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Posts from the ‘Issue 8/Here and There: The diaspora universe’ Category

Contents – Here and There: The Diaspora Universe (Issue 8)

Index: Here and There - The Diaspora Universe

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Editorial – Scattered winds

By Bhaswati Ghosh
I inherited diasporic sensibilities even before I would experience living in a diaspora environment myself. In the latter, I am a greenhorn; I have lived outside my home country for only the last five years. Yet, I can already sense the agony of the longing my grandmother must have felt in her new surroundings.

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Under a leafless tree

By Sumana Roy
Our apartment, this new sealed airtight-container life, where my hair and skin became as crisp as potato wafers inside a packet, eventually pushed me out into the cold. I cannot exactly say whether I found it or it found me. I was, by this time, homesick, but also full of the reserve of – how does one say it without sentimentality – a tree that knows it will survive winter.

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It’s all in a name

By Sweta Srivastava Vikram
The way handbags are to New York women, cars to Los Angelenos, wine to the French, and pasta to the Italians, the relevance of a name is to an Indian. Depending on the part of India you are from, the religious faith you are born into, and the caste you belong to, the ritual of the naming convention might differ. But the core never changes—your name is your statement you make to the world.

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Heaven Bound

By C. J. Peiffer
I taught with only a small blackboard and worksheets made on the priest’s typewriter, duplicated with carbon paper. I learned how to use an important Peace Corps concept: flexibility. I gave up the comforts of home in exchange for what I gained, for I acquired so much more than I was able to give.

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Of foreign words in foreign lands

By Pritha Lal
The first memory is that of a beautiful Egyptian woman named Aazza. As our neighbor in Kuwait, she was kind enough to take me under her wings and get me up to speed on my Arabic. Being in grade 6, I was required to have elementary knowledge of Arabic. This lovely woman took it upon herself to teach me the language—not just what the books said, but a little bit more.

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Mustard zing and noodle soup slurp: Loving through food in a foreign land

By Debolina Dey
The diasporic foodie, straddling the worlds between nostalgia and a newfound adventure for taste, a newer palette, and newer flavours— does just that. Every dish stands in between a memory of tastes filtered through longing, and ingredients at hand.

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Scattered, walking: The point of no return

By Lopa Banerjee
At home, ten thousand miles away from my verdant memories, I cook, water plants, feed, write and rewrite as I wander aimlessly in crinkled corners of my girlhood. I collide with the shadows of my past, both staying our separate, ubiquitous selves. Together, we wake to the early morning frost and the sullen smoke drifting to the far-flung corners of the sky.

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Turning the corner

By Achyut Dutt
She was cold, real cold and as I held her, she shivered uncontrollably. I sat her down and brought in the spare hooded parka from the employees’ closet and draped it round her. She smelt awful but I somehow managed to hold her tight allowing her body to get warm. Gradually the shivering passed.

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Jet Lagged Kolkata Night

By Sudeshna Sengupta
While I was exhausted after a long plane ride — I decided to capture this very intense experience by writing, sketching, and documenting it in whatever ways I could during the sleepless jet-lagged nights, sometimes sitting inside the mosquito net — sometimes staring out the window at night from a 4th floor apartment.

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Diaspora encounters

By Sabiha Farhat
On all those occasions we occupied the roads, and brought the traffic to a standstill. Even my 13-year-old was part of rallies. Would Rakesh and his children ever think of protesting and rebelling against, or reclaiming, anything? Perhaps they don’t need to. As Sehar would lovingly put it, “It’s a hassle-free country, sister! Welcome to America!”

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Excerpt from “FINDING PIYA”

By Dipika Mukherjee
What she didn’t say was that Snapchat this past week had been filled with pictures of that emo Rachel LePage backpacking through Europe, knocking at unfamiliar doors that said Zimmer Frie! to spend the night…all that adventure on a Eurail pass. How much more awesome, more photogenic, would an Indian train ride be?

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Death by Snow

By Mosarrap H. Khan
The men and women sang to the accompaniment of drums begging for money; the jobless youth boarded the trains during daytime hawking Oreo cookies, cheap perfumes, and stuffed toys; the teenage kids came after the school armed with music systems to dance and ask for money; at night, the train gave shelter to the homeless who carried all their possessions in small carts.

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Being Calamity Jane

By Rashida Murphy
I uncurled from the floor, shut the bedroom door where my daughter still slept, dark hair and one bare leg visible under a purple blanket and switched the TV on softly. They were doing repeats of a disaster movie on every channel over and over again in freeze frames. Buildings were on fire and people were running in the street, followed by explosions and black smoke.

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More winters to pass

By Gauarv Deka
She had thought me to be one of those lost Indian men seeking love in alien lands. We had become good friends once she knew that I had nothing to do with women when it came to romance or sex. She’s the only person who has known about Arko as well as the fact that I was divorced before coming to Berlin from the very beginning.

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The Agreement

By Ruma Chakravarti
As I read the letter, my eyes filled with tears. Atul and Savita sat in silence. Then Savita began to cry. Great dry sobs. And I held her hand and thought about those men. I thought about Atul and me, and about Savita’s sons who would never learn how to read Hindi.

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Of Signposts, Snapshots and Sontag : Reclaiming a Diasporic Life

By Pooja Garg Singh
It was on one such road trip that I read Susan Sontag’s ‘On Photography’. The book became for me an experiential lens with which to look at my life instead of what it is – a book on photography. I became the camera as life became a fast developing film where all one is left holding are a series of quick shots.

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Remembered alleys, forgotten darknesses

By Amitabh Mitra
To be free is all we ever need. The age-old streets at Johannesburg are the same as in Delhi. One reflected its own reflection of the conqueror and the vanquished and the other spoke of once rusted rivers, now barely an overcrowded thread. Each in its own way remembered their ancient strife; season in layers resented the estrangement of evenings and darkness.

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Odyssey: Prose poetry (Tanka prose)

By Shloka Shankar
The house seemed smaller all of a sudden. Perhaps we were one too many. Three generations huddled together under the same roof. I fondly trace old and new cracks on the walls and even find a few of my scribbles to my delight. Everything was just the same.

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