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Sunil Sharma

Sunil Sharma is a Principal at Bharat College (affiliated with the University of Mumbai, Mumbai) at Badlapur, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India. He is a bilingual critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. His short stories and poems have appeared in journals such as Hudson View (South Africa), The Plebian Rag and Bicycle Review (USA), Creative Saplings, Brown Critique and Kritya (India), the Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies (West Bengal), Labyrinth (Gwalior) and Poets International (Bangalore). Some of his poems and short stories have been anthologized in national and international collections. He is also a freelance journalist and serves on the advisory boards of international literary and online journals.



Freedom

Against a dark-hued
Threatening sky's
Shrieking winds
Flies a stormy petrel,
Flapping her tiny wings
Dominated by the elements
Yet,
Soaring
Over the
Sea,
A striking
Kinetic image
Of pure
Aerial
Freedom.



The Raven

There
He
Sits alone—
The raven,
Wet and washed,
With dark wings—
Slightly
Puffed up
On a shivering
Telephone line,
Looking
Incongruous;
A visitor
On this late August afternoon
Very much like the
Old and recurring
Tedious argument
Running incessantly
Through a hot and restless night
In the tiny bedroom
Of a recently-married
Ambitious,
Career-oriented
Young
Couple,
Living in an
Indian
Costly suburb,
Chasing their
American Dream
Ruthlessly
Down lost love's
Blind lane.



The Dog Whisperer

Famished,
Wandering down the indifferent streets,
The half-clad blackish man
Talks to his
Invisible friends,
The pack of half-starved dogs
Following the pathetic figure
Like faithful pals.
The man
Stops midway,
Interrupts his dialogue
With airy nothings
Not seen by all,
And kindly,
This homeless wanderer
Whispers
Sweetly
Some kind words
To the poor
Shunned
Street dogs.



Forgotten

I no longer see—
The familiar numbers
On my waiting cell
Nor hear—
The familiar caller's lilting tunes.
I have been forgotten
By friends
And
Erased forever
From their lives
Like old
Superannuated messages;
I am
Not remembered
Upon their waking up
In the morning—
Like a
Faded
Receding
Dream.



Glittering Diamonds

There are the diamonds
In the water,
Said the tiny boy
To his tinier sister,
Outside their tin-roofed
Leaking hovel;
Come,
We will
Catch these
Objects,
There.
The pair
—A thin bag of bare bones with bright eyes—
Stepped out
Into the Mumbai rains,
And tried to catch—
The glitter
Of the
Huge rain drops
There.
Their black bodies,
Starved
Ill-clad
Bare,
Shook
With loud laughter,
Pleased with the joint task
Of catching
The diamonds
In their tiny
Tender hands.
Standing knee-deep
In the flooded street,
They
Played the game
That bleak
August afternoon,
While, a few floors above
In the high-rise,
The 10-year-old
Miss Pinky
Cried
For
The lack of
A new Barbie doll
In her
Overflowing
Blue-n-red
Cupboard.



The Rag-Pickers and the Stray Puppy

The
Bare-boned
Rickety
Stray
Shunned
By some
And kicked
Viciously
By
The
Street-children,
Got
Picked up
By
Another
Outcast—
The
Hungry
Lean
Fat-less
Dark-skinned
Dark-haired
Female
Rag-picker;
In her gnarled
Young hands,
Love flowed
Between
The two strays
Like
Nectar
Flowing
From
The
Crucified
Lord's
Bleeding
Heart.



The Curse of Kaali

The dark-skinned
Girl
Sat bedecked
Outside the Kaali Mandir
At the edge
Of the
Teeming unplanned
Suburb,
Amid the believers
Going/Coming
Out of the small Mandir,
At feverish pace,
Throwing coins
Grudgingly,
At the frail child
With large
Kohl-lined eyes,
Who had
Somehow
Survived
Three crude
Attempts of infanticide;
And hunger
That was her only
Constant companion,
Because her dying
Battered
Grandmother
Had warned
The famished family:
Do not murder the poor child,
She is Kaali
Incarnate and
Can kill you all
Through
Her
Single
Curse.



