Wednesday, 8 March 2017

WHY SHOULD BOYS HAVE ALL THE FUN? An International Women's Day Special

‘Why should boys have all the fun?’
Women and Contemporary Literature
 Nibir K. Ghosh

I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system. - Mary Robinson

Being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice but you take second place all the same. - Iris Murdoch

Women are a huge powerhouse in today’s India. Look around you. There are women racing in all kinds of fields…finance, literature, broadcasting, art, IT, design, law, science, medicine, education – and are a huge powerhouse in today’s India. A powerhouse, true And yet this is a powerhouse with over 90% of the power switched off. These are women who don’t even know they have choices. - Imtiaz Dharker
The Backdrop
The Bible says the Lord God created Eve out of the rib cage of Adam, giving thereby a derivative nature to her existence. There is an equally charming myth associated with the creation of woman by the Supreme Creator, "Bramha." Bramha first created man and in his generosity, wished to give man a companion. He borrowed several components from the beautiful creation of nature and made woman out of them. Hence the reference of woman as Prakriti. Bramha presented woman to his earlier creation man saying "She will serve you lifelong and if you cannot live with her, neither can you live without her."
Both myths indicate that woman is either an "after thought" of a male God or a play-mate created for man as a psychic compensation for his innate loneliness. If the primordial myth gave woman her ritually prescribed status, all literatures since time immemorial expose the desperate marginality of female existence whether these women have lived in solitude, in extended families or in nuclear families, be it in ancient Athens or the world of Manu. Though Manu, the lawgiver, accepts that "A woman's body must not be struck hard, even with a flower, because it is sacred," he is well known for stating: “A woman is never fit for independence. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth and her sons protect (her) in old age…Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males.”
It ought not to be surprising, therefore, that in the world’s most powerful democracy, when the Statue of Liberty, which portrays a woman holding the torch of freedom, was opened to the public on October 28, 1886, no woman was invited to the ceremonies on this important occasion. Even to the nineteenth century conservative in America, the idea of equal rights for women had appeared ridiculous and unwarranted as can be evidenced from the following statement:

The power of woman is in her dependence…But, when she assumes the place and tone of man as a public reformer, our care and protection of her seem unnecessary; she yields the power which God has given her for protection, and her character becomes unnatural. If the vine, whose strength and beauty is to lean upon the trellis-work and half conceal its clusters, thinks to assume the independence and overshading nature of the elm, it will not only cease to bear fruit, but will fall in shame and dishonour into the dust.

These social stereotypes have been reinforced by archetypes for ages, amply supported by Freud’s classic finding ascertaining that “Anatomy is Destiny.”
Articulating Silence - Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own
Important questions like Who is the real woman? Where is the real woman? What is her real entity? Has she an identity of her own? lay submerged in the conspiracy of silence. From the perspective of the Seminar’s central theme, mention must here be made of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929), a document that veritably challenged the paradigms of such a silence. In passionately reclaiming the woman's voice muted by patriarchal society – where men have all the power and money, hold all the important positions, make all the important decisions – Virginia Woolf’s narrator in the essay explores the British Museum in London and is dismayed to find that though there are too many books written about women (almost all by men) there are hardly any books by women on men or by women on women.

Reflecting on such a great disparity, the narrator gives convincing evidence why genius has so infrequently flowered among women. In A Room of One's Own, Woolf ponders the significant question of whether or not a woman could produce art of the high quality of Shakespeare. In doing so, she examines women's historical experience as well as the distinctive struggle of the woman artist. She says “genius like Shakespeare's is not born among labouring, uneducated, servile people." In her view, some kind of genius must have existed among women then, as it exists among the working class, although it never translated to paper. The narrator argues that the difficulties of writing - especially the indifference of the world to one's art - are compounded for women, who are actively disdained by the male establishment. By boldly advocating the fact that both the freedom from economic dependence and the freedom from fetters to the mind and body are conditions of the possibility of genius and its full expression, Woolf laid the foundation of the feminist movement. She asserts how Judith Shakespeare still lives within all women, and that if women are given 500 pounds a year and a room of one's own, that is money and privacy, she will be reborn. Woolf’s essay raises three inextricable questions: women and what they are like; women and the fiction they write; and women and what is written about them.

