Monday, 25 September 2017

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Vikas Sharma

Believe me or have a bet

To see flying birds in crown colony.
Early in morning, standing in balcony.
Whenever going for a morning walk.
Encounter old friend, you called 'Yak'.
                                       You will feel happy, it is set.
                                       Believe me or have a bet.
Flavour of stories and  jokes in jest.
A huge gathering without any fest.
Your good presence, you can mark.
Sharing  experiences, sitting in park.
                                      You will feel light, it is set.
                                      Believe me or have a bet.
Groups come or alone at the slot.
Running,walking,linger at the spot.
People do exercise and breathe a lot.
It's a good habit, I vote ,you also vote.
                                      You will be in profit , it is set.
                                      Believe me or have a bet.
Kids are energetic, before having the food.
Jejune activities remind me the childhood.
Chuffed,chuckled smile,changes the mood.
Mental relaxation, heart also feels good.
                                      You will be in profit , it is set.
                                      Believe me or have a bet.
Add compassion in your nature.
Take care and save all creature.
Trees for earth are crown jewel.
Best thing,for pollution to expel.

                                      You will be in profit , it is set.
                                      Believe me or have a bet.

Heebies-jeebies for diseases flee away.
Get the natural oxygen,no need to pay.
Planting trees everywhere,we can find.
Greenery all around , gives peace of mind.
                                       You will be in profit,it is set.
                                       Believe me or have a bet.
Lavish on, for needy bags to fill .
No restrain, enjoy the life's thrill.
Do not take sturdy as sneaker.
Be meliorist and a kind speaker.
                                        You will agree,it is set.
                                        Believe me or have a bet.

Poetry 2017 Shortlist, Vidhi Bagadia

Why The Rainbow Had Seven Colours

Five years old
And the clothesline
By my yard
Had been a mystery
I was taught to unravel.
Seven years old
And the payroll
By my fingers
Had been a mystery
I was taught to unravel.

Nine years old
And the flour
And clay of my little brother
Had been a mystery
I was taught to unravel.

Eleven years old
And the stains
On my skirt
Had been a mystery
I was taught to unravel.

Eleven, eleven –
A number so tender,
An age so naive.
My feet digging holes
Into the quicksand of

I travelled,
I complied,
I bore
At the colours of black.

When all I merely had to do
Was ask and unravel the mystery
Of why the rainbow
Had seven colours
And why could not I
Be painted in them.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Varsha Anugraha

That Fateful Day

A sound. That big banging sound.
Chaos. Utter chaos all around.
I suddenly feel a burning sensation
I ignore it and look around in desperation,
She’s lying just a few feet away
Arms folded, eyes closed, let her be alive I pray.
The burning sensation hits me again
That growing incinerating pain.
But my sister is all I can think about
Her name escapes my lips like a shout,
I’m almost there but I stumble and fall
Desperately her name I call,
And that’s when I find the cause to my pain
A burnt leg and a broken window pane,
Are jutting out of my left side
I know Death is certain, the fate I cannot avoid,
Panic , anger, sadness and despair
Threaten to consume me, I gasp for air,
I crawl towards my sister and feel her hand
I feel a faint pulse, as she lies on the land.
I feel relieved to know she’ll grow up into a beautiful girl
With this though I close my eyes, and with it my world…

Poetry 2017 Longlist, V Subhadra

Widow of Pride

Far, far in the glaciers astound
Walking on the white, snowy ground,
His heavy, bulky attire shone
The pride of his country, that he'd worn.
Breathing with a cautious vigil upon his steady, living bastion,
Arms clinging to the massive shoulders
He trudged up and down the assigned region.
The cold, sharp waves slapped hard on his coarse face
Yet, alert stood he, unperturbed of the wind's trace
With his eagle-eyes static, fixed upon the limitless lands,
That is cradled in his country's tenacious hands.
His services for the homeland called for in the day or night
Amidst monstrous mountains where the sun seldom shone bright,
And he went on battling the enemies with all his might,
A seething angst to  relieve his motherland from its sorry plight.
Oblivious to hunger, oblivious to thirst
Oblivious to blood-oozing gashes, all gory and worse,
He dwelled upon his inner vigour to cross the safety wall
Ignorant of the grave dangers that may him befall.
When stood there a child and a weeping, helpless man
Caught in the clutches of the enemy's bloody hand,
A single bullet swept through the undeterred firearm
That clung to his trained hands with a royal charm.
That was the proud man, son of the beloved Mother
Bowing before whom she sought him her significant other.
Her heart swelled, unable to hide that glimpsing pride
To be named the 'missus' of a soldier, far and wide.
And one fine day landed he in a long, sealed casket
The Tri-colour wrapped graciously announcing his dismal death.
The world lauded him; a brave son of the Mother,
Who rescued her timid Children from those sadistic 'Others'.
Bruised, hit, tortured, tormented beyond thought
He smiled through the agony for the lone chance his life brought;
Brave, valiant soldiers were the only salvation
Of this once prosperous country, now a terror-struck nation.
The lady remained rigid by the mighty coffin's side
Harbouring in her heart the memories of a vivid velvety night
When her man left with a promise of waking to a glorious morn
With the country rejoicing the harmony that was to be reborn.
Now the nation breathes in peace
Now his breath is fully ceased
Now she mourns his death in quiet
Now she's a widow clad in white.
A single tear perched in her eye
Refusing to drop down and pass by,
Her heart brimmed with an unknown joy
To have lived a wife of an intrepid sepoy.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Tanusha Shrivastava

True Soulmate

It happened in a past time,
There was a breeze with a little chime.
We met with our strange eyes,
 You were a child and so was I but my heart doesn’t lie.
Today we are big enough to understand our childhood love,
And our love grows somewhere in a cloying heart.
Everyday we live in each other and you understand me with your mesmerising eyes.
You wept my tears and offered your shoulder in a beautiful night,
 And I love the way you coddled me everytime.
We shared our feelings and our relationship took a new turn,
There was a hidden love among the cohurt.
Your prayer protected me from their rebelling mind,
But the time didn’t accepted our feelings.
The Romeo nightmare came true and cohurt separated us that night.
You left me with a heavy heart and our chapter came to an end…
I waited for you to tell what feelings were inside me.
Today wherever are you on this earth I promise,
 I you will stay in my heart till my last breath.
I slept forever in the lap of nature with a belief that in another sunshine,
I will live again in that cherub to complete my love life…

