A transition from a collective identity

Shut Window

I was made to freeze

In a different time zone

by the wheel of time.

I was not allowed to thaw for a minute.

I live a frozen existence.

My time seized to move.

I froze at the indifference

of my nears

New Gods is a collection of poems written about emotional peaks and valley’s related to profound feelings of transition from a collective identity as a Kashmiri to a different culture; the migrant Pandit culture. Like prison poetry, migrant literature is full of sadness; it involves tragic deprivation of roots; the tough and hard-bitten sentiment of losing selfhood and esteem; pranks of isolation and poignancy of adjustment- trauma to an entirely different environment. Creativity, in its unique character, remains dormant in some cases, and bursts out and thrives when least expected. Sometimes in isolation or solitary confinement, during melancholic days of despair resulting from social deprivation, living in confined spaces, tents, and shelter homes far away from the significant home atmosphere; it erupts. It holds a therapeutic strength to overcome the feelings of loneliness at crowded places, making the labyrinth of isolation the source to find hidden capabilities, it leads people to a path of self-discovery, like the author of New Gods, Indu Kilam. Her discovery of self is amazing and reflected well in her poetry. The way she handles the sensitivity of the theme of her book, shows her adeptness and skillfulness. Her poems are wholly absorbing and depict her great intensity to capture the reader’s interest in her sighs and anguish. It is an extremely powerful collection that mourns the denial of roots but feels deeply for the loss of peaceful paradise to a destructive model of miseries. With a broken heart, she grieves for both.

I lost my name

My name is migrant now.

I am reduced to a number on D form.

Working silently for “Lasting heart unity” for her fellow-peoples, her patriotic urge remains above the malice of religious animosity; she feels no guilt in telling the truth. Her emotional investment is well-groomed and her intensity for pain equally stabilized. She illuminates the dark side of religious and political mishaps with her fine feelings and cares for humanity.

The red hot human blood

Reached my parched roots

The leaves blushed with shame

Each day I see young children laid

Into muddy graves.

I see the bowing sun.

redden sky in shame.

My leaves fall on the graves.

The unbloomed flowers question.

Isn’t there an alternative?

Her emotional free-fall is worth a sigh while she is faced with a disagreeable feeling of strangeness in her lost surrounding. Her shock carries a strong feeling of helplessness and under the influence of deep psychological distress she laments.

My idols of faith were there

but they were on the road like pebbles.

There was a new neighborhood.

There were new names,

new faces, new roads,

new face, walls, and new gods.

I was like a guest in my own land.

Uncomfortable and restless, watching keenly the enduring damage done to her land in men and material, she questions the system courageously, leaving her reader to wander in the ruins.

As I walk the desolate streets,

I see no life.

I knock locked doors in vain.

Is the place under a spell?

Has an evil eye cast its dark gloom

On this once beautiful city?

Trembling with a premonition

of something tragic,

I dare to ask:

Why do I see only the old?

Where are the young?

Why these expanded graveyards?

Where are the blooming roses?

Why this iris?

Why is there such darkness?

Indu Kilam’s poetry is worldly but reflects slight shades of well-absorbed influences from Sufism and mysticism.

I am a shadow but not an image,

A handful of dust, a mirage,

A dwindling ray,

the vastness of skies,

and the depths of the ocean.

I am a hallow structure

of ugly bitter bones.

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Let me go.

You go your way

and me to mine.

You are just a garment that

a name I bear,

a burden I am forced to carry.

Leave me free.

She has great potential to retain hope in hopeless situations, her mood remains optimistic against all odds in her way, and she inspires expectantly.

Drain out the stagnant waters.

Let fresh nectar overflow its banks.

Let us give our fossilized brain

A flush of fresh blood.

Let us make inroads into the

Stony and immovable rocks.

Let us bring smiles and laughter.

The poetry is highly relevant, and the book worth a read.