In breaking the conspiracy of silence and in giving expression to the untold stories of women, the revolutionary roles played by The Feminist Press in New York and Kali for Women in New Delhi need not be overemphasized. The Mission of the Feminist Press is to publish and promote the most potent voices of women from all eras and all regions of the globe. The Press has brought more than 500 critically acclaimed works by and about women into print, enriching the literary canon, expanding the historical record, and influencing public discourse about issues fundamental to women. The Feminist Press continues to bring vital new voices to public attention.
Started in 1984, in a Delhi garage by Ritu Menon and Urvashi Butalia, Kali for Women has been providing a viable publishing mouthpiece to Indian feminism. Kali's objective is to increase the body of knowledge on women in the Third World, to give voice to such knowledge as already exists and to provide a forum for women writers. Apart from publishing English translations of significant fictional writings by women from various Indian languages, Kali also seeks to redefine issues of women's lives in a positive way. Kali for Women has now split into two independent imprints. The co-founders of Kali, Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon have established their independent publishing imprints - Zubaan and Women Unlimited respectively.
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

When Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879) tells her husband  Torvald Helmer before leaving him for good, “Our house has never been anything but a play-room. I have been your doll wife, just as at home I was daddy’s doll child. And the children in turn have been my dolls. I thought it was fun when you came and played with me, just as they thought it was fun when I went and played with them. That’s been our marriage,” Nora comes to the point where she takes a drastic step ahead of her time. The play created a sensation when it was first produced and many women refused to play the part of a woman who deserts her husband and children.
Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying
Erica Jong advocates both emotional and economic autonomy as imperatives in the woman’s struggle for liberation. What is significant in Erica’s stance is that she is not unaware of the ground realities and the attendant hazards of Nora’s decision in Ibsen’s play. She takes into account all the dialectics involved in theories of Western Feminism propounded by Germaine Greer, Kate Millet, Ellaine Showalter, Simone de Beavoir and the rest and yet she is highly critical of the “whole package of lies that passes for feminism.” She states that fulfillment cannot be attained through idle flights of fancy, martyrdom or suicide. Fulfillment lay in exploring the “inner space” of the self to conquer one’s own sense of vulnerability.”
In Erica Jong’s view the awakened Eve, especially in the American context, has gathered the confidence to voice her protest against the tyranny of man not by virtue of her legal battles or the attainment of  political rights of equality but through her rejection of roles imposed upon her by a male-dominated society and through her discovery and acceptance of the true essence of her own selfhood. At the end of the novel, Isadora Duncan, the protagonist, is seen musing over the ambivalence of the choice she had made: Commenting on the powerful status of the institution of marriage, she states in the novel: “In 19th century novels, they get married. In 20th century novels they get divorced. Can you have an ending in which they do neither? But whatever happened, I knew I would survive it…Surviving meant being born over and over. It wasn’t easy, and it was always painful. But there wasn’t any other choice except death.”
Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying also brings to the fore the misconception that we in India normally have about the western idea of marriage and family life. One tends to believe as a result of such misconception that the woman in western society is endowed with all kinds of freedom that are denied to women folks in India, especially the right to live as one desires. Tired of playing the game of musical beds, the protagonist becomes aware of ground realities even in the most powerful democracy in the world: “ It is heresy in America to embrace any way of life, except as half of a couple. Solitude is un-American. It may be condoned in a man…But a woman is always presumed to be alone as a result of abandonment, not choice…There is no dignified way for a woman to live alone. Oh! She can get along financially perhaps (though not nearly as well as a man), but emotionally she is never left in peace. Her friends, her family, her fellow workers never let her forget that her husbandlessness, her childlessness – her selfishness, in short is a reproach to the American way of life.
Doris Lessing
While talking of the fate and predicament of women in contemporary literature, one cannot ignore the dominant presence of Doris Lessing in any discourse both as creator and protagonist. In awarding the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature to Doris Lessing, the Swedish Academy cited her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny." The award, that came a few days before her 88th birthday makes her the oldest recipient of the coveted honour. Author of dozens of books of fiction, as well as plays, nonfiction and two volumes of autobiography, she is the 11th woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Lessing wrote persuasively about politics, feminism, Communism and black-white relations in Africa before moving on to explore the emotional dimensions of the human psyche in her groundbreaking 1962 novel entitled The Golden Notebook  which took the world by storm. Lessing’s focus has always been her concern about the inner lives of women and she is extremely articulate in rejecting the notion that they should abandon their lives to marriage and children. Having known what it means to be intelligent and frustrated and female in an essentially male-dominated world, she states: “Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.” Lessing critically and realistically explores the controversial questions being debated the world over – the stereotypes, marriage, motherhood, the predicament of emancipated women, sisterhood and finally arrives at the conclusion to be free one must be self contained.

