Author Archives: Sunil Sharma

About Sunil Sharma

Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma, a college principal, is also widely-published Indian critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. He has already published 14 books: four collections of poetry, two of short fiction, one novel, one a critical study of the novel and co-edited six anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism. His six short stories and the novel Minotaur were recently prescribed for the undergraduate classes under the Post-colonial Studies, Clayton University, Georgia, USA. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award---2012. Recently his poems were published in the UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree.

In your next letter



Ma, in the next letter, please tell me more about Pa’s health.
Bit worried. How are you coping with your cough? Did the elder brother
Send some money from the Gulf? Or, has he defaulted again?
He has his family, I know but he has to send his share.
How is your fever?
Do tell me in your letter these things, too.
I want to know everything happening there.
Letters are the only source of information.
Take the medicines regularly. Last time I visited, you looked a ghost.
More than two years now. I want to visit you again in my beloved village…
Ma, let me tell you—saw the home in the dream…and you. I had cried so much!
The brick walls crumbling…the doors battered…the cow dung-swept courtyard!
Yes, Ma. In the dream, I visited.
Saw you working in the kitchen, alone. Frail. White-haired. Eyes vacant..
Your hands shiver!
I got depressed!
Be careful.
Yes, the house was real. I saw all the details.
The thatched roof. The sacred Tulsi flower. And a half-moon hanging from the Margo tree in the corner.
The north- Indian village looked the same as ever. Dusty. Decrepit. Narrow alleys. Caste politics. The violence and the earlier murders.
How is the money-lender? Tell him your youngest son, a car driver, sends regularly the monthly money orders. He need not bother.
Do not worry. I work for 18 hours and save some money by being frugal.
Next time, I will, in rains, get the roof fixed of your room.
You can retire there without the leaking rain water.
And save some more money to be sent to the second married sister also. Tell her she has got her own brother.
Do not worry. If all children turn their backs on you and Pa, I am always there…Just take care.
Your little son is 22 and has got a full life ahead!
But, Ma, please… do write the next letter!

Sunil Sharma

—Courtesy: http://poetsonline.org/

Dearness Quotient

You are, my dearest

 

As important to me

 

As a solitary wayside tree is—

 

For a thirsty-tired pedestrian

 

The slender outstretched arms

 

Providing soft green cover

 

To sweating him, on a May afternoon

 

In the polluted New Delhi humming with bulldozers

 

And cruel mercury

 

Touching a record-breaking

 

45 Degree Celsius!

Tintin- tears that have moved the global village

—Sunil Sharma
The merchants of death made the most-recognized boy, Tintin, cry for an innocent city that paid a heavy price on Tuesday morning, March 22.
Brussels once beckoned Europe and others lovingly—like Paris/Mumbai.
Then three young men walked in with suitcases packed with death and mayhem.
The beloved of all nationalities, Tintin, read the news and cried for his very own, wounded nation.
The iconic guy with a tuft of hair as his signature made the world fall in love
With his antics and adventures and singlehandedly exported his country across the globe
As a great destination for cultural tourists, his romps in exotic settings
Delighting millions of adults and children, including the venerable Spielberg.
Now he sheds tears and we-the global citizens, with him, as an act of solidarity for the terror-hit Belgium.
Your bombs could never kill Tintin and his resilience earlier nor will they ever do in future.
Brussels—with you in this hour of crisis, please do not despair.
You are not alone!
Through Tintin, the entire world stands with you, at this hour of crisis.

The Calais Calamity

 

They came down here

In the Calais jungle to escape

Their own jungle back home

In the Kurdish Iraq or Sudan.

The refugees risked lives

Across the dangerous seas

And landed in the beckoning France.

The dispossessed lived in tents and dreamed of

Better existence in a foreign land.

Things changed this week as

The French authorities came down to

Evict and demolish these primitive camps.

The refugees protested but to no avail

They stood no chance against the state.

The migrants had entered another hell

In that piece of cultured, democratic France

Home to the Revolution of 1789

Now—reluctant to host children of ethnic strife and violence

How things get changed over intervening time!

Dreams, not shelters, got demolished by the riot police

And refugees are again made homeless in civilized lands!

STOP!

Be humane!

Cries the spirit of enlightened France.

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!