Constance: Of Inner Revolution & Outer Evolution

Those were the days
That flew upon the breeze
Scented with platters
Of words-worthy feasts

Them wintry special editions
Of home cooked meals
Warmed up like Enid Blytons
Seasoned with John Keats

The lazy summer afternoons too
Sprawled with Agatha Christies;
My bread and butter
Your wine and cheese

The popular cliques’
Nancy Drews were just
So sickeningly sweet,
They squatted prettily
Like jars of jam
Languishing in ignominy

That was when Sherlock Holmes
Was the gentleman’s gentlemen
And John Grisham a treatise,
And David Baldacci was as legal
As you could get
In a thrill baker’s paradise

But Shakespeare was
The Indians’ Chinese soup
All slurped down in delight,
Until pig’s blood like misogyny
Left ’em squirming in surprise

That was when Austen and Bronte
Were the Julia Childs of English Lit,
Deliciously piquant in delivery despite
Their obsession with etiquette

In contrast, the desi summer retreats
Became a much needed respite,
Cutting through the western sensibilities
With spicy mythological strife

Their sensationally spiritual plots
And samosa-eared pages of lore
Could wage a Game of Thrones
With more honour and less gore

Where Satya Jit Ray sprightly sleuthed
From fortresses to chawls,
Arunadhati Roy bluntly sluiced
Variety with liberal over hauls

Then came Chetan Bhagat
To conquer cinema with realism,
But with grammar like pirated pizza’s
He posed Adiga little competition

Thusly, the experiments with
Fictional truths grew by and by,
As I kept up with nuggets of
Phantasmagoria on the sly

It was the best of times, indeed,
It was the worst of times,
To have swum through the Trojan wars
Yet have doddered into Twilight

It was the age of wisdom, truly,
It was the age of foolishness,
Where the literature of examinations battled
To gain foothold in my reading lists

This fascist state of poiesis
Kept me winded and on my toes;
With History and Future in a flux
I spent hours thinking fast and slow

And through this epoch of identity politics,
Cultural wars and Digital putsch,
That the fad of Harry Potter thrived
Became a universally acknowledged truth

– Akanksha Gupta

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In Limbo

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When I was younger
And couldn’t even reach up to that doorless shelf
Where your cruel crafty self hid my jar of mango pickle,
I wished to be just a little bit taller
And a tad more carefree
I didn’t know then
I was unknowingly
Tossing my wishes into the well
Of deliciously ageless irony
For you see,
When I was younger,
I wished to be
Exactly as old as you,
For I felt that you had no homework
And that Papa just read news,
I couldn’t wait to be there too –
Me as old as you and you as old as me;
I couldn’t wait for time to liquefy
And slip past my fingers.
But as years went by, and university called to me
And as the easygoing school syllabus of ten months
Got compressed into tiny nuggets of three
Every time that the exams arrived
I sighed and held my breath
I longed for that liquefied time
To season those nuggets with.
Too late twas when I realised
I wanted to savour those moments,
Hoping that somehow they’d stretch themselves and
Tuck me in, like blankets in my sleep.
But somewhere along the way
Those flimsy blankets too slipped away
And now as I yearn for their warmth,
Every time that I apply for jobs
Or talk to the next gen folk,
The sign of a grown-up life
Flashes much more lucidly before my eyes.
It’s that melee of excitement
With a fear of uncertainty
And an utter dependency on self,
Whence Sophie’s choice and Murphy’s law
Seem to be playing the devil’s advocate,
And me?
I am standing in limbo
Between the devil and the deep blue sea,
Balancing my hopes on a nylon rope;
Those plans of wanting to work hard up the ladder
Seem to be laced with mettle no more
Because the ladder is frail
And its steps paced erratically
Now
Listening to them grown-up problems
Makes me think so differently
For living the erstwhile third person analysis
Is a completely different story

– Akanksha Gupta