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Syed Mufeed


Gone are the days of slavery- for human, a human.
Human desires have made him its slave,
He becomes weak for desires are brave.
He wakes up with millions of such,
But lie down not fulfilling much.
The worst to be named is desire of fame,
He does all bad and evil for his name.
Loses his identity for being well known,
The lust of desires makes him unknown.
Who remembers once you are gone?
Do some good deeds since you are born.
For good deeds remain before and after,
Even they are useful in the hereafter.
Deep in the valley of desires you are lost,
For sure you have shown your low cost.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Swetha Sadanand

Come Winter

Come winter, her smile will lose its charm
Seemingly unhindered, she will go on her daily prowl unarmed
The fire of the angst accommodated within, an opportunity
Chills and shivers-temporary companions, not so distant the winter dream
Come winter, sleepless nights and tough days are bound to take a toll
Seemingly unhindered, she will walk on the trail set by her deadly foes
Her little ones, too little to know of her bravery
Countable are the days left until they join her quest to reach the winter dream
Come winter, she will fear for lives of her beloved and her own
Her struggles, not new to her kind yet better left unknown
How she survives and helps thrive are skills she will continue to teach
Till the time will come for her to hope that winter was only a scary dream

Poetry 2017 Shortlist, Tanya

To you, my special poison

Let me rip off the sanity badge and come out in the battleground,
Let me soak my hands in the blood that runs in my veins and paint you a picture today,
Take a backseat for once baby; sit still, while I create a piece of art
You’ve had your days and your nights and you did well,
You’ve been able to null my senses and enslaved me for days and nights, without an ounce of doubt
Yes, the smell of victory is a treat of sorts, isn’t it?
But tonight, I am not folding in, tonight; I am not letting you cripple my bones,
Tonight I am not letting my mind lose itself to the chaos of your music
Tonight I am not letting you lift my hand and put it over my lips to stop it from making a sound
that disturbs the noise that identifies with you in my head
Tonight, my love, I am not letting you crawl into my bed and sleep next to me
Tonight, I am high on my flaws, my rage and my demons,
Tonight, I am drowned in myself and I refuse to look up.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Swetha M Surendran

Lost Legacies

Lost are the legacies
That once lit up your life.
Now fasten your memories
to your sealed heart; move on.
What you felt for others
was never nourished by anyone.
So stop pretending you care
and rise up to meet the worse.
Cease your futile efforts to
cross the sea of commitments.
Base your vision of future
to thrive in adversities; to shine.
Embrace the ideals of reality
even if it is bitter to the core.
Never be so transparent that
others could see through you.
Meet me in a world where

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Swathy Krishna R


Open your windows and doors,
Listen to the chirpy birds in the morning,
Never miss the sunset in the evening,
Touch the fine grasses and feel their gentleness.
Get yourself delighted to see-
the smiles of beautiful flowers.
Hear the voices that are lost in the noise.
See the sights that are hidden amidst the chaos.
Look around and notice the surroundings.
We can see different facets of life,
different people and their different ways.
Wipe out the stains of jealousy and selfishness.
Paint your mind’s canvas with the colours of love.
 Always try to feel the warmth of love,
and work to spread the rays of hope.
Stop surfing and start serving.
If we are peaceful, if we are happy,
We can blossom like a flower.
Delighted in the knowledge of peace,
expose the spirit of oneness.
Nurture the divinity embedded by-
The creator in each of us.
Be like the star which-
Never wavers from the steady faith.

Poetry 2017 Longlist Surbhi Grover

The Scars of Beauty

Unmarried and eager
Waiting for her prince
On a white horse.
He did come
But on a bike
With acid in his hands.
Marring her face
He left her wishing
She were less pretty.
For had she been that,
He wouldn’t have had
The need
To conquer.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Sunayna Pal

The Explorer

Suntanned, but happy feet,
Remind me of the traveled street.
Drained, but not empty yet,
The road and me, lost in our duet.

Pedicured feet may stay indoors,
Grass and breeze will heal my sores.
Until open, hungry eyes desire more.
Unchained heart, always ready to soar.

Poetry 2017 Longlist Sumedha Biswas


What is shivering in the woods?
Have you ever stopped to listen
to the silent voices.
The sing, they babble,
They chirp, they laugh.
Have you heard
the voices?
They are flowing in the wind,
You felt it once.
Do you remember?
They once talked to you
when you were alone
sitting at the desk,
wondering about something
that could have been, but isn’t.
Were they not in the impulse,
to provoke you?
Did they not once let your emotions
find beauty and life,
in the pages of your notebook?
Have you lost them?
Those silent voices are scared.
You have cut them apart from your soul,
in the rush for a life
that was never yours.
Yet at present you are living.
Living through the dreadful reality
you created.
You lost yourself.
Somewhere between growing up and childhood memories
you lost the person you used to be.
Just to fit
in the world of ordinary.
Don’t let your uniqueness die
Or you will lose your identity!

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Sukanya Majumdar


Neon street lamps, rain drops, freshly baked nostalgia
I see myself along with you, on rusty railings
Under the coastal moon: the salty breath of
poignant adieus, bringing us together where lovers have kissed.
But, we were not lovers.
Unwelcomed reminisciences, sad movies and yet burnt bridges still remain my
Favourite spot for an evening walk.
Scarred, hence not scared.