Lessing motivates us all to demonstrate an optimistic approach to life and its complexities and suggests that we ought not to wallow in self-pity, regret, sentimentality or seek to evade responsibilities. Instead we are to face each problem as it comes. She emphasizes the need for positive engagement with the world and prefers a delicate balancing of social responsibility and self-interest. In spite of the cosmic misalignments, humanity has the ultimate choice for good or evil, she says. According to Lessing, “The New Jerusalem does not come down from heaven—it is constructed by humanity in whatever geometric shape they want…What is a hero without love for mankind.”

Indian Literature

Images of woman in Indian literature is characterised by contradiction - there is a conventional image and there is a protesting voice. Post independence literature reveals the woman's quest for her identity giving rise to a number of issues. The new woman is emerging and there are a number of new themes and issues to be taken by the future. However, two overall views of woman dominating Indian literature from ages. The Sita and the Draupadi archetypes. There is silent suffering with utmost loyalty to man in the Sita type and woman as an Individual demanding social justice in the Draupadi types. Sita absorbs all inflicted misery and humiliation of the male ego whereas Draupadi challenges the male ego to the epitonic limits of human excellence. Sita accepts, accommodates and withdraws. Draupadi resents, rejects and involves herself in the process of life as a protagonist. These two feminine archetypes define the limits of feminine experience in reality, especially the Indian Reality. The gender divide in modern Indian literature moves between new iconizations of these two bold and primordial figures.

