She glanced at herself, and winced.
Trailing her fingers across the mauve smudge of battered dreams,
right above her cheekbone.
She reached out for her second skin, lying packaged in a pale pink tube.
It’s concealed.

– Vijetha Jessica

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Shutter up the photo-man

                                                                                                                                       – Srikar

He was wiping his Canon Lenses with his specially imported Chinese Silk fabric. Still unsure how he succeeded in bargaining by talking in Malayalam with those Mandarin tongued yellows, he was proud of himself. After all he was the next big thing in the little world of photography!

He could make big things look small and small things look big. And more importantly, his line of expertise included the art of ‘Candid photography’. He would make the select few folks pose according to the parameters set by him for it to be called as ‘Candidness’ and clicks their photos! And oh boy, aren’t those ‘Candid pics’ a treat to our eyes?

He at last finishes wiping his Canon lenses. He was getting himself ready for the big day. A photographer has to deal with a lot of Crop and Crap, and undoubtedly this young chap had to face the latter every day. But that was his big day. After working from different angles and getting his focus right, he finally bagged his perfect picture moment of having called to shoot a famous Television serial actor’s Cab Driver’s house warming ceremony! Well, that was indeed an Aperture in his Photographic life. But in his real life, his aperture wasn’t that bright, all because of the void that his ex-flame created, the exposure that he still couldn’t fill in.
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Because Sometimes, The Journey is the Destination

                                                                                               – Stephen George & Rahul Jojan 

Having done the first 40 kilometers of our ride, I turned back and asked Rahul, “Why are we doing this? For what ledger, exactly, and kept by whom?” Even though he didn’t have an answer, it got the both of us thinking about life and why we do the things we do.

That’s the best part about cycling, even though it is nothing more than an athletic undertaking it somehow always makes you pause and think about the general direction your life is heading in. There’s something paradoxical about how each time you pedal, the cycle inches forward towards your destination, but on the other side of the same coin your mind travels backwards putting you in a reflective state of mind.

We took our first break at McDonalds which is located a few kilometers before the International Airport. It was about 8:30am by then and the Sun was being quite unforgiving. After a quick breakfast we hit the road again. We had a general idea as to where Nandi Hills was but just to make sure, we would often stop by the side of the road and make enquiries with the locals. The locals would always give us this priceless expression of utmost unbelief whenever we mentioned the words “Nandi Hills” because in their opinion, getting up there on a bicycle was impossible!

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Take One

How many times have you wrapped your lies

In shards of glass and fancy bow ties?

Then enveloped in glitter, you hid your pain;

And mixed your tears with drops of champagne.

Your bones weakened in the frozen starlight,

Your veins tightened, mocking your fright.

And as beauty comes, in vain it goes;

Often pompous, like the cries of crows.

The tips of your fingers long for skin,

But touch instead a life that is paper thin.

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The Clash of Cultures?

                                                                                                                            – Marilyn V Nagaraj

“I can imagine nothing more terrifying than an Eternity filled with men who were all the same. The only thing which has made life bearable…… has been the diversity of the creatures on the surface of the globe”- T. H. White

Hello, Hola, Kem Cho, Marhaba, Ni Hao, Ainu, Hej…

My earliest memories are of me being in primary and being bombarded with questions from my friends and other classmates as to why I happened to speak 2 languages at home while they happened to speak just one. I was too small to comprehend and understand as to why I spoke 2 languages??This made me feel so alienated from the others. I remember coming home from school and eagerly questioning my parents frequently as to what was so different about our family and those of my friends, and the reason for us to speak two languages. As a child my parents did try very hard to make me understand. But, I must admit that it took a while before I finally understood and accepted my cultural and linguistic identity. It was very difficult initially as my cousins felt my communication skills in Telugu was way too poor to keep up with theirs. And, hence whenever I did go out with them I was often the odd one out, kept out of their close-knit group because I was considered only Half-Telgite and not a complete one. However this has changed today and Oh Yes!!My Telugu has improved and has come a long way from what it was then.

Growing up as a child I often felt like straddling between two cultures and two languages, never completely one. Growing up was always about that constant push and pull between two cultures and languages. Here I was, trying to perfect my Telugu. Who knew there was something more?? As if, perfecting one language wasn’t enough, I was to learn yet another two languages-Kannada and Hindi, as I entered into the middle school.

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No Space Left! – The truth of our lives

                                                                                                                        –  Zahid M. Zubair

We are always on the lookout for extra space as we seem to be running out of it. No space on the memory cards of our mobile phones, no space on the hard disks of our PC’s and laptops, no space on our tables, no space in our rooms, no space in our houses, no space to park on the streets, no space in the busses to stand, let alone sit, no space on the roads to ride or drive, long queues outside restaurants, all waiting for a turn to dine and make merry, and the world is moving towards such a phase where there will be no space left for humans. And yet, we are still looking for stuff we can, and cannot cram. We download movies, games and music to fill the hard disks and memory still yet, we buy stuff that may not even be important or useful and shove them in our houses. The situation on the roads and transports has always been bad. The condition of the population may best be left untouched.