Poetry 2017 Featured, Usha Murali,

Curse of Keratoconus

Light bends and dances
The strand of ray prances.
What curse is this?
A light ray, ray no more!
A pillar isn't stable
It sways and wobbles.
What curse is this?
Straight and sturdy, pillars are no more!
Moving goods and the trader
Are bouncing dolls that teeter
What curse is this?
No motion is steady anymore!
But Mom, you are four
One over the other you are more
Showering love and warmth a score.
Your smiles and looks
With its multiplicity, me hooks.
What curse is this?
Nay! It’s a curse no more!
And dad, he is manifold
With more hair than his head could hold.
His stern love oozing from every fold.
His lean frame vanished
A huge stalwart instead is furbished.
What curse is this?
It is not a curse anymore!
She sits near me
Her hair redolent
Her smile resplendent
Her form multiple- transcendent.
My sister- many in one
What curse is this?
It's never a curse, none!
Clouds and skies merge
Multitudes of shades splurge
Moons are what I have
Splashing colours and dancing letters, I brave.
Green of the trees
Flying birds et all
This vision- all boundaries it frees.
A 6/6 vision
Can never make this provision.
What a curse is this?
Keratoconus- a curse it is no more!
Note: Inspired by my son who suffers from keratoconus in his left eye. He was explaining his vision with a highly positive outlook on a balmy evening. He made it appear as if it was amazing to be able to see things as a blur. I know he suffers and yearns for proper vision. I wrote this to portray his problem as well as his spirit.
PS. He is wearing a special lens that gives him better vision now.

Poetry 2017, Thirdprize, Swatilekha Roy


These places you don’t bother to remember,
They miss your indifference.
The stand where you were waiting eagerly for the cab,
And the plot for your bestseller popped up.
The coffee-shop where you met your second love,
And never returned when it didn’t work.
The stall where you bought your first canvas,
And bartered for the showy one, near your apartment.
The day your mind wandered astray from the route, into the woods-
And your phone GPS brought you back to senses.
The park you went with Mum, young enough to be in the pram,
And old enough to be scared when her cardiac arrest came.
The book with shredding covers and unappetizing font;
Which you left there, rotting in the drawer you never open.
Places that miss your sighs and uncertain footsteps-
On their sands of time.

Poetry 2017 Featured Sudhanshu Chopra

Losing Coordinates

We rounded the bedroom corners to
a bright finish. In the depths, I hung

my old shirt, my suede jacket, your scarf
wrapped around its faded shoulders.

Everything seemed to disappear in the
symmetry of the curves, lost in time as

if all the way back to our first date night.
We emptied our heads in the sink before

turning off the lights, and wheeled our
suitcases to the taxi. On arrival, I watched

you unpack, and breathe in the emptiness
of the boxes. Arched, you looked like the

bridge we had crossed over. I saw your little
green hairclip lying precariously where the

piers joined. It had tagged along, hiding in
the black waves. Now a freight ship was coming

through, you set to give passage. I held my
hand very close to the eye, and climbed your

rising back slow-mo on giant fingers. Below,
the colourless sea beat for a familiar splash.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Sravani Singampalli

A Macabre Dream

Fireflies in their perilous eyes
Humongous their bodies
Behemoth in their demeanour
Tempestuous was the wind.
Wine-red were my tears
Crippled were their thoughts
Sprinting through the woods
Grisly things in my vicinity
Jeopardized my life.
Breaking free from monstrosity
Ashen-faced with cold feet
I became downhearted
Lost in the bizarre world.
I tried hard to escape
Those dark unfathomable eyes
My life became a spine-chilling tale
Howling sounds from behind.
Thunder in the sky seemed
Like temper tantrums
Of a frustrated old man.
The Behemoths still chasing
Their teeth like white daggers
Trying to taste
My cherry-red blood
At last clutched in their hands
Their fingers resembling
The pillar-like prop roots
Of a banyan tree.
I screeched hard with pain
My heart beating at the
Speed of a bullet train
I closed my eyes
Praying to god
To save my life
Reassured to discover my reality
As I opened my eyes.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Souvik Kundu

You Don't Know

You don’t know I checked the notification window
each and every time message alarm beeps.
You don’t know my book told me that I was crying
when two drops of water fell on it.
You don’t know I love to sit on a particular bench
where I wrote your name when you were late for class.
You don’t know how spacious it feels under an umbrella
when I walk alone in rainy days.
You don’t know when I order two tea mistakenly
then the shopkeeper gives a sarcastic smile.
You don’t know one of the branches is broken
that I never noticed when I used to sit beside you.
You don’t know I used to write your name
in rain bathed window and erase it so that no one can see.
You don’t know I told you I am upset
not because of you just to see you happy.
You don’t know I spelt the same sentence in different ways
that you commented on facebook and got confused.
You don’t know I smiled when I was walking
beside the café and saw a couple sat on that exact place.
You don’t know I love you more than me
but that I haven’t told since you don’t feel the same.
You don’t know I am writing the poem to you
but you are thinking it’s for somebody else.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Sounak Sinha Biswas,

Growing Up

I remember the days when we were young,
To nursery rhymes we had danced and sung.
We questioned the world’s behavior a lot
Why things looked like what they were not.
Now we’ve grown up and seen the world,
Waiting patiently as its secrets unfurled.
Now we know why it’s like this,
Now we know why there’s no bliss.
But simply knowing is useless,
It’s not the key to happiness.
Now we’re part of the world as well,
Whether it’s good or evil, heaven or hell.
The seasons change seamlessly,
And we wait for that dawn to arrive
When the world would be a ‘better place’
For which we would not have to strive.
The Earth endlessly grows in size,
And we put up more barbed wires,
Building walls instead of bridges,
Pretending to be deaf on hearing gun fires.
So, why is the world like this?
Look anywhere, there is no bliss.
Haven’t we found the answer yet?
It’s in front of you yet impossible to get.

