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THE FICTION ISSUE


Welcome to the sixth issue of Udantya! ________________________________ This month on Udantya, we delve deep into the world of fiction, so prepare yourself for a wonderful journey! __________________________ Backstage Pass The Essence of Udantya Megaphone A Word from the Editors Spotlight A Moment Stolen At Munna’s Tea Stall Darkroom A Thousand Words Armchair Critic Stranger Than Fiction Or Too Good to be True? Jam Session Cups of Tea Words in Color Poetic Justice Around Town Cameo Poems by Olga Atlholang FAQ

© Aparna Vidyasagar


BACKSTAGE PASS The very essence of artistic expression is that, it is captured in many different ways.

A picture, a word or a tune. Your rebellion, your journey and your destination. Here, we aim to capture it all. Join us or explore with us. Welcome to Udantya. Welcome to our creative space!

Udantya aims to be a collaborative effort. If you have any articles, photos or music you would like to share, please email us at udantya@gmail.com. Future themed issues will be announced a month in advance.

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MEGAPHONE

From the Editors Dream a life

imagination. We would love to hear what you think and which genre of the written word you prefer.

and tell a tale. This month Udantya delves into the world of fiction! We pay homage to the many childhood summers spent immersed in books of adventure and fantasy and the many hours today when we take respite from the daily grind. We celebrate by digging deep into our own imagination to create original works of fiction. This month's 'Spotlight' features short stories by Namita and Aparna. Namita writes 'A Moment Stolen'- a beautiful and heartwarming story of love and hope. 'At Munna's Tea Stall' is a short story by Aparna and is a love story with a twist, highlighting the realities of perception. Coincidentally both stories feature tea and a tea shop in the backdrop, so perhaps you, the reader will enjoy brewing a nice hot cup while you read along! 'Darkroom' features photographs that remind us of quotes from our favorite books, fiction and non-fiction. Words of beauty must not be discriminated against!

'Jam Session' has a healthy sprinkling of poetry and prose. Namita and Aparna both write mini-essays, 'Cups of Tea' and 'Words in Color'. In 'Poetic Justice' Aparna celebrates her obsession with cozy mysteries with an ode to the style. We hope Ms. Christie appreciates it! Namita's 'untitled' poem is wonderfully dark, and carries the reader away into the caverns of the mind. Lastly, in 'Around Town', we introduce you to the latest arrival on the New York Times best seller list, 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'. The author seems to be a man after our own heart; read on and you'll see why! Making her debut 'Cameo' appearance this month is Olga Atlholang. Olga is a native of Botswana and has traveled and worked extensively in the African continent. She writes two beautiful original poems, Tahilah and Lost, these are vignettes of life, rooted in Africa.

In 'Armchair Critic' this month, Aparna contrasts fiction and non-fiction, highlighting the merits of a world of

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We hope you enjoy this month's issue!


SPOTLIGHT

A Moment Stolen She sat there, sipping the brew of the week- Darjeeling Himalaya, watching the radiance of the full moon fall on crystals that had covered the entire city during the last snowfall. The night was a rich royal blue, cloudless, starless with just the single imperfection in the sky, lighting up inky alleys with perfection. The snowflakes had aligned themselves along the window panes of the small tea house that she came to every evening. She traced around them on the foggy inside, while the steam from the tea fogged her own pair of spectacles. The thought of what was to come in the next few weeks raced through her mind for the millionth time that day. Her marriage alliance had been fixed with a native from a the small town of Pushkar. The alliance was fixed by her mother's brother- the business partner's of the boy's father. The boy's family had been vouched for, as the most respectable in the entire town. Her own family too, was one of the elite in city of Chittaurgarh and her grandparents had legacies of generations of royals woven in their blood. She, on the other hand, had taken up the challenge of stepping out of the realms of her heritage and took a seat two years ago in a university abroad to study botany. Her whole life she had grown up in desert filled lands, yet plants, beautiful flowers and vegetation had held her interest all along. That was what defined her - a seeker of the the unknown. Perhaps that was why she had said yes to this boy whom she had never met or heard of, but had only a picture of him from his eight standard class. Yet she had faith. Whether it was the confidence of her mother's voice, the