Mother Kaali

Outside the busy temple
Of
Mother Kaali,
Sits her dark human replica—
A frail
Female
Under a patched umbrella
In suburban wet
Mumbai,
Holding a baby girl
In her little lap,
Who
Suckles greedily at a
Withered barren breast,
A human Kaali
Hoping for alms
From
The chanting devout—
Who come to seek blessings from
The fierce stone Mother.



Poet's Heart

Here beats the
Heart
Of the
Bleeding
Poet
Misunderstood by all,
Wounded fatally
By a society
That has
Sensex as its
Ruling symbol.
Listen to its
Gentle beatings.
Sincerely
Yaar,
It talks of
Those rare
Facts and
Realms
Not glimpsed by ordinary eyes at all;
It bravely
Speaks of
Invisible cities
Where everyone is equal and just,
And
Sings
Of
Melodies
Enchanting and
Dear,
Not heard
So far.



The Dog in the Rains

Whipped by
Hard rains
A street dog
Searches for
Comfortable
Shelter
From
Driving rains;
There is none
Available
On the flooded street—
No welcoming
Trees
Or
Empty yard
Friendly to a wandering dog
No
Loving hand.
Shivering,
Wet
The shriveled-up
dog
Stands under an awning
Of a closed pet shop,
Where
A few homeless men and kids
Kick God's creature
And man's best friend out,
Beating the dumb one
With a stick,
Enjoying the painful yelps
Of the whining
Helpless dog,
Drunk completely
As they are
By
Their superiority
And blinding power
Of being human
In a world
Gone to
The dogs.



The Laundry Boy

The thin boy
Away from
His village home
And school,
Lives in his
Married sister's home,
A one-room tenement
In Mumbai,
Running errands,
While her son studies;
The boy
Asish,
Gets drenched
In daily grey rains,
But—
Always delivers laundry
With a 2000-watt
Smile
That lights up
The
Abandoned
Senior citizens’
Dark
Seventh-floor
Suburban
Apartment.



The Yellow Bus

On the construction site
Stands this yellow bus—
Much admired and envied
By the workers' black
Famished kids;
Little Laxmi
Often cries
For a ride
And is denied,
Gets a daily beating
By her asthmatic mother
For her persistent desire
For the yellow bus
That ferries fat sleeping children
To the glass-n-brick structure
Gated and ferociously guarded
From the pests.
The girl-child
One morning cries bitterly
And her desperate maa
Pleads with the conductor
Of the now-parked bus;
The bored conductor agrees,
And little Laxmi
Sits on the upholstered seats,
Prancing in the aisle,
Like a wayside flower,
Smiling happily
While her maa
Cries and beams
Alternatively,
Hoping—
For a guardian angel
Able to allow
A poor worker's kid
To ride daily
In a
Yellow bus.



Friendship Day—I

Mr. Urban,
Young and mobile
From middle-class India
Searched for love
In the decked-up shop
Rummaging the stacks of printed
Cards and gifts,
—Ably guided by a female salesperson, on a high sales pitch,
Saying, we have all the right messages printed for all the listed human emotions/ occasions for different customers but they cost a lot here, sir, in this multi-brand gift shop, as they come in different shapes and sizes and come neatly packaged, sir—
Finally settled,
—After sweating two long hours in the overstuffed glittering shop, despite the full A/C as the tidal surge of shoppers brought up the humidity and temperature, all desperately searching for right messages of love and friendship in those pricey printed cards—
For
One hundred cards and ribbons,
To be distributed in phases,
Throughout the busy day,
To friends and love interests,
Like the handbills
Given to
The unsuspecting
Unwilling strangers
On a busy
Manic street.


Friendship Day—II

Miss Urbina
Walks coyly,
Hips swinging,
Carrying a hundred cards and red ribbons
In her slim clutch,
From different petitioners,
Feeling like an arrogant empress,
Fresh from a fresh kill,
Every card
Like a used cover
Later
To be discarded
In the
Overflowing
Trash bin.

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