 Pratibha Ray’s Yajnaseni
As an appropriate illustration of the two primordial figures mentioned above, Pratibha Ray’s novel foregrounds the anguish and anger of Yagnaseni who rightly questions whether man has the right to consider woman merely as his movable or immovable property. Placed on the brink of utter humiliation when brought dragging to the court by Dushshasana, Yagnaseni doesn’t plead for mercy but demands justice. Pratibha Ray’s protagonist Yagnaseni boldly affirms the stand she had taken in that critical moment, a stand no less significant in today’s India than it was in that mythological space: “When that wicked man was stripping me, helpless like chaste Sita I could have disappeared  into the depths of the earth to hide my shame. If I had prayed, would not the earth have opened? But I did not do so. If I had done so my modesty would have been protected but the wicked would not have been punished. In the future this problem would remain unresolved for women…The remaining days of my life I will fight against injustice, adharma, sin. Though the world may call me an ogress because of this, the world must know that woman who creates, is auspicious, is also the destroyer of the sinful and the wicked…Let the world know that while a woman’s heart is delicate, it is not weak.”
According to Ray, Draupadi is a challenge of womanhood, the embodied form of action, knowledge, devotion and power. Such a woman who has faced torment, insult, mental and emotional dilemma like Yajnaseni Draupadi – has not yet been born on this earth. Yet, the pain and the agony of mythical Draupadi is not an anachronism in contemporary Indian society, a fact that is highlighted by Ray through the narrative she recounts in the “Afterword” to Yagnaseni- The Story of Draupadi:
All of us know something of Krishnaa’s sacrifice, dedication, strength of character. The name of the younger sister of a lady known to me is Krishnaa. Leaving her debauched drunkard of husband she is living in her father’s house. Everyone said  Krishnaa should remarry. But in our society today the remarriage of one discarded by her husband is not that simple and easy. For diverting her mind, Krishnaa went away to her brother in West Germany. Sometime later, she married a young man there. She has two children now, a son and a daughter. Her conjugal life is comfortable. But the peculiar thing is that those who were at one time sympathetic towards Krishnaa, said after the second marriage, “Well, when her very name is Krishnaa, she could be happy only after taking a second husband. Arre! The Krishnaa of Mahabharat took five husbands, and still not being satisfied, was attracted to Karna and Krishna.”
After such knowledge, what forgiveness! It is interesting to note, sad though it is, how societal attitudes refuse to acknowledge the need for change in spite of epoch making advancements and technological future shocks. Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, the novel that won her the Man Booker Prize, we are brought in touch with the harsh realities that reflect the social and cultural stigma of divorce in India and the fate of the “wretched Man-less woman": “a married daughter had no position in her parents' home. As for a divorced daughter according to Baby Kochamma, she had no position anywhere at all." Let us not forget that the novel’s location is Kerala, the province which has the highest literacy rate in India.
Mahashweta Devi’s “Draupadi”
On the other extreme, and contrary to the stereotypical patterns of the female image, the hope, perhaps, sadly lies in the emergence of the exceptional woman like Dopdi in Mahashweta’s story “Draupadi” who can live on her own terms by rejecting the stereotyped image of the ‘truly virtuous woman’ who is ever willing to conform to the standards set by a male-dominated society. Unlike the legendary Draupadi in Mahabharata who in her helplessness pleads to Lord Krishna to protect her from being ignominiously disrobed in public, Mahashweta’s protagonist subverts the stereotypes of “female virtue and modesty” by boldly daring the exploiters of her modesty to touch her again: “What’s the use of clothes? You can strip me, but how can you clothe me again? Are you a man?…There isn’t a man here that I should be ashamed. I will not let you put my cloth on me. What more can you do?”
The Contemporary Scene

The image of woman in literature emerges out of the existing world. In India, which has been regarded by sociologists as a traditionally male dominated society, both men and women writers have seen woman in this relationship with man, primarily as mother, wife, mistress and sex objects. Woman as an achiever is either non-existent or considered an exception. A woman's individual self has very little recognition. But we have to remember that family plays a pivotal role in the Indian scheme of life. The new woman in Indian literature does not break the family but dreams to make the family "Home Sweet Home." Be it small or big, be it in the courtyard or in the courtroom woman is the cause of all action. But they are still walking on a tight rope to achieve their human rights and social justice. Indian woman at the turn of the century are in a transitional phase via-a-vis the interface of tradition and modernity. Though women writers are tolerant and respectful towards the traditional obligations, they are still confident of their own new self and sensitive to the dogmatization of traditional values.

