Poetry, Article Review Issue 1 Nov 2019 Vol 1 WE VIEW You are invited to share your writing, news, ideas. Future issues will have guest editors and curated editions, so keep the creative ink flowing… WE VIEW Editor’s Note WE are delighted to bring you the first issue of WE VIEW this turbulent, yet festive November of ’19, celebrating words that empower and inform! This issue of WE VIEW carries perspectives and ideas that are ‘like a punch in the gut’ in the words of one of our favourite authors - Santosh Bakaya; as she speaks about a poem by gifted poet Anna Sujatha Mathai. Yes, the poem is here. It shows up passages through some strange dark norms that erase and extinguish vulnerable footprints in the sands of time. So here we are, to let our thoughts light up the way, and let our words shine; as we listen to precious authors like Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, who speak truth to power.. Come, bring out your glowing earthen lamps, your quaint dreamy diyas, your candles, your inner light to create beautiful new ways of being Smeetha Bhoumik Chief Editor Reach us at Caption Here weourspace(at) gmail.com

2 Celebration - Kamala Das Poetry Award & Launch of Equiverse Space MM Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, our inspiration, our guiding light, being felicitated by Teesta Dalvi during the inauguration of Women EmpoweredIndia, Sept 12, 2016 m Women Empowered-India (WE) instituted the Kamala Das Poetry Award in 2018, announcing it in the call for submissions to its inaugural anthology ‘Equiverse Space – A Sound Home in Words’ in May 2018. WE are very fortunate to have conferred the inaugural award on our favourite, fabulous, inspiring, gifted poet Anna Sujatha Mathai, who, we only found out later, has not only known Kamala Das well, but has been a good friend of hers, and visited her mother too at home ! This makes us are so happy. In collaboration with All Aboard-Delhi chapter, WE celebrated the first Kamala Das Award ceremony and the launch of its inaugural anthology ' Equiverse Space - A Sound Home in Words' in Delhi at the Kamala Das Centre, hosted by India International Centre on Sept 28, 2018. Revered poet Keki Daruwalla conferred the Kamala Das Poetry Award on beloved poet Anna Sujatha Mathai for her contribution to poetry, her love and endurance in the face of all odds. The beautiful occasion was attended by distinguished guests -poets, writers, poetry lovers, friends, family and well wishers. Anna Sujatha Mathai read three memorable poems by Kamala Das, in her powerful voice that echoes in our hearts. Keki Daruwalla reminisced about their readings together in interesting places and recalled the all-new-format of poetry publications introduced by Rupa circa 90-91, that created much excitement at the time. Sujatha spoke of her friendship with Kamala Das and shared fond memories of visits to her home. Keki da read a poem by Das from an old cherished copy he holds dear. We thank everyone who attended the program. Special thanks to our hosts - the India International Centre. Heartfelt thanks to Keki da, Sujatha. Thanks to the late Ms Premola Ghose and Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, for their blessings, good wishes and support. Thanks to the Mathai family for their warmth and presence Thank you Shuchi for being such a brilliant anchor & compere, as always. Kudos to your invaluable energy and enthusiasm! Many thanks to Kiranjeet Chaturvedi - Founder of 'Writing and Beyond'. Thank you Meenakshi M Singh, award winning writer and Editor of 'Stree, the Shakti'. Thank you Kasturi Patra, Editor - Women's Web. Thank you Ishmeet Nagpal and All Aboard poets, it is a pleasure collaborating with you.Thank you Priyanka for your poetry and also the lovely photographs you took. Thank you Keya Chaturvedi for your beautiful opening song.Thank you Ilakshee Bhuyan Nath for some wonderful photographs.Thank you Kinshuk Gupta and Praniti Gulyani for participating with enthusiasm.Thanks to everybody who shared our joy on the beautiful evening of the September 28.

