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DILLI COVER pages (1)-page-001.1

Anthology of passionate poetries by women under 30 years of age about New Delhi

Editorial by Semeen Ali

Delhi – a city described as home to everyone yet belonging to no one. A city that has the ability to make one feel innumerable emotions simultaneously is a rarity. I came to live in this city ten years ago and never wanted to be a part of it; I wanted to go back home- to that sheltered, protected environment where I had grown up. Several years later I can’t think of living anywhere else. The charm and the spell that it casts on one’s mind is indescribable. The people, the food, the history- it takes years to understand this city and I believe ages to comprehend every nook and corner of this mysterious place. Mysterious, yes that’s the word for this city. It can make you experience different worlds as one moves from one corner to another. The fascinating aspect about the city is that every part is distinct from the rest.

To eulogize the myriad colors of this city and meditate upon them, Dr. Amitabh Mitra came up with the wonderful idea of publishing an anthology, which talked about the city. The interesting angle added by him was that the city be described by women poets who are below the age of 30. We got a tremendous response and it took a lot of time to go through all the submissions and finally select the poets we have featured in this anthology.

It was a delight to go through all the works and each work is distinct and unique in its own way. The fashioning of words in the form of poems that exquisitely describe this city is for you to read and be mesmerized.

We invite you to celebrate with us the city called Dilli!

Semeen Ali

Couple of poems that appear in this book are given below:

Of love in JNU -   Anusha Chandrasekharan

The smell of wet foliage in the oppressive summer evenings bring back memories

Of long-lost summer nights, wet with anticipation, abundant hope and budding love.

The rotting leaves, dry earth, the overburdened night

Pregnant with possibilities of nocturnal walks along the dark alleys of an alma mater

Carefree abandon, the power of the present

The future a yet unfathomed embryo that was hidden in the womb of new discoveries

The winter nights, with the smell of crackling twigs breaking under the heavy dawn

Comfort wrapped in a shawl large enough to embrace two foundling wraiths

Until cruel time broke into ageless, timeless season after season

The pain of parting made way for bitter-sweet memories, salty tears, stinging doubt.

The streets still wind around the silent hostels, the decrepit classrooms and empty canteens

Large meaningless words still spring out of graffiti-covered walls to assault the unprepared stranger

Peacocks still roost on the high trees, their tails dragging them down to meet the red brick walls

But the roads are empty.

They diverged in the woods, were taken to new tomorrows filled with newer possibilities

In the rotting summer heat decays what little remained.

The monsoon showers drown the faint memories.

In another part of the city, a new love blooms.

Growing up in Delhi   -  Aditi Angiras

 Sour lovers, crates of empty beer bottles, poetry on torn newspaper shreds, first butterflies, first heartache, runner-up school trophies, speeding tickets, pocket-money worth boring PVR shows, that green sweater grandma made you when you were 5 and your dog peed on it, junk in your closet, scratched CDs of favorite movies, traffic jams on the Ring Road, sleeping pills, sepia-tinted photographs, bad memories, India Gate candle ceremonies for rape victims, slit wrists, road accidents, cheap hangovers at Paharganj, exam failures, that time when you fell flat on your face playing football and everybody laughed, toffee wrappers from 1990s, fading tattoos, jeans you’ve outgrown, empty jewelry boxes, WWE pin-up posters that make no sense to you now, coffee mugs that leak, changed phone numbers, nights you thought you wouldn’t make it through, shoes spoiled when soaked in mad monsoon rains, cassettes that can’t play music anymore, old cigarettes, friends without faith, hope in torn pockets, upside umbrellas, skins with scars and your confetti of broken hearts.

Let go.

And, come live in those corners of the city that still feel like a heartbeat.

Delhi pm   -  Kathryn Hummel

Delhi’s night stage

starts with a blue screen

and a solo:

the azan               explodes!

into yellow noise

Shadows multiply in headlights,

obnoxious cars spill

dust on sandals.

Against wafts of ganja/oil/piss

follow slender bhais behind.

Song: I am  long    long       long

and cast shadows

The pavement cracks follow

the dark droop over my shoulders

and night adds its weight to my fatigue

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About Amitabh Mitra

Amitabh Mitra
Dr Amitabh Mitra is a surgeon by profession and is based in East London. He is also a well known poet and a painter. Unbreaking The Rainbow - the latest anthology of struggle poems is also his brain child.

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