WE VIEW - SUNDAY

weview

Somrita Urni Ganguly, our Guest Editor for this issue of WE VIEW from Women Empowered- India (WE), gathers together poets, artists, musicians & writers to take a look at those 'Sundays' - bygone and present, whose memories linger in the heart... her SUNDAY emerges in translucent dream-like colours, to the soft tinkle of invisible guitar strings...

“SUNDAY”

Curated for Women Empowered – India’s WE View

by Somrita Urni Ganguly

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Contents:

o Maddening Mondays: A Brief Introduction

Somrita Ganguly

o Photograph: Long Lost Childhood

Shounak Ghosh

o The Pigeons of Trafalgar Square

Naina Dey

o The Lure of Sunday

Moinak Dutta

o Photograph: My Kinda Sunday

Sujay Thakur

o Another Sunday

Sagar Kapoor

o Cosmic Love

Santasree Chaudhuri

o Photograph: Cooling Off

Brooke Kaufman

o Sunday

Pragya Anurag

o Red Sundays

Tapaswinee

o Sunday Mass

Smeetha Bhoumik

o Photograph: A Professor’s Funeral

Justin Eli Kahn

o A Sunday Evening in Mumbai, 2006

Jagari Mukherjee

o Journeying Through

Shamayita Sen

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o Sunday Morning Sketchwalk: A Report

Debika Banerji

(with photographs by Abhishek Dhanuk, and sketches by Neena Ghosh, Sneha Singh,

and Sohomdeep Sinha Roy)

o There is no Sunday

Madhu Raghavendra

o Mittens on a Cold Sunday Night

Somrita Urni Ganguly

o Never on a Sunday

GJV Prasad

o List of Contributors

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Maddening Mondays: A Brief Introduction

When I was young, power-outages were frequent in Calcutta; especially on Sundays.

I would sit cross-legged on the floor, or spread out a Japanese tatami mat in our very

large balcony and lie on it on my belly whenever the lights went out. Dad would pull out a

bamboo mora and sit on that low stool. He would bring out our old, traditional haat-pakha: a

large dried palm leaf turned into a hand-fan, ubiquitous in Bengal of the ’90s. Ours had little

tribal motifs on it, and a red lace border. While fanning the mosquitoes away with his haatpakha

dad would joke that my generation will, some day, forget how to squat in the proper

South-Asian/ desi way. He was right. My aching back, sprained ankle, and computer-driven

lifestyle groan at his prediction today. Mum would bring out a cushion and three large bowls

of jhaal muri for us to eat. When neighbours came over to join us in the dark with candles,

the regular jhaal muri was given an elaborate form: puffed rice mixed with a dash of mustard

oil, a pinch of Himalayan rock salt, some lemon juice, chopped onions, green chilies, grated

coconut, dry roasted peanuts, thinly sliced cucumbers, and any other fried snack that we

might have had at home such as bhujiya, gaathiya, or chanachur. Sometimes, mum walked to

the food cart behind our house with the help of a flash-flight and bought pakodas, onion

fritters, potato croquettes, scotch eggs, fish fries, chicken cutlets, or egg devils to go with the

jhaal muri. We sat in somewhat of a circle, with or without the neighbours, and sang songs by

Abba or The Carpenters. And on especially adventurous, new-moon Sundays we talked about

ghosts, genies, ghouls, djinns, vampires, poltergeists, monsters, and demons. Dad had the

richest, and most inexhaustible collection of ghost-stories.

Yet, I always asked him to repeat my favourite story before sharing new ones with us.

That story was set in a maternity ward in Wyoming. The doctors were trying to figure out

why new born female babies were dying mysteriously in their hospital.

Calcutta no longer suffers long power-outages. The city has developed.

Most of our neighbours are gone now. Our colony looks like an old-age home. The

ageing parents live in large, empty brown houses waiting for their children to return home for

Christmas from Canada or USA. The children never stay for too long, like migratory birds

they have other places to fly to. The children have grown.

And no one believes in ghosts and ghouls any more. We have moved on.

Additionally, there are no Sundays left in my life when I’m not busy. I am a

millennial. I wouldn’t know what to do with my life if I weren’t always so, so busy.

The jhaal muri and the stories from the Sundays of my childhood make brief

appearances in my poems now, blinking fragments of memories of a past that I can, perhaps,

only recreate on paper.