3 Hysteria HYSTERIA Anna Sujatha Mathai (First published in Life - on my Side of the Street. Sahitya Akademi. 2005.) Yes, for centuries we've been mute. Not that we're dumb, or our tongues had been cut out. Not quite. We could prattle alright: about recipes, about dust, about our neighbour's daughter, about our clothes, secrets about how to stay beautiful, how to stay young. We knew nursery rhymes which we lisped to our children, but never the dark interiors of those stories, those lay shrouded in sleep like the Sleeping Beauty. Yes, we were sleeping beauties, baby dolls, we slept while our children were branded with seals of ownership, our names taken from us, we smiled while others filled in forms for us, others made laws which ruled our lives. Yes. We were dumb, except when we cried, which was often; when we were ravished as young girls, by strange, brutal men, when we bore children, and delivered them in the agony of childbirth. When our husbands our fathers, our brothers and our sons, and even our lovers, if we dared have them, struck us and betrayed us, and sold us and wounded us. We dreamed of gentle hands and loving words,

4 for were we not the soil filled with the ache of longing for the seed, but instead we were coarsely used, our bodies brutalised, our souls numbed. GREAT NEWS : The Sahitya Akademi anthology that had started with WE as its nucleus, is finally here ! Thanks to Sahitya Akademi & Editor – Sudeep Sen , Congratulations poets, friends ! BRE And even our mothers denied us. In the hour of darkness, they cut off our hair, shaved our heads, burnt us on the funeral pyre, burnt us in our homes. Our brothers inherited the earth. We were disinherited of even our smallest shreds of humanity, the day we were born. Our parents cursed us. They educated our brothers, gave them the land and the houses, and the future, and the power and the glory. We were married off, we were mere pieces of property, passed from one family to another, to work and bear children, or. if we didn't bear children, to be cursed for our barenneas. No one looked into our eyes with love. If they had, they'd have heard our souls talk. Instead, all they said was She's hysterical. Women are like that, especially when they menstruate, especially when they stop menstruating, especially as they approach death. Copyright. Anna Sujatha Mathai (First pub in Life - on my Side of the Street. Sahitya Akademi. 2005.)


6 Sreemoyee Piu Kundu Your Feelings This was the second time I was witnessing this, within the same week. Same age group. The man in his late twenties/early thirtees and the woman, younger, maybe, early twenties. The first instance was on Saturday when my mother and baby sister insisted I step out and we grabbed a latte at Starbucks, in a mall close to my home, in the city of my birth. The couple waited for their order, as me and Geru did. The man kept pulling the woman's slim waist and trying to run his fingers callously through her hair, as she blushed shyly, requesting him to leave her be. The man was insistent, patting her buttocks, as the woman gave him a slight nudge. 'Stop behaving like a bloody virgin, yaar...' the man smirked, running his right index finger over her chiselled arm, groping her near her right ear. 'Sabh log dekh rahein hain...' she giggled nervously, perhaps a tad scared of having enraged her beau, clasping her slender fingers, inside his. He shoved her away. your COUNT feelings 'Mera mood nahi hain...' he made a face, staring at the bill, instead. The woman leaned in closer, trying to appease him, as the man, after a few seconds of ignoring her royally, pulled her roughly, kissing her, on her lips. She looked stumped. He, victorious, vain. This evening, as I drank a cup of latte, alone, in a quaint neighbourhood cafe mostly infested with college goers - the new demographic fuelling, I suspect, the mushrooming of hip theme cafes all over my once slow moving and sedated childhood para, Jodhpurpark. Count On the next table, sat a young couple. The man, after he had taken his place, kept fiddling with the woman's bra strap, pulling it, trying to possibly touch her cleavage. The woman, squirmed, kept pushing the food menu towards him. Finally, after a good ten minute of this relentless attempt, she made a excuse, looking positively flushed, rising to go to the washroom. I moved my handbag, trying to make place. Trying to help.

