Wednesday 27 September 2023

'Don't Climb on the Bullock Cart' is here!

Dear Readers,

I'm thrilled to announce that my second book is here. Yay!

And it looks and feels just like I'd imagined it would.

After two years of collaborative work and six months of decisions about font, style, size of the book and so much more, the book is finally here: Don't Climb on the Bullock Cart

Tanmay's illustrations create the perfect feel for an old, old memory; relived and retold through the book after forty-seven years. And Judy's (Parakeet Books) love for our collaboration is evident in the choices she made for the quality of paper and print. 

I'd love to hear you reviews of the book. Please share this link further if you enjoy it or if you know of someone who will.
On Friday, the 8th of September, with the help of my husband and a few friends, I launched Don't Climb On The Bullock Cart in Doha. It was a gathering of all those who have supported my writing journey with words of encouragement and love. It was a gathering of friends who've connected with me via my words--blog posts, poetry, stories and now two books.

The venue was a bar. I wore my laal paad, a Bengali handwoven cotton sari I'd bought last year, borrowed a beautiful bangle from a friend to celebrate. I even recited a poem. 

To quote Maya Angelou: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

And I intend to do my very best to thrive.

Unfortunately, I was so utterly immersed in the celebratory mood that I forgot to take my phone out of my bag to take pictures!!! HA! HA! 

I'm sharing a few that friends took and were kind enough to share with me.

Thank you dear readers for being my oxygen. You know you're the reason I dare to fly and thrive as I do.

It would be marvellous of you if, once you've read the book, you could leave your reviews and ratings: Arti Jain on goodreads

Wishing you all wonders and magic, good health and happiness and above all, I wish you love; pure and unapologetic for who you are and for what you do and for how you do it. You do you and keep the light shining bright.

Till we meet again.

Arti xx

Thursday 11 May 2023

When I met Neeraj Chopra

On 6th of May 2023, I had the good fortune of talking to Neeraj Chopra, reigning Olympic Champion in javelin throw, at a lunch hosted by Fauzia (Fab Entertainment) to honour him and Eldhose Paul, the first Indian to win a gold medal in men's triple jump at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

They were visiting Doha to participate in the Doha Diamond League, an annual one day track and field meet event. Both the athletes are proud products of Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS). The other celebrity guests present were Mustafa Ghouse, Manisha Malhotra from JSW Sports and Parth Jindal, founder and director of IIS.

A hushed silence always precedes an important entry. It was no different when Neeraj and Eldhose walked in. 

Neeraj was beaming and he had every right to. The previous night, he had won first place at the Diamond League season-opener with an impressive 88.67 m.
More than the medals and the shine of celebrity, it is the person I'm drawn to. Not that I get to shake hands with celebrities on a regular basis, but whenever I've had a chance to meet with one, it's the way they say what they say that makes more of an impression on me.

Neeraj Chopra, at twenty-five, displayed the wisdom and poise of a much older person. He came across as an old soul to me. 
"I come from a humble background. From a village in Haryana. I never thought I'd be here today.." When asked by Fauzia to share his story, Neeraj chose to start by stating the obvious with such humility and ease that I felt I was listening to a person older and wiser in years than a 25 years old athlete who's star is on the rise.

The Q&A session followed the speeches. Valid and pointed questions like how the Institute plans to reach India's grassroot levels, or how does one change the national narrative of schools and educational outfits along with the parent' obsession about academic achievements at the cost of everything else, were answered by the panel with clarity and passion.

We are all products of an education system where sports and the arts are considered a waste of time by parents and schools alike, especially in middle and high school. 

The only exception is cricket. I'm not a fan and frankly, I don't understand the obsession. 

When an entire nation and that too a populous one focuses on one sport alone, it doesn't bode well for other sports. India, despite its large population, has won a paltry sum of medals in the Olympics.

All that is set to change. At least, that's how I felt listening to Parth Jindal. 

Last Saturday, in a banquet hall glowing with amber glass chandeliers, he dared to share his dream of  'Jana Gana Mana' (India's National anthem) being played on a loop at the Olympics of the future.  His confidence and his passion shone brighter than the lights. He spoke about the begging bowl he'd held out to all the big corporate houses in India when he first thought of the idea of IIS -- more than five years ago.