This issue is an attempt to return to Sundays as they once were: Sundays when the

family sat at the table together for lunch around bowls of steaming white rice and a caldero

full of mutton cooked in a spicy gravy, or potatoes cooked in a thick paste of poppy seeds;

Sundays when the neighbourhood smelled of bay leaves spluttering in hot mustard oil;

Sundays of gully cricket, badminton, fresh oranges, and winter-warm sunlight; Sundays of

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old songs on the radio and repeat telecasts of films like Roja or Charulata on TV; Sundays of

bringing home stuffed pork baos from Tiretti bazaar, or eating a large English breakfast at the

heritage bakery of the Great Eastern hotel.

Yet, the woman who washed our clothes had no rest on Sundays. We gave her a piece

of large chicken wing cooked in a mild gravy with potatoes, carrots, raw papayas, precious

onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers after she was done with her work. That was her on luxury.

She reminded me of how my life reeked of privilege by showing up for work every Sunday,

without fail, for an entire decade.

What is your memory of Sundays? Is there a hymn that you liked to sing? Was there a

game you frequently played? Did you pack yourself a picnic and visit the zoo? Did you sleep

indulgently in the afternoon? Would you sketch or paint or embroider or play the piano? Did

you make cookies for the week, ignoring the dirty dishes and the laundry? How different

were your special Sundays from the maddening Mondays?

Share your stories with me at blessed.damsel@gmail.com.

- Somrita Ganguly

Somrita Urni Ganguly is a professor, poet, and award-winning literary translator. She was

affiliated with Brown University, Rhode Island, as a Fulbright Doctoral Research Fellow. She

is the editor of Quesadilla and Other Adventures: Food Poems (Hawakal Publishers, 2019)

and has translated Dinesh Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Firesongs (BEE Books, 2019), Ashutosh

Nadkar’s Shakuni: Master of the Game (Juggernaut Books, 2019), and Shankarlal Sengupta’s

The Midnight Sun: Love Lyrics and Farewell Songs (2018). Somrita translates from Bengali

and Hindi to English and was selected by the National Centre for Writing, UK, as an

emerging translator in 2016. She was invited as translator-in-residence at Cove Park,

Scotland, in October 2017, and in December 2017 she was invited as poet-in-residence at

Arcs of a Circle, Mumbai, an artistes’ residency organized by the US Consulate in Bombay.

Somrita’s work has been showcased at the 2017 London Book Fair and she has been

published in Asymptote, Words Without Borders, In Other Words, and Trinity College

Dublin’s Journal of Literary Translation, among others. Somrita has taught British literature

to undergraduate and graduate students in Delhi and Calcutta, and has presented research

papers at various national and international conferences in India, Singapore, UK, and USA.

She has fourteen academic publications to her credit and is a recipient of the Jawaharlal

Nehru Memorial Fund Award (2013) and the Sarojini Dutta Memorial Prize (2011).

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“My long-lost childhood or Sunday evenings as I have always known them to be:

Summer 2019, Delhi.”

Photograph and caption by Shounak Ghosh

Shounak Ghosh is a PhD student at Vanderbilt University History Department researching on

the practices and cultures of diplomacy in early modern South Asia.

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The Pigeons of Trafalgar Square

Every time we emerged from Charing Cross side

We saw the sea of grey

A mass of wings and bobbing heads

Swaying this way and that

Suddenly rising like a wave

Flapping in unison

When we went into the sea

It opened a path for us

Reaching the other side we sat down

And watched for long

The fountain before Nelson’s Column

As the lions kept sentinel

We never fed the pigeons

Though they gave us company

Unconditionally

Marching about our feet gurgling

Years later I ran down the steps one wet Sunday in June

To find Nelson standing alone with his fountain

Even our wooden bench had disappeared

As had my father and the pigeons of Trafalgar Square.

- Naina Dey

Dr. Naina Dey is Associate Professor at Maharaja Manindra Chandra College (University of

Calcutta) and guest lecturer in the P.G. Dept. of English, University of Calcutta. She is a

critic,translator and creative writer. Her books include Macbeth: Critical Essays, Edward the

Second: Critical Studies, Real and Imagined Women: The Feminist Fiction of Virginia Woolf

and Fay Weldon, Representations of Women in George Eliot’s Fiction, Macbeth: Exploring

Genealogies and a book of poems Snapshots from Space and Other Poems. She was awarded

the “Excellence in World Poetry Award 2009” by the International Poets Academy, Chennai

and twice won the Heart Bytes poetry contest organised by Sacred Hearts College, Kochi.