reassurance in her father's words, the giggles of her cousinsister* when describing his debonair features, the letters her uncle had sent her describing the proposal or the sincerity of his smile in the one picture she had, she did not now. But, she had faith. She had always lived life on her own terms, continuing to break all rules that were set for a Rajput princess, but only today did she realize the plethora of melodies her heart encompassed. All her life she had made her heart beat to the tunes of her mind but today it beat to another tune. Today the tune made her heart stop at the idea of a better half, it made her head bow at the thought of her new home and made her realize the depth of all the happiness that lay on the horizon. It was an unknown tune, but it was hers. Only now did she see, the rainbow of colors made up an Indian woman's veil; encompassing the vast number of relationships and responsibilities that would come into her life. So she sipped, and with every sip, pieces of her past traveled through her one last time, touching her in many different ways. And as she packed away memories from times gone by, she cleared the air for more to come. The anxieties of a bride to be played inside her and tickled her as she planned moments ahead. Suddenly she felt a tap on her shoulder and looked up at the familiar face of Harold, the owner of the tea shop. He looked down upon her and a small smile cracked through the creases of his aged face as a sign to let her know that it was time to close the shop. And so, she to put a full stop to the bolting thoughts in her mind, packed her belongings and got up. She stood at the door looking into Harold's eyes, probably the only pair of male eyes she would ever have the

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courage to look into, and felt a sense of completion. He had the same look in his eyes the first time she told him of her alliance three months ago. Slowly she realizes deep down inside, that maybe Harold too had given her the faith to make this decision. She hugged him one last time, both of them a little teary eyed but confident that this was where their story ended- a story that was going to give rise to many more tales. And, with that sweet thought, she walked out through the doors, hearing the bells tinkle as they closed behind her; and took in a big breath of the chilled air. Her closest cousin-sister had made her a recording and sent it with the letter from her uncle. The recording was of all her favorite wedding songs. As they was growing up, her cousin would often tease her, saying she would play those songs at her wedding one day. Her wedding was in three days. She smiled, pressed play and walked off into the night. ~ Namita

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At Munna's Tea Stall Raj Weekday mornings spent at Munna’s tea stall was Raj’s daily routine. It wasn’t that he could not brew a nice hot cup of chai (tea) in his own home, but Munna’s stall afforded him a view that he could not get anywhere else. While the kitchen of his tiny two-roomed shared apartment looked on to a whitewashed wall, Munna’s storefront allowed him a view of humanity. Raj was a student of humanity. He enjoyed observing people go about their daily routines, blissfully unaware of how much they revealed about themselves. Raj was always fascinated by this. Munna’s tea stall was across the road from a bus stop and Raj saw many different personalities ride the buses each morning. There was the cavalier young man who always hopped on the bus as it was pulling away, and rode it at the entrance, clinging on to the side bar, swinging in an out of the bus. He was cavalier because while he always ran for the bus, he did so with a determined smile indicating he was up to the challenge; while he was always late, he never missed his bus suggesting that he calculated the very last moment that he could leave his home; and when he hung off the bus, he swung

from side to side with the sort of bravado that one saw only in the young and irresponsible. And then there was the middle aged gentleman, who knew he was worth more than what the fates had handed him. He would stride in to the bus stop every day assertively and with dignity, but he wanted to be in controlhe would look at his watch constantly, even though the bus would come at roughly the same time everyday. He would greet the bus with an exasperated sigh as if it were driven by his own personal driver and the rest of the passengers simply did not exist. There were many such folk each morning. And then there was Archana. Raj first noticed Archana about a month earlier. She stood out at first because of her uniform. She worked for an airline company and wore an identical neatly pinned, printed blue saree everyday, with a pair of wings acting as a pseudobrooch. When she walked into the bus stop she was never in a hurry and arrived mostly with time to spare. She never checked her watch and would rarely fiddle with her hair or purse strap as she waited. She never paced. If the bench was free, she would sit, otherwise she would stand and wait, glancing around her casually. Raj thought she exuded grace; perhaps she too was a quiet observer of the world around her. He told Munna as much. Munna replied by humming an old Hindi tune about love and longing, to which Raj retorted, “Yeh koi Hindi picture nahi hai, Munna!” (“This isn’t some Hindi film, Munna!”). There was no such thing as love at first sight. Munna’s name (meaning ‘little one’) was a vestige of his childhood as a railway station tea boy. It was generic and now an inaccurate name but his reputation as ‘Munna’ from the railway station helped his establish his own little tea stall; and