The proof of the pudding came when athletes from IIS started collecting gold for the first time in the sporting history of India. That's when India and more importantly those with a will and capacity to help and turn his dream into reality started to take notice.

Jindal spoke about how there is an urgent need to plan and build at least twenty more IISs, if India is to tap into its true sporting potential. 

After the Q & A, it was time for photos. I had saved my question for later. I had one for Neeraj Chopra.
"How do you tackle self-doubt-- that is if you ever have any?" I asked him once we'd said hello and I'd congratulated him.

"Of course. This is an individual sport. I have to beat my own best. So, there are times when I have to push through despite the doubts." smiled Neeraj. "I give my best to every shot. I don't save it for the last." 

Wow! I thought. 

Writing, too, is a solo sport. To give ones best every time one sits down to write would be a great way to be. It's not always possible, though.

"It's not that I don't have down days. I do. That's when I talk to my coach. I have to be happy to be doing what I'm doing to give my best." Neeraj added. 

"And you know Ma'am," he continued "life mein balance hona bahut zaroori hai." (It's very important to have balance in life." This sport is part of my life right now. It's not my entire life. Life is so much more."

Some of you reading this post may think I may have been tempted to embellish or tweak Neeraj's words. All I'll say to you is--I don't blame you. I was surprised too. He spoke in a mixture of Hindi and English. But he spoke from the heart. His eyes sparkled with  sincerity.

If this is the future of Indian representation on international arenas and forums, then I have no doubt Jindal will see his dream play out in his life time. 

My take-away from the afternoon was this -- Love for what we do should guide us through life's challenges and joys. Humility and the understanding that 'life is so much more' is a lesson worth remembering and reminding. Nothing lasts forever but to put ones best foot forward at every step is a great way to do justice to the talent one is born with.

Sunday 7 May 2023

'Don't climb on the Bullock Cart' is looking for your love and support

With only 10 days left for our project to reach its target, I reckon it's the perfect time to write about how my second  book (yet to be born) came to be and what it means to me.

The book is called 'Don't climb on the Bullock Cart' and it's being published by Parakeet Books.

When asked about  reasons for writing a book, two questions need answering: Why you and why now?

Soon after I graduated high school, I left my hometown, Dehradun, to pursue a university degree in New Delhi. I didn't know it then but I would never make my way back to the place of my birth, except as a visitor. 

My grandparents (Papaji and Beji) were a big and happy part of my childhood. They raised the dreamer in me for in their eyes, I could do no wrong. They never said 'no' or 'don't do it' when we (my siblings and I) carried out our adventures in Papaji's gorgeous garden; climbing and jumping off trees and the big water tank. 

They were, however, always ready with home-made remedies and softly spoken 'next it like this..' advice to heal our cuts and bruises.

I've moved cities, countries and continents in the last thirty years but I've always carried my birthplace, my home, Beji and Papaji's memories with me, within me wherever I've travelled to or settled down in the world.

Naturally, I wanted my children, raised outside of India, to experience my grandparents' love. But time and distance made it impossible. 

When I lost Papaji and Beji, my children were very young.

Every time I visited my home town, I'd notice it changing. Concrete, multi-storeys started replacing dirt patches and zig-zag lanes where we used to play hide and seek, pithu and kanche. However, it was the fading of people's memories of how our neighbourhood used to be that bothered me. 

That's when I started writing and blogging about my childhood, about Beji and her cooking, about Papaji and his love of the land and his grandchildren, about our mulberry tree, about the recipes they conjured up as home-made medicines.

Then one day in the Autumn of 2020, Tanmay read one of my blog posts. He enjoyed it so much that he offered to do a story board based on it.

In the middle of the second Covid wave, while stuck indoors, Tanmay (from Bangalore) and I (based in Doha) would meet over zoom once a week to work on the story. One scene, one line, little details like how Beji wore her dupatta, how short and messy my hair was when I was five--all of it was moulded into lino-cut illustrations by Tanmay. 

Two years later, our collaboration had turned into a full-fledged illustrated book ready to be published. 

