Author Archives: Sunil Sharma

About Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma is Principal at Bharat College – affiliated to University of Mumbai, Mumbai – at Badlapur, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India. He is a bilingual critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. Some of his short stories and poems have already appeared, among others, in prestigious journals like: Hudson View (South Africa), Munyori, The Plebian Rag and the Bicycle Review (all three USA e-zines), Asia Writes; New Woman (Mumbai); Creative Saplings, Brown Critique and Kritya (Indian e-zines); the Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies (West Bengal), Indian Literature (of Sahitya Akademy, New Delhi), Labyrinth (Gwalior), Poets International (Bangalore), Contemporary Vibes (Chandigarh), Indian Journal of Post-colonial Literatures (Kerala) and Prosopisia (Ajmer). Some of his poems and shorts have been anthologized in national and international collections. Besides that, he is a freelance journalist in English. His areas of strength are Marxism, Literary Theory and Cultural Studies. His book on the Philosophy of the Novel – a Marxist Critique is already published and got a good response. His debut novel – The Minotaur – dealing with dominant ideologies and sociopolitical realities of the 20th century was also published from Jaipur (India) in 20009. The novel was released in South Africa in December, 2009. As a freelance, he has more than 1,000 news articles published in DK Plus, Times of India, Mumbai. His six short stories and the novel Minotaur are prescribed currently for the undergraduate classes under the Post-colonial Studies at the Clayton University, Morrow, Georgia, USA. He has also edited, along with Dr Jaydeep Sarangi, an anthology of shorts, The Editors’ Choice: Contemporary Short Stories in Indian English, published by Gnosis Publications, New Delhi, 2010. He is one of the editors for the NFJ (New Fiction Journal), an international journal devoted to the short stories. A collection of poems: Poetry amid the Golden Barrel Cacti was released in November-2011 from Authors Press, Delhi. He serves on many advisory boards of quality international literary and online journals. He can be contacted through email at: drsharma.sunil@gmail.com Special achievements: Featured in this encyclopedia: http://www.best-poems.net/editors/1329 Poet of the month at The HyperTexts: http://www.thehypertexts.com/Current_and_Back_Issues.htm

Rain, kids, traffic

Three kids, raincoat-wrapped,

Bulging backs, plastic bottles

Hands tiny, standing unsure,

Free hands interlinked,

And—

Waiting to cross, a wet Mumbai road,

By wading through the screaming buses,

Bikes and fancy cars.

Three helpless figures,

Stoic and silent.

The mad machines come hurtling

Spread panic and hardly care for lives,

Or rights of the pedestrians;

The height of arrogance of the

Indian automobiles, terrifying missiles!

 

I will be reading Ashraf Fayadh tonight

 

I will be with you Ashraf tonight and other nights

To listen to your poetry full of  truths a great poet like you reveal.

Tonight, I will show solidarity with you through the simple act of reading your poems and thus, symbolically, like rest of the reading/protesting world against your

Death sentence by a Saudi court on most weak grounds.

What a great appreciation!

The public joins in a big event to condemn a refugee and a writer for writing beliefs, the foundational stone of great civilizations and clinging to them, not the ones enforced by blind systems.

Of course, I will not be joining any world-wide group but reading your poems

In my suburban Mumbai home and registering my tiny support to freedom of expression.

Mine is a subaltern voice not heard or found in any glam literary fest but it matters not because folks like me, middle-class, professionals, hard-working and angry with a greedy capitalism that keeps on reducing them to the hapless 99 % and this has become a real force as it has finally awakened and cannot be put down by hegemonic structures for long.

Ideas are material indestrubile. Dictators can never vanquish ideals and humanism.

The logic is simple.

More brutality; more resistance.

More Arab Springs will soon follow in frosty lands

More Occupy Wall Street campaigns across cities of the globalised village will erupt against One PPercent.

And more Ashraf  Fayadhs blossom to oppose any totalitarian system through bare words and ideas potent to change  the moribund!