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so the name stuck. Now, Munna’s face was rather wizened and sun beaten, but a closer look at his eyes showed that they twinkled with youth and mirth. In fact, it was the first thing Raj noticed. In his own way, Munna was an observer as well, building relationships with his regular customers, seeing them day in and day out, watching them during moments of highs and moments of lows and watching them progress through life. Raj was an especial favorite. Yet, Munna felt as if there was a certain loneliness and naivete in the way that Raj watched those around him. One day Archana walked to bus stop in rather a hurry. Walking, wasn’t really the right term, she ran a little, as best as she could in her saree, taking tiny steps and then would slow down, walk a few hurried steps and run again. It was an odd sort of scamper. And then, her usual bus sped by, the driver seemingly ignoring her. Archana picked up the pace, tripping over something. She bent down to examine her foot, only to look up and see the bus drive away. She flung her hands to her sides in a gesture of exasperation and began look around. “Do you think the next bus goes to same areas as the one she just missed?”, Raj asked Munna. “No Saab, I don’t think so. That bus will come again in half an hour”. “I wonder if I should offer her a ride?”. Munna’s eyes began to dance, and he hummed yet another song about love. Hindi films were abundant with love songs and Munna rarely had to repeat a song. “Munna!”

“Yes, yes, I know! Yeh koi Hindi picture nahi hai! You could try asking her. She looks as if she may be very late if she waits for the next bus.”. Raj got up and started across the street, just as Archana began to walk towards him. He slowed his pace and they met at the edge of the road. “I see you missed your bus.”. Archana started and looked towards him, confused and suspicious. I suppose she wasn’t expecting me to talk to her. “I am leaving for my office now, if you are in the same direction, I can give you a ride.” Her expressed changed ever so slightly; the confusion cleared and it was now tinged with hope, but the suspicion still remained. “Umm, I was just going to get a cup of tea”. “I am going towards M.G. Road. If that’s close to where you need to be, I am happy to give you a ride.”. By this time they were at Munna’s window and Archana appeared conflicted. “He can take you, Ma’am. You can trust him.”. “Look,” said Raj, “you can take Munna’s number and if he doesn’t hear from you in the next hour, he will call the police. How about that?”. Archana hesitated for a moment, then smiled a little and said, “Well I am definitely taking his number!". Introductions were made. It turned out that Archana’s office was about ten minutes beyond Raj’s. They sped off on Raj’s motorbike and Archana made it to work on time.

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After that Archana would wave from across the street each morning before she sat down to wait for the bus. Soon, she began to cross the road to the bus stop at the tea stall, after saying hello to Raj and Munna. And then, she took to waiting for her bus at the tea stall, chatting over an occasional cup of tea. She would speak of work, and trying colleagues, sometimes of her family and often of the vagaries of life. Raj never took her to work again. It seemed to be an unspoken decision that had been made by Archana. Raj didn’t quite understand it but he respected it and an never questioned it. He was enjoying getting to know Archana better. And, he was beginning to enjoy his mornings more and more. One day, the city came to a standstill. A bandh* had been announced. The union workers were on strike and none of city buses or public transport systems were running. Archana appeared to not know this and walked up to the tea stall, flummoxed by the lack of activity. “What’s going on?”, she asked Raj. “Bandh; city-wide; announced last evening; no buses today. How did you not know?”. “We lost power last night, and the paper didn’t come this morning. How am I supposed to get to work and back?”. Raj hesitated. “I could take you if you would like”. Archana seemed to be thinking. Raj was surprised by this. What was there to think about. She must consider him a friend by now. “Nooo,” she said slowly. “My boss doesn’t know I have another way of getting work, so I don’t think I will go in

