Two Mothers



Mother’s Day: An ode to Parvathy and Kamala. My mother, my grandmother.

Two Mothers

Once upon a time
There lived two mothers
Gentle and petite like a flower
Robust and dense like an oak
Who never feared the winds
Nor any violent storms

Like mother earth
Their still beauty was
A soothing balm
For our minds disturbed
A lullaby song that
Let us rest undisturbed

Bathed in their golden light
Young lives prospered
Like pastures blooming
In the warmth of sunlight
Like birds chirping
On those fruity shady trees

The wonder women
Needed no costumes
Nor any drama
To slay those evil doers
Or rescue the perishing

The sea of life
was their playground
Tucking up their sarees
Bare fisted and clenched teeth
They indulged in a duel
With crashing waves

The two mothers
Now lie in peace
Deep in the brook
Making Merry
In the confluence
Of Tunga Bhadra & Kavery

© Anita Desai, 13.5.2018


‘Epileptic’- Celebrating India – Love Without Borders

‘Celebrating India – Love Without Borders’ is an Anthology of Prose & Poetry, published by Nivasini Publishers in January 2015.

Anita Desai’s short story ‘Epileptic’ has been featured in this anthology that brings together budding and noted writers across different states of India.

‘Epileptic’ is the story of two young people from varying religious backgrounds who come together breaking through the barriers of social parameters. The author narrates the tale of Adwita and Jared from the time they first meet as adolescents, fall in love, separate and meet again as young adults. The story is unusual as it does not reflect on religious differences but highlights other social pressures that hinder acceptance of love.

The proceeds from the sale of books have been donated to Glow Tide, an organisation that feeds healthy food to the orphans.

The book is available on



‘क’ से कविता !


“अकेले बैठ कर कविताएँ पढने और साथियों के साथ पढने में अंतर तो है, और दोनों के अपने सुख भी हैं |’ क से कविता’ एक मौका है साथ पढने-सुनाने का. ‘क’ से कविता के बृहत् परिवार का ज़िक्र केवल शब्दों तक नहीं सिमटा है|इसमें रंग भी बिखरे हैं | यूँ कहें कि रंग केवल बिखरे नहीं, बल्कि समेटे गए हैं शब्दों की परिधि में|” – ‘क’ से कविता-हैदराबाद.

I first participated in the fourth gathering of ‘क’ से कविता held at IIIT Hyderabad in November 2016. It was an evening of reading ghazals and nazms of the famous shayar Makhdoom Mohiuddin, a name I had heard as a teenager, and whose ghazal was one of my favorites from the film ‘Bazar’. My envy, heart warmingly so, knew no bounds when I heard a soulful rendition of the same song, ‘Phir Chidi Raat Baat Phoolon Ki’ from one of the talented participants, Gursharan.

Minakshi Chaudhary, Praveen Pranav and Sudarshan Vig, the trio that came together through mutual love of poetry, first laid the foundation of  ‘क’ से कविता-Hyderabad, dedicated to reading poetry from old classics. That Hindi and Urdu are dying languages is a topic of much debate. This noble initiative revives not just some old poet, poem or ghazal, but nourishes and re-introduces the beauty of these Indian languages to the contemporary generation too. I have enjoyed reciting some poems purely for the joy of pronouncing fine vocabulary from the days of yore 🙂 .

‘क’ से कविता is not just a boring session of reading poems. Each session is meticulously planned by first choosing a poet of the month, followed by extensive research on the life of the Hindi poet or Urdu shayar. Participants then select a composition of their choice from the writers’ collection and recite on the day of the baithak. There is an occasional tussle when we end up choosing the same poem 🙂 . Well, the early bird gets the worm. I recall, Sanyog Thakur once mentioned he was keen to read a poem on ‘farmers’ and I had stolen the golden chance from him 🙂 Sorry Sanyog ji 🙂 , I hope you beat me sometime soon to a lyrical piece.

The highlight of the evening is when the host regales us with interesting anecdotes from the life of the poet. Driven by passion, it is not surprising that they are able to dig out minute details on the life and times of long forgotten writers. In one of the recent sessions, I was enamored by Pakistani Shayara, Parveen Shakir’s life and her enchanting compositions.

