Poetry In Our Time

Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla


Sasui and Punhoon


From the shadows of the mirage
she appears like a ghost
O! Sasui is that you,
Is that you my love
come to me Sasui like the first rain
like the teardrops that drench my restless soul
quench the parched sandy terrains of Bambore
I know not of another
like you, my beloved.
The clouds are a shade of noir
Punhoon takes shelter under a banyan tree
suddenly a flash of lightening
two feet away a sparkling fountain of truth.
Water, the substance of life
transparent, aqua, pure
flowing towards his naked feet
Punhoon peers to see his reflection
only to find his lissome Sasui.
The truth frees you
Much like the rain


Sasui and Punhoon is a Sindhi folklore of tragic romance written by Sindhi Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.



Across the limitless horizon of golden sunshine
my heart is a bird today,
it flies, it flies
to a country unknown to me
my soul deep like the muddy rivers that flow
it hums, it hums
to the beat of the glistening rain
my hands weary, mud-crack like
touch the leaves of the Tree of Life
they sing, they sing
the enchanted tale of the blue skinned God
my feet sway for the journey home
they dance, they dance
naked in abandon.



A golden ring with a lion’s head etched on it
a wife caught in the waves of hazard
‘Revive a little, I’m daughter of the wise sage Vishvamitra
the birthplace of virtuosity
the creator of the Gayatri mantra
at least look for yourself
in the eyes of your child,
memory is a genetic disorder.
Slice me not like an apple my love,
but like the moon that sits
outside your window sill
every night nibble a little wedge from the corners
savouring is key
as said to Hiraman, the talking parrot.
Come escape with me across the bridge of darkness O pretty one
I claw the deer skin’s hide to entice you
satan is a sorcerer.
Apostrophe is a moment of reflection
before stealing someone’s land
someone’s woman
someone’s dream.
Period is the yarn of time
and also, a full stop.

Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla is an award-winning poet, translator, healer and French teacher from Mumbai. Her poems have been widely published in international anthologies and periodicals. She is the author of three poetry collections – Borders and Broken Hearts shortlisted for the PVLF Author Excellence Awards 2024 for Best English Poetry, Invisible Eye longlisted for Cochin Lit Fest Poetry Prize 2018, and The Empress winner of the 2018 US National Poetry Contest by Ræd Leaf Foundation for Poetry & Allied Arts. Her co-translations of Nimanoo Faqir and Sachal Sarmast are published in poetry at Sangam. Her translated Sindhi poem ‘Safar’ won the first prize at the Kavya Kaumudi International Poetry Award. She is recipient of the Rahi Kadam Inspiration Award 2021. She is the author of Healing Elixir The Hawakal Handbook of Angel Therapy, Numerology & Remedies. Her co-translations of Sachal Sarmast’s Sufi poetry are part of an upcoming book.



Teji Sethi

The Histopathology of Emotions

I am
a million women
who dread the touch
of curious hands
kneading their breasts
with a probe
to look out for cells
that went rogue


I am
the tsunami of defiance
that rises from within them
a baghavat
a bunch
of masked surgeons
like revolutionaries
in their hideouts
under dim lamps
mark the contours
to plan an attack
our breasts—a battlefield


I am
a million soldiers
who come home
no garlands
no medals await
they shout bravo bravo
their eyes glued to our chests
looking out for cleavages



In the vessels of my heart
there goes some churning
like the pungent curd
that convulsed
in the earthen ware
in the backyard
of my ancestral home
those winter mornings
cold has left it numb


rigorous, as it goes
my muscles strain
agony chokes the ducts
to a point of rupture
and how I wish
this heart wrenching turmoil
to last forever


for I know
when this agitation ends
pain would float up
like a mass of pure white magma
to be carefully picked
and kept aside to savour


how we sometimes love to feed on pain






The aerial roots of an old bargad in my home town, over centuries, have acquired a peculiar shape. To me, they always looked like silhouettes of a man and woman entangled, entwined beyond separation. They have been there from the time I remember. When we got married in the year 1999, I had taken him to this place. Today, 24 years later, when I lie in the hospital bed, his hands in mine remind me of those knotty roots. Time stands still…

leaving behind footprints surgery scars

*bargad – the banyan tree



Last night’s rain had a faint throb. Like the foetal heartbeat on the ultrasound monitor. Or, like the dull headache that triggers on entering a hospital lobby. Lately, I have been drawing parallels to almost everything I hear. They tell me, it might be the ‘chemo brain’. Well, whatever it is, it keeps my mind off of other concerns.

a pigeon’s coo running out of similes


Teji Sethi


A nutritionist by profession, Teji Sethi transitioned from micronutrients to micro poetry. She now loves concocting a mix of emotions through her short verses. A poet at heart, she’s charmed by the beauty and musicality in nature.Teji’s bilingual poems in free-verse, haikai verse, and works of art have found a home in numerous national and international venues of repute. In addition her work has won accolades and honorable mentions in Indian and International haiku contests.

Teji’s debut collection of Hindi poems, Cotton Blooms— Kapaas Ke Phool, was published in 2019, with The Partition Museum of India awarding one of its creations. The literary piece was later translated into Punjabi and broadcasted over Radio Pakistan, Lahore. Her first haikai chapbook, Uncharted Roads, and a bi-lingual anthology of poems titled ‘I am not enough to Know’ as an editor were released in January 2021. Her first collection of haikai pieces titled, Moss Laden Walls is just out in print. She is one of the poets featured in the coveted Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2020-21, 22

While most of her poems are a mélange of her experiences, the subject close to her heart is the narratives of the India-Pakistan Partition. Teji currently resides in Bangalore and freelances in creative writing.


