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Editor Speak

March 2022

The bleak and dreary winter is over. Touched by the invigorating warmth of the golden sun, the flowers are abloom. The tawny golds of spring blooms; calendulas, nemesias, daffodils, snapdragons and Californian poppies, enchant and inspire creativity. So, we decided to brighten the March edition with amber tints and call it the Topaz Edition.


The Topaz Edition is special as it showcases the writings and creative journey of Abhay K, a renowned poet-diplomat, who has authored several poetry collections namely 'The Seduction of Delhi', 'The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu', 'The Prophecy of Brasilia', 'The Alphabets of Latin America', and 'The Magic of Madagascar', among others. Abhay K has been honoured with the SAARC Literary Award, Asia-Pacific Excellence Award and Kalinga Literary Festival 2020-2021 Poetry Book of the Year Award. In a free-wheeling conversation with The Wise Owl, Abhay K talks about his creative milestones. The Wise Owl Team also reviews his latest offering, a book-length poem, 'Monsoon'.


This Edition also features an in-depth interview with renowned contemporary artist Madan Lal (India), whose artwork, with its characteristic peacock, ochre and crimson hues, is a celebration of life. His artwork seamlessly blends elements that are traditional as well as modern. He has been awarded the National Akademi Award by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 2017. 

Our poetry segment is brimming with poetry from across the world. We have poets from India, USA, Australia as well as war-torn Ukraine. Our Fiction section has an eclectic selection of stories. ‘The House of Infinite Possibilities’ an intriguing story by Steve Carr (nominated for the Pushcart Prize), ‘The Seventh Sense’ a quirky narration by Jeffrey Feingold and ‘The Visual Vocabulary of My Name’ a melodic account by Chitra Gopalakrishnan, are especially interesting. Our podcast section buzzes with a rendering of 'The Seventh Sense' by Jeffrey Feingold and 'The Visual Vocabulary of My Name' by Rini Simon Khanna, a well-known Indian television anchor.

The Review segment includes a review of ‘The Lost Daughter’, a film nominated for Oscars in three categories. It also carries a review of 'Rocket Boys', an engrossing biopic of Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, the architects of the Indian Space and Nuclear Programs. Our Non-Fiction section has a well-crafted travelogue about Ramgarh, a little known but charming getaway in the Kumaon Hills where one gets a grandstand view of the magnificent Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul. Musings features ‘New Used Vehicle’ by Niles Reddick, a story we can all connect with.

The tete-a-tete segment features a friendly chat with Jas Kohli, an upcoming writer in the romance-comedy genre who has authored three books, ‘Anything to Look Hot’, ‘Lights! Scalpel! Romance!’ and ‘Lights! Wedding! Ludhiana!’. This segment also includes a chat with Gopal Pardeshi, an upcoming watercolour artist, whose work is largely inspired by the ‘Wadas’ (old houses in Maharashtra, India) and the rural milieu. Our Visual Art section showcases a segment ‘Art in Nature’. This segment has some beautiful photographs by Krystal Kroker Stier, a connoisseur of Nature and a photographer with a discerning eye. The Pen & Ink Drawings section features sketches by Jaanvi Kapoor, a young student based in Canada.

February saw the passing away of the singing legend, Lata Mangeshkar, who recorded as many as 50,000 songs in 14 languages and gave voice to all the beautiful actresses who graced Indian Cinema. Balpreet, a senior journalist, pens a touching tribute to this musical legend.

Hope you enjoy browsing through the Topaz Edition. Happy Reading!! Happy Viewing!!

~ Rachna Singh

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Interview

Abhay K

Abhay K is a renowned poet-diplomat, who has authored several poetry collections namely 'The Seduction of Delhi', 'The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu', 'The Prophecy of Brasilia', 'The Alphabets of Latin America', and 'The Magic of Madagascar