‘क’ से कविता-हैदराबाद celebrated its first year anniversary in August 2017 with much pomp and fervor. The idea was strictly to not make it lavish, but spectacular nevertheless. ‘क’ से कविता founding members from Dehradoon and other cities came down for the day long festivities of poetry recital, discussions, song and dance events. Praveen Pranav’s presentation of Sahir Ludhianvi’s ghazal, ‘Rang Aur Noor Ki Baarat Kisey Pesh Karun’ was a colorful festoon of melody that day. His singing was unpretentious and stirring.

Surprise is an element that keeps relations alive and fresh. Here too, we are pampered with a pleasant surprise or two, off and on 🙂 ; “Kuch alag karte hain” (Let’s do something different this time), as Minakshi puts it enthusiastically. At one of our meetings, we were each given a red rose with a small note that contained a poem from the chosen poet of the months’ collections, that we could recite apart from what we chose to share. The upcoming session on 7th Oct looks just as inviting. The plan is to read poet Shri Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s poetry-drama ‘Urvashi’, that explores an ancient narrative between Urvashi, Pururava and other celestial characters. It promises to be an interesting session as each participant gets to choose a character and read specific verses. I’m sure looking forward to it.

The rules of the group are straight forward. The founding idea is to promote literary legacy in Hindi and Urdu of Indian writers. We do not read our own poetry nor promote personal writing in any way.  There’s a strict taboo on all/any discussions on politics, religion or cast. Love for poetry is enough to participate, you don’t have to be a poet or writer. No age barrier, anyone can participate. What strikes me the most is that the event is Free Entry for all, and so it should be. Why or how can one make any kind of profit on reading from other people’s literary work? On the other hand, organised events do require funding. Debatable, huh!

As a high school student, I never really enjoyed Hindi/English poetry classes much. It wasn’t so much the poems that irked me, but the questions that came at the end of the lessons. “What is the poet trying to convey through the poem?” Now, eons ago some dreamer serenaded his or her love on a moonlit night and I had to decipher its meaning and language. Life could not have been more unfair back then.

On the contrary, life is now beautiful and lyrical with my friends of ‘क’ से कविता.  The tweety bird is chirping. Come, let us join the chorus 🙂 .



आसमां धूसर
मेघों का गर्जन रूदन
बादलों की कोख़ फाड़ कर
ये जल है बरसा, या छलके
स्वर्गवासियों के आँसूं !

भूख प्यास से
मार काट से
अनदेखे अनजाने
ईश्वरों के वर्चस्व की लड़ाई से
सराबोर यह धरती !

काश, धूल जाएँ आज
इन बरसातों की बाढ़ में
अलग अलग वो लाल रंग के
ख़ूनों के छींटें धब्बे, और
नफरतों के एक से सिलसिले !

(c) Anita Desai September 2017



सुनहरी सांझ !

Pic.source Santosh Bakaya/Hooghly River -Vidyasagar Setu.

सांझ की सुनहरी बेला में
नभ का आँचल छुड़ा के ज्यों ही
सूरज भागा
आकाशों ने झपट कर जकड़ा
कुछ अठखेलियां कुछ चपलता
और बिखरे शीतल जल पर
रवि के चमकीले छींटे
सिमटती जगमगाती ऐसे हूगली
सपनों की सेज सजाये
दुल्हन कोई जैसे लज्जाये !

विद्यासागर ने बांधे
जुदा जुदा थे जो दो घाट
राह दिखाता
इस पार लाता
उस पार ले जाता
सेतु काश इक ऐसा भी होता
हृदयों के तार जो मिलाता
मिटाता अराजकता
लांघता ऐसे ही दूरियां !

क्षितिज पर छाया
स्वर्णिम कोहराम है
या रंगों ने रचा स्वयंवर
चकाचौंध हैं या
आकर्षित हैं वे
मोहित भी हैं सुनकर
मल्लाहों के मधुर गीत
और झिलमिलाती
रेशमी तरंगों पर वो
नावों का मानो, वीणा वादन !

(C) Anita Desai Sept 2017
















Jee Huzoor: A satire in Hindi by Kissago Theatre.

Nikolai Gogol once said, “It’s the most righteous, which of course is not the same thing as the most profitable.”

Kissago Threatre‘ and ‘Theatre for a Cause‘ staged a satirical play in Hindi, ‘Jee Huzoor’, at Phoenix Arena, Hyderabad, on Friday, 15th September 2017. Part of a month long ‘Theatre for a Cause’ mission organised to support and raise funds for a fellow theatre actor battling Cancer, the proceeds earned from the play would go toward his treatment.