Then last year, I saw an Insta post by a friend and poet whose work I admire--Devjani Bodepudi. Her post mentioned that her next book (for children) would be published by Parakeet Books. So, I messaged Devjani and told her about our 'almost ready' book. 

We knew we'd found the perfect home for 'Don't climb on the Bullock Cart' when we received an emphatic yes from Judy at Parakeet Books. She loved the book, she said.

The dots connected, stars aligned and here we are -- sharing this link to Kickstarter. It'll take you to our project (picked as a #projectwelove by them) where you can pre-order a copy, or help out with a contribution. If, however, you're unable to buy or contribute right away, then please share the link with anyone you know who may be interested. Every little helps.

Thank you for supporting my writing journey with your visits and kind comments. It all started here :)

Have a lovely Sunday and wishing you all a fabulous start to the new week.

Monday 1 May 2023

Doha Fashion Fridays -- lifting the cloak of invisibility with fashion

Dear Readers,

It is 'International Workers Day' today. It is the first of May.

What better way to acknowledge the many migrant workers who live in Doha than to share the story of one of the most appealing photographic exhibitions I have seen in recent years.

It's called Doha Fashion Fridays and it's on at the M7 till the 20th of May 2023.

It's not often that one is able to capture an entire experience in one word.

But on 18th March, 2023, I came across one such word--an old and known one-- in a new light which did just that. This was at the Doha Fashion Fridays inaugural talk at the M7.

The word is curator. 

Although I am familiar with the word but I have always associated 'curator' with the act of sourcing, collecting and  assembling of objects or art of interest in a certain way for a certain purpose or audience. I hadn't given the word much thought or bothered to look up its etymology. 

Known words are like our landscape. That which we see everyday, we stop noticing. We stop paying attention. Not unlike the migrant workers in Doha.

Although they are visible on construction sites but for most of us who live in this city, they're 'invisible' underneath their blue overalls and yellow hard hats. They merge with the landscape. We, as a collective, are mostly indifferent to their existence.

So, when Aparna Jayakumar prodded Charlotte Cotton to share more about the word 'curator', I was struck by its aptness. The word curator owes its origin to the Latin verb curare which means to take care of. 

How apt, I thought. How perfect. 

Care: a four letter word that is all too often overlooked or overshadowed by the other overused four-letter words -- love and like. 

Care. To take care of. To care enough about. To bother to care in the first place.

I believe 'care' is the basis of humanity. Yes, love is the canvas on which all human drama plays out. But care is the currency of love. How much or how little we care about ourselves, our families, the society, this planet and all the creatures of this planet decides our and their state of health.

Doha Fashion Fridays is the result of an idea that was planted by political cartoonist, Khalid Albaih seven years ago. Serendipitously, Aparna happened to be his neighbour. So when one day Khalid mentioned his idea to her, the seeds started sprouting into a 'unique collaborative project.' Soon, Shaima Altamimi came on board. 

During the panel discussion the previous day, when asked about her motivation to join the project, Aparna mentioned that when she first moved to Qatar from India, she was struck by the absence of life on the streets. In India, LIFE along with its messiness and chaos is on full display out in the open. The poor, the rich, the involved and the disinterested share the same space. The populace is part of the same canvas. 

In Doha, it's different.

But on Fridays everything changes, especially on the Corniche.

It's the migrant workers' day off. On Fridays, if you find yourself on the Corniche, you will be rewarded with a sea of colour and life. Hundreds of workers pour into public spaces dressed to the nines. This is where they spend their day--meeting friends, taking photos, spending their  free day their way. 

On Fridays, on Doha Corniche, the cloak of invisibility is lifted. 

During the rest of the week, it's easy to not notice the construction worker in his blue overalls, the domestic help in her neatly ironed uniform, the drivers, the loaders and so many invaluable contributors to the rise and shine of this beautiful country and city. They become an invisible backdrop to the humdrum of progress and success. And this is true of many countries and places.

In India, for example, when I was at university, my flat (barsaati) was next door to a basti -- a shanty town. I was hit by the sounds, smells and  poverty of the basti the first time I saw it. I had grown up in the sheltered shade of Dehradun. So, this was shocking. But three years later, by the time I graduated, the basti had become the backdrop to my barsaati. I had stopped caring because I saw it everyday. I was so focused on myself that I'd stopped noticing the 'others'.

