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Editor Speak

February 2022

Lilacs symbolise renewal and the onset of spring. So, we have designed our edition in a colour palette of lavender and mauve, with its delicate connotations of hope and tranquillity for our readers and viewers driven to isolation yet again by the capricious antics of a fast-mutating virus.

This edition is very special because it carries the interview of Denmark-based Tabish Khair, a world-renowned poet, writer and critic, who despite being a big name in literary circles, has none of the arrogance one would expect or associate with a celebrated writer. Tabish Khair has authored several books of poetry, fiction and studies which have been critically acclaimed. His novels include The Bus Stopped, which was short listed for the Encore award (UK), The Thing About Thugs, which was short listed for a number of prizes including the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the Man Asian Literary Prize. A special thanks to him for all his encouragement and support.

We have been receiving a lot of positive feedback about our Interview segment, so we decided to add an interview segment to our Visual art Section as well. In this section we are featuring an interview with modern day naturalist and professional wild-life and paleo artist from Norway, Esther Van Hulsen. Her beautiful photo-realistic paintings of wildlife breathe life into her magnificent subjects. As a paleo artist, she brings to life extinct species for the present-day generation. Esther’s award-winning art has been exhibited the world over and her illustrations are a part of innumerable books. Her illustration of Ida, in a book of the same name, brings alive the 47-million-years-old primate found in Germany.

As our magazine offers a platform for upcoming writers and artists, we decided to introduce a tete-a-tete section, which will carry short conversations with upcoming writers, poets and artists. This segment features a short conversation with a young and talented writer Sakoon Singh, whose debut novel, ‘In the Land of the Lovers’ has been short listed for Valley of Words Book Awards 2021.

Poets from Nigeria, Botswana,Pakistan and USA jostle for attention in our Poetry section. Our fiction section carries three very interesting stories of vastly different genres, by Nisha Nair, Satish Pendharkar and Mridula Sharma. These can also be heard in our podcast section. Our Non-fiction section ponders the decline of the circus and features a beautiful piece by Chitra Singh. Abbie Stirling’s travelogue takes us on yet another exciting adventure, this time to Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia.


Our Review segment features the review of an unusual Indian film, ‘Eeb Allay Ooo’ in the Absurd theatre tradition. We also review a very interesting film, 'Spencer'. 'Another film on Diana Spencer', you might crib. However, this film introduces us, not to an unruffled, perfect princess, but a human being with all the flaws of one. The Book review section showcases ‘Hell of A Book’, by Jason Mott which has won the National Book Award for 2021 and is a telling comment on the treatment of Blacks in America.

In the Visual Art section, we are showcasing life-like portraits in oils and watercolours by Manu Goenka, an artist settled in Los Angeles. We also have some beautiful photographs of the changing seasons by Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Nazareth Pennsylvania. In the Modern Sculptures section, we have some delightful scuptures that add character to the cities of Geneva, Laussane (Switzerland) and Lyon (France), photographed by Anhad Jai Singh. We also pay tribute to Hollywood legend, Sidney Poitier, in our Editor Pick segment.

You are all warmly invited to browse through and savour the Lilac edition.

Happy Reading & Viewing!!!

~Rachna Singh

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Interview

Tabish Khair

The Wise Owl interviews Tabish Khair, an eminent poet, writer and critic, who was born in Ranchi, grew up in Gaya and is currently working as an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. Tabish Khair has authored several books of poetry, fiction and studies which have been critically acclaimed. His novels include 'The Bus Stopped' (2004), which was short listed for the Encore award (UK), 'The Thing About Thugs' (2010), which was short listed for a number of prizes including the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the Man Asian Literary Prize. Some of his other novels are ‘How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position' (2014), 'Just Another Jihadi Jane' (2016) and 'Night of Happiness' (2018). He has a new novel, 'The Body By The Shore', coming out in 2022.

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Poetry

Eloquent Emotions

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I'll be Alright

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The Wise Owl & the Seeker's Journey

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Infinity

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In the Mist

An enveloping and blinding mist turns sidewalks into blank unprocessed film. life appears bleak and depressing. 

~John Grey

The beginning and the end all meld into the vastness of the universe. The rhythms of nature continue their dance of infinity.



~Kazi Ayaz Mahesar

The Wise owl becomes a metaphor for the seeker who ploughs through the darkness with the hope of finding his moment of light that will transpose into the stillness of body, mind and soul.

~Dr Kenneth Maswabi

A poem that speaks of heartache and pain. At the same time, it draws upon inner strength and hopes to slay the demons of agony of the spirit with its mantra ‘I’ll be alright.’