today”. Archana grinned impishly. Then she asked, “What are you going to do?” “What do you have in mind?”. *** The two set off to the botanical gardens on Raj’s motorbike, as Munna hummed a love song. Raj blushed, but Archana appeared to not notice either the song or Raj’s demeanor. The botanical gardens were like an oasis in the citycalm, green, and the air pure. The two bought some ice cream from a street vendor and began their walk through the gardens. They were mostly alone, except for a few off-season tourists, but Raj barely noticed them. They were surrounded by fragrance and color; and a certain magic in the air. Raj knew as they walked around, that the day was special. He felt alive and present. He wanted to remember everything about the day- a glance here, an expression there, snippets of conversation- his very own mental keepsake box. By the afternoon, Archana decided she would spend the rest of the day at home. Raj dropped her off and decided to make an impromptu stop at Munna’s stall. Munna deserved a share of the day too. As soon as Munna saw Raj’s bike pull up, he began to hum. Raj grinned from ear to ear. “Haan Munna, yeh toh Hindi picture hi hai!” (“Yes, Munna, this is a Hindi fim after all!”)

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Archana Archana had just gotten a job at a new commercial airline as a part of their local office. She had been out of high school only 6 years and now she was back in a uniform. She didn’t mind though, she was proud of her printed blue saree and her aviation wings. She let the fashion-fiend in her come out by messing about with her hair every once in a while. Archana’s family lived in the traditional Indian joint family system that included her parents and her brother, her uncle, aunt and cousins, and her paternal grandparents. It was a full house on a normal day and she shared her room with her cousin. They were a close-knit family, which also meant that the house was filled with relatives on any given day and her room was not so much hers, as it was the guest room. Archana loved the din on most days. It was familiar and comforting. But she also wanted an escape, even if it was temporary. Her escape was her morning walk to the bus stop, leaving with plenty of time to spare, and her sojourn waiting for the bus each morning. There, amongst the chaos and hustle and bustle of morning traffic, Archana would find her peaceful little oasis. She would choose not to see while keeping her eyes open, and her thoughts would wander away on adventures of their own. On one particular day, a relative was visiting and chose to badger Archana with questions just as she was about to step out. Archana was polite but brief, edging pointedly towards the door with each answer. But her relative was either stoic, or oblivious and rather relentless. It was not until much later that

her mother could rescue her and by this time Archana knew that she was terribly late. She tried her best to run in her sandals and saree and broke out instead, into an odd run-walk. What a fool I must look. For the first time she cursed her much loved uniform. She saw the bus pass her and mustered all her energy and abandoned all dignity to burst into a run. The effort was short lived as she tripped over a wayward rock in sidewalk, losing her sandal and ripping the edge of her saree. She looked down at her feet to retrieve the sandal and examine the damage to her uniform, only to look up and see the bus speeding away. Ugh! The next bus was a half-hour later. In her hurry to leave that morning she had forgotten her cell-phone. For the first time she became more aware of her surroundings as she looked around her. None of her fellow bus stop companions seemed like attractive candidates to ask for a cell-phone. Then she remembered having seen a tea shop across the road. She could have a cup of tea and use the owner’s phone. She started across the road and was startled by a young man who seemed to be talking to her. She hadn't noticed him standing there. She shook herself out of her preoccupation and tried to focus on him. She glared at him a little hoping to discourage him. He had however, qualified his offer of a ride. He wasn’t going to drive her all over town; just if she worked near him. That could be considered a sign of earnestness. Still, one never knew. She was somewhat placated by the elderly tea stall owner’s reassurances (Munna! How ironic) and amused by

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the young man’s offer of a safety net. She would take a chance on him. Everyday thereafter, Archana would wave to Munna and Raj from across the street. After some time she thought it would be rather more friendly to say her hellos in person. But, hot tea and conversation were a tempting combination and Archana took to waiting for the bus from across the street. She still had her escape; it just wasn’t as passive. She found Raj to be insightful and a patient listener and Munna to be sympathetic. She spoke most often of her work and her colleagues and rarely of her family. She loved her family and was protective of them. Revealing their quirks and stories was a final revelation in her revelation of self. Just when that would be and to whom was something that Archana herself did not know. All she knew was that she had not reached that point with Raj, or Munna yet. A budding relationship was also the reason why Archana did not ride with Raj again. She found the thought to be rather familiar. And, so she continued to take the bus, while Raj rode to work, both heading in the same direction, only ten minutes away from each other. Raj never asked her if she wanted a ride. She appreciated his understanding greatly. These were the little insights on his part that she valued most.

