Malcolm Carvalho writes poetry and fiction when he is not occupied with his daytime job of a software engineer. His work has been featured in Bengaluru Review, 365 Tomorrows, Narrow Road, Spark, Reading Hour, Literary Yard, Muse India and in Urban Shots, an anthology of stories with urban settings. He has attended the Bangalore Writers Workshop and is a regular at weekly poetry meet-ups at Lahe Lahe in Bengaluru. You can read more of his work at www.grainsofthought.wordpress.com.
By Sobia Ali
Everyday, I wait till your father has gone out to work, before I come into your room to wake you up. He does not like my attention being diverted when he is at home. I think he is a little jealous of you. Or perhaps of me, that I am going to be with you all day when he has to be away. You know otherwise he is absolutely devoted to you, and won’t ever like to part from you.
I open the door slowly, lest I startle you. You lay there on the dainty curtained bed, quite lost under the flurry pink bed sheets and blankets. For a moment I panic that you are not there. That they were right, those women in white uniforms. Then a soft pink little hand peeps out, a small plump foot jumps out of all that velvety pile. And I almost laugh out loud when I see you hacking away at coverlet in anger to remove it from your face. I remove it for you, suddenly impatient to see your milky, moon face, haloed in curly shiny black hair.
I give my finger to you to hold and take to your mouth. You suck and bite it with small uneven gummy gums. I tickle your belly, kiss your hands and feet, then lift you unto my lap. I giggle as your thin lips curl around my nipple and your red busy tongue lap up the milk, gulping, slurping. How I love to suckle you, baby. Read more
By Mehreen Ahmed
Blood oranges were endowed with a certain pigmentation. I called it the fruit’s pizzazz, because of its lustre, which defined it and gave it the distinctive characteristics of dark flesh. I wanted it to grow in mother’s orchard. But the gardener said it wouldn’t grow here, because the climate wouldn’t allow it. If the blood orange didn’t flourish in this soil, then neither did many things in this culture. All these nefarious old customs and habits that had become fossilised, resisting change, inhibiting growth.
One afternoon, I sat in the balcony of mother’s house. A brilliant midday sun shone yet another monsoon day. I took a sip of lemonade my mother made with the orchard’s freshly squeezed lemons. Lemons, which grew in our orchard. I was recovering at her place, from an illness. Lemons and limes were not the only citrus that grew in this orchard, oranges too. Except, the blood orange.
The monsoon winds whipped up my spirits. The orchard revitalised as the winds touched it to a new glow. The wet fern unfurled along the mossy edges on the orchard’s brick fence. Nature’s drama ensued. These were months of recapitulations. They always were. Recapping past events that happened not only in my life, but also in the lives of the others. A maid once worked in our house some years now. I don’t know, I found myself thinking about her without a reason. Her loyalty had far surpassed that of any other who worked for us then. Her name was Lily. She was our loving Lily of the Valley. She possessed an exceptional quality of gritty honesty. Read more
Prathap Kamath’s published works are Ekalavya: a book of poems(2012), Blood Rain and Other Stories (2014) and Tableaux: poems of life and creatures (2017). His poems have been anthologized in The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India (Hidden Brook Press, 2013), and published in journals like Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Chandrabhaga, Muse India, Open Road Review, Modern Literature, Madras Courier, Literary Yard, Tuck Magazine, ONE, The Wagon Magazine etc. He teaches English under the University of Kerala. Read more