7 Then, just as soon as she arose, the man obnoxiously grabbed her buttocks, slapping her lower back. 'Don't keep me waiting,' he winked suggestively, adding loudly, enough for the waiter who had poured them a glass of water to turn and glance at the woman, 'bhishon kheede peyeche (I am very hungry).' In the past and in my twenties, I was scared of men. Even the men who were and expressed any kind of interest in me. I was petrified of my body. How I would feel. To touch. To taste. To pervade. To hold. Growing up obese and having battled body issues, and never having been told I was beautiful in my childhood and adolescence, where most of the trajectory around my physicality, hovered precariously around my bulging waistline- exercise, diet, PCOD, facial hair, big breasts, upper lip, protruding belly. The fact that every boy I showed any remote affection towards also rejected me, made me something of a burning symbol of unrequited love and longing. But, looking back now, and, a month and a half away from my 42nd birthday, I think, a lot of my inner turmoil and latent anxiety stemmed from the lack of a voice. My own. I let my first boyfriend grope me on our first date. I was nineteen. I had lost a lot of weight. We were watching Titanic. I hated the feeling of his oil slicked fingers slip inside my silk top. I craved love. Instead, I overcompensated, lust. I wanted desperately to fit in. And so, I confused the lines, in-between. At twenty-three, I lost my virginity, having unprotected sex in a seedy Goa motel with a man who promised marriage and kids. I dreamt of being a mother, and, a wife. Being a part of the majority of girls, my age, growing up middle class, seeing a widowed mother move in her with her ageing parents, wanting a different reality, and to bring joy and acceptance to her family. And so, I kept numb even as he refused to use protection. Telling myself that he was good for me. Because he loved me. Recently, a man I was dating briefly made a comment, along the same lines, and finally, I mustered up courage to say. 'I am sorry. I will not risk pregnancy, for your pleasure.' A lot of women I know and I feel, after these two back to back experiences, witnessed firsthand, especially young women in India, silently play along or don't have the courage to put down their foot, firmly, allowing men, even those they love and care for, and are in committed relationship with, to take their bodies, for granted. Being with a man doesn't automatically guarantee him rights to touch, grope, kiss, tantalise, talk dirty, or, kiss and flirty, openly, outrageously. Unless the woman expresses her tacit consent with the above, in public, as much, in private. It is a woman's fundamental and first right.

8 EVERYTHING And she can say no, at any time, even after she may have said yes, or, even halfway, or even before/after that. Actually, the timing is her thing. And, so, if you still chose to be with us, you must train your mind, body and hormones surging to treat us as more than trophies or prizes for your suppressed, raging masculinity and mardangi that sadly, popular culture in India reduces to winning a woman over, chasing her on a motorbike, eve tease her in the name of 'cherkhani and not jhok,' and sing stupid songs to her/apply vermilion on her forehead. The ultimate act of saving. You see, women, our desires aren't that simplistic or superficial. You will have to respect our inertia, moods, viewpoint, lack of interest/vacillation, the pace we want to progress in and where we see the relationship progressing, pull backs. The same also applies with men, and, us. Sex according to me is a sacred act of intimacy. And, dear Indian men, who still marry to lose their virginities, and possess and flaunt a good-looking wife, and, child bearer, and someone to play along with Mummy Papa and the rest of the family, and, earn, and help in the EMI's and homework, please understand, this. We, and, our bodies - our lips, our ears, our necks, our cleavages, our breasts, our navels, our buttocks and our vagina, are much much more than simplistic sexual gratification, as and when and where and how many times you may so wish. Pleasure, needs participation. Equality. And, participation. Equally. And sisters, my twenty-something girlfriends, readers and younger women friends, if a man isn't taking no for an answer. Don't read between the lines or soak yourself in guilt that you turned him away. That he may leave you. Find a prettier, sexier, better partner. Be kind to your voice. Be kind to your mind. Be kind to who you are now. And who you are becoming. Find that small, quivering, at times, under confident, sometimes, practically inaudible voice. That is sometimes called gut instinct. In self help magazines. Find the godamn thing. For yourself. Forever. And when you do, fight for yourself, girl. Always fight for it! Even if you are risking rejection, humiliation, resentment, no sex, heartbreak, sadness, hell, even the possibility of being single. Which is as I can vouch for, may not be easy, but not half as soppy or socially outrageous as it is still made out to be. Or as dysfunctional as being trapped in a loveless/sexless/friendship less marriage or being straddled with kids you never wanted, to begin with. Your feelings mean something. Your feelings are everything. Repeat. Are. Everything.