A couple of years ago, I was shocked to see the sea of tents in Seattle and Portland in the USA. The homelessness of a super powerful nation was on full display and yet the daily commuters around me didn't seem to notice or want to pay attention. 

Indifference is the rose tinted lens we use to see our world when we are comfortable.

Doha Fashion Fridays reminds us that curiosity about the other is a good thing. Curiosity leads to care. And care is a great connector.

Khalid Albaih's curiosity about the fashionable migrant workers gatherings on Fridays was the foundation on which Aparna and Shaima built. They cared enough to lift that cloak of invisibility. 

A cloak we so easily and carelessly drape over those we don't care enough about. 

I  urge you to go and 'meet' the vibrant migrant workers of Qatar via their portraits and stories at the exhibition. 

But if you're not able to, then this photo essay in the Guardian will give you some idea about the ethos and aspirations of this ongoing project.

Visibility -- the one human need that comes in after food, shelter and clothing. All it takes is a glance, a smile, a nod to turn the invisible into the visible. 

Let's play our part and lift the cloaks around us. Acknowledge the presence of another, the other.  It may reveal ourselves to us. It may not be pretty. Reality rarely is. But at least it will be real. To be real is worth everything.

Thank you for reading this post. I welcome your comments and views. Wishing you well.


Sunday 30 April 2023

Day Thirty #NaPoWri Mo 2023

Dear Readers and Poets,

It's Day Thirty of #Na/GloPoWriMo 2023. The last (optional) challenge of this year asks the poet to write a palinode – a poem in which you retract a view or sentiment expressed in an earlier poem. For example, you might pick a poem you drafted earlier in the month and write a poem that contradicts or troubles it. This could be an interesting way to start working on a series of related poems. 

Alternatively, you could play around with the idea of a palinode by writing a poem in which the speaker says something like “I take it back” or otherwise abandons a prior position within the single poem.

I've opted for the alternative option of abandoning a prior position within this poem. It's called

how to palinode

how to palinode

in haiku kept us awake

our restless silence

broken by bird song when dawned

a tanka -- upon spring moon

a tanka -- upon spring moon

gliding in between many


pause. still. lines emerge to show
how to palinode

I'm tempted to say more about the poem but I'll keep quiet for now. I look forward to your comments and views.

I missed out on a few days' worth of challenges this year. But with all the fabulous resources and prompts shared by Maureen Thorson throughout April, I'm sure May will be blooming with new poems too. 

Thank you Maureen and all the poets who shared their beautiful poetry. A very special thanks to all of you who visited this space and read my poems. And an extra special thank you to the lovely ones who left comments:) 

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday.

Saturday 29 April 2023

Day Twenty-nine #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt on day  Twenty-nine of #NA/GloPoWriMo asks the poet to start by reading Alberto Rios’s poem “Perfect for Any Occasion.” Then write a two-part poem that focuses on a food or type of meal. At some point in the poem, describe the food or meal as if it were a specific kind of person. Give the food/meal at least one line of spoken dialogue.

The poem I wrote for Day 29 has expired. But I leave you with this photo of Kashmiri Kahawa and an older poem that fits the prompt. It's called. 'He carried dirt under his fingernails.'



I wrote and performed this poem a few years ago. This is about food too. I hope you'll find the time to listen or watch 'He carried dirt under his fingernails'.

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. As always, please share your comments and views here. I look forward to reading them:)

Friday 28 April 2023

Day Twenty-eight #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers and Poets,

An escapade of sorts conspired me way from poetry on day Twenty-two. But now that I'm back to my favourite spot in April, i.e. here, I'm eager to press on with the prompt of the day. I hope I can cover up the missed days in May. I'll keep you posted.

Day Twenty-eight of #Na/GloPoWriMo 2023 states: I challenge you to write your own index poem. You could start with found language from an actual index, or you could invent an index, somewhat in the style of this poem by Kell Connor. Happy writing!

 The Colosseum, yesterday.

This poem has expired. Leaving you with a shot of the Colosseum in Rome which I happened to visit last week.

