contents

The Wait is and is Not - Nitasha Kaul
(poetry)

You Don't Mess with Viru - Jayant Kripalani
(fiction)

The Last Journey Home - Siddhartha Gigoo
(memoir)

Family Trip - Mihir Vatsa
(poetry)

For the Longest Time - Mridula Koshy
(fiction)

The Tree's Passport - Sumana Roy
(memoir)

I Try to be so Buddhist - Robert Sugg
(poetry)

Oh God, My God - GB Prabhat
(fiction)

Stroke at Noon - KL Chowdhury
(personal narrative)

Unbroken Awareness - Tendair Mwanaka
(poetry)

Island of a Thousand Mirrors - Nayomi Munaweera
(excerpt)

My Hungry Workers - Sourabh Gupta
(personal narrative)

The Stone - Anupam Choudhary
(fiction)

The Return - Shirani Rajapakse
(poetry)

The Unsent Email - Shyama Laxman
(fiction)

Poetry: Naseer Ahmed Nasir
(Translated by Bina Biswas)

Dr Bhikbab Changes His World - Sheela Jaywant
(fiction)

The Pillar of Society - Manju Kak
(fiction)


Book Reviews

Distant Traveller - Attia Hosain
(Mita Bose)

London Company - Farrukh Dhondy
(Rakhshanda Jalil)

The Cripple and His Talismans - Anosh Irani
(Mariam Karim)

Their Language of Love - Bapsi Sidhwa
(Arjun Raj Gaind)

Silk Fish Opium - Jaina Sanga
(Suneetha Balakrishnan)

The Blind Man's Garden - Nadeem Aslam
(Mariam Karim)

The Almond Tree - Michelle Corasanti
(Bina Biswas)

Nobody Can Love You More - Mayank Austen Soofi
(KG Sreenivas)

Along the Red River - Sabita Goswami
(Abdullah Khan)

Tales of a Journalist, Bureaucrat, Spy - Som Nath Dhar
(KG Sreenivas)

Che in Paona Bazaar - Kishalay Bhattacharjee
(S Ramesh)


Best from the Bookery

Interviews

Tan Twan Eng
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Studio

Paintings: Donovan Roebert
Poetry: Priya Sarukkai Chabria

Voice

Dilip Bobb


poetry

Light House - Naseer Ahmed Nasir
- Translated into English by Bina Biswas

Tell me, O wakeful moisture
in my eyes,
the slumber of which
eon surrounds you?
God is weeping rain
on some land of pain;
Why is a tear-jewel caught in her eyelash?

Tell me, O breeze of shores!
in which city she looks for me
the one who told me on a sodden voyage
that Love is the island, and Grief, the sail!

Tell me, O, the sacred name of Redemption!
I'll perform the rituals of departure
Amidst the long row of stony pillars
I will meet her; and
holding her in my arms
will commend all the odysseys
of the land to her
just for a kiss!

Tell me, O, the sign of light!
the peakless rocks
buried under the water...
are these abstractions of bygone centuries
lying on the brink of eternity, or
figurines of imageless
cries of slaves
rowing in a parable?

Tell me, O magical bird
flying over the farthest end of the time!
Tell me where she is ,
remembering whom
the masts of ancient
voices are anchored in
my heart!
Tell me, O earthly stars
why voyagers dream of you?

...................

Demarcation

They come to meet us
carrying the winds and rains
beside the doors
their whispers are heard;
the empty verandahs
become filled with their bodily perfume
and susurrus of their clothes;
soaring o'er the walls, slipping o'er the roofs and
the sun shades
they walk with quiet steps
like the shadows of the clouds;
in the quietude of the half-paved quads
eyes see them
going away towards
immense distances;
far from reach.

The windows yawn as if open-mouthed
and ponder on that –
overthrowing the land, and sitting on its chest,
these mountains look gloriously up to the sky; and
beyond them there might be a lake,
birds and white clouds, and
clumps of trees merging into each other
coarse meadow grass,
flocks of sheep and forlorn shepherds;
the running-away trails;
and there
must be some village and some city
in some other land
where a poet, like me,
writes poesy!

Demarcation becomes easy on paper
with a few marks and lines
peaks, rivers, runnels, sloping terrains
pastures, hutments, jurisdictions and boroughs
Passes and undisclosed alleys;
even the fortresses and reinforcements
with the chains of armour-clad heads
can be drawn;
but the shadows disobeying the walls
elongate to the doors, windows and patios
mark the remote recesses of hearts with silence;
and
on the ground plan
the sun and rain change their shade!

................

A Dream Fallen Out From Sleep

Beyond the dwelling of our sleep
a dream burns;
Somewhere tears glisten and
a moon smoulders.

Beyond the dwelling of our sleep
the sun rises;
Somewhere a dark, beautiful night
sleepwalks, and
somewhere a clay lamp
veils a disguise.

Beyond the dwelling of our sleep
dazzling birds flutter, and
the beastly slayers stalk;
somewhere in memory's jungle
appear a desert and an oasis, and
somewhere a glacial mass burns.

Beyond the dwelling of our sleep
it rains;
Eyes thirst in yearning, and
Somewhere in the deep of the heart
someone dies a parched death.

Beyond the dwelling of our sleep
two flowers blossom;
somewhere we meet every day, and
the wounds are healed.

Outside the dwelling of our sleep
there's a lit-up parapet;
a door is afire,
somewhere hidden, and
somewhere revealed;
beyond the dwelling of our sleep
A dream burns.

Naseer Ahmed Nasir was born in 1954 in a nondescript village, Nagrian, in Punjab, Pakistan. He is the editor of the Urdu literary magazine, Tasteer. He is married, has three children, and lives with his family in Rawalpindi.

Dr Bina Biswas is professor and the head of the department of English, TRR Group of Educational Institutions, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad. She is an alumna of the University of Delhi and has a doctorate from Andhra University. She is also a Tagore scholar. Her book of short stories has recently been published, and now she is working on her debut novel. She has also translated Michael Madhusudan Dutt's Meghnadbadh Kavya into English and Tagore's Heroines: Portraits of Gender Orientation.