Monday, September 6, 2021

Poems - Bazik Thlana

 

An Eye-Identity

the human eyes are the windows to his soul
a window for looking in, looking out and illumination
the windows to my soul are framed by small and narrow panes;
polite passers-by in Delhi have sometimes asked me if I could see clearly through them
i stare at the mirror and fake a smile:
my eyes tell a different tale.
i wonder if anyone would notice,
i’m hoping someone would
i hope they’d take a peek and see what’s inside

 
i make my way outside
i’m called a Chink- a reference to my eyes i suppose
i take it in stride
i’m still faking that smile but i’m tearing up again
damn these eyes!
did anyone see?
they never do.
nobody peers through the window when they judge it by the panes

 they gaze,
they stare,
they pre-suppose
yet again my entity has been summed up by my eye-dentity

 
a Chink- a flaw in the armour of unified India?
a chink in the chain of uniformity?
i’m taking it back
a Chink- it’s narrow and slanted: it’ll do to let the light in
if only they’d look in.


Presence in Absence

Presence in absence
Absence in Presence
Remnants of old and new
Some lost, some given away
Some abandoned and some outgrown
An attempt to capture and preserve them
In jars and photographs and marks
With brushes and ink
Memories hanging by a thread
The void is not always empty
The missing are not always missed
The missed are not always missing.

 

Bazik Thlana is a Mizo artist who describes himself as "a socially conscious eccentric - owning a conscious refusal of a centrally-defined axis as well as an unconventionality to his practice." He is currently doing his Ph.D. in visual arts at JNU in New Delhi. For further insight into his art and writings, check out his blog here. An Eye-Identity was co-written with a Mizo friend of his, Sallie Chianghnuna, who also lives and works in Delhi. Deep gratitude to Thlana for allowing me to post these here, particularly An Eye-Identity which all North-Easterners can completely relate to.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Weight - Sanga Says

 

There are two presences
The tangible and the intangible
And the weight of either vary
Upon those caught in its gravity
Here in hospitals rooms and corridors
Spilling out to the wailing, breathless streets
To the crematoriums of fire and water
Ashes dissolve into holy rivers
My country, in crimson ember,
Flickers between two presences
And the weight
The weight...

Sanga Says or Lalnunsanga Ralte, has been regularly featured here being one of our most well-known Mizo poets in English. This is his take on the Covid situation in India, the disaster of apocalyptic proportions that has left us all reeling.



Wednesday, May 12, 2021

7 a.m. – Lalrinsangi Nghinglova

7 a.m. 
it has become
a habit of sorts
to wait
with bated breath
for 7 a.m.
The hour that tells you
the number.
Every day at 7 a.m,
DIPR gives out
the statistics
of new positive cases.
As the numbers increase,
I pray every morning,
at 7 a.m.
that very soon,
the hour will tell us
that we have defeated
the virus
with prayers and obedience
and that
7 a.m. will show us
the answer to our
prayers and obedience.



Lalrinsangi Nghinglova is an Assistant Professor in English at Govt. Zirtiri Residential Science College in Aizawl. Married with three children, she is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Mizoram University. While she says she's no poet, these lines are a brilliant snapshot of the apprehension and anxiety that accompany the dreaded hour of 7 in the morning when the latest updates on the Covid situation in Mizoram are announced on social media platforms by the Directorate of Information & Public Relations.


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A Prayer for the Dying, April 2021 - Mimi Pachuau

 

My heart breaks into tiny sharp pieces

When I see the morgue vans queuing for hours

Outside crematoriums…imagine, just imagine

Being one of the drivers

He must wonder if, or when

He may be the cold passenger…

He may not even be lucky enough to make it there

Like so many, the pavement could be his ending.


My skin no longer feels like mine

For there is death in the air

The Indian summers of the past seem mellow

Compared to the heat today,

The very air we now breathe

Is mixed with the smoke from funeral pyres

It is ironic that we breathe the remains

Of those who have died because they couldn’t breathe.

My Delhi is gasping for oxygen but it’s in short supply.


I’ve never felt this small in my life

As I earth these big prayers for my India

For the lakhs of Covid cases found every day

For the thousands dying each day,

For the crumbling healthcare system,

For children going hungry at night,

For our burning forests in the hills,

For our leaders who are overwhelmed,

For some who just don’t seem to care,

For your children who are like a speck of dirt in this enormous country.

 

Kyrie Eleison - Lord, have mercy!

May the ashes from the funeral pyres turn to crown of beauty

May you release waves of healing across this land.

 

Mimi Pachuau wrote this on the 25th April 2021 when the entire world looked on in horror as the Covid situation in India spiralled out of control and we saw picture after picture and video after video of smoking funeral pyres and people dying while gasping for oxygen. For Mimi, Delhi is her second home as she spent several years there, first as an English Honours student at Lady Shri Ram College and later as an MA student at the Delhi School of Economics. She later received a Ph.D. from Mizoram University and had a stint working in the Sociology department at Mizoram University. She very rarely writes poetry. 


Monday, April 26, 2021

Lines on Covid-19 written in the Solitude of Covid-Imposed Lockdown - Ralteite Pa

 

I see God in His omniscience

smiling

to see His beloved wayward children

squabbling over existence and self defined boundaries.

For it was His decree that set in his Eternal immutable will

how far the sea should cover the land

and how far the puny pride of man

should dare to question His sovereignty.

Let man realise his impotence against the most insignificant member of His vast family that sits at His cosmic table daily,

and tremble at the noiseless thunder of applause

praising the just and immutable rule of Him that raises the miniscule head of the nano-cellular virus above the self-ordained authority of the youngest bipedal creature who in his beggarly effort shakes the very house built for him

to his, alas, irrevocable doom!

 

So let all homo sapiens respect this invisible co-denizen of this planet and stay a tolerable distance from his immobile clutches or become the unwilling vehicle of its conquering might!


Ralteite Pa has given me strict instructions on how he wishes his name to be published here. Incognito :) However, I believe I have the freedom to state that this is a departure from the Mizo Writers under 26 feature I've been following over the last few months.   Thank you, Pu Ralteite Pa, for your poetic effort of what you call "more prods to sensitize us: drought, fire, environment crisis, universal morbidity."