I feel inspired by you, dear Ashraf, because, in the face of death, you refused to recant and decided to take on the Kafkaesque world by your bold stance.

By your courage you have proved the might of an individual who stands for democratic principles and that approach elevates your poetry many thresholds above from the anemic self-seeking poetry of today!

You are charged with blaspheme and atheism. Shelley, too, did the same.

Human rights are sacred and cannot be trampled.

Unknown to you perhaps, living in a cell, dear Ashraf, you have created your own religion of dissent and your actions have further sanctified the philosophy of literary resistance that has the power to topple notorious tyrants.

To-night, on other lonely nights, whenever low, I will be reading you to find inner strength to fight any system that stifles dissent.

This bond

This kinship

You are our own

Dear Ashraf

And they cannot kill the supporting millions!

For Universal Peace, Let Us All Stand

 

—Sunil Sharma

So—

Let us then all stand for peace fragile, yet strong

And give it another chance!

Says an e-mail from the city of Ramallah,

Yes, we must—

Writes another youth from Tel Aviv.

 

Let there be no Auschwitzs in future

Or, barbed wires across God-created lands,

A youth writes from Sarajevo,

Hatred leads nowhere.

 

What train blasts have achieved?

Asks a kid from terror-ravaged Mumbai.

Nothing,

Except the ugly face of distorted hate,

Says Hamid from pock-marked bare Kabul,

It comes back to kill

Like a demented man in Karachi.

 

The ethnic hatreds

Will never achieve—

The goals of the deadly merchants of death.

There will be always—

War-mongers and warlords,

And

Ordinary peace-loving folks,

Arranged against the other

In unjust societies.

We will not let them ride—

These few war-dogs,

We will prevail,

Simply because—

We are the millions of people

Craving peace and security

In an already-battered world

Suffering from climate change

Mass hunger

Poverty

And

Immense greed.

Bombs

Can kill the body

But not the spirit

Of pure Peace.

So—

Let us unite, then

And make it

The latest credo

For the new century

Of hope and belief

And trash the forces

Of skepticism,

Cynicism

And disbelief

Via this simple anthem

Of love and faith.

 

 

Parentspeak

 

A little princess

A poor home
loving parents
wealth of books
values great
working mom-dad
teaching kids of others
as their own;
their own—
a silent brooding prince and
shy princess in nostalgic mode—
their only true possession in a hostile universe,
future riding on the tiny tender shoulders of the
two kids;
dad dreaming of a better world for both
battling his own battles
hiding his tears from the two
heart full
waving goodbyes!
mum longing for everyone
still brave enough to wave
them off;
Life is like that.
Struggles
separations
and then
tearful re-unions.
Let us forge our destinies
in the crucible of change.
Live the present.
Future will follow—bright.

Will you miss me, when I am no more?

 

Will there be a single tear shed,

Once I am no more?

Someone there—

Emerging from the shadows to

Cry over the simple rough bed

Forever left vacant

In a dim room?

Or, the old rocking chair

Near the iron gates locked,

In the red-bricked courtyard,

Framed by the scented flowers

And spreading bougainvillea,

Kissed by the waves,

The old creaking chair,

Left in a shady corner,

After the dark,

That

Will no longer rock?

Will somebody ever

Remember a small guy,

In a scary world of objects,

Big brands,

Fancy cars/gadgets,

Upscale homes,

Near the waterfronts,

In Venice

Or,

Mumbai,

Or,

Melbourne?

An honest guy who did his 9-to-5 job

Working hard,

Feeding,

And caring for them all,

And who died unsung,

A little part of rusted junk,

Confined

In a civic- hospital bed,

Made of iron,

Facing the wide doors,

In the city of Mogadishu,

Amid the rumble of guns

And mortars,

All alone, eyes blank,

Abandoned by his very own,

Like retreating army,

When he was alive,

And breathing deep,

And, often during nights,

In his restless sleep,

Called out their names,

And dreamed of tiny homes,

Full of fun

That echoed with loud kid- laughter once,

But,

Where, over the years,

He was turned into

A sepia picture,

Tucked away into a cramped attic,

No longer missed.

