So, the “2nd National Poetry Festival” took place in Guntur, India, on July 2. And although I am one of the participants — my work features in the festival anthology as does poet-blogger friend Tikuli Dogra’s (http://tikulicious.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/detritus-my-poem-selected-4poetry-fest-anthology/
) — I couldn’t go down there. I am in Delhi, but down with what one calls here “Delhi belly”! A friend said, America’s softened me, six years of stay… To be frank, we came back to Delhi for the first time in summer in all these years. Well!
So at Guntur, according to the organizers Suseela and Gopichand (both of them English teachers and literature enthusiasts), 100-plus poets were invited from all over India. Must’ve been a fabulous experience for all who went there.
Here is one of the poems, a personal favorite of mine.
This is a day the family sits down
to a dinner for a festival remembering
ancestors they say hover disguised as
birds and animals – on the lawn, on garden boughs.
Is my grandma among the cows?
I knew she was feisty! Maybe
a crow then. And her own mother
was she there too with her broken
teeth and sad robes yellowed with
age in a photograph some gora had
clicked at her rich spouse’s gracious permission?
The sweetened tomato chutney on
my banana leaf plate seeps away like blood
dark dark red, blood of aunts, wives
who cooked and cleaned, sucked
blood from cuts, bore kids and bled till
they stopped; bled in their hearts when widowed and denied.
A few grains of paddy, holy water, forefathers still
flocked outside; on the television a woman wails.
I flip through an old photo album. Sepia, forgotten clutter.
In other news, I am out of the Project Verse
contest. Stuck around for about three rounds I think. But of course, the worthy would carry on the battle whereas I am hoping to hop on to more scintillating stuff! Thanks Kristen McHenry for leaving a comment on my blog, it encourages me a lot! Do keep visiting.
Image from the Internet: women gathered for a party in Bombay, 1910