Poetry 2017 Longlist Soumya Swagatika Swain

Rains, Request And A Cup Of Cappuccino

I leaned against the window pane;
The curtains flinched at my touch.
I let the windows fly open,
Like a bird from its golden cage.
The waiting winds gushed in,
And smooched the locks on my temple.
And a little drop of pearl dived into my cappuccino;
An adrenaline rushed, “What was it?”
I peeped outside, and what I saw I couldn’t believe’
The heavens had heard me, my hungry prayers.
I saw the silver threads spinning down,
Freshly plucked from the Crown of Ishtar.
My roses were smiling, wider than ever,
My lilies were dancing, even charming, even gayer.
A sprite has come down, cladding the earth with joy and green,
And lo! Takes birth this welcome ode to rain of mine.
I can hear a million hearts, pounding with joy,
With this soothing drizzle to quench their thirst.
I can hear a million of them singing with gusto,
The heavenly showers, a welcome note.
The rivers are puffing up with delight,
They know that the time has finally come.
They will become the gorgeous ones of the days of young,
And fall into the embracing arms of the ocean once more.
The fields were dry and lifeless corpse alike;
You’ve brought them a new reason to live, a new glee.
You grasped the grief of the parted lovers,
You brought the love messages of the clouds down to fields.
The world had consigned to the mere oblivion,
The croaky baritone of the frog.
But now I can hear the frog croaking unrivalled,
Thanking you for descending on the earth.
For days unending, I had heard the trees mourn and whimper,
The blazing sun had left them to painful decay.
But now I can hear them cheeping welcome songs,
You gave them their virginity and euphoria back.
The summer had sucked out the charisma of the kids,
They had forgotten their cock-a-hoop lives.
But you were kind enough to bless their little prayers,
Now, I can see their paper boats swirling and twirling.
Eyes went wet seeing the miserable farmers,
They felt wretched, their livings at stake.
But you’ve brought a new rainbow into their lives,
They’re shedding, but this time, tears of happiness.
You’ve returned the earth its lost gaiety,
Everyone is merry-making your arrival.
I too welcome you wholeheartedly,
But yes writing about you, my cappuccino has gone cold.
Dear rains, all powerful and strong,
I’ve a last request to make, will you please listen?
There’s a corner of the world that desperately needs you,
Will you please wash away their fear and pain?
Every single heather of Syria is stained with blood,
The flowing rivers have become red.
The land is splashed with the innocent’s amber,
Thousands are crying with agony and are forlorn.
Do let your drops of gems, so soothing like elixir,
Wash away the horrible bloody stains.
Let them wash away all the havoc, hatred,
The fear, agony, anguish, from hearts of people.
I know you can cleanse the poison of hatred,
You can clad the land with the sash of peace and tranquility.
And I swear, the day you stop that storm of violence………..
I shall you dedicate you a hot cup of cappuccino
And proudly sing this welcome ode of mine.

Poetry 2017 Shortlist, Smruti Mahankali,


In a gush of silence from the percussive noise
And the psychedelic lights of the city,
I shut out the world. The only sound –
Like a heartbeat, a wall clock.
My constant companion.
The ticking clock reminds me that nothing stops
For me to catch a breath.
There was a clock then too:
His grandmother’s. Ticking like old clocks do,
It sat there measuring a newfound dampness
In the meeting of thighs.
It must have struck three,
As he brought his lips down on mine.
I grinned at the possibilities,
As my fingers found his neck.
The whispers of confused hopes,
Long lost fantasies, and
Heartbeats like tribal symphonies
For a ritual dance.
The next time I saw him, his arms around her,
I knew that I would plunge
into the jaws of an unknown beast.
That when talons would rip through me
I would know how his hands must have touched,
That with the taste of blood, how
His lips would feel.
And the incessant warm throbbing
At the temples, the planes of my chest,
The rips and tears in time.
I lived in the spaces between the clock hands
Forever balancing tricks of the ticking staffs;
One that thrust forward,
And one that pulled away.
There was never enough space to fit us both
In one time, always too much day
At the end of our moments.
Like every hour in every day,
And every day in the year that I knew him,
we moved. Like pendula
that can never stop, swaying between
the ever parting hands, the lips,
and the colliding of wits.
Until finally,
The seconds slipped,
The minutes slid forward
The hours dragged and bodies
Catapulted into each other.
Spilling into the pores of one another
The crevices of the mind,
Like corridors of prison buildings,
The rivers of blood to quench our thirst,
The pole star propelling south;
A beacon to mark ritual love,
That has, stubbornly, persisted through darker days.
At the edge of time, the universe shattered.
Distant stars leaned closer
to watch. Weightlessness.
In ripples and waves
The skin stretched, and then stitched
Itself back. And then suddenly,
As if remembering gravity,
We fell together:
Two bags of bones,
Assorted organs, and heightened senses.
The dust had been moved,
From the resting clock,
Time had been snatched,
The fabric of the universe torn.
And then it was done.
Like clock-work feet touched ground,
Arms pieced back and stretched,
Rushed, happy whispers
A prelude to bittersweet goodbyes,
Meaningful, far-sighted glances
That have travelled time and distances
Until the last shuffling of feet.
The curtain falls, life goes on on either side;
A constant reminder that time doesn’t wait
For you to catch a breath,
That there is always a clock, ticking, like clocks do.
I sit in quiet now,
The echoes of my journey
Coursing through my veins,
Pushing blood off the edges,
Past the bits of skin we got all mixed up.
I sit in silence, that weighs
Like your body on mine.
But this time, I sit still,
The only movement, that of the clock hands
As one pushes to meet the other.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Simran Raturi


As I try to put my thoughts to rest,
From the battles we performed our best.
I look outside the solemn window,
Showing trees lined in a row.
I stumble upon the peeking moon,
Lying to me, glittering my room.
Betraying the reality of everything,
In gleaming moonlight bathing;
To achieve a surreal beauty,
Stands facing the world before tea.
The clouds try to bring justice,
But fail to the winds accomplice;
To the glorifying dance of the leaves,
In the mountains with gentle breeze.
The daughters of night wide awake,
Charming petals as soft as cake,
Sifting through patterns of cheer and life,
But one day towards death they all strive.
Then they all ask the sky almighty,
To make them eternal like their deity.
But the sky just laughs and rumbles,
And chooses the dawn to crumble
The dreams of the thousand followers,
Who used to be skilled wanderers.
Soon the brighter daughter takes her place
And into the brightness she fades,
Singing a lovely tune for,
The loved ones in night who won the war.