Perhaps she was being a bit brazen. As they left, she heard Munna hum her favorite tune and chose to distract herself with the song. Perhaps it wasn’t as big a deal as she thought. Their time at the botanical gardens was very pleasant. She loved being surrounded by the greenery and flowers. She liked the energy of the people around her, sauntering casually, taking in the beauty around them. The gardens were calming. Archana enjoyed the simple pleasure of eating ice cream bought from a street vendor and she enjoyed having a like minded companion to share the experience with. Their conversation was just what it usually was and all that Archana hoped it would be. It was nice to have as much time as one wanted to talk about anything under the sun. Archana relaxed and began to enjoy her time with Raj. Perhaps she had panicked just a little. By afternoon, Raj had dropped her back home, waving goodbye and heading, well heading somewhere. She realized that she did not know very much about Raj. Had she been doing all the talking all these days? No, it wasn’t that. There was only so much one could learn about another person in twenty minutes each day. There could only ever be a certain amount of depth. Raj and Munna- the fact that she always thought of them together was telling. She cherished her time with them, their conversation and their company. But Raj and Munna would always be in one place in her mind- at Munna’s tea stall.

On the day of the bandh, she found herself suddenly desiring to break out of her reserve. On an impulse she asked ~ Aparna Raj to play hookey with her. She thought it would be nice for *Bandh is the Hindi word for ‘stop’. It refers to cities coming to a halt, due their usual conversations to go longer and for them not to be union strikes, violence or political rallies or strife. cut short by practicalities. However, the instant she uttered her offer, she regretted it. Perhaps she had been too hasty. © Udantya 2011


DARKROOM

A Thousand Words Some words inspire us to see and certain pictures remind us of words we've read. This month we share some of our favorite pictures and voices from works of fiction and non-fiction.

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THE ARMCHAIR CRITIC

Stranger Than Fiction Or Too Good to be True? A friend once told me that they preferred non-fiction to fiction because there was no point to reading stories that were simply not true and limited by the imagination of the author. I balked. For most of my life, I have read mostly fiction. It hasn’t been a conscious choice and so I have never had the opportunity to examine my reasons or compare the two genres; if that is at all possible. ___ ___One Part Inspiration___ Fiction and non-fiction overlap most obviously in the telling of human stories. Real-life autobiographies and biographies tell the stories of extraordinary human beings- thinkers, scientists or leaders; the stories of how they achieved their heights of greatness; the paths they took and the challenges they encountered. We also hear the stories of people thrust into unprecedented situationscivil war, personal tragedy or even acts of charity and goodwill. Each of these stories is inspiring. These stories give us goals to aspire to and the possibility of achieving greatness. They are examples of extraordinary human strength and depth of character. But, their single defining characteristic is that the realms of ordinary merge with the extraordinary. Where can one hear the day to day stories of struggle or strength? There will never be a biography of the people we see around us- our friends, our family or our acquaintances. These are the people from whom we most often draw our inspiration and our strength. Here fiction has an advantage, telling these very stories. This is why we hold on to certain books so dearly. We see bits of ourselves and those familiar to us. We see the very essence of what makes us who we are. Authors of fiction take the essence of reality, humanity and social circumstance to weave stories and present us with choices we may never have and consequences that we cannot imagine. They present us with an alternate reality akin to our own. Some of my favorite examples are Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and her leading lady Elizabeth Bennet. Her certainty of her judgement and strict standards of behavior for all those around her are traits that are familiar to me; of which we may all have been guilty at some point in our lives. Despite not recognizing true love and turning it away, Elizabeth Bennet has her happy ending, by a twist of fate that reveals the folly of her prejudice. I always wondered what would have happened had it all not been revealed to her in true storybook fashion. Would she have lived to a ripe old age; her certainty in her judgement growing stronger and stronger to the point where she would never budge? In Elizabeth’s story, I saw a cautionary tale; to make room for humility and shades of grey. © Udantya 2011


