Voices Within: Anita Nahal

Anita Nahal is an Indian American poet, flash fictionist, children’s writer, and professor. She has three books of poetry, one of flash fictions, four for children and four edited anthologies to her credit. Her third poetry book, What’s wrong with us Kali women? (Kelsay, 0221) has been prescribed as compulsory reading in an elective course on Multicultural Society in the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Anita teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington DC. Anita is the daughter of Sahitya Akademi award winning Indian novelist, Chaman Nahal and educationist, Sudarshna Nahal. More on her at: https://anitanahal.wixsite.com/anitanahal

 

Jaise meri naritav dekhti hai (As my womanhood sees)

Ten monokus


i.

Ran, ran, sprinted, cried, heaved, sighed, rose, fell, rose, laughed, rested. Spilt milk spilt well.

ii.

I’m pure, soft Pashmina, maybe too snug, too perdurable, for some.

iii.

Uncomplicated motherhood; a blessing in my tummy & beyond.

iv.

Romances have been like Kho-Kho, zig zagging around them and me.

v.

I question my hot iron choices sometimes my choices question me.

vi.

Am not anyone's cling nor saran wrap. Linen genes. Breathable.

vii.

"Aliens" mulled. Them-her-history...loose jigsaw puzzles. Fiction, truth, tween.

viii.

Leave em "exotics-wilds" alone. Catching, displaying, eating. Souls watch.

ix

Birth to death, roles roll off tongues neath Peepal trees. Holy & unholy.

x.

Round, up, down, round, turn, back again. Human narcissism. Like Jalebi.



*Pashmina is a careful, time-consuming art of weaving the finest lamb’s wool
*Kho-Kho is a traditional game in India
*Cling and Saran are types of material in which leftovers are wrapped
*Peepal is a huge evergreen tree native to India, leaves of which are considered to have healing elements
*Jalebi: A deep friend dessert in India that is made in a twisted form

 

 

Chupa-Chupi or Chup (Hide and seek or quiet)

Five monokus

 

i.

My silence is a song I hear again & again in my head. Can’t mouth.

ii.

My silence is liquescent of all oceans, spaces, blankness. Can't mouth.

iii

My silence is bad karma from past lives that loves me too much. Can't mouth.

iv.

My silence is a child in your arms. You pretend-swayed, dropped me. Can’t mouth.

v.

Chupa-Chupi, childhood game life wants to play forever. Chup. Can't mouth.

 

*Chupa-Chupi is the Hindi name for the game, hide and seek
*Chup is a Hindi word which means to be quiet

 

 

Achut (untouchability) is an attitude

Five monokus


i.

Your attitude, words, actions, are achut. Clean water shrugs, looks askance.

ii.

No easy seasoning-swallowing your achut ways. Stuck. Cough. Stuck. Choke.

iii.

Achut are no.11 wrinkles above your knotted brows you tried to Botox.

iv.

Covid bulldozed, leveled non and believers. All achut now. Or none.

v.

Armrest of armchair supporters threadbare. Achutpan mind-sets be set.


*Achut in Hindi means untouchable and for centuries in India many have used this word as a derogatory term for those who belong to the artificially constructed lower castes
*Achutpan: Untouchability
*The two lines of wrinkles between brows are called no.11 in popular parlance

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