At the turn of the new millennium Indian literature as far as the feminist thrust is concerned, is not free from family, history and social modernism. The women are more educated, sophisticated and even rebellious but the woman herself is wary of shedding off the traditional values which forms part of her inherited consciousness. Once upon a time, not very long ago, the story of Savitri was held up as a prime example of the lengths to which a wife could go in aiding her husband. The myth relates how the good wife saves her husband from death, follows him anywhere, proves her virtue, remains under his control and gives him her power. We must however admit that the times are changing even if the pace of change is marginal. As an evidence of the changing scenario we may look at a statement by Anees Jung in her pioneering book titled Unveiling India: A Woman's Journey (1988):
Not long ago a woman who spoke about herself was considered a loose woman. To voice a pain, to divulge a secret, was considered sacrilege, a breach of family trust. Today, voices are raised without fear, and are heard outside the walls of homes that once kept a woman protected, also isolated. Some of the women who speak here have stepped out. Others who have not, are beginning to be aware, eager to find expression. But let them speak for themselves…Their looks have not changed, their manner has. Individually they have gained a name, collectively an identity. Their new power was not imposed upon them but already existed, enclosed within walls. Now that power has stirred out into the open. Their new strength stems from personalities defining their own terms, lending grace to living.
Anees Jung exemplifies another writer in search of new images of women. She explains the change that has taken place in Indian society so that now women will tell their own stories. Jung herself, who grew up completely secluded in purdah, has remained unmarried and become a successful writer. She says about herself: "My reality no longer has one face. I have stepped out of an enclosed reality into one that is larger, more diverse, and mobile…I continue to live out an experience for which I have yet to find a name.”


Reflecting at the epigraphs with which I opened this essay, it becomes imperative to realize that women empowerment is a very complex issue endowed with subtle shades of variant approaches that require the perfect poise to navigate between rocking the cradle and the system in order to restore a major share of the power that currently stands switched off. Perhaps, what is needed is that every feminist worth the name must learn to acknowledge what she has in common with others of her sex who are all similarly shackled by conventional notions of her predicament. Neither the path of open confrontation nor an uneasy truce but the confidence to move in harmonious unison as co-partner in the power game, without compromising honour and dignity as an individual, ought to be the real goal of woman’s emancipation.

It must be borne in mind that specific reforms related to the emancipation and empowerment of women must supplement the basic need for a change in attitude towards women, since women need self-trust, self-reliance, and self-respect in order to assert their individual identity and existence. The fact cannot be ignored that sex is the only instance in which representatives of the unequal groups live in more intimate association with each other than with members of their own group to a greater extent than any other underprivileged group. Femininity must, therefore, exist as the complement to masculine power, not as its subversive supplement, an excess that would undermine the boundaries of gender. As such, it would be appropriate to bear in mind the words of Betty Friedan that come at the end of her The Feminine Mystique:
Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves? Who knows what women’s intelligence will contribute when it can be nourished without denying love? Who knows of the possibilities of love when men and women share not only children, home, and garden, not only the fulfillment of their biological roles, but the responsibilities and passions of the work that creates the human future. It has barely begun, the search of women for themselves. But the time is at hand when the voices of the feminine mystique can no longer drown out the inner voice that is driving women on to become complete.

I am optimistic that “the search of women for themselves” will bring to the fore multiple facets of women’s experiences: the power, the passion, the pain, the hopelessness, the fury, the joy. It will be a rewarding experience to comprehend simultaneously the diversity of women and the diversity within each woman as portrayed in literature and life. It is intrinsically significant to ask how these experiences touch women writing on the whole. Do these writings address seminal questions and issues? How do women themselves view such writings? Is it marginal or central to their lives? What is the relationship between such writing and the political involvement of the writers? What are their concerns, and what is the creative energy at work? Our response to these questions will go a long way in creating the much desired democratic space in harmonious living.
 Professor Nibir K. Ghosh is Chief Editor, Re-Markings (

Monday, 6 March 2017

Poetry Corner : Re-Markings March 2017

A Sonnet of Loud Despair
E. Ethelbert Miller
Like cellphone users
we now believe everyone can be a poet.
We overlook how the tongue can be raped by words.
At night one can stay awake listening to electronic
devices humming what is mistaken for Whitman
and Hughes. Maybe these are the days of the last
poets; the time of madness forced into the straight
jackets of couplets.

What do our ears know
of blindness or our eyes of speech?
There is a crying in the world from language
being lynched. The smell of death swaying
over us singing a quiet blues of deep misery
a sonnet of loud despair.
  • E. Ethelbert Miller is Board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the Director of the African American Resource Center, Howard University, Washington, D.C. He is the author of several collections of poetry. He has taught at UNLV, American University, George Mason University, and Emory and Henry College, U.S.A.