Of late I have become completely enthralled with the writings of Alexander McCall Smith, a Scottish author with a whimsical, pleasantly rambling style. What drew me to his works were his thoughts- simple yet profound. Some of his words are a shadow of my own thoughts, some are eerie echoes and others are simply food for thought. Reading his books is like spending an evening with a quirky set of friends, talking about everything under the sun and yet nothing at all, and coming out of it with that satisfying feeling of having had a wonderful conversation. I feel that seeking and seeing inspiration is a choice that we make. Not all sources of inspiration need to be true; they can also be true to life.___ A Dash of Insight__ Non-fiction has a definite advantage in presenting works with great academic value; books that explain the economy, dissect history or simplify science. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we cannot learn from works of fiction. Science fiction often presents us with a dystopian vision of society of the future- a paradoxical result of our continued technological progress (assuming these advances are working towards creating a future utopian society). We live in a time following the publication of many major works of science fiction written in the last century and have the unique advantage of examining these works with a fresh perspective. Take George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ for example. Much of his vernacular has made its way into today’s society, but let us take a moment to examine this more closely. The term ‘Big Brother’ is bandied about frequently, but ‘Big Brother’ is indeed a reality. Customized ads on our Gmail means that someone is tracking the key words in our ‘private emails’; viral Facebook status messages constantly warn us of sneaky changes in privacy policies. We do our best to remain private in public domain, but, that’s right- “Big Brother (or some lesser variant) is always watching”. I am not suggesting that we disconnect from the internet and shut ourselves in. Such an act would be almost anachronistic. Indeed the age of instant information and connectivity has immense benefits. What I am trying to emphasize is that we have lost a certain element of our privacy, but we are quite accepting of it. At some level we might even think it necessary in order for us to benefit from these technological advances. But how long and to what lengths do we extend our acceptance? Science-fiction encourages us to be aware of our attitudes and encourages us to think about the potential consequences. In 'Time Machine', H.G. Wells writes about the Eloi, a childlike group of people forming a future society filled with technological advances. They no longer have the need to think or work- technology takes care of everything. I haven’t been alive very long and yet I find myself wondering at things that have changed since I was a child. We rarely do mental arithmetic (it was never pleasant, I agree), our attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter, we are guided so absolutely by our GPS that we rarely look around and find better routes ourselves. How many phone numbers do we remember (this can be quite crucial in certain situations)? © Udantya 2011


We don’t do it because we think we no longer have to. Moreover, we are still a high-functioning largely intelligent society; these traits are not crippling. But given what we are today, are the Eloi so difficult to imagine? In my mind most important contribution of science-fiction is that it has encouraged us to think about the environment. The dystopian future is almost always arid and barren or filled with concrete. In such a society humankind has used every resource in a completely short-sighted manner. Such attitudes are startlingly familiar and exceptionally real.___ And a Wholesome Helping of Imagination___ The power of imagination comes only from the world of fiction. Give a young child a story-book to read and he or she will start to think of stories themselves. They may choose to play a game of ‘pretend’ rather than pretending to play a game. Those who imagine have no idle hours. If you can imagine, no matter what your age, you then take down walls in your mind. You become creative, inventive and gain a certain foresight. Imagination isn’t just a quirk of the whimsical; imagination is essential for the scientific and the ambitious. This brings me full circle, back to my friend's original comment that fiction is limited by the imagination of the author. It may be characterized by the imagination of the author, however I do not believe that imagination can ever be limiting. The very fact that one can think beyond what exists and what is real, allows for an exploration that true life will never deliver. *** My conclusion is a simple one and does not aim place any particular genre of literary work above another. Our lives are the sum of our own experiences and the experiences of others- known and unknown. We color what we see with our own perspectives and those that are offered to us. Why close the door on one over another?

