Posted in Poetry, Collections

godd(us)es

i want to paint kali with more blood between her legs than on her hands blood made for birth and not for killing saraswati failing
her math exam
and realizing bad grades
do not mean bad brains
ganga, drowning her children
to free them from their curse
and being judged
because pro choice
is still a crime
because no matter how many times
she says she owns her body
they will tell her she
will go to hell for abortion
draupadi walking past
men leering at her
on the street
tearing at her sari
maybe krishna won’t
save her this time
maybe it’s not about
men saving women
from other men
maybe it’s about men
not being rapists
maybe it’s about
draupadi in her shorts
marching to court
only to hear them ask her
if she was drunk
if she was a virgin
calling her a slut
for the five men she slept with
ahalya turning her heart
into stone because
her own husband wouldn’t believe her
sita walking out of a marriage
that questioned her morality
i want to paint my goddesses
when they are most real
most vulnerable
most relatable
women gods are still women
still bleed, still have uteruses
still mess up, still get up
still cry, still hurt
still have dark skin, still grow old
have broken smiles, sad eyes
still do things we do
are still mothers and daughters
and sisters
and i want to paint
their colours, their emotions
their battles and their scars
for maybe if i paint them
a little less perfect
a little more human
we might just learn
to be ourselves again
to accept our women
as they are.

  • by Meghna Rao
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Posted in Random

Cunning Deceitful Manipulators (CDM’s)

Words are precious as they are capable of making you understand a myriad of things you experience but have no idea about it, to see and assess events in newer light, to understand the environment around through someone else’s experience, to have a fresher perspective and develop a newer attitude. Let us get acquainted with a new term CDM ( Cunning Deceitful Manipulators) . What does it mean? Do you always feel belittled, humiliated around someone? Does someone exaggerate the importance of puffery?


People who prey on other people, to abuse them for personal benefits and gratification. CDM’s lie and perform indirect evil ploys to get what they want regardless of ethics and professionalism. Lying, deceit, backstabbing comes natural to these smart yet dangerous individuals who do all that and try to appear harmless, cordial and friendly.
You are lucky if you can spot the manipulation. Animals are without much choice over their actions. They have an instinct to eat and survive. However, Cunning Deceitful Manipulators CHOOSE to manipulate, hurt, and do whatever it takes to “win” at the expense of others.

Be vigilant; It can be at work, at home, or among friends and relatives. CDM’s catch you in your low emotional state. As if they smell it. CDM’s are very subtle, and hide behind circumstances, so they are seldom caught. They attack you but without you knowing where the attack came from.

Cunning Deceitful Manipulators (CDM’s)
Sample Sentence #1 – If someone, CONSISTENTLY, makes you feel inferior, not worthy, or make you feel less confident of yourself, this MIGHT BE a sign that you are dealing with an Cunning Deceitful Manipulator.


Source: urbandictionary.com
Posted in Random

53 Indian Women Writers Millennials Must Read

As I am set to quit blogging for sometime and do a little bit of reading, I came across this article of Shikha Gupta on youthkiawaz.com which makes a good list of female indian writers to consider. Happy reading!


In 2011, I made a New Year resolution. I resolved to only read books written by women for the whole year. I managed to read 85 books that year, all written by women. I read fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, poetry. I read across genres, across continents, acting on every good and nasty book recommendation that came my way.

To be clear, I didn’t have a lofty aim or moral end goal in mind when I decided to make this resolution. In fact, my idea was pretty simple. I was just thinking to myself, “As a woman who loves to write, I’d like to read and know more about the work of other women writers.” But, I ended up learning a lot that year, not only about previously unread writers, but about women’s place in India’s literary scene.

I realized that at times the literary world tends to get so heavily dominated by male voices that it is easy to neglect female voices that inhabit it. And while this felt true for the entire world over, the reality cut a little too close for comfort when I thought about female Indian authors.

This neglect still exists today and is worrying, not only because it distorts our sense of India’s critical literary landscape, but also because it deprives us of the rich range of work by women authors that exists out there, impoverishing our literary appetites. It has a real impact on women’s lives too – in the way women’s stories are silenced by a popular culture that prioritizes male narratives. This silencing obviously sends out a message, a message that says women’s stories aren’t as worthwhile. Male stories are the norm. Women’s stories are the other.
This list is an attempt to disrupt this status quo. Here’s an exhaustive list of Indian women writers, in no particular order of preference or genre who have contributed immensely to the country’s literary scene, and who deserve to be recognized for their vision, their fearlessness, their originality, and the barriers they broke in the literary world and beyond.