Poetry 2017 Featured, Simran Arora


Crisp, cold and crimson red
Herculean bodies sealed in futility,
Laid on the bed of their homeland,
Absorbing the smell of sweating flowers-
Blossoming, no longer;
Hot autumn shedding of tattered saffron, white and green;
Resignation from ancestral homes for a no mans land;
Shielding oneself from the unnecessary slaughter
By donning immortal courage on mortal skin;
Blood rained,
Falling like tears of estranged lovers;
Molten dusks were swallowed by Chenab and Sutlej,
That sipped the scented wine of final serenity
Before the tumultuous storm;
The sun and the moon
Sobbed in reciprocity;
On the sight of the birth of modern birds,
In this enduring summer,
Birthed to never call their birthplace their own;
The bruised flesh that growled
Was a mere reaction to the noises
That meant to thrust breathing skeletons under their own land
Beneath the opaque manure of the leaves of those left
To fertile the same soil for the first steps of newborn;
Some are offsprings of two countries now;
Words pregnant with anger
and feelings born
In the hour of turmoil;
Just a wall, right?
Between people who look, feel
And smell alike, just like colourful bouquets
With sprayed crystals of plastic poison;
Dividing them stands these intricately handcrafted threads of separation,
'Manufactured' by handcuffing religions, their fatal mythical hymns and the deaf followers-
Who could hear no last gasps of humanity.

Poetry 2017 Shortlist, Shruti Kolambikar

This Delicate Feeling

The spirits of the monks
and the antiques of love
Like wild fire a moment
And a melody the next
A dream that you want to keep on dreaming.
A dream that descends upon you like rain filled clouds on a stormy night,
thundering down, showering you
with endless affections.
Like a curse, lifted by the spirits, or the melody or the union, or just the magic of the night, I know not,
But lifted it was all the same.
The spirits, they lifted me into the air,
above the ground,
floating, but stationary.
Stagnant, not only in space but, also in time.
The spirits left my body,
But I was left floating,
then it dawned upon me,
that it wasn't the spirits that
left me in this state,
but that elating sensation
Didn't make sense to me completely
But I wouldn't bother to engage in logic,
for fear of losing this delicate feeling.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Shreeraksha A Naik


I used to live amidst the wanderers,
the kind that used to get lost.
Lost in their thoughts more often than in the bushes,
the one that never got tired,
tired of the restlessness of their forlorn-ness.
I used to sing along with the tribe,
the kind that created poetry,
poetry on beauty, beauty in the scars on the face.
The ones that knew that fire told stories,
stories of how dearly the moon loved the sun.
I used to listen to the story tellers,
the kind that knew that stories lived,
Lived with their struggles and legacies.
The ones that never demurred to share their secrets,
secrets pertaining to the existence of the philosopher's stone.
I used to be with these tribes of wanderers and storytellers,
The kind that believed in goodness,
Goodness love brought to this place.
The ones that knew how to live,
Live amidst the rumbles of the disguised souls.

Poetry 2017 Firstprize Shloka Shankar

to consider (v.)

Art is busied in considering.
No sooner done,                          
I wish I could—I wish I could—
(speak the rest).
A trap, beautiful.
But make amends;
far from being a diamond,
far from being an answer,
a refusal.
Source: An erasure culled out from Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper 

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Shivika Aggrawal,

Marriage- A Conscious Choice Or Compulsion?
She got twenty two and there was responsibility on her parents to get her married
To a boy who could take care of her
This idea of marriage for her was still a blur
She was asked to lose weight, apply face packs that could make her fairer and learn to cook delicacies
A life after marriage was narrated to her like that of a world of fairies
She wanted to work for bigger goals, live her own dreams on her own terms and go ahead in life
But because she has crossed her eligible age of marriage she was preached how to be a good wife
She wasn’t told that in one or two years she will be asked to have a baby
She will not be treated as a girl, but will be expected to behave, to be mature as a woman and grow up as a lady
I am not saying that one shouldn’t marry
But making it a compulsion often makes marriage a heavy baggage to carry

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Shivani Dua

To put up a smile

How difficult it is to put up a smile!
When griefs and sorrows keep on dropping in a pile,
When eyes well up in tears
Who likes to hear the advice of seers?
We twist and turn, writhe and burn
Burn in the glowing embers of pain
Waiting for some miracle- a drop of rain,
We forget to smile, even for a while
To be happy or not to be is totally our choice,
There are people, amidst griefs who dare to rejoice
They are armed with power to turn negativity to positivity,
They are normal human beings not super power or a deity,
So what’s wrong my dears?
Stand up and give three cheers,
Put up a smile, beam with radiance
Create a positive aura, a happy ambience
And see the world with different eyes
No more tears, no more sighs
But with faith in God, confidence and grit
Challenges, struggles and sorrows we will hit
Standing tall like soldiers in the LIFE’S BATTLE
We will not collapse but prove our mettle.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Shivam Gupta,


​A long 'C' track,
One sideways, are the beautiful roads engaged with cars I only dreamt of
And the Other way down, is the admirable seashore loaded with peaceful streams
And in between
Cold Air blowing with layers,
I was vacillating to stay on track or
to move down the stones to water,
In this indecisiveness,
Something was there to attract me
Was it that normal water?
Producing sweet redolence like strong alcohol,or
Was it simple streams?
Adding new layers to my faintness,or
Was it your face?
Painted on every stones kept over there,or
Was it that queen's necklace?
Saying me to go down and
Drown into your deep alcoholic eyes.
That day,
Staying by the shore whole night,
Staring at you in stones where you weren't anymore..

Poetry 2017 Featured, Sayan Basak

Funeral of The Day

Patterns of the wind,
shifting in the pale floor;
the soft, careless hands of twilight's color
caressing the sands,
gracefully crafting hills and dells;
while the blue tongue of the sea
surges forward.
Lady Moon
awaits the death of Sun;
Her feathery feet
treading on the cool sands-
her snow-white raiment,
rippling with moonlight-pearls,
glowing with faerie light.
The night's black ink
caught in the prism of her eyes,
set in the shadows of her milky brow
between her elegant locks;
the dark coals
flickering across the blue heavens,
her dusky realm tonight;
Nature's palette-
smeared with swirling spectrums,
the dispersing crimson hues, the blood
of the tangerine Sun,
sinking slowly
into hissing waters.
The bleeding waves
slapping across the face of their slayer,
wombing across its fires.
Smoke rises from the red sea,
as water battles with flame.
The fleeting light is sucked
from every bloom,
and flickering candle,
and sealed in the chest of sea.
The funeral of the day
marches down the sea
to honeycombs in deeps;
and into Nature's arms, the Sun
returns once more to sleep.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Sanya Darakhshan Kishwar