Jee Huzoor‘, meaning, ‘Yes Sir’, is an adaption of Russian writer Nikolai Gogol‘s satirical play ‘The Government Inspector‘ written in 1836.  Sai Paranjpe, acclaimed Director, Screenwriter of award winning films like Katha, Sparsh, Chashme Buddoor and Disha, adapted the play in Hindi.  The core theme of the play is Corruption, a debilitating disease that not only adversely affects the economic growth of a nation, but also cripples the moral foundations of a civilized society.

Set in the mid-1980’s, Director Subhash Gupta’s ambitious play efficiently highlights the infested governing systems of India. Director Gupta himself essayed the role of a corrupt bureaucrat, Jagdamba Prasad, posted in a remote town of Tikamganj. The collector is shaken and stirred when he receives a notification that a government assigned officer has secretly arrived in town to take stock of his reprobate governance and illegal recruitment of officers at government institutions. How he mobilizes his team to search for that officer and bring him under the umbrella of his nefarious activities is the backbone of this play.

In the cast were Kissago Theatre’s formidable actors in memorable roles – the collector’s young third wife and an attractive daughter; a matriculate government school Head-master; a Veterinarian assigned as a Surgeon at a government hospital; a Lawyer running a poultry pen at the local magistrate’s court; a gossiping Postman; two colluding Priests from a local temple, and a penniless ruffian mistaken as a government official.

The script was gripping. Direction and performances were flawless. The humor was far reaching, and dialogues, rib-ticklingly funny. As in most plays that I watch, I had favorite characters here too. Nikhil Jadhav and Avkash Mahanta hit a bulls-eye with their performance in the role of opportunist temple priests.  They had me in splits with their rhythmic comic timing. Abhijeet Deshpande’s character in the mistaken identity of a government officer was a treat to watch as he serenaded both, the collector’s wife and daughter.

Strangely, first written almost two centuries ago, the play continues to draw parallels in corrupt governance between two distinctly different eras. Most of us in the audience felt that the theme was relevant even today.

Although, it was a delightful evening spent in the company of theatre afficionados, we went back with a heavy heart and prayers on our lips for the wealthy boy who, despite the lack of an impressive bank balance, has accumulated precious treasures of the heart that will last several lifetimes. Here’s wishing team Kissago the best in their endeavors to bring their colleague back on stage.





MASHAAL: You Write. You Recite.

“Creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we’re rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world.” – Jonah Lehrer, American Author.

Hyderabad based writer Suhas Bhatnagar has lit one such torch,  MASHAAL: You Write. You Recite,  an innovative platform for writers to share their literary work, and its flame is indeed sweeping through the thriving literary circle of the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad.

Held twice every month on 2nd and 4th Saturday at the prestigious G.P.Birla Centre, Mashaal encourages writers of all ages and languages to come and share their stories, poems, ghazal, nazm or shayari. Already in its fourth successful month, the event has been graced by many city based writers who have shared poems in Telugu, Hindi, Urdu and English.

The core idea of this event is to “Come and read your mind out. Prose or poetry. Good or bad. Dark or light. Humor of thriller. Story or drama. Be the torch. Be the Mashaal. Age no bar, language no bar.” Suhas insists that all participants should continue to light the flame and come to listen to other writers too.

The G.P.Birla Centre that regularly hosts various literary and art events in the city, is situated at a picturesque location that provides a stunning vantage point view of Hyderabad. It houses the famed G.P.Birla observatory, a grand library, classrooms for art or comedy or book reading sessions, theater at the conference hall, muse at the beautiful collection of paintings at Nirmala Birla gallery of modern art etc.

Suhas is a prolific writer with a humble, warm & friendly persona. What is striking about him is that he respects the people he meets, especially women, their achievements notwithstanding. His ability to bond with people of all ages is equally amazing. At most literary events, he does stand out for his distinguished ‘writeresque’ attire 😀 . Perhaps, it is these personality traits that led him to create a selfless, entry-free opportunity for aspiring, budding and established writers to showcase their literary skills.

A noble initiative indeed that furthers the cause of cultivating reading classic, quality literature and writing habits among the younger generation.