1. Meena Kandasamy

Ilavenil Meena Kandasamy is a poet, fiction writer, activist and currently one of India’s boldest and most badass young voices. Most of her works are centered on feminism and the Caste Annihilation Movement of the contemporary Indian milieu. She holds a PhD in sociolinguistics and has published two anthology of poems, “Touch” and “Ms Militancy”, and a novel “The Gypsy Goddess”. Her most recent work -“When I Hit You Or A Portrait Of The Writer As A Young Wife” is a dazzling and provocative novel of an abusive marriage.

2. Nayantara Sehgal

Sahgal is the niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, and a noted novelist and political columnist. Her close association with India’s power center reflects in her work, a lot of which deals with India’s elite and how they responded to political changes around them. Sahgal won the Sahitya Akademi award for “Rich Like Us”, set between 1932 to the mid 1970’s, a time of great political unrest in India.

3. Kamala Das

One of India’s finest confession poets, Kamala Das wrote beautiful prose in Malayalam and English. Her writing reflected her strong feminist ideology, portraying female sensibility with a rare honesty and sensitivity. Her poems, have for long served as an inspiration to women looking to break the shackles of sexual and domestic oppression, and therefore find relevance with women even today.

4. Anita Nair

Anita Nair is a prolific writer in English, who has written everything from crime fiction to short stories, poems, and even children’s stories. She is best known for her novels “The Ladies Coupe” and “The Better Man”. Through works like “Mistress: A Novel”, that highlighted the changing relationship between a woman and her husband, Nair also brought to life the experiences of the everyday Indian woman in fiction.

5. Jhumpa Lahiri

A Pulitzer prize winning novelist, Lahiri is one of the most widely recognized contemporary writers of world literature. An Indian- American by birth, her stories usually discuss sensitive dilemmas faced by Indians, particularly touching upon the diasporic reality of migrant Indians. Sometimes, also hidden in the plot are also stories of women confronting difficult choices in life. Her work in Italian called “In Other Words”, for example, gives a platform to a female voice that has been crushed by the burden of obligations to others.

6. Arundhati Roy

One of India’s most noted authors and human rights activist, Roy was awarded the Man Booker Prize for “The God Of Small Things”, her debut fiction novel. Since she won the Booker, Roy has published a wide range of non-fiction, covering topics from the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to a condemnation of India’s nuclear tests. “The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness” released in June 2017 marked her return to fiction after a 20-year-long hiatus.

7. Kiran Desai

Winner of the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award, Desai’s marries magic realism with socio-political realism beautifully in her work. What makes her work so fascinating is the way she presents the vast canvas of our contemporary society in the broad perspective of globalization, through themes like alienation, cultural clashes, displacement and exile. Her award-winning book “The Inheritance Of Loss” is a testament to this enduring quality of her work.

8. Manju Kapur

A novelist and professor, Kapur’s first novel “Difficult Daughters” won the 1999 Commonwealth Prize for First Novels (Eurasia Section). In 2011, her name was shortlisted for DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and many television sitcoms have been inspired by her writing. She currently teaches at Delhi University.

9. Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan

A blogger and a writer, Madhavan writes under the pseudonym eM on her blog which is called the The Compulsive Confessor. Her first book was a semi-autobiographical piece of work titled “You Are Here”. She is the daughter of N S Madhavan, the famous Malayalam writer. Madhavan is also a regular columnist at Youth Ki Awaaz as Aunty Feminist.

10. Kamla Bhasin

Kamla Bhasin is a well known developmental feminist activist, poet, author and social scientist. Bhasin’s work spans 35 years and focuses on issues like gender, education, human development and the media.She is best known for her work on the NGO Sangat, a South Asian network of feminists, and for her poem Kyunki main ladki hoon, mujhe padhna hai.