~ Aparna

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JAM SESSION

Cups of Tea The soft silk against the cane frame. It's comfortable, it's enduring, it's the perfect place to have the first cup of chai for the day. It's the place where I like to see the raindrops fall and the sun rise and sometimes fade away behind the leaves. The worries of the world are farthest away from me. Here I protect myself, here I am protected by myself. Here the scent of my being is intertwined in the lace of the curtains as the hues of the evening lamp sheds its shadow on the memories that decorate my walls. The place where I sit and giggle away with the girls and etch out to-do lists. I make my plans here and fold away its pieces. I hide my writings somewhere in between the towers of books or paint whites and reds. The colors in my closet splash my world alive and the fresh scent of the lilies drenches everything beautiful. It's my bean stalk high above in the skies, from where I step down into the world. It's my happy place on some unhappy days. It is my home. An evening along the shoreline perhaps. The waves motion in one direction but my pulse races away in the exact opposite. The waves crash, take me up high and settle me back down. The quickest tease of one's life. The breeze is a brilliant swing, romancing the echoes of silence. The brittle sand settles in the space between my toes and tickles them. Jazz plays in the distance, making my yellow scarf flutter to its tune. A sense of belonging, of relief, of completion, of strength- to step up, or down, but mostly away with the perfect companion- life. My fingers warm themselves around last cup of chai for the day. The one that takes you home and tucks you away. ~ Namita

Words in Color In every writer I see an artist, painting with words. Combining words, as one would two colors and behold a new purple adjective! Or a wordsmith, as a sculptor, building and chiseling away; until one is left with an intricate sculpted story. It is a challenge no doubt with only a finite set of words in your paint box; your finite set of tools. Yet there exists a vast breadth of literary work- each unique and each so beautiful. And so I tell myself and you, who desires so deeply to tell your stories- your voice will surely find its place in the gallery of painted words and sculpted characters. ~ Aparna

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Around Town 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children', by Ransom Riggs has an intriguing title and a very peculiar cover. It is a black and white photo of an oddly tired looking child staring eerily into the camera- her hands relaxed and by her side- levitating! The photograph is haunting and there are many more like it in the book. The book is pure fantasy and adventure, best suited for young adults and adults. The language is a little too brazen and realistic for youngsters. What distinguishes the book, apart from its well-crafted and well-narrated story, are the photographs. Each of the black and white photographs in the book are genuine vintage, with some post-processing (most likely for quality). These photographs were collected by the author and various contributors over time. To my knowledge, this is the first time a book has been illustrated with photographs (I could be wrong). But, it is a charming concept. Ransom Riggs is both a film-maker and writer. And so, he goes further in his marriage of unlikely media and writing to create a trailer for his book! We at Udantya think this is a wonderful way to package a book; a step forward from trying glean as much information as you can from a dust jacket synopsis! The trailer is available for viewing on YouTube. ~ Aparna [youtube=http://youtu.be/wVegDhDxLeU]

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Poetic Justice

An Ode to the Cozy Mystery An idyllic scene pierced by a scream; a bloody crime so dignified. _ The bumbling bluethe batons do twirl. Why not give your grey cells a whirl? _ A likely candidate to fix upon, the very next moment, they are gone! A red herring?! Well, there was no telling. _ How was it that time just flew? And here you are; you haven’t a clue! It builds, the case. Was it arsenic? Or was it lace?_ And who was it, that gone and done it? Well in the end, the butler did it! ~ Aparna

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Untitled____________ The silence was golden, but the turmoil so black._ So much so that we weren’t sure where the darkness had spread itself._ The words etched darker and the songs echoed deeper._ Like the chant of a child, but not so joyful. Somewhere in amidst all that, our hearts leapt out and had taken a walk. Leaving our minds to fight it out. _ But now we realize that we can only meet in the dark. ~ Namita