Adios, El Commandante Fidel
Morakabe Raks Seakhoa
Like a gargantuan baobab tree,
Your liberating words are brave deeds
That, when and where they fall:
Irreversible change the whole world befalls.
As history was bound to absolve you, Commandante Fidel,
Posterity’s tasks couldn’t be more clear,
To bring forth tomorrow’s beauty today,
Banishing capital gluttony and people’s hunger forever away.

As we doff our hats to you and your gallantry,
We raise our scarlet standard even more lofty,
To make our foes flinch and class traitors sneer:
For we’ll keep the Red Flag flying everywhere and here.

·         Comrade Raks Morakabe Seakhoa heads the wRite Associates (in South Africa). He helped raise the visibility of South African literature and its writers through numerous events and activities.

I Wish I Could Walk a Mile in Your Shoes:

A Tribute to Maya Angelou
La Shawna Griffith
I wish I could walk a mile in your shoes
See all the sights you have seen
Watch life from the confines of your eyes
Taste the fuel that fuelled your pen
I wish I could walk a mile in your shoes
To understand your mind
How you thought
Why you believed so strongly in revolution
Why you were such an inspiration to all that heard your voice
You see these shoes
Tell the story of your life
And they are big shoes to fill
As they possess so much knowledge
The remains of a creative soul
That have edged a permanent mark in history’s page as a literary legend
And a poetic superwoman
My brain cannot posses the amount of knowledge these shoes entail
I can only imagine how it was for you back then;
Being a black poet in a time where civil unrest was a “hot” topic
Where the caged bird was singing freedom so beautifully
That person’s ears became tuned with the cry of unrest
The words in that poem gave persons a sense of hope and something to believe in

I wish I could walk a mile in your shoes
The shoes that have told
The wonderful tale of your life
By tying the laces
I have accepted the poetic challenge
To walk the path you have so gracefully created.

·         La Shawna Griffith is a poet born in and resident of Barbados. Following on the footsteps of her idol and role model, Miss Maya Angelou, her goal is to become a voice for the voiceless, a hope and an inspiration. Her maiden publication titled Unlock the Door, a collection of thirty seven poems, has received acclaim from various international quarters.
Two Poems
R.K. Bhushan
Main highway
In the city of the dead
Has a crowded and chaotic
Market on either side
Populated by government buildings,
Financial institutions,
Shops, big and small,
Running private business
And professions;
And push-carts,
Parked in order
In this disorder,
Selling all to feed
Without a trade-cry
All traffic snarls and speeds
With the grace of a haphazard
Fatigued , neither girl nor woman!

It is an all-season
Dumb-show of multitudes,
Restive, restless, disquiet
And even touchy
Strangers and known-strangers,
Failure, failure-in-success,
Success to come,
Dreams of success
Dazzled and befuddled
Writ large and deep on their faces.

Formal hellos and handshakes
Or even mechanical enquiries
Or curiosities
An attempt
At breaking ennui
And far-off confusions,
Do not warm up or cool down
The smouldering sensations
Of these urban, semi-urban
Or rural heroes and heroines,
Lighted up like eyrie-dwellers.

They seem to have
Gone off the deep end!
Perhaps to the better end!
Religious Theme
In all working
And governance,
In professions and academics
Political schemes,
Economic reforms,
Social regeneration,
Educational rejuvenation,
Religious resurrection,
Global awakening,
Philanthropic projects,
Universal welfare
All declarations and assertions
Are sacral for development;
Monsters guised as deities
Are religious
In teams and themes
Rooted in labyrinths
Of innovative tactics
For strategic management
Of sales and marketing
In deafening jingoism
And jargonism.

