Volume 4 Issue 2, June 2020
Special Issue for Indian Poetry

Sujata Jha

Solace and Woes

 

On days that I am anxious,

And seek calm,

Forest gives me solace in alms.

 

On days I see no future,

And nights seem bleak,

The birds chirping tell me

 there is something else to seek.

 

The ripple in water,

the shattering of waves against stone

 Brings peace untold.

 

On days of unusual agony,

the charms of nature often unfold.

 

The dry leaves brushing against the ground,

Seems like a lover whispering sweet nothings on a cold night.

 

Have you felt the rush winds bring on cold days,

 Have you felt the silence amidst the branches romancing with each other...

 

In the noise of the cities,

And charm of music above all,

We have forgotten to listen to the silence amidst us all.  

 

Of all the agonies that cities bring to us,

I remember the angst of being a woman.

 

Being a woman brings with it,

The agony of not knowing,

 how to live alone

 

 Is alone enough?

Is not knowing what lies ahead enough?

 In times of precision and decision I am, who I am...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams Killed

(2018)

 

Get up,

Go to School,

Mug it up, rest no more.

The world told you to go at their pace,

They told you it was a running race.

A battle to be fought,

Not a second to stare, none for thought.

 

But Minchkin?

Minchkin had his own dreams,

To harp his own,

Lying on a bright orange car,

To see the world through his rose-tinted glass

To see a little, to see far.

 

Minchkin had a world inside his orange car,

A car with kites for wheels,

With each kite,

He entered his imaginary world,

He imagined chocolate huts,

Dance in the mud,

Boats in the rain-puddle,

Tree nooks where kids huddle and cuddle.

Rivers full of lemonades,

Table full of buns, pastries and marmalade.

 

The School told Minchkin,

Do not imagine coloured cars,

Do not wander into the world of stars.

Break no rules, break no norms,

Drift slowly through the dorms.

 

But Minchkin?

Minchkin had something else in mind,

He did not want to get through the daily grind.

He reached his own sweet world

And forgot his plight.

 

But each time he wandered in his imaginary car,

A teacher slapped him, told him to raise his bar.

He wanted to say, it hurts

Scared, he kept back his words.

He wanted to feel free, like pigeons afar.

 

The school killed his freedom,

Killed his mind.

Minchkin wanted a world full of love and kites,

One which did not slap on him their own notions of right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pain

(25th August, 2016)

 

Pain

 

The day I feel

Our pain more than mine

I promise

I shall be yours

 

The day my arms ache less

Than my aching heart

I promise

 I shall be yours

 

The day the walks tempt me more

Than my aching legs

I promise

I will be yours

 

The day the ache for you

Is more than the ache inside

I promise

I will be yours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rushing in

(20/2/2020)

 

As the door quietly opened

It seemed to come

As suddenly as you came to my life…

 

 

With a rush,

With a breeze,

With a stir,

With ease…

 

 

You rush in and out,

As easily as you come into

My life

You rush in and out,

Creating a distinct sense of unease as you do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing

 

It wont be enough to say I miss you today

Missed like heart severed,

Soul weary,

No, it wont be enough to say I miss you today.

 

A scratch on you

Is a scratch on me,

The house reeks of you

Every corner speaks of you.

 

The small fights I miss

Those made up by kiss,

No, it wont be enough to say I miss you today.

 

The way I fight with you,

I wish I had fought more today.

The lack of right kills me,

The lack of fight kills me,

No, it wont be enough to say, I miss you today

Breaking Ties*

In the memory of my grandfather, 
My father sowed a mango tree
Next to it, my uncle sowed a bamboo tree 
Severing all hopes of it flowering
Just like our relationship
The bamboo grows disarray
Throwing the tiny green mangoes on ground
Much before they could bloom
Ahh the irony, 
they roll into the roots of the bamboo,
the killer becomes the savior
Amidst the darkness of the bamboo,
Relationships crumble.

On the day of jurshital[1],
I flower them both, nonetheless
The child that I was
The kid sees trees, not differences.

The irony,
When my aunt invites us for upnayan[2]
It is me who wonders
How many bamboos should I cut for the pandal
From the killer bamboo tree 

* Translated from Vikas Vatsanabh's 'Sambandh'

 

[1] in remembrance of the ancestor’s death, trees are watered

[2] thread ceremony conducted amidst Brahmins

 

 

 

About the poet

Sujata Jha is a Phd scholar in Jamia Millia Islamia. She has taught in Miranda House, Kamla Nehru College and Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and some schools in Delhi and Kanpur. She has written a Chapter titled ‘Cyberfeminism and Resistance to skin colour bias in India’ for Women’s Link in December 2018. She has written a chapter titled ‘Beyond the Obvious: a Critical Analysis of Dark Skinned Women As Minority in India’ in an edited volume Being a Minority in India: Issues and Challenges.

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Published by The Alternative.