Her recent publication is a translation of Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury’s “Gupi Gain O

Bagha Bain.”

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The Lure of Sunday

Sunday had its own charms in our days of boyhood:

Drawing sessions at the club from eight in the morn,

And from 9:30 Ramayana on TV,

Followed by mickey mouse

And Sherlock Holmes,

Lunch with chicken curry,

Musical band box on the radio

And Bournvita Whiz Quiz show,

Going out with mother to the market in the evening,

Walking past Sports Club Library Hall,

Mistry’s laundry, Joydeb da’s magazines-and-newspaper stall,

Until we came near that tiny toy-shop at that bend of the road,

With its glittering glass marbles, toy guns, board games.

My eyes would remain stuck on those little objects of dream,

And mother would tug at me.

“Would you like to have dosa?”

Knowing well how to divert me, she would ask, smiling,

I would nod, not fully aware of what I was losing and what I was to gain,

Food versus toys is always a confusing problem to work on.

Then there were Sunday nights of a kind,

Father would tell us stories,

Stories of how the dinosaurs disappeared from earth,

Or how Hercules fought against all odds,

Or how the battle of Troy was won through trickery,

And when we finally dozed off

We knew another Sunday would be there for us,

Another day to live differently.

- Moinak Dutta

Born on September 5, 1977, Moinak Dutta has been writing poems and stories from his

school days. He is presently engaged as a teacher of English in a government sponsored

institution. Many of his poems and stories have been published in national and international

anthologies and magazines and also dailies including Madras Courier, The Statesman, World

Peace poetry anthology, Spillwords, Setu, Riding and Writing, The Indian Periodical,

Pangolin Review, Tuck Magazine, Duane's Poetree, Story Mirror, Tell me your story, Nature

Writing, Oddball, Soft Cartel, Diff Truths, Ethos Literary Journal, The Literary Fairy Tales,

Defiant Dreams (a collection of stories on women empowerment published by Readomania,

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New Delhi), Dynami Zois (a selection of short stories), Muffled Moans Unleashed (a special

anthology against women and child abuse & gender violence, published by Authorspress,

New Delhi,), and others. He has written several book reviews and essays and also published

two works of fiction. He blogs at www.theboatsong.blogspot.com.

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“My kinda Sunday.”

Photograph and caption by Sujay Thakur

Sujay Thakur is an observer. He was born to a Bengali family in the foothills of Darjeeling

and food, therefore, naturally became a priority in his life, until he realised that reading could

be fun too. He thus completed his MA in English Literature, and his MPhil in Canadian

Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has taught cultural studies and English

Literature to undergraduate and postgraduate students, at SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi

University. He is presently Assistant Professor at the Department of English, GMVM

College, Calcutta University. Sujay tries his hand at cooking as well, a habit that grew as a

consequence of living alone as an adult in cities like Delhi and Calcutta. He treats his friends

(read family) as people on whom he can test his culinary skills and experiments. Sujay takes

an active interest in stage-acting, having performed in several productions over two decades.

He sees the stage as his oxygen cylinder in this otherwise centrifugal whirlpool of human

civilisation.

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Another Sunday

A pause so uniform

across my days,

I wish it were scantily scattered

so that for once

it would align with my sorrow.

But the pauper that I am,

the only thing I choose,

Is the day to worry

Where:

Furnished with brittle plans

Stemming from hope

Is:

A life that a predator might grope,

Before it looms large

And consumes and chokes

On pauses that they placed to cloak(your sorrow)

But me?

I was raised in the barn.

Rest-

A drop from the brain

Of anxiety,

That falls on my gut

Lights up my being

With the impending doom of the sentence that I serve for 6 suns.

And you choose to call this day, such?

Overcome with-

A loan of a fee

of an overrated degree, binds me like a book

Of monochrome

that had once set me free.

A marriage on the brink

that never really sinks.

Dinner dates, an exhaustion

orders placed with caution.

Those 6 days to reclaim

The bills that can't be tamed.

A mind that has its shed skin in a box,

deserted, under the bed

sleeping on top of it, everyday

I see:

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A calendar, right before I close my eyes

and dream of shirts my size.

- Sagar Kapoor

Sagar Kapoor works in Mumbai as a music composer. He was born and raised in Lucknow,

to which he attribute most of his personality traits.