Thursday 20 April 2023

Day Twenty #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The prompt on Day Twenty of #Na/GloPoWriMo goes like this:

Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.

It's Eid break in Doha and I will be travelling out of the country this evening. There's laundry to be done and a bag that needs packing. So, I'm sharing a spoken word piece that I wrote and performed in early 2021 because it fits the bill (I think). 

It's called "Yesterday is not alive." It's a long (ish) piece but I hope you'll stay till the end.

I'm sharing a spoken word piece that I wrote and performed in early 2021 because it fits the bill (I think). It's called "Yesterday is not alive." It's a long (ish) piece but I hope you'll stay till the end.

Our conversations are going to bury themselves
deep in the earth’s womb,
for they’ve failed to adapt to the thunderstorms
of Cricket scores
Market trends
Covid haul and the phone screen addiction
of the human race.

“Yesterday is not alive.” they say. “Live in the moment, for today.”
What should I do? Tell me!

For my world is alive only in the past.
The world I shared with you when we spoke to each other face to face, eye to eye.
I live in those yesterdays--
when you gazed into me and read me like poetry.
In those yester nights when you sprinted to the phone booth of a rain-soaked Calcutta gully,
just so you could hear me say ‘Hi’ from Chennai.
In those afternoons gone by when we held hands--
you used to caress my palm with your thumb, tracing our destinies across my creases, imprinting yourself on my heartline.
I live in those touches still.

But you’ve moved on… to a phone screen.

Even the poets these days only write about separations and distances.
No one pens down the belonging—the togetherness
of long-standing marriages.

I sometimes wonder if these poets prefer to carry on alone for the sake of their poetry;
sacrificing companionship on the altar of rhymes
just so they can continue reciting melodies of virah and longing.

Imagine: if the one they pine for in their lines
starts living with them one day-- dwelling in their dawns, dusks and nights
but, brings a phone along
for updates and company.

Their lover, them and a phone screen—
a tiresome threesome
that assigns a simple eye to eye
conversation to the realms of fantasy.

But poets don’t like to write about long lasting love. Do they? Why?
Well, it has no drama, no pining, no moon to gaze at, no clouds to fill the sky.
They want love like death—instant, dramatic, unquestionable, slam dunk!

Married love is so ordinary.
It flows like life--day after day after day in the gutters
of routines, packed lunches and bills to pay.

Till 2020, I didn’t mind this step-motherly treatment of the modern romantic poet towards reciprocated love.
So what if our love didn’t make it their pages but sat silently in the margins waiting its turn to be noticed one day?
Our conversations kept me company. That was enough.

But now even the margins have been marginalized.
This phone screen addiction has erased me.

I want to talk to you.
Your attention is elsewhere.

The words set forth from my insides to seek you but you’re not open to receive them.
Like orphaned kids, they trundle back seeking refuge
under a tin shed from the hailstones thundering
Of cricket scores, IPL roars, Covid tolls, political polls.

My orphaned words-- they bound
back inside through my ears and run amok
like ruffians
running noses, tattered clothes, wreaking havoc
wherever they go.
They spray graffiti inside me. The ink bleeds and hurts me.
My words clamour to be heard.
Caged inside, they can’t breathe.

They find an escape at last. It’s through my fingertips.
They make them dance on the keyboard and write and write and write: poetry or prose or gibberish-- I don’t know. I don’t care. They are the warriors on a mission of resurrection. They will not stop. For they can see that in this era of one-sided posts and opinions, death awaits all impromptu conversations.

Our conversations will soon be assigned to the endangered species category. Once they’re gone, humans will try to recreate the nods, the pauses, the silences and genuine smiles using AI, perhaps on these very same phones.

They’ll curate our conversations and display
them in virtual museums.
Our children and then theirs in the future will log on and see
how you and I could sit together for hours-- talk, tease,
taunt, agree and disagree without
any phone or technology.

The margins have blurred.

Love is Death.
Love is Life.
Love needs words to survive.

I live in my past and bring my yesterday alive.

