed Latoo

Great Flood Kashmir- 1

Dark thundering clouds up in the skies
Unleashing torrential rains for our demise;
Fearsome waters running out of the rivers
Inundated farmlands giving spine shivers.
Implacable waters submerging our homes,
schools and hospitals despite our groans;
Washing away mortals in violent currents
Ignoring our prayers and fallible deterrents.
Blissful sleeping children caught unawares
Washed away by the flood without any cares;
Hands of maidens dyed with henna leaves
Shaking in affright on their wedding eves.
All means of telecommunications totally cut
Indispensable mobile phone networks shut;
Helpless people trapped on their roof tops
Longing hungrily for some aerial relief drops.
The quivering souls frightened by their plight
And trembling hands stretched up in fright;
Cries for help fall on watered ears of the State
Left at the mercy of chance and their Fate.
People beseeching the heavens for His mercy
With local administrators proving unworthy;
Whispering with their hearts in supplication
Control your fury and grant our salvation;
O merciful Saviour .......remove your clouds
Hold your rains and rescue pleading crowds.

Nightmare of driving

Driving around in our city is no longer fun
Inflicting suffering like a summer desert sun;
Where breeching traffic rules is a human right
Ignoring the sign of a red light seems alright.
Not driving within a lane appears to be the norm
Like a universal law everyone keen to conform;
Giving way at a pedestrian crossing is nonexistent
This civic conduct is enthusiastically consistent.
Honking with every breath is essentially expected
Until a brain tormenting orchestra is perfected;
Safe use of a vehicle's mirrors is never suggested
As this crucial driving skill is widely detested.
Not utilising their vehicle indicators when driving
Is like a most desirable behaviour, fast thriving;
Wearing one's seat belt is almost like a crime
Often frowned upon like a sin since a long time.
Using only full beam headlights during the night time
Like a glare of sunlight blinds enough to kill in prime;
Stopping, veering and even parking at any place
Like a stray cow; a skill every driver eager to embrace;
Spine numbing traffic jams drain like a heavy bleed
Driving without a valid licence is no more a misdeed.
Where traffic authorities turn a blind eye to the rules
Eager to create a personal revenue with official tools;
Rarely heavens rescue through an angel or army man
Refining our driving skills with an aid of a taming cane.
Driving in Srinagar is like a soul devouring activity
Creating misery, stress, anger and tiring negativity.

Ayesha- a half widow

Ayesha, a beautiful maiden with a spring in her feet
Who was the pride of her parents and two brothers;
She was the source of joy and buster of their heat
Would rejoice in the company of her village sisters.

Her sparking smile brightened the days of the onlookers
The stealthy glances put the young hearts into flutters;
Her words would soothe the tiring souls of the listeners
And her touch softened the hearts of the stone cutters.

Her walks on the winding roads of the valley and knolls
would wet the hem of her garment from the glistening dew;
Her singing along the murmuring brook during her strolls
would induce tempest in young hearts waiting in the queue.

All her life Ayesha dreamt to meet her Prince Charming
Who would nurture her and their children in a dream house;
Her parents found a handsome groom working in farming
A noble soul who would look after his beloved spouse.

He would work hard during the day to plough in the fields
And would sow the seeds of his heart to reap in the harvest;
Ayesha would knead the bread with love for their daily feeds
Nourishing the tree of their lives and make them the happiest.

One day he left home to harvest his crops in the morning
He has not returned back since that fateful autumn morning;
Leaving Ayesha and their two children in ceaseless mourning
Who lament for the last ten years for his home returning.

Neighbours say he has disappeared in the woods like others
Left as a feed for the preying mountain vultures by his killers;
Stabbing longing has left a veil of misery on Ayesha's colours
Who has been made a half widow by some unknown sinners.

If you could

If you could accept women as people with unique abilities
Treat them with dignity, respect and kindness;
If you could remove the fetters on their natural faculties
Release them from your dungeons of primitive darkness.

If you could stop their abuse behind your closed walls
Relinquish your indifference to descent human attitudes;
If you could emancipate them from the fire of your galls
Cease to make a pious piffle about your religious platitudes.

If you could prevent their harassment on our public transport
Stop their daily humiliation outside their homes;
If you could prevent their mortification in a kangaroo court
Alleviate their fear of stray men while venturing out for their roams.

If you could stop hurting their souls with your wanton desires
Not tear their bosoms like ravenous vultures;
If you could guard their honour and bodies like faithful soldiers
Not act like an invader of their space taking them unawares.

If you could stop their silent genocide in their mother's womb
Give them a chance to live and sweeten your pain during the strife;
If you could fight this dehumanising practice causing their gloom
And not masquerade this decadence of your life.

If you could strive to work for their equal opportunities
Subscribe and practice the same thing about their even merit;
Then you could claim to be a follower of sacred religious deities
Above all, you could even claim to be a human being of 24 karat.

Dog city

A chaotic city, famous for innumerable things
Its magical gardens and unaccountable kings;
Also far-famed for the population of its street dogs
That control the dusty roads with its demagogues.
Stray dogs scare people in every corner and street
Forcing them to change their course and retreat;
Holding canine councils outside the government seat
Wandering around freely like a life threatening fleet.
Often indolent or promenading around every court,
school, house and hospital; guarding them like a fort;
Biting pedestrians and school kids without hindrance
Enjoying immunity against government interference.
Their midnight howling disturbs every soul's sleep
Cursing the city administrators while people weep.
Dog rights here take precedence over human rights
They roam, bark, bite and kill freely like royal knights.



Sunil Uniyal and Ranu Uniyal: In Conversation with Charanjeet Kaur

Literary Articles
A S Mohamed Rafee: Naipaulís India
Anindita Ghosh: U R Ananthamurthy
Indrani Das Gupta: Bamaís Sangati
Rudra Kinshuk: Agha Shahid Ali
Swati Srivastava & Avneesh Kumar Singh: Rohinton Mistry & Vikram Seth

Book Reviews
Alka Dutt: God I Am
Ambika Ananth: Ink and Line
Glenis M MendonÁa: Teresaís Man and Other Stories from Goa
Gopal Lahiri: The Reverse Tree
K K Srivastava: Rotations of Unending Time
Pramod K Das & Narayan Jena: The Whispering Grove
U Atreya Sarma: One Year for Mourning
VVB Rama Rao: Emotionoceans
Payal Das: ĎDe-Coding The Silence!í

Amibka Ananth: Editorial Note
Arnapurna Rath
B R Nagpal
Bem Le Hunte
Bidyut Bhusan Jena
Javed Latoo
K N Shivshankar
Murali Sivaramakrishnan
Nar Deo Sharma
Pranshu Prakash
R K Biswas
Shobha Narayan
Vijay Kumar Roy

U Atreya Sarma: Editorial Musings
Ajay Patri: God's Own Taxi
Bem Le Hunte: Divine Confluence
Indu Parvathi: Two
Narayan: A Motherís Grief
Neera Kashyap: A woodpecker hammers at my throat
Sunil Sharma: A story told by a maid-servantís preteen daughter
Sushrut Bhatia: At School

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