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Cosmic Love

Surya Namshkar:

a ritual of Sun Salutations involving twelve body postures,

for glowing skin, detoxing, trouble-free menses, and many such uses;

a nostalgic memory of a beautiful teenager,

completely unaware of the process of transmitting high positive energy to benefit herself

in yogic ways,

offering sacred water from a Dakshinavarti Shankh looking at the blazing light.

Over the years the auspiciousness turned into a dormant love affair.

It was her first romance with a red man with three eyes and four arms,

riding on a chariot drawn by seven mares.

She touched the Saharsa-Kirana, a thousand rays in the pouring water

with her half naked body, thighs and breasts visible, standing in a pond

in the backyard of the village home of her ancestors.

She felt the embrace of her lover,

Dinakara, the day-maker,

son of Aditi, the infinite heaven,

and the Vedic sage, Kashyapa, offspring of Dyaus, the infinite sky;

but she was hardly bothered.

The whispering mango orchard, blooming red hibiscus flowers,

plants of tulsi, neem, and peepal, and the floating lilies

surrounding the wetland witnessed

the rare mornings of the secretive Godly affair.

Yet, seriousness engulfed her consciousness one day.

She became jealous when her grandmother narrated the story of the wives of Surya,

the goddess of shadow, Chayya, consort of Bhaskara.

She started hating the dark reflections around her.

Her beloved gradually appeared in her art,

she painted him in blood red colours,

an intense, esoteric form with golden rays of wild affection.

She slept with him in her Italian-marble-floored room,

on her antique Burma-teak four-poster bed,

cuddling the silk pillows, staring at the midnight moon,

amidst the dream state of Tantra,

and in that visualization she felt the psycho-spiritual union.

One Sunday,

in the mystic purple twilight hour,

she died…

Her body was found floating in the pond among a thousand lotus flowers,

her realized soul flew to meet her beloved

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in the emptiness of the radiant cosmic mandala,

the essence of the universe through a symbolism,

search for self unity and completeness,

evolving as a deity, rising as power,

away from the karmic cycle,

liberated in love.

- Santasree Chaudhuri

Santasree Chaudhuri is an award-winning entrepreneur, women's rights activist, poet, poetryfilm-maker,

and a logistics-management consultant. She has appeared on BBC, France 24,

and other channels, and she regularly conducts legal empowerment programs and offers legal

strategic help to victims of social injustice. As a philanthropist, she is involved with different

charitable units that are working for differently-abled persons and blind students. Her first

poetry-film, If They All Met At Pushkin Café, was shown at the 2018 Hyderabad Literary

Festival, and was released in Nandan in 2018. Santasree organizes an annual awards

ceremony to felicitate incredible women from different walks of life in Kolkata and also hosts

the International Women's Short Film Festival in Kolkata. She is a practitioner of higher

Buddhist Philosophy and as an ardent follower of His Holiness the Dalai Lama her life is

dedicated to altruistic activities. A patron of art, culture, and literature she is also the adviser

of Bodhi Tree Monastery Of Art. Her dedication to popularize poetry through visual platform

has been extensively highlighted by media.

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“Cooling off in Tel Aviv on a Sunday.”

Photograph and caption by Brooke Kaufman

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Brooke Kaufman is a retired nurse practitioner. Now she spends her time traveling, not as a

profession but for pleasure. She has a house in Providence, Rhode Island, which is home for

her in many senses, but she also feels at home in several other places. In fact, she has been

living in Providence for a little over two years. Before that she lived in San Francisco for 45

years. Even during that time she often ventured out of her home turf, visiting places around

the world. She spent six months in Tuscany, three months in Cape Town, three months in

India, and many, many months in Paris. She once sailed around the world for three months on

an ocean-liner, stopping in ports like Havana and Vancouver.

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Sunday

You've called me forth,

my Lord!

She thinks,

staring outside the french windows into the green.

Her silver hair mirrors

the silver on her finger.

The bell has tolled

up the hill, behind the warehouse.

But she sits and stares--

now the congregation must stand,

on a Sunday morning.

--Her arms resting on her lap.

Patient; patting a crying baby to sleep.

The bells toll again as

the grey eyes close--

the brown cross at the centre,

candles beneath as she kneels--

Lips opening and closing

like bubbles in a cauldron,

swift, gurgling.

You've called me forth my Lord!

Another bell--

Her head hangs in reverence.

- Pragya Anurag

Pragya Anurag is currently pursuing her MPhil in English literature from Jawaharlal Nehru

University, New Delhi.

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Red Sundays

4 August, 2019: Sunday.

Reconnecting. Connected. Reconnecting. Connected.