I Too Have Rights

I am a scavenger
Rather, a manual one
I clean the sewage
The septic, and your garbage
Month to month, week to week
I am paid; the pennies are thrown
I am called; by words
My name is not known
Hey you! You listen!
They never spoke soft
But I realised that I too have rights
To live with dignity
And lead happily my life
Will you give me what I deserve
Will you give me what I got by birth?
My life, my dignity, my pride
They now say, there was a scavenger
There was a time, his hands used to carry
Loads of waste and garbage
Now, this is a time, he too has
Books in his hands
He carries with him a pen
Mightier than swords
His silent lips now have words
Words of self-respect, words of dignity…

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Sanjeevini Surendran,


Deep inside every human,
Is  something that makes him humane.
It is a village of small size,
But to complete a man, it  will suffice.
“Qualities” is its name,
Widespread is its fame.
It was created when man was.
In it dwelled important people-good qualities.
There was learned sensitivity,
There was mighty courage,
There was gratitude, the man with the best attitude.
There was beautiful love
And pretty forgiveness.
With these people around,
A  traveller called “Happiness” lived in peace.
So, that human was happy.
But as he grew,
There was a transformation.
It was the invasion.
A  huge army invaded the settlement.
It was the army of bad qualities.
Uneducated  insensitivity defeated  sensitivity.
Courage lost against evil fear.
Gratitude was defeated by ungratefulness.
Love lost against hideous hatred.
Forgiveness was defeated by mercilessness.
Happiness left.
Sadness, another traveller came in.
The bad outnumbered the good,
So they defeated the good.
The good slaved over the bad.
That  human became ruined,
That human became sad.
That human became inhumane.
If the good defeat the bad,
Happiness will return, sandness will leave.
Human will turn humane.

Poetry 2017 Shortlist, Samreen Kaur Sandhu

The Talk

Living in oblivion
Darkness deluges the reasoning.
From the deepest pit of despair
Consuming the remnants.
Suddenly a melody breaks melancholy
Sun breaking through cloudy shroud.
My sweet mother's voice rings
Lulling, asking my well being
Not a note breaks out of my chocked throat.
Understanding breeze rushes past
Breaking the reverie
A strangled cry waiting to come out
Rather a small symphony
A timid reply comes out.
She understands
And it is enough.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Samir Kumar

My Inspiration

with you
I can fly whole sky
without you
I'm a flightless bird.
You delineated me
Actualised me
determined my dreams.
You elevated me
in times of pessimism.
You perceived me
to glance
virtue of people
make grace on
deprived ,exploited poors.
You always
admired me
for positive works
scolded me for
You are the only
whom i can
fell in my heart.
My Inspiration
My mother.

Poetry 2017 Featured Salman Sowdagar


Bearing no foliage
Let alone fruits
There it stood
From ages
That big old wood
In a corner of the park.
An oak and maple
And the likes do shed
But only for a time
Unlike that big old wood
Which takes all the rain and sun
From ages
And still stands heedless
Of the stroller's want
For shade.
No wonder no eye it draws
Save the lover's
Which seeks in its vastness
To bring forth emotions
Raw and romantic
And those that invoke strife.
But had only that lad
Who meets his beloved under the tree
Every eve
Done something special for her
On her anniversaire
She would be more than pleased
And not walk out the park
Stamping her feet in disgust
Leaving alone the lad
In company of the big old wood.
The lad followed suit
But only to return
In the dead of night
With a paper in left hand
And a white chalk in right
To write
On the brown bole
Of the thick tree
The verses he had inked
For his sweetheart
Which talked of love
That filled his heart.
The morning
That followed the night
Saw the lovers reunite
For the lad had inscribed
Poetry on a tree
Which seemed to the girl's eye
Strikingly beautiful.
But had they once looked up
Before leaving the park
To the big old wood
They would see
On the topmost bough
Of the big old wood
In all its glory
A fresh bud.
And had they once looked up
Before leaving the park
To the big old wood
They would know
Poetry revives not only love
But also life.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Sakul Garg


I went to the party, Mom.
I remembered what you said,
You told me not to drink-
So, I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside.
The way you told to follow, I would.
I didn’t take even a sip,
Even though, the others said I should.
I know, I did the right thing-
Because you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending,
As everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car,
I knew, I had to get home in one piece-
Because of the way you told me,
With so much care and peace.
I started to drive but,
As I came out into the road,
The other car didn’t see me
And hit me like a load.
I lay here on the pavement.
I hear the policeman say-
“The other guy is drunk”.
And now, I am the one who will pay.
I am lying here dying-
I wish you could reach here soon.
How could this happen to me?
My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me,
And most of it is mine.
I hear the doctor say-
I will die in a short time.
I just want to tell you, Mom-
I swear, I did not drink.
They were the others who drank,
As they did not even think.
He was probably at the same party as I,
The only difference is- “He drank and I will die”.
The guy who hit me is walking away-
And I don’t think it’s fair.
I am lying here dying,
And all he can do is to stare.
My breath is getting shorter,
I am becoming very scared-
Please don’t cry for me, Mom.
Whenever I needed you, you were always there.
Tell my brother not to cry,
Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I leave for heaven,
Put “GOOD SON” on my grave.
Why do people drink, Mom?
It can ruin their whole life-
Drinking and Driving is just like
Walking on the edge of knife.
Someone should have told him, Mom-
Not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him,
I would have been still alive.

Poetry 2017 Longlist Sajeev Kumar

Halo of Spring

When two hearts spend
All their free moments together
When their entities reach
The height of a child's innocence
When they leave the mysterious doors of secrecy
Wide open for each other
When tears roll down their cheeks
In order to express the culmination of joy
When they feel sad at night's arrival
Because they have to part
When they wake up morning in happy thought
That they can be together again
When their eyes speak volumes to each other
And forget the sight of beingness
When only the hiding silent breeze can hear
The whispering of their hearts
When they excel in simplicity
And forget the craft of perfection
When they dream in a halo of spring
Even when they walk hand in hand in hot summer
When each glance becomes a celebration
And colours their minds with rainbows
When enchanting smiles dawn in their solitude
Amidst the uninteresting pressure of existence
When they worship each other
Like a little girl's prayer to God
When each simply adores everything related to the other
Even the small pebbles on the path lead to their dwellings
When their souls embrace each other
With the sanctity of moonlight
When they respect each other's thoughts
Without a blink of doubt in their eyes
When they sway freely among the multitude
Who are engrossed in mending their masks
When they share themselves to nature
Even to a single leaf of grass
     My dear daughter...
     Love dances between them.