From ‘live and let live’ it’s come to ‘adjust or perish’. With nowhere else to go, there have been dialogues about missions to Mars and Moon, one-way human expeditions, plans to build colonies on other planets and occupy them. All this seems straight out of a science fiction novel, but we are assured that this will soon be a reality. We dream of open plains, flushing meadows, flowing rivers, lush forests and abundant resources. This too seems a fantasy today, with the world turned into a concrete jungle and with humans doubling as the alpha predators, feeding on the ‘Mother Earth’ and devouring the flora and fauna, defiling the environment and the atmosphere, making it ever difficult to live in. We ourselves are trying to fit into the ‘posh’ society, trying to enhance ourselves, present better images of ourselves in the eyes of people we may not like or even know, trying to be accepted.

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The Whore

Night as silent as she
Occasional sounds, like the
Cries that escape from her, helplessly
She sits and waits
For work, to serve her purpose
Waits to be bait

Door opens, her breath stops
“Your cheapest one, please”
The transaction is made; instant and prompt
He appears in front of her,
Bulging, impatient
She weeps for she knows she is seized

First push, closed eyes, hold on tight
Second push, defeated by his unbeatable might
Fifth push, fading dreams, fading conscious
He grunts with pleasure, she is unresponsive
Tenth push, crushed under his weight
Why am i punished to this fate?
Twentieth push, she is burning inside
He smiles and laughs, finished with pride

Bruised and battered
Choked, used, broken

This is not a woman
This is a product; reusable
A juiced fruit
A licked wrapper
A product with a brain
A product that feels pain

Leanne Patel

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The Lady by the Moonlight

Look at the flashes of those serene moonlight
So bright, so wondrous to illuminate this night
The blackness of the dark is contrasted by its white
Yet it not remains such a merriment of a sight

A lady with a hat on, walks by the lamp post
Her head bowed to the ground, anxious for something
Worries written all over her, remains as a welcoming host
‘So sedulous and quiet, the cupid army around sing’

She looks momentarily upwards with a difference in her face
As and when air of beauty enamors her meek smile
Cupids surround me to celebrate this wondrous phase
And my heart skips a beat and runs away for a mile

Her eyes speak of something untold
‘Words of love and of delightful bliss’
Her grace? Something I could forever behold
And then I give the moon its sweet little kiss

Behest all these, her face yet remains worried
I can see few teardrops bejewel her eyes
It quickly evaporates with the mist, hurried!
And then I understand the word ‘True-Lies’

Look at the flashes of those serene moonlight
So bright, So wondrous to gratify the girl’s plight
I wish to approach her, but my heart dare not might
Words said and done, for nights together I shall relish this sight…

                                                                                          – Srikar

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Considering Contemplation

Windowless room I reside in,
The setting sun now akin,
Breathing in, this condemned sin.

Saw what you did see, but did not see what you saw.
Set to fail, by the skull embedded nine inch nail.
Condemned by the leech where my sanity is to breach.
Embraced by the voice to carry on, reviving this charred carrion.

Looking back, running away from myself…
Reliving the clockwork from the bookshelf…
Longing for the dawn to remain itself.

Impressions upon the water. My mind’s apostate.
Crevice sown reflection, a concurrent agate.
Converged upon the divergence of 1.618.
Calling upon sanctum black to reincarnate.

Stagnant upon the river bridge.
Rumination of the diaphanous deluge.
The soil of percipience now saturated…. Eroded…
Weighed down by temptation…

Considering contemplation.

                                           – Arnab Chakravarty

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Swirled Up Beliefs

Violets blooming out of season, is considered as bad luck,
Scratching your right palm, may reap in couple of bucks.
What if?
A black cat cuts across your path!
Well, it just implies, the cat is bustling on its way,
It’s on you to stupor in superstition or just move away.

Flowers given on Friday aid good fortune,
Throw it away, leads to misfortune.
A dimple on your chin, disclose a devil within,
A mole on your arm, may do you no harm.
A mole on your back, fetch money by the sack.
A mole on your lip, makes you a witty flip.

Whirling the clock to the past,
When tribes turned their backs on the sun,
Adored the ‘Dark Radiant Night’, and
Despaired to spot an owl in daylight!
Well, they assert people in confusion
Are prone to believe in superstition.

Now some say they don’t believe anything at all!
But doesn’t basketball make you tall?
Or a person losing hair, facing utter despair?
Or a sorrowful weep, can lure you to sleep?
Are these superstitious too?
Or they sound marvelous to be true.

We live in a world filled with frivolous beliefs,
Believing in them may not convey to be a relief;
As these are just our lucid illusion,
For we are here to live and die, and
Anything else is just a delusion.

                                                – Leon Pereira

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