9 REVIEW Only in Darkness Can You See the Stars Santosh Bakaya Vitasta Publishers This review begins with a feeling that had slowly enveloped me as I started reading the book - a surge of recognition that in my hands was something very precious, its value beyond measure. This is literature at its finest, a fount of inspiration, a narrative that combines historical facts with detailed personal information about one of the greatest leaders of the world, and of the American civil rights movement - Martin Luther King Jr. What I love about the book is its writing style - the easy, affable way in which it uncovers the architecture of a life burgeoning towards greatness, in a progression of ordinary and momentous events. It is inspiring as it takes us through difficult times and the beautiful ones that King lived through with deep appreciation of their underlying message, responding with care. Contemplation and reflection were the hallmarks of his intellect and he deliberated upon choices before embarking on a venture. The book starts with his formative years within a warm learned family, that was not spared the woes of segregation however, as black people in a country defined entirely by whites. The strength and poise with which his elders responded to such treatment laid the foundation for King's unshakeable confidence in later life. Santosh Bakaya describes his childhood, his family and teachers, his school, college, vocation, the people who left a lasting influence on him, the challenges he faced in his struggle for civil rights in America, with a deep understanding that can only come from a place of love. Names and events that inform our collective awareness come together in the flow of this narrative invariably bringing a smile, like meeting someone you know ! And it's because they are held in high regard, adoration even. Rosa Parks of course, (vividly visualised in the bus scene ) but Joan Baez enchanted me as I paused to let her song 'Diamonds & Rust' play in my mind, before heading to the YouTube version. There were many such happy moments of looking up in wonder, pondering and resuming to read. King's nonviolent fight against injustice inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, and winning against grave odds is one of the most inspiring learnings from his life and this book. Anything I did not like ? The fact that it could happily accomodate a hundred more pages...for me it ended too soon. As did the life of one of the greatest architects of equality in the world. 5 I would recommend this book to everyone in search of love, peace and a great read.. Smeetha Bhoumik

10 WE NEWS Book Fairs Equiverse Space – A Sound Home in Words will be featured in two upcoming bookfairs : 1. Kochi International Book Fair (Nov ’19) 2. Delhi International Book Fair (Jan’19) WE Poetry Series WE Poetry Series launched with ‘REVERIE -Into the Light’ by Neha Mishra Jha It’s our entry into CLMP’s Firecracker Award Three Cheers WE ! WE are in ‘Modern English Poetry by Younger Indians’, ed Sudeep Sen Sahitya Akademi

11 Nisha JamVwal shares an important post To quote ‘The results of this study and International Commission of Non Ionization Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) reports showed the people who spend more than 50 minutes a day using a cell phone could have early dementia or other thermal damage due to the burning of glucose in the brain. Many people are not aware of the harmful effects of radiofrequency waves (RF) and their role in cancer and other serious risks. Scientific evidence suggests that cancer is not only linked to mobile phone radiation and that other factors also may be involved in its development. Most mobile operators use from radiofrequency waves in the range up 300 MHz to 3 GHz that can be harmful for human health (1). Many scientific studies have been done on the radiobiological effects of RF waves, and most of them have reported the rare relationship between RF exposure and risks posed by mobile phones on the body in the last 15 years s o u r c e • o u t c o e c t m e • c y c l e e f f https://www.facebook.com/nisha.jamvwal/videos/10156747748536570/UzpfSTUwMzY 0MTU2OTpWSzoyNTUyOTU3NjYxNTkyNDE0/

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13 Book Shelf

14 Translation in India India in Translation Edited by Gjv Prasad https://www.amazon.in/India-Translation-GJV-Prasad/dp/9388414195/ref=pd_sbs_14_img_0/260-22583808611230?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=9388414195&pd_rd_r=38e33460-8cd6-48f3-a7dd78b003d12871&pd_rd_w=o5jGD&pd_rd_wg=xokEK&pf_rd_p=21bbdc4d-873b-48c5-a88a70e643377944&pf_rd_r=PMRCRV6YJTBP5RPQXDMS&psc=1&refRID=PMRCRV6YJTBP5RPQXDMS Ujjain Steffen Horstmann https://www.amazon.com/Ujjain-Steffen-Horstmann/dp/1482888440 Quesadella & Other Adventures – Food Poems Edited by Somrita Urni Ganguly https://www.amazon.com/Quesadilla-Other-Adventures-FoodPoems/dp/938788371X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2HT1OGWC65IT7&keywords=quesadilla+and+other+adventures&qid=1572952302&sprefix=quesadilla%2Ca ps%2C629&sr=8-1 The Gypsy Trail Lily Swarn https://www.amazon.in/Gypsy-Trail-Travels-Travails-Army/dp/B07JKFVMS8 Je Suis L’Autre – Essays & Interrogations Kristina Marie Darling https://www.amazon.com/Je-Suis-LAutre-Essays-Interrogations/dp/1936196646 Only in Darkness Can You See the Stars Santosh Bakaya https://www.vitastapublishing.com/component/virtuemart/shop-store/non-fiction/only-in-darkness-can-you-see-the-stars-martin-luther-king-jrdetail?Itemid=0 Reach us a t weourspace@gmail.com www.womenempoweredindia.net

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