Fifteen minute long, interrupted conversation.

The only thing which I remember is your promise of, "I will talk to you later."

16 Sundays since 4 August, 2019.

I hope you can keep your promise soon.

I have often wondered if the man outside the GTB Nagar metro station,

selling Kashmir Fresh Red Apples,

might one day bring to me a secret message,

whispering it in my ear, "जजज-जजजज, जजज जजजज जजजजज जजजज"

With that hope I buy apples from him every Sunday.

Kashmir Fresh Red Apples.

Red, like the shirt you have left behind.

Red, like your pale skin flushed in Kolkata's heat.

Red, like marks on your neck.

Red, like every Sunday ever since.

Red, like your flag.

Red, like the numerous display pictures on Facebook (except yours).

Red, like the revolution.

Red, like Azaadi.

Red, like a Sunday we meet again on.

- Tapaswinee

Tapaswinee is a M.A. student of Gender Studies in Ambedkar University and is interested in

pursuing further research on conflict and peace studies.

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Sunday Mass

Where I stay there's transluscence

of a golden light filtered through

green, bells chime in little nooks

there's bird-song & dancing breeze.

Where I stay there are prayer sites

in every lane, bylane and street;

adorned with green leaves, their

sweet presence a life-force that

breathes. Their branches

Spread out in shade, their embrace

a golden delight, I stand enchanted

as I pass them, morning, evening and

night! I open my eyes in gratitude

I shut them also in praise, their

immense strength and beauty

leaves me in a kind of daze! How

I wonder about those axes

that chop the mighty trunks, break

the young shoots & all that promise

cut, cut, even the buds & traces of grace.

How I wonder what makes us do this..?

What makes us chop our very own,

our good, our great, our saints ...?

Is it a darkening of the soul in search

of ephemeral things, to keep

the ego fed ?

My prayers are with you

O mighty Messiahs,

O heavenly trees,

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My prayers, my gratitude,

Forever...

I shall mingle in your rings

one with your pain, your fortitude.

Until then,

I weep silent tears

& hide them

Dancing in your praise.

- Smeetha Bhoumik

Smeetha Bhoumik is a poet and artist, inspired by nature, old songs and kindness. She is the

founder of Women Empowered-India (WE). WE has poetry at its heart and is a forum for

gender equality. Her poetry features in many literary journals and anthologies, and in a recent

Sahitya Akademi anthology. Her art has been exhibited in ten solo shows and numerous

group exhibitions around the world (notably the Oxford International Art Fair, the Miami Art

Fair, Red Dot Miami, the India Art Festival, and the Barcelona International Art Fair among).

Her main theme of work is the ‘Universe Series’ in which she explores constellations,

galaxies, star-forming regions and mysterious energies in oils and new media. Greatly

influenced by Carl Sagan’s ideas, she believes the world is an interconnected stream of

matter flowing in oneness.

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“A Professor’s Funeral Gathering on a Sunday in Providence.”

Photo and caption by Justin Eli Kahn

Justin Eli Kahn was born in December 1988 in Providence, Rhode Island, during a prolonged

nurses’ strike, and as the song “I’m My Own Grandpa” played on the radio. Justin somehow

graduated from the prestigious Milton Academy, but couldn’t manage his affairs at

Hampshire College for long enough. He mainly blames the spooks and the late great

comedian Bill Hicks for that. A lifelong student of music, Justin is now a failed musician and

songwriter, a fate he attempts to exploit in a busking act (and moderately successful

SoundCloud page) known as “maasss”. Justin is now about to launch a travel vlog and

YouTube channel based on his exploits in India. Justin has lived in the Providence area for

most of his adult life. Since 1 st October 2019, he has been living in Kolkata, India.

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A SUNDAY EVENING IN MUMBAI, 2006

You and I were too poor,

yet we took shelter against the rain

at the Taj Hotel.

You, the ever-adventurous, sang “Macarena”

in the hall in conspiracy with

an indulgent pianist.

The charmed evening led us to

the Sea Lounge, where we sat by the windows

watching waves crash into stones.

The kind young waitress laughed with us;

we were a broke couple who could

afford only two syrupy rose mocktails.

The sea thrashed about under heavy raindrops,

like a woman under her lover’s caresses.

That Sunday, thirteen years ago,

we were young and in love.

It was raining, and the lamps vaporized

into pale gold.

My parents scolded me for coming home late.

Since then, I have waited for thirteen years now.

I have not listened to “Macarena” again.