 

Lorca not there, yet everywhere

They searched the grave site

But could not find

The remains of

Our beloved Garcia Lorca

In that potential site,

In the year 2009.

Surprising!

Lorca shot down and killed

With three others

By the murders

Wearing military uniforms,

In the Spanish Civil War,

In August, 1936,

And left the bodies somewhere

In Fuente Grande,

Near a winding mountain road

That connects the villages of

Viznar and Alfacar;

The great liberal poet

Is not found where he is

Believed to be buried,

Yet he is found everywhere,

In millions of hearts!

On the International Day of Girl Child

Girl child is an angel

And like other modern angels

Born in a skeptical age!

The commercial culture gleefully

Markets the winged species in the malls/outlets

And promotes a belief in their benign existence

For humanity suffering many ills

But miserably fails to see a real one in the slum

Tending to siblings as a substitute mother

Or a brick kiln working for the family bread!

As a tiny flower blooming in the dusty backyard

The girl child stands the danger of being

Trampled underneath the prancing feet.

Earlier homes were safe for the trusting child

With wide eyes and smile beatific

But now such middle-class homes also harbor

Dirty family secrets and muted cries and threats;

More shockingly, media society, such dark tales of incest

And the violations of a young mind/body by her own kinsmen

Once taboo, now no longer disturb a jaded collective conscience

Dismissed as another story of violence on the powerless!

A Happy International Day of Girl Child!

 

 

Shrieks of ghosts

 

Midnight cold-n-cruel unfolds

At the witching hour the moon

Hides her scarred oval face and disappears

Then the raging curs and December wind

Keep him awake in the well-lit apartment

At the 10th floor in the Vasant Enclave, a

Leafy suburb of New Delhi,

Where the wealthy and the powerful live;

A shriek is heard that congeals his blood

A loud terrifying shriek travelling up,

A woman calling out desperately:

Help! Help! Please help!

And loud footsteps are heard and

Muted cries and barbaric laughter

As if a pack of laughing hyenas is loosed

Upon a prey in the concrete jungle;

The nerd loses his peace and peers out

Into the brightly-lit alley outside the wall of

The gated community, well-secured and patrolled;

He finds no human figure out there!

But the shrieks are heard again-n-again

Rising in a crescendo that shatters the eardrums!

Next morning his hosts tell the geek an urban legend

Years ago a young working woman got murdered

After being raped by few thugs high on drugs;

The folks in the neighbourhood did nothing to

Help her, the poor object of combined male lust;

Since then, on dark nights, her ghost stalks the

Deserted narrow alley and raises hell by knocking

On each door that was once closed for pleading her!

The spectral presence slowly drove the scared

People to sell their flats to strangers but

The lonesome shrieks followed them

To their new homes everywhere.

Although rapes/murders have not stopped even after that

Gruesome episode of urban indifference, and,

The gleaming city of the flyovers and high-rises has turned into a graveyard of unburied and the revengeful female ghosts, demanding justice.

Why this ongoing nightmare? he asks.

Well, some can see such stalking ghosts but the governments cannot!

 

Love

 

A cynical term — A cliche for some—

In the media society,

But often, surprisingly,

It blooms

Unbidden, in calcified hearts,

And it becomes

A pleasant feeling or a

Sudden sensation you feel, while looking at the wild flowers

Blooming in the old brown plains, Scalded hills or dusty grounds

—————This ancient emotion experienced by even the non-humans————–

Refreshed by a departing strong shower of the

Tired Indian Monsoon

Solitude

The Mumbai evening lingers

like that latch-key kid
on the cold threshold

of the semi-shut door

of the neighbours

busy with their soap,

the tiny steps unsure,
eyes appealing gently

to the viewers;

while a raven unsettled

by the blast from a hurtling bus

settles down on the sill a few inches away,

scaring the solitary figure,

while darkness deepens around

and wind moans in the narrow corridor.