Black, Blinding Black
She sat before the mirror to drape herself for the party.
She looked at the mirror and shivered back in fear.
“Who is that in the mirror? Who is that?
She too has a comb in her hand like mine!
Who is that? Who is that?
Her flesh melting away like that of a candle.
She is black, pitch black. Black, I say, Black!
She is speaking, like me!!
But her mouth oozing slime
She is draped in a garment same as me!
She is a viscous shadow of me?
She is Black, blinding Black.
Black, Black I say, Black. Black, Black.”
[Sohini Dasgupta is a student of Visva Bharati University studying in the second year B.A. Honours in European Studies with specialization in German Literature and language.]
Snake and Toad
Plato knew words, the grandchildren of a blind god,
Like the skin of toad and snake
If boiled in cauldron,
If fumed with potions,
If tongues injected unto them
It becomes last wonder of earth, never broken
Never challenged, and like a perfect antithesis
Mesmerize the captain of the ship, (Macbeth’s witches know him)
Plato also knew words
While the snake and toad happily ate
Or perhaps married each other.
So, like a God-fearing man, I never refuse to give
Chestnuts to them while remain hopeful
They shall never tease me on the sea.
[Kousik Adhikari is a postgraduate student, Annamalai University.]
The Battlefield of Life
Far away from our home, we came out to a battlefield.
Everyone’s a soldier marching forward,
Kill or die is all we are taught.
Win and dance. Lose and cry.
Why we have to outrun others to win?
Why can’t we all join hands to make our destiny?
A place where every soldier sits and plays cards
Cooks, eats, loves, talks, hugs- lives?
Why should life be a war?
And winning always the only solution?
You don’t look good, they frown.
You get born in a small city, you go down.
Walk funny, talk funny, you’re the gag now.
Why can’t everyone be just human? Equal?
Tall, short, dark, fair- anything but human and tranquil.
Why being a marauder makes you successful?
Why hunt to live, why live to hunt?
I’m alive, I live in dreams
Fearing death, fatalities of wars
I seek asylum in jungles, behind trees, under skies
But it’s hard here, they reach you
Crawl up to you, beneath the leaves I hide.
Fearing the sounds of the hounds coming closer
I fear that they might break into my life.
They might destroy my home down or burn it.
Kill me or make me hostage.
In the world where not only a dog eats a dog
But hunts on every kind of prey.
No matter what you become, you become a marionette, a game for others.
And trust me voodoo is not only magic,
It’s a twisted dark secret of an unhappily successful life.
Which seems to be the desire of every conjurer today
To thrive, you kill; you kill other people’s dreams to become what you are
This is what they call life! I can’t do it anymore.
I just long for the day when someone comes to me
Tells me it’s all over.
So that I can step out of my dreams to see dreams.
And I can open my eyes to a world where fire is used to cook food,
Not to burn houses.
Where weapons are hung on the walls,
Along with pictures of war… History!!!
Where one day I can look forward to living life and not dying…
In the battlefield of life.
[Touseef-ur-Rehman Alvi is a student perusing MBA, Thapar University, Punjab.]