Perhaps, when our conversations are truly buried and gone,
the poets will write a few lines about how these exchanges were guillotined
during Covid times.
We will read, share and subscribe to their poetry
and proclaim it to be sublime,
sitting next to each other bound by love--
long-lasting, married love.
Your hands will hold your phone. Your eyes will not know how to seek mine.

We will come alive in our yesterdays in the future in someone else’s lines.

We will come alive in our yesterdays in the future in someone else’s lines.


If you've stayed till the end, thank you:) I'll be here to read your comments. So, do share.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Day Nineteen #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

I came to the prompt late in the day on account of something happy that I will share soon on the blog. 

The prompt on Day Nineteen of #Na/GloPoWriMo states:  For this challenge, start by reading Marlanda Dekine’s poem “My Grandma Told Stories or Cautionary Tales.” One common feature of childhood is the monsters. The ones under the bed or in the closet; the odd local monsters that other kids swear roam the creek at night, or that parents say wait to steal away naughty children that don’t go to bed on time. Now, cast your mind back to your own childhood and write a poem about something that scared you – or was used to scare you – and which still haunts you (if only a little bit) today.

When I sit down to write to a prompt, I let go. I start typing and let the prompt guide the flow of my words. Sometimes, the poem changes course and surprises me, like today. It took me to ancient India and brought me back to myself.

This must've happened in my mother's womb.

I don't recall a day, a time. Was it sunset or dawn when 
the most potent weapon 
used by our fore-fathers, fore-mothers and their
blended with amniotic fluids that kept me afloat
sank deep inside my yet-to-be-born-thoughts,
my identity.

The Curse. C.U.R.S.E.

"I curse you." many a sages uttered those three fateful words 
and demolished Kings, Kingdoms and Princes;
stories my grandparents unfolded on the kitchen floor
and warned us, don't make anyone cross. EVER!

The weight of five-thousand years of our heritage
bore down upon me. Then one day, the stories jumped 
from the floor to flicker on screens.
That's when matters became worse. Scary.
Nymphs turned to stone, handsome folk into horrendous
creatures with no voice and no form.

I was young, what did I know! It was all make belief. Made up.

Lessons learnt in wombs, Beji said, are carried till the tomb.

The cursed on screen wailed piteously, "O! you who watches our plight,
pay heed. Be obedient of the ways
of authority. Look at us. Be warned.
Surrender to the rules of civilized society."

Don't speak up or you'll be cursed.
Don't stand tall or you'll be crushed.
Don't be different, or you'll be shushed.
Don't question the status quo, especially the rich, the pious and the powerful.
Think within the box, live within the confines.
Stay within the lines we have borrowed from our great ancient civilization
to keep you tethered. 
Don't complain or frown. This is for your good, your safety, of course.

Walk the beaten path. Fear the curse.

Decades passed. Every time I failed a test, or when a loved one got cancer,
I blamed the curse. 
I must've hurt someone in my past to deserve this. That's the logic
of the curse. It moves from myths to movies to young, impression forming foetuses.

Then one day I grew up. I broke free. Stood up.
Five feet, one and a half inches tall and shut the lid on
Pandora's Box.

Enough is enough.

Raktabeej met his end when Kali* showed up.


You can read about Kali and Raktabeej here: the juggernaut

Curses  and boons may sound mythical to you but when they are woven in the fabric of ones childhood, in the warp and weft of stories told and retold with frequent embellishments of real-life examples, they become the basis of ones beliefs. It's not easy to look at ones ancient roots and snip away the decay. But, it must be done.

Thank you for reading the poem. I'm all ears for any comments or views you'd like to share. 

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Day Eighteen #NaPoWriMo 2023

The (optional) prompt on Day Eighteen of #Na/GloPoWriMo challenges the poet to to write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet. 

Yesterday a friend brought her twins over for a quick visit. Something about the visit jogged an old memory. So,  I shared it with my friend. 

"You know I've never had a clear image of your mother. You've mentioned her in passing." She said. 

It made me reflect on how much of my mother I remember still. After thirty-two years.

I'm not sure if the poem I wrote today is an ode to my mother or an ode to my memories of her.

The poem has now expired. But, the moon will shine for sometime on this page:)

Thank you for visiting. If there are thoughts or views that you'd like to share after reading this poem, I'll be here.