- Jagari Mukherjee

Jagari Mukherjee holds an MA in English Language and Literature from University of Pune,

and was awarded a gold medal and several prizes by the University for excelling in her

discipline. Her poems and other creative pieces have been published in different venues both

in India and abroad. She is a Best of the Net 2018 nominee, a DAAD scholar from Technical

University, Dresden, Germany, a Bear River alumna, and the winner of the Poeisis Award for

Excellence in Poetry 2019, among other awards. She recently won the Reuel International

Prize For Poetry 2019. Her chapbook Between Pages was published by Cherry-House Press,

Illinois, USA, in June 2019. She is currently pursuing her PhD from Seacom Skills

University, Bolpur, India.

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Journeying Through

I

She sits up

From a nightmarish long sleep;

Needles pricking her soul

To an ultimate shaking grief --

The mounting of losses:

A repertoire of emotions

A collage stretched across the city sky.

A jhumka, a bindi:

Not enough to hide the tired soul she wears to work.

The cycle of waking up and

Falling asleep --

Bogging or nagging?

Eliotesque or merely staccato

She wonders.

Scrapes of wall paper

Rain drops

Dew drops

They don’t put sign boards declaring the dangers of an open manhole anymore!

She won’t eat the wallpaper scrapes.

She might, though, the toxic raindrops.

Did it rain all night?

She patterns soft mud with her bare foot.

Cuts and fangs:

She wonderously analyses

Deeps and oceans:

She practically colours.

Her head is a topsy turvey

Knows neither its path to glory

Nor the route of mourning

II

Then she writes

About the patterns of her mind.

The turns it takes

Just before a gallop

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Or a

Sharp fall

A risk,

Not knowing the landing.

Rushing past life, traffic, voices,

Smells of old songs,

Smoke from burnt children,

Cigarettes.

Street food.

City lights.

Bothered

Yet unstirred.

III

She decides to

Look down from her balcony.

Sees a bike.

Can she own it?

Is it an escape route?

She wonders

No! Not about the bike.

About the ownership of spaces –

Her balcony.

“Coffee?”

This balcony overlooks neither greens, nor does it dry the red-blue-black checkered lungi

she’s grown up seeing hanging out in the sun. Where is home? Where is Baba? “Why am I

here, alone?”

“Coffee?”

Coffee being offered a second time.

“Why am I here, alone?”

IV

She turns back to her study.

Table, strewn with papers she isn’t seeing for the first time.

A pen.

A poem.

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A broken laptop.

The journal with her name etched somewhere in the middle.

The entirety of a Sunday: worn and tired like the acid washed jeans that she’d tossed over to

the person, the cup of whose palm society categorizes as a dustbin.

- Shamayita Sen

Shamayita Sen is a Ph.D. research scholar in the Department of English, University of Delhi.

Her interest in academic research lies in Indian Literature, Modernism, Political Literature

and the theories on body, violence and gender. She is from Kolkata, West Bengal, India,

currently based in Delhi, India.

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Sunday Morning Sketchwalk: A Report

Sunday mornings come after long gruelling days, breathing fresh air into our monotonous

lives, bringing us some time for introspection and self-care. It is that window of space when

one can pursue a passion or a hobby and be able to create something tangible. Many people

tend to become Sunday-movie-goers, some delight in gastronomic adventures, while some

others go out for Sunday-sketching. Sunday urban sketching is an activity where citizens

reconnect with the spaces they inhabit with the help of pen, ink and paper. Every sketch is a

different observation of the cityscape.

Such a Sunday activity is a common sight every month in the lanes and bylanes of Calcutta.

A group of Urban sketchers occupy and mingle within the cultural landscape of the city and

visualise it in unique ways.

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(Sketch by Sneha Singh)


The members of the Heritage Society of the Bhawanipur Education Society College joined

one such sketch-walk organised by Kolkata Architecture Foundation (KAF) on September

30, 2018. The hidden locality of Tollygunge near the Adi Ganga River (Tolly’s Nullah) was

explored that Sunday. The walk was led by Mr. Kinjal Bose, an eminent blogger and quite an

authority on the temples of West Bengal.