Anila Bukhari



” Distinctive face”


I was born into a family of beauty and charm,
But I was the odd one out, with a distinctive face.
My hair wasn’t long and black, but short and brown,
My skin was not fair, but a deep shade of brown.


But I never let it get to me, for I had a good heart,
I believed that beauty lies in how we play our part.
But the world is cruel, it judges by appearance,
And my siblings’ beauty only heightened my look.


They mocked and teased, made fun of my skin,
They didn’t see the pain, the hurt I was in.
I felt alone in a crowd, my heart shattered and bruised,
For being born different, I was always abused.


I tried to change, with herbal remedies in hand,
But my skin remained the same, I didn’t understand.
I hid from the world, I didn’t sit in public,
For fear of being judged, for not being like the others.


But the hardest emotion, was feeling ugly and unloved,
By my family, who couldn’t see beyond the front.
I had a good heart, but that didn’t seem to matter,
For beauty was the only thing that could make me better.


But I refuse to be defined by societal standards,
For my worth lies in more than just my appearance.
I am beautiful, with or without society’s approval,
And I will not let their hurtful words break my spirit, not at all.


So I stand tall, with my head held high,
For I am more than just the color of my skin, I will not comply.
I am the first born child, and I will claim my place,
With my unique beauty and my kind heart, I am an extraordinary grace.


” Dangerous Game”


A Girl whose love was torn apart.
She conceived of love as a dangerous game,
But nonetheless, her heart was set aflame.


She loved a boy with all her might,
But he didn’t feel the same in sight.
She longed to spend time with him,
But he was distant, her chances slim.


With each rejection, her heart would pain,
But she kept her feelings, a secret to retain.
She would cry in silence, her face in her hands,
As she listened to music, her heart in bands.


She couldn’t focus on her skin or health,
Her thoughts consumed by thoughts of his stealth.
She skipped meals, her worry grew,
For the boy she loved, but never knew.


Years went by, and she still felt the pain,
But she realized she had to break the chain.
She took a stand, and left the past behind,
For she deserved happiness, she would find.


She questioned herself, why love someone,
Who didn’t see her worth, and make her undone.
She picked herself up, and became a champion,
Forgetting the boy who caused her such pain.


She learned to love herself, and pursue her dreams,
No longer relying on someone else’s schemes.
She found true happiness, within her own soul,
And in the end, she was whole.


So let this be a lesson, to all who feel,
That love can hurt, and make you reel.
But don’t let it break you, or make you weak,
For you are strong, and you can seek.


The love that you deserve, in someone who sees,
Your worth and beauty, and loves you effortlessly.
So hold your head up, and hold your heart tight,
For in the end, everything will be alright.


” Pink Roses”


For years, I’ve lived among the roses,
Their splendor a sight to behold,
But now, my emotions have changed,
And my heart is growing cold.


Once, I loved their sweet fragrance,
Their petals soft and red,
But now, I feel a sense of pain,
And tears are often shed.


I used to read in my storybooks,
That life was like a bed of roses,
But now, I understand the truth,
And how life often imposes.


I used to love the pink roses,
Their fragrance could touch my soul,
But now, I see them as the cause,
Of both my pain and pleasure.


For every time I receive a rose,
I feel both love and hate,
For though they’re so beautiful,
They can also seal my fate.


With long stems and fresh fragrance,
They may seem perfect and pure,
But when I look deeper inside,
I see something much more obscure.


For those whom I give my precious rose,
Do not always return the love,
And my heart is left broken,
And my soul feels less of.


But still, I can’t help but love,
The roses that I hold dear,
For they have been with me through it all,
Through laughter, love, and fear.


From birth until death, they are my constant,
My faithful companion through life,
And though sometimes they may cause pain,
They also bring me light.


So, though my feelings may be confused,
And my heart may break and heal,
I will always have a love for roses,
For they are a part of me, I feel.



” Heavy heart”


My heart is heavy now, for you have died


I recollect the day we first met
Your tiny paws and curious eyes
You stole my heart in just a heartbeat
And I knew our bond might by no means death


We’ve been through so much together
You have been my confidant, my exceptional friend
In you, I discovered consolation and solace
And I in no way desired our time to stop


But now I have to mention good-bye
And it’s the toughest component to do
For I know I’ll never see you once more
And my coronary heart breaks in two


I’ll leave out your gentle purring
And the manner you curled up in my lap
I’ll pass over your playful antics
And the way you’d take a snooze


You have been more than just a pet
You have been part of my family
And now which you’re long gone, I feel so empty
Knowing you may in no way come lower back to me


But I find solace inside the concept
That you are no longer clearly long past
For your spirit will usually be with me
And our bond will all the time stay on


So goodbye my pricey friend
I’ll preserve onto our memories tight
And even though you are not through my facet
You’ll usually be my guiding mild.

Anila Bukhari

With passion and determination, Anila Bukhari shines as a guiding light in Pakistan, fighting for the rights of children, empowering women, and promoting peace. She has left an unforgettable imprint in the literary world, with six books and five international anthologies published, her poetry transcending borders and captivating readers in 16 different languages across 50 countries. Anila’s journey as a writer started at a young age of 16 and she has since then used her gift to educate over 1000 orphaned children through online platforms. Her words not only shed light on the issues faced by humanity but also offer solutions, spreading hope and positivity to all who read them. Through her project “Hopeful Hugs,” Anila has brought joy to the lives of over a thousand homeless individuals, offering them comfort and love through simple acts of kindness.


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