Monday 17 April 2023

Day Seventeen #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Poets and Readers,

The prompt on Day Seventeen of #Na/GloPoWriMo challenges the poet to  write a poem that contains the name of a specific variety of edible plant – preferably one that grows in your area. 

Begin by reading Sayuri Ayers’ poem “In the Season of Pink Ladies.” Also, include at least one repeating phrase.

The poem has expired but here are some pictures of neem flowers that are in bloom at the moment.

The neem, like some other native trees of the Indian subcontinent, sheds its leaves for a brief period in spring. In early summer, new leaves emerge, followed by the most intoxicating smelling bunches of white flowers. It's an absolute joy to be around/under a neem tree in April. One can't help but dance and sing.

Neem flowers, harvested, dried and stored.

You can find out more about the neem tree by clicking on the link. Its Latin name is Azadirachta indica. It's a wonderous tree. Its leaves, bark and flowers have medicinal properties. 
As always, I'd love to know what you think of this poem. Thank you for visiting.

Friday 14 April 2023

Day Fourteen with Emily Dickinson #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt on Day Fourteen of #Na/GlaWriPoMo challenges the poet to write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. 

But before I share what I've written today, I'd like to point you to Lisa Takes Flight 's brilliant and funny poems. She was the featured participant today.

My satire is inspired by  Emily Dickinson's "I'm Nobody! Who are you?"

I'm Everybody! Who are you?
Are you - Everybody - too?
Then there's a world of us!
Shout it out. They might sign us up - you know!

How dreary - to be - Nobody!
How private - like a Platypus -
To keep so mum - All lifelong
To be SO anti-ambitious!

The above is a commentary on how 'visibility' on SM equates success in the world today.

Upon googling 'the most solitary animal', I came across this list. Platypus comes in third after bears and the black rhino. Thought you may want to know:)

Happy Friday poets and readers.

As always, would love to know your thoughts and views about this poem.

Thursday 13 April 2023

Credit Card and Hemingway on Day Thirteen #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt on Day Thirteen of #Na/GloWriPoMo asks the poet to first read the three short poems on the page by Bill Knott and then try to write

" a short poem (or a few, if you’re inspired) that follows the beats of a classic joke. Emphasize the interplay between the form of the poem – such as the line breaks – and the punchline.

I quit my job almost six years ago to pursue my love of writing and travelling (with the kind support of my husband). But, lately, I've been feeling the itch of not being able to support myself via my writing. The first poem is my current state of mind as I start the process of updating my CV and applying for jobs that pay.

Credit Card

The Bank of Poetry                                                                Where dreams dare to dream  

                                                         Every line of poetry you write                                            

                                                         can be exchanged for food and                                          


                                                         But, if it's a sari or a trek you're after,                              

                                                         you'd have to find a poetry-loving sponsor.                    

 Arti Jain                                                                                                               VIZA                

the fine print: 

This bank takes no guarantee your poetry will find a lover, ever.                   

 Please be advised to find a job that pays your bills.                                             

Remember, you can dream to reach us anytime. We value your custom.    

The second short poem wrote itself. I played with words on the cover (bottom) of the book. It's lying next to my laptop.

The book in the background is "River of Colour The India of Raghubir Singh"
another gem from Oxfam bookshop

"Men    w   i     t    h     out
   w o m  e   n
                                  f   u   l   l   y 
 g  O  O d 
      n O   
             O n e
                                    can deny
t   h     e    i    r

The Nation
I'd love to know what you think of my play-with-poetry-presentations. Were you able to find the beat of 'classic' jokes these two attempts are referencing? Tell me. I'm eager to know.

Happy Thursday:)

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Day Twelve of #NaPoWriMo 2023

Dear Readers,

The (optional) prompt of Day Twelve of #Na/GloWriPoMo challenges the poet...

to write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of its self (i.e., “Dear Poem,” or “what are my quatrains up to?”; “Couplet, come with me . . .”) This might seem a little “meta” at first, or even kind of cheesy. But it can be a great way of interrogating (or at least, asking polite questions) of your own writing process and the motivations you have for writing, and the motivations you ascribe to your readers.

This poem has expired.