Poetry 2017 Longlist Saiprasanna Bellur

Take My Hand

Take my hand and lead me through
Meandering roads of Life
Adorned by luring prizes strewn
Over these roads of strife!
It’s dark at times and at others
The brightness I can’t stand!
And when I’m alone and forlorn here,
Why didn’t You take my hand?
My senses tell of sights and sounds
But I don’t seem to know the way.
My world of dreams seems far ahead
Will it see the light of day?
Take my hand and my spirit guide
Guard me in your eternal clasp;
I see dark clouds of unreason -
Of learnings I cannot grasp.
Take my hand and erase those lines -
They seem to betray my mind.
I cannot tell a lie from the truth,
Nor loving from unkind!
A seed that grows into forestry
Soaks in all it can –
The wet earth, Light and all that air -
Anything that belongs in the Plan.
And then the misled, crafty ones
Begin to weed through those woods
The little seed that tried to grow
Seemed thwarted underneath their hoods.
Take my hand and show me light
My flowers and leaves will bear
Great fruit that nurture eternity,
That offer a spirit rare.
I am the seed that forlorn grew
My trees to Your woods belong.
The crafty weeds need no amnesty.
They too, Your Mighty woods throng?
Will You take my hand this moment, now,
And show them who has won?
I am closer to the prize of “All You Give”
While they’ll be dusted and done!

Poetry 2017 Longlist Ruchika Pahwa

The Silence of Words

While some words were busy with their chatter
A strong wave caused a splatter
Those poor words dissolved their matter
And went down to finally scatter
They were led out of their rhyming world
Where they delightfully swirled
Nothing was present to make it whirled
Except a slight emotion that hurled and hurled
To push them to a new destination
That randomized their entire creation
And made them lose their vibration
So nothing was left by the name of elation
Words went into deep silence
But it was not their shyness
From forming another alliance
They just wanted a ray of guidance
While they were left bereaved
And while they felt deprived
A new meaning was derived
For which they had always strived
Sunshine came with a new sensation
That bound them in a fresh formation
Their long silence turned into conversation
And words started to walk back toward veneration

Poetry 2017 Shortlist Romila Chitturi

The Typewriter

In the auction yesterday I got my hands on an old typewriter;
Someone was giving it away to run away from reminiscences of it.
All the letters it must have written,
I am sure, have told some striking love stories.
For me these typewriters are more passionate
Than the leather bound pricey journals and blue pens.
But there is a little bit of something about my cursive script that feels like
I’m just writing all my unsent loving words from my wrist to you and to me
That is a piece of my soul which I can offer to you.

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Ridham Jain

Where I Learn…
Where sun shines with gentle bright,
And blooming flowers come to sight;
Where day begins with an alarm,
And cute little faces glow with charm;
Where books open a colourful field,
And the keeper checks his yield;
Where noise becomes a musical sound,
And children move round-around;
Where blows a wind of art and skill,
And one enjoys the sporting drill;
Where one reads what legends wrote,
And creates his own magical note;
Where teachers are our mothers,
And fellows, our sisters and brothers;
Where there is no place for fears,
And everyone cries those happy tears;
Where life goes on a wonder ride,
That’s my school, that’s my pride!

Poetry 2017 Shortlist R G Kaimal


A gentle breeze blew into the room.
It ruffled the leaves and the
flowers in the garden;
her hair, as well.
She smiled, reminded of
her father’s fond gesture.
The breeze strolled through her house
toying with the curtains.
It turned the fans the other way.
The flowers in the vases danced like
those in the garden.
Then, a woodpecker began to call
punctuating the silence
with exclamation marks.
She walked to the window.
A smile adorned her face.
She located the bird
perched in the tree outside.
It was close enough for her
to see the graceful movement of its head
in time to its call.
She settled with some tea on the balcony.
In the distance
there were green fields massaging
her eyes.
Beyond the fields
there was the beginning of
a forest – a line of tall trees
that seemed like sentinels
guarding a secret beyond.
She did not want to know the secret.
She felt that, sometimes,
the unknown was the
cheese on the pizza.
It was Springtime out
in the world,
in her garden,
in her home and
in her heart as well.

Poetry 2017 Featured Reshma Ramesh

Small Hands of Sivakashi

They say that even birds that do not fly have wings
And Jasmines open like umbrellas in the rain,
In such a world, in all its fairness tiny hands of Sivakasi
 Shining in silver like jari on Amma’s pattu sari
Rolling, rubbing, dipping aluminum onto paper
 Sulphur filled nostrils, mercury parched scalp
Are building a legacy of blushing cheeks and gun powder
Rotting like a bad fruit in dark windowless factories
The small hands of Sivakasi are busy at work
Tying and untying bijlis of hope,
But these things happen every other day
Somewhere in the corner we know that they exist
And there are people who for money
Scald children with all their consciousness
And yet we drive to the open ground on Diwali
And buy boxes of fire crackers, especially for our
Children so that back home together all of us can
Burn these small hands of Sivakasi until
The sky lights up and the earth below is filled
With ashes and they the small hands of Sivakasi
Are buried with their mouth open.