The main focus of the walk was the Bawali temple complex, a remnant of the glorious past of

the locality which thrived around the Adi Ganga river. This temple complex was constructed

by the Mondol family of Bawali (whose recently-restored palace in Bawali, West Bengal, is

presently a heritage-homestay, famous for its grandeur and beauty). Now the Adi Ganga river

has shrunk, sedimented in gloom and filth. It looks more like a dirty sewer than a flowing

canal. In such an overgrown locality, where houses jutted out of every nook and cranny,

stands a dilapidated mandir: the Choto Rasbari (Choto: Small; Rash: the Vaishnav festival

associated with the worship of Radha-Krishna; bari: house). This temple is a unique

amalgamation of the Pancha Ratna (Five Pinnacles) and Nava Ratna (Nine Pinnacles) style of

Bengal temple architecture. The marble chequered floor lies in neglect and emits an ethereal

aura.

The Choto Rasbari complex not only has a Radha-Krishna idol but also Shiva temples that

form an enclosed courtyard. The plaques that can be seen outside the temple were laid out by

Pyarilal Mondal and Monimohan Mondal. The construction of the temple was completed in

1847. The temples have a typical Bengal style of architecture which was popular during that

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period. An Antarjali Jatra room tells tales of forgotten and harrowing rituals of the past. The

antarjali jatra was a ritual where the old people were exposed to the tides of the River Ganga

and left by its banks to die a holy death.

The temples are not entirely abandoned now, and every year there is a festival held here

during Janmasthami (the birthday of Lord Krishna according to the Hindu religion) and a

priest also offers 'Naibaidya' (food offerings) to the deities everyday.

As Mr Bose led the session, informing the participants about the history of the temple, many

participants could be seen scribbling away in their sketchbooks. Some children living around

the temple soon joined in the fun as they tried to replicate what the participants were doing.

The priests of the temple welcomed the activity as they talked about the old and glorious days

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when the temple used to be more busy place and was an important landmark in that

neighbourhood.

(Sketch by Sohomdeep Sinha Roy)

At the end of the session there were a variety of sketches made by the participants. The range

of the sketches together brings out the poetry of the space.

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(Sketch by Neena Ghosh)

- Report by Debika Banerji

- Photographs by Abhishek Dhanuk

Debika Banerji is a researcher and a lecturer in geography. She did her M.Phil from

Jawaharlal Nehru Univeristy and has recently completed her Doctoral degree from Visva-

Bharati, Santiniketan, focussing on riverscapes. She is interested in cultural landscapes and

can be seen prowling around Kolkata in order to capture its essence. She has published a

number of articles and book chapters on Kolkata’s cultural identities, identifying them

through various cultural signatures.

Abhishek Dhanuk, Neena Ghosh, and Sneha Singh are undergraduate students at the

Bhawanipur Education Society College.

Sohomdeep Sinha Roy is an architect and urban designer who pursues urban sketching as a

leisurely activity.

Link of Kolkata Architectural Foundation that conducts these Sunday sketch walks:

https://www.kaf.org.in/

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There is no Sunday

There is no Sunday

for the farmer's fallen back

for the paddy field bearing gold

for the fermenting rice wine

There is no Sunday

for the Birsa fighting for his land

for the Government conspiring to claim us

and everything under our feet

There is no Sunday

for contamination of justice

for poems to be born

for blood to be poured into revolutions

There no Sunday

for neonates dying from extreme hunger

for stealing from coal mines and river beds

for the uncertain rotis in migrant labour bazaars

There is no Sunday

for the clouds to bathe in quiet lakes

for the return of long lost love

for the clock that has no hands

Sundays are for those who obey.

- Madhu Raghavendra

Madhu Raghavendra is a poet, and social development practitioner. He is the founder of

Poetry Couture, one of India's largest spoken word poetry initiatives. His poetry movement

has created free spaces for poetry in many cities of India. His debut book of poems, Make Me

Some Love To Eat, has been well received nationwide, and is in its fourth edition. He has read

poetry, and conducted performance poetry workshops at many schools, institutions, and

literary festivals across India. He has been a part of Sahitya Akademi's Young Writers

festival in Jammu. He was a resident artist at Basar Confluence, Arunachal Pradesh’s first

artist residency programme. He currently lives in Guwahati and can be reached at

madhu.raghavendra@gmail.com.