Success of this holistic
Attitude and approach
Is dazzling, baffling and distracting
Sacred to activism!
All good; without humanity!
  • Raghukul Bhushan retired as Head, Department of English, Lajpat Rai D.A.V. College, Jagraon (Ludhiana) India. He is the author of several poetry collections.
Three Poems
Soun Kanwar Shekhawat
The Blank Space
A light of brightness came into my life,
Enriching my life in a state of ecstasy.
First, I wondered it to be a dream,
But, to my revelation, was all heartfelt.
The light embraced me and clutched with itself.
Being my reason to smile,
Being my reason to live.
However, to my astonishment, one day it disappeared,
Leaving me all alone.

I searched thee on Mountains,
I searched thee in sterile spaces.
Thou was not there, thou was nowhere.
Thou left me mousy and moronic.
I was a lifeless tool now.
Oh, Earth! Just lacerate and take me in,
Oh, Sky! Just disperse and bombard your thunder on me.
Thou left an unreadable vacuity in my life.
Someone might bring smile on my Face,
However, no one can bring the brightening smile of my Eyes.
Someone might make me speak,
However, no one can feel the silence in my words.
My words are too silent to express,
My silence speaks and cries aloud.
Dear Pen
O Dear Pen! Catch your speed again.
Let me numberize my thoughts
And color the sheet.
Else you ping my mind, leave useless worries.
O Abundant Brain! Let's pen down you.
But where to bring verse from?
From Literature or from Science?
From novels or from journals?
Just Pen down my friend,all my thoughts.
Catch your speed or run faster.
Pen down my friend,
Just pen down.

What's Toughest in Life
I transpired out of the Womb,
My sweet cry led my Mum smile.
My smile vanished all her pains.
My first question to self:
What's toughest in Life?
While walking, holding my Dad's finger,
I fall down with blood on my knees.
Deliberating the whole day:
What's toughest in Life?
I grew up with many exams of life,
Some with ecstatic achievements,
 In addition, some with painful foggy eyes.
I re-enquired the question:
What's toughest in Life?

While my brain was inquesting,
A sudden cyclone of evil appeared,
And I was a distant far from my loved ones.
The painful loneliness was murderous.
I went out to experience the world.
Where staring eyes, harsh attitudes,
Multi-faceted personalities and miserable faces were all around.
Life, O Life! You’re the toughest.
·         Soun Kanwar Shekhawat, an M.A. in English Literature, is employed at Yes Bank, Jaipur, India.
Two Poems
Anupama Kaushal
Open Spaces
Zenith is all tranquil
Merging the ultimate quail
Manna a forever shawl
Nadir a chaotic pail
Grabbing and snatching trail
Making essence pale
Proximity brews distances
Builds myriad narrow cells
Wrapping behind a mask
Pretending a social bask
Human touch inhuman
In the crowd of Adams
A fall of the leaf
Reminds a stay brief
Society makes a leech
Nature a true preach.
Women Empowerment
Talk of the Touts
A chance for the Pouts
Flashes all agreen
To catch the brightest dream.

Touch of every nerve
With glib tongue serve
Building yet another mound
A stage for the clout.

Deeming the severed scarf
Of Draupadi’s or Sita’s past
Empty desolate sights
Clapping to the heights

Waiting for the dias to bright
Spent in silken tights.
All is preached and done
Hands yet penniless.
Power on the desk
Woman in the dregs.
·         Dr. Anupama Kaushal is Lecturer in English at Government College, Tonk (Rajasthan), India.
A Smiling Sphere
Runjhun Kapoor
Peeping through the clouds
A big star pouts
Smiling from the sky
The mirror of my eye
The first ray falls
As silver ball crawls.
The dark night slowly envelops half the earth
With haunting killer owls in search of their prey,
A black hand moving towards the earth…
The moonlight pausing the black and spreading bright rays.
The shining sparkling silver light covering the dark
Makes night a better place to live.
However bad intensions rise.
God is there to set things right.
·         Runjhun Kapoor, aged 12, is a student of Neerja Modi School, Jaipu (Rajasthan), India.
Published in Re-Markings Vol. 16 No. 2 March 2017
ISSN 0972- 611X
for Hard Copy contact