Poetry 2017 Featured Rebecca Vedavathy

An Evening Bus
No! The men who held the handlebar with one hand
didn’t grab my callipygian behind stuffed in a figure hugging
pair of blue jeans, your mother warned me against wearing.
No! They did not grope my double D cup breasts in their sweaty
after-work palms slicing their hands into my fleshy softness
to hustle a taste.
No! They did not hungrily graze their bodies against my
size 12 figure to feel a rush of blood in their
sleazy leather buckled pants.
What they did instead was stand piously away from me
and waited
lurked in cardinal longing for the chart busting  music to change tune,
for the brake pedals to be punctuated
with just the right period
for Newton’s inertia to take charge
for earth’s balance to steer into the algebraic RHS
a syntactic shift
where the I in my consent became theirs to give
where they became the subject to my verb’s accord
so that jiggling their gastric bellies into my steatopygic ass
was acceptable
running their obese eyes down my t-shirt crammed with two bouncing breasts
was consequence
jerking in to accidently stroke my small concave back
was reflex.
All divine design to violate my body
where assent takes the shape of a guillotined (wo)man
and my muffled voice
caught in the crosshairs
always religiously imploring
intent or accident
intent or accident?

Poetry 2017 Longlist Rajni Rethesh


I lay on the naked bed, the whole day and the whole night,
Only the stark ceiling was a witness to my plight.
The ruthless fan circled round and round,
Mocking at the vile thoughts brewing in my mind.
Tickling at the mysterious feeling wrenching my heart.
A willowy bayonet, standing picture perfect in the magazine,
Seemed to titillate my unnerved nerves.
The acrid liquid, my domestic splattered across the room,
Satiated my thirst for life.
Ways different and varied, I connived to visit the land, cold and frozen.
Suddenly my gloomy glare fell on  the bud, lively and sprightly, on my window sill,
Swaying and dancing to mushroom in the seasons unknown and gruelling.
Contrite,  I sprang up from my bed abash,
Deciding to prance the pasture and desert of life.
With vigour and passion.

Poetry 2017 Longlist Rahul Chhabra

Come to me
When nobody is there, come to me,
If any day you fear, come to me.
Though you can carry all the weight,
If it’s hard to bear, come to me.
The souls are caged, emotions buried,
If you find it unfair, come to me.
The aims are high, the roads dusky,
If it’s difficult to glare, come to me.
The world might act blind to your worries,
If you want to share, come to me.
I wish you friends, throughout your life,
But if nobody is there, come to me.

Poetry 2017 Longlist Purva Gautam

Magic of Night Sky

The stars shine bright
Just like a worthy light
They always keep on twinkling
And make the people stop blinking
As they lay motionless
Looking at the stars afresh
The stars look blue and white
And soon become a friendly sight
Here comes the moon
Which children love more than a balloon
It astonishes people with brightness
And forms a famous sight to confess
It shows many shapes and colours
Which are often researched by scholars
Day and night it goes and comes
And children enjoy it with complete fun
Wonderful meteors drop everyday
Over a hill, house or hay
Children call it a shooting star
And try to catch it but it’s very far
It looks like a broken diamond
But cannot be bought by using fund
Every meteor has a head and tail
Which cannot be bought in any sale
This magical night sky
Is looked up by every girl and guy
Every night before sleep
People wish to have its dream
The nocturnals add up to its beauty
But sometimes make it spooky
Every night it’s more beautiful than ever
I wish I could keep it admiring forever...

Poetry 2017 Longlist Pratiksha Patil


My phantom past is
Beating me and kicking me
The nightmares that I get
When I sleep it takes me to the terrible hell!
Being jealous of present, it is making me to feel frustrated
Hitting my head constantly,
Making my heart beat faster than it could beat
By increasing my blood pressure
Unnecessarily wasting my energy
And lowering my potential energy
When my energy is lowered I have to work harder and harder!
So that I can move further
But it holds my hand and prevents me from moving further
Making my life full of sufferings and sorrow
And showing me the ugly face of tomorrow
But future is waiting for me!
Showing me the ray of hope through a small hole
In my darkest room
I don’t want to leave that glittering golden ray!
Showing me correct way
So, I decided to put on my all the energy
Not only physical but also my strength
For a moment it seems too painful
Alas! I get hurt in this process
But this pain was not greater than my dream
So I forgets myself and just moves towards my dream
Then at last I realised that I did it
Yes!!  I did it for my dream
And for a while I am flying like a bird with a smile!

Poetry 2017 Longlist Pratibha Porwal


Mother is a gift of GOD,
Give respect and worship as LORD.
Mothers need no monuments of granite to commemorate them,
But she needs a home to make it heaven.
She lives in everyone’s heart,
She is the whole world and we are its part.
Mother’s love is like a fountain,
Quenches the thirst of earth and mountain.
Oh! Mumma, you always bright,
Because you give us life.
Mumma! You are my angel,
I wish, you always twinkle....

Poetry 2017 Longlist Pratibha Jha

Never Will You Know My Dilemmas                                            

In my silences lies
The loudest echo of my voice
Every time I depart from you
All I want to clench your hand tightly
If only I could stop you
I have a slippery hand and overwhelming emotion
Mastered in wrong timings
Scared with the thought of betrayal
I wonder I could ever tell you
I skipped a beat in your arm
In those silences intruding the chaos of new saga
In my mind , heart and soul
A new insecurity of loosing you
I prefer to close another love story
Before the beginning of it…

Poetry 2017 Longlist, Prashant Rajpoot

Oh, I Wish The World Rebel

Oh, I wish the world rebel
 To recast itself and soothe the swell
 Induce all to induct humanity
 Be Philanthropist and spread serenity
 Oh I wish the world rebel
The fanatic terrorists insipid the world
 Now, the innocent blood start a surge
 Whether it is Syria’s, Africa’s or Afghan’s mourn,
Adhere the adrift places and let the peace born
Let the humanity’s flag furl in the world
 Oh I wish the world rebel
Oh, the greedy world rebuff the money and power
 Reckon your bad deeds & check the blood’s shower
You are proceeding inattentively standing at the bay
Not aware of the almighty’s doomsday
Oh dears, vitalize the earth rather move into darker
 Oh, I wish the world rebel

Poetry 2017 Longlist Pranjali Singh

Never Say "Never"

Never lose your heart
Play your life's part
Move towards destination
In life's every situation
In grief or in sorrow
On roads of wide or narrow
Look (hold on)  to a bright tomorrow
You will find what you want
Never say "never"," no", or "can't"
You may get what you seek
You can climb the mountain's peak
There will be impediment and hindrance
Clear them off, with your self confidence
Nothing in the world is impregnable
Remember, with Jesus in your heart everything is possible.