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Mittens on a Cold Sunday Night

my hand fits in his

like the last

forgotten piece of a child's puzzle

found many years after the game had been abandoned

after the child had grown

and had stopped searching for that missing link frenziedly

sometimes

his hand feels like the sheath to my swordshaped heart

at others

it is the icebox keeping my butterscotch skin from melting

if i am next to him

my hand finds his

naturally

quietly

without hesitation (anymore)

without ceremony (anymore)

it is not a need

not a habit even

it just is

my hand in his

like breathing

there is no other way

you do not think about it

you do not delve on it

until that moment when you cannot breathe

when you're gasping for air

like this piece

written as i sit at my table

hand stretched out

unconsciously looking for the unassuming strength of his fingers

carelessly caressing mine

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this is probably what peace means

what being at home is

warm in bed

with food in the fridge

with your hair left uncombed

no questions to answer

nowhere to go in particular

the masks neatly washed, ironed, folded, and put away

for a while

like an unhurried, relaxed sunday afternoon

stretching under a whiskeywarm winter sun

what about monday, though, you ask

we'll see when it is time

for now, it is still sunday

and no matter how cold

i have my mittens on

- Somrita Urni Ganguly

Somrita Urni Ganguly is a professor, poet, and award-winning literary translator. She was

affiliated with Brown University, Rhode Island, as a Fulbright Doctoral Research Fellow. She

is the editor of Quesadilla and Other Adventures: Food Poems (Hawakal Publishers, 2019)

and has translated Dinesh Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Firesongs (BEE Books, 2019), Ashutosh

Nadkar’s Shakuni: Master of the Game (Juggernaut Books, 2019), and Shankarlal Sengupta’s

The Midnight Sun: Love Lyrics and Farewell Songs (2018). Somrita translates from Bengali

and Hindi to English and was selected by the National Centre for Writing, UK, as an

emerging translator in 2016. She was invited as translator-in-residence at Cove Park,

Scotland, in October 2017, and in December 2017 she was invited as poet-in-residence at

Arcs of a Circle, Mumbai, an artistes’ residency organized by the US Consulate in Bombay.

Somrita’s work has been showcased at the 2017 London Book Fair and she has been

published in Asymptote, Words Without Borders, In Other Words, and Trinity College

Dublin’s Journal of Literary Translation, among others. Somrita has taught British literature

to undergraduate and graduate students in Delhi and Calcutta, and has presented research

papers at various national and international conferences in India, Singapore, UK, and USA.

She has fourteen academic publications to her credit and is a recipient of the Jawaharlal

Nehru Memorial Fund Award (2013) and the Sarojini Dutta Memorial Prize (2011).

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Never on a Sunday

Never on a Sunday

She crooned into my adolescent ears

Everyday is not a Sunday

Became suddenly a welcome mantra

There are people for whom

There are no Sundays

No days of rest

The women in my home didn’t have any

Nor did we children

We played all day and

Whined over the homework

And fought for space

There were workers

For whom Sundays were special

They could find employment

When masters were home

Sometimes Sundays were a pain

When fathers were home

Aware of the shortcomings

Of children they tasked all day

Sundays reminded our parents

Of religion and ritual

Look at the Christians

They go once a week to their church

If all was good with the world

Why wasn’t every day a Sunday

Except that the girl crooned

Never on a Sunday

- GJV Prasad

Prof. GJV Prasad discusses life and literature at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi,

where he is Professor of English. His major research interests are Contemporary Theatre,

Indian English Literature, Dalit Writings, Australian Literature, and Translation Theory, and

he has published extensively in these areas. He is also a poet, novelist and translator. His

novel A Clean Breast was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize for best first book from

the Eurasia region in 1994. He is the current editor of JSL, the Journal of the School of

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Language, Literature & Culture Studies, JNU, and Chairperson of the Indian Association for

Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies.

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List of Contributors:

o Abhishek Dhanuk

Calcutta, India

o Brooke Kaufman

Providence, USA

o Debika Banerji

Calcutta, India

o GJV Prasad

Delhi, India

o Jagari Mukherjee

Calcutta, India

o Justin Eli Kahn

Providence, USA

o Madhu Raghavendra

Guwahati, Assam

o Moinak Dutta

Calcutta, India

o Naina Dey

Calcutta, India

o Neena Ghosh

Calcutta, India

o Pragya Anurag

Delhi, India

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o Sagar Kapoor

Bombay, India

o Santasree Chaudhuri

Calcutta, India

o Shamayita Sen

Delhi, India

o Shounak Ghosh

Nashville, USA

o Smeetha Bhoumik

Bombay, India

o Sneha Singh

Calcutta, India

o Sohomdeep Sinha Roy

Calcutta, India

o Somrita Urni Ganguly (Guest Editor)

Calcutta, India

o Sujay Thakur

Calcutta, India

o Tapaswinee

Delhi, India

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