Continue on Youth ki Awaaz…

Posted in Collections, Poetry

Stone Age

Fond husband, ancient settler in the mind,
Old fat spider, weaving webs of bewilderment,
Be kind. You turn me into a bird of stone, a granite
Dove, you build round me a shabby room,
And stroke my pitted face absent-mindedly while
You read. With loud talk you bruise my pre-morning sleep,
You stick a finger into my dreaming eye. And
Yet, on daydreams, strong men cast their shadows, they sink
Like white suns in the swell of my Dravidian blood,
Secretly flow the drains beneath sacred cities.
When you leave, I drive my blue battered car
Along the bluer sea. I run up the forty
Noisy steps to knock at another’s door.
Though peep-holes, the neighbours watch,
they watch me come
And go like rain. Ask me, everybody, ask me
What he sees in me, ask me why he is called a lion,
A libertine, ask me why his hand sways like a hooded snake
Before it clasps my pubis. Ask me why like
A great tree, felled, he slumps against my breasts,
And sleeps. Ask me why life is short and love is
Shorter still, ask me what is bliss and what its price….

[From The Old Playhouse and Other Poems]

-by Kamala Das


About the author: Born on 31st March 1934 “The Mother of Modern Indian English poetry” Kamala Das was one of the most prominent feminine voices in the post colonial era. She has written both in her mother-tongue Malayalam and English. Her writing consisted of vivid descriptions of menstruation, puberty, love, lust, lesbian encounters, child marriage, infidelity and physical intimacy. I was deeply moved at my first encounter with her work. She portrayed the women in her poems as human; with desires, pain and emotions just like men. In the poem ‘An Introduction’ she writes

. . . Then I wore a shirt and a black sarong, cut my hair short and ignored all of this womanliness.
Dress in sarees, be girl or be wife, they cried.
Be embroiderer, cook or a quarreller with servants.’

In her autobiography “My Story” K Sachithananthan, in his forward for the book, concludes:

 “I cannot think of any other Indian autobiography that so honestly captures a woman’s inner life in all its sad solitude, its desperate longing for real love and its desire for transcendence, its tumult of colours and its turbulent poetry.” 

Source: feminisminindia.com

Posted in Collections, Poetry

No leaders please

Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
don’t swim in the same slough.
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself
and
stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
change your tone and shape so often that they can
never
categorize you.

Reinvigorate yourself and
accept what is
but only on the terms that you have invented
and reinvented.

be self-taught.

And reinvent your life because you must;
it is your life and
its history
and the present
belong only to
you.

~ by Charles Bukowski

Posted in Collections, Poetry

My friend

A care-woven garment that protects me from thy questionings and thee from my negligence.

The “I” in me, my friend, dwells in the house of silence, and therein it shall remain for ever more, unperceived, unapproachable.

I would not have thee believe in what I say nor trust in what I do-for my words are naught but thy own thoughts in sound and my deeds thy own hopes in action.

When thou sayest, “The wind bloweth eastward,” I say, “Aye it doth blow eastward”; for I would not have thee know that my mind doth not dwell upon the wind but upon the sea.

Thou canst not understand my seafaring thoughts, nor would I have thee understand. I would be at sea alone.

When it is day with thee, my friend, it is night with me; yet even then I speak of the noontide that dances upon the hills and of the purple shadow that steals its way across the valley; for thou canst not hear the songs of my darkness nor see my wings beating against the stars-and I fain would not have thee hear or see. I would be with night alone.

When thou ascendest to thy Heaven I descend to my Hell-even then thou callest to me across the unbridgeable gulf, “My companion, my comrade,” and I call back to thee, “My comrade, my companion”-for I would not have thee see my Hell. The flame would burn thy eyesight and the smoke would crowd thy nostrils. And I love my Hell too well to have thee visit it. I would be in Hell alone.

Thou lovest Truth and Beauty and Righteousness; and I for thy sake say it is well and seemly to love these things. But in my heart I laughed at thy love. Yet I would not have thee see my laughter. I would laugh alone.

My friend, thou art good and cautious and wise; nay, thou art perfect-and I, too, speak with thee wisely and cautiously. And yet I am mad. But I mask my madness. I would be mad alone.

My friend, thou art not my friend, but how shall I make thee understand? My path is not thy path, yet together we walk, hand in hand.

~ from ‘The madman’ by Kahlil Gibran