~Emaikwu Godwin

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Non Fiction

Memoirs Travelogues Musings & Essays

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Travelogue

Torres del Paine

Abbie Stirling takes the reader on yet another unforgettable adventure, this time to the Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, with its magnificent mountains, glaciers and incredible vistas. These 'Towers of Pain' challenge an explorer physically but the breathtaking beauty on offer makes it worthwhile.


~Abbie Stirling

Essay

The Circus: A Relic of the Past

The 1960s and the 1970s were the Golden era of the Circus in India. But with the amendment in the Wildlife Act, this form of entertainment has lost its sheen. It is now a derelict version of its original avatar. The essay analyses the reasons for the decline in this form of entertainment in India.

~Meenakshi Shastrabudhe

Musings

Wings of Light

The glow of the winged fireflies lights up the author’s garden. Whimsically, she collects the fireflies and puts them in a glass bottle, where they twinkle and glow, dispelling the darkness. The author is delighted to have her own personal source of natural electricity.



~Chitra Singh 

Fiction

Fiction

Stories of Fantasy Romance History

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Whisperings

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The whisperings, sometimes sly, sometimes aggressive, sometimes tear-sodden, followed Riya everywhere. Riya realises that there was only one way to silence this clamour and her inner tumult.


~Nisha Nair 

How Blue is my Sapphire

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A much-married Pradeep and Kiran’s good-natured bickering on a lazy Sunday morning is interrupted by the doorbell. Pradeep opens the door and his life changes forever.

~Satish Pendharkar

Mila goes to Heaven

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It was quite by accident that Mila found herself in Heaven. Here, she found herself face-to-face with her earthly partner and husband Tacko. Would they live in heavenly matrimony or else make a heaven of hell?

~Mridula Sharma

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Reviews

Reviews of Movies Books and OTT releases

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Absurdist Theatre

Eeb, Aaly, Ooo won the Filmfare Critics award for best film of 2021. This film, a mix of verité and scripted humour, tells the tale of an immigrant who comes to Delhi with dreams of making it big but ends up as a human monkey Repeller. A black comedy that makes one laugh as well as introspect.

~Pari Deshmukh

A Different Diana

A frontrunner for Oscars, this film on Diana Spencer, is a film with a difference. The story is not about Diana as she appeared to the public-beautiful, enchanting, unruffled. The Diana we see is unhappy, sad, on the verge of tears and wondering desperately ‘what happened’ to her life.

~Jason Ghosh

An Incisive Take on Blacks in America

Jason Mott narrates the story of a nameless protagonist, a writer who is on a hectic booze-fuelled promotional tour for his bestselling book. The book leaves the reader with a sense of heartbreak at how Blacks have been treated and are still being treated. The book has been awarded the National Book Award of 2021.

~Neel Prabhakar

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Tete-a-tete

In Conversation with Sakoon Singh, a talented upcoming writer, whose debut novel 'In the Land of the Lovers' has been shortlisted for Valley of Words Book Award 2021.

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Visual Arts

A Visual Treat for the Soul

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Photography

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The Seasons

A capricious Nature  attires herself in seasonal garbs, each season with its own special adornment.

~Gurpreet Singh

Modern Sculptures

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Sculptures in Geneva & Lausanne

Scuptures by celebrated sculptors dot the landscape in Geneva, Laussane & Lyon. Each has its own interesting story.


~Anhad Jai Singh

Portraits in Oils & watercolours

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Life-like Vignettes

Manushree Goenka captures every minute detail of her subjects with unerring accuracy in her oil paintings and watercolors.

~Manushree Goenka

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Interview

Esther van Hulsen

The Wise Owl interviews modern day naturalist and professional wild-life and paleo artist, Esther Van Hulsen. Based in a tiny cabin close to the fjords and forests of Norway, Ms Hulsen creates beautifully detailed, photo realistic portraits of wildlife. Esther’s award-winning art has been exhibited worldwide. She has also illustrated numerous award-winning books, which have been published in countries like Norway, The Netherlands, Russia, China, Japan and France.  Commissions include illustrations for Nature Magazine, National Geographic, Popular Science Magazine and works for various natural history museums worldwide. Her illustration of Ida, in a book of the same name, about the 47-million-years-old primate found in Germany, brings it alive for the present-day generation.

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Editor's Pick

Remembering Sidney Poitier

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The Wise Owl: Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcast of Top Articles, Features, Poems and Stories

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Story Podcast

Whisperings
~Nisha Nair

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Story Podcast

Mila Goes to Heaven
~Mridula Sharma

Listen
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Montage

Where Images convey more than words

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Winter blooms add a brilliant palette of colors that brighten up the landscape. 

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