Š Udantya 2011


CAMEO

Poems by Olga Atlholang Tahilah___ Tahilah was her name

No miracle

Her name gave life to herself

No clever words

Life taken from her

No superstar

Innocence stolen from her sheets

Just a sheer will

Scarlet, Ravenous, Blood spilt

To be Relentless

Never the same again

_A stranger she met A truth that can not be denied

She took a long look at her face

Love begot Love

She saw time

Two lives collided

Time etched on the lines of her forehead

Two hearts

Lines that showed history

Beat as one

Lines that told stories of the ancients Lines that refused to go away

Spring of September Her body sun-kissed

Journey at a standstill

Life sprung forth

Stuck, stuck, I tell you

And she placed

Serendipity played with her

Her tender hands

A fate of chance

On her belly

A chance of fate A change of tides Š Udantya 2011


She knew at that very moment That heaven Finally Heard her cries And opened a door She ran Through the door Unashamed Knowing The child she bore In her womb Would go on To do Exceedingly Abundantly Above All that she could ever imagine

Š Udantya 2011


Lost

Sabotaged and ruined by those she considered hers

A lost child who has lost her mother

But now lost are they, for she has no need to find them

A lost child who has lost her soul

She has been washed out, cast out and burned out

A lost child who has fought with her demons

She can say she has truly seen it all

A lost child who has never forgotten

But even so

Shadows prowling her Spirit day and night

She is still embarking on the journey to live

Colors of primrose and lavender begin to fade

Embarking on the fervent adventures of the soul

As her spirit begins to deteriorate

Enigmatic paths intertwine to make her one To make her whole again

Pain inflicted by fellow brethren

She might have lost everything

Oh oh did I step on some toes

But she has gained everything by losing

If that is so You see what she bore was he

Will you risk re-lighting my glowing splint

And he was her by how she bore him Black nubian star that shines from her mesmerizing eyes

As a black child of the soil She has began to disintegrate Being washed away and dissolved by emotional iniquities

To fathom this nonsensical sense

A black hole has encompassed her

Perhaps this is how she saw the world

Death has crossed her mind many a times

Now that she has lost her mother

But Africa rings one bell

Lost she sees, hears and breathes

Let freedom ring

Lost echoes the wall of her sordid room

Freedom to live and embrace ALL that is ALL Perhaps when dawn breaks

Africa the land of her being

We shall see her Maybe when the sun sets

Lost her belly cries and lost she will always remain Š Udantya 2011


We shall take a spiritual walk The walk that lasts for eternity Lost will be her children For they won't get to see their grandmother Lost will be their endeavors and adventures For grandma won't be there to shine in all they do That refreshing hug that lasts a lifetime That big sloppy kiss that says "shower me with love" Only time will tell, The never ending tick-tock If we shall cross paths once more At that moment will I say I am Free A LOST CHILD OF AFRICA WAITING TO BE FOUND

Š Udantya 2011


FAQ We’ve had a few questions over the past few months, so we thought it would be a good idea to chart out our very own FAQ page.

Might I make a suggestion? Yes! Questions, comments, suggestions and ideas are all welcome. Just email us at udantya@gmail.com

Do you have specific requirements to submit to Udantya? Absolutely not! We love it all; the quirky, the unexpected and the conventional. Share your ideas with us. We want to highlight creativity and artistic expression in all forms. Since we are a web-magazine, we have not yet felt the need to set any page limits or length restrictions. If that changes, we will let you know! How much time do I get to submit a piece? We usually announce the following month’s theme when we release an issue. Our rough editing scheme is as follows. (When you email us to contribute to a particular issue, you will get a set dates for that month). -We usually ask for a short summary of your idea for the intended piece by the end of the first week of the month. -The first draft follows roughly a week to ten days later. You can submit a first draft even if you didn’t tell us your overall summary. Partial drafts are also accepted, so that we get an idea of the direction of your piece. -We like to work closely with you and reserve a week thereafter to finalize a draft. Our goal is to facilitate your vision for your piece and we view this portion of the process as a team effort. Can I send you stuff even if it doesn’t fit a theme? Yes, of course! We will try to find a place for it. You may even give us ideas for more themes! © Udantya 2011

Udantya Issue # 6  

This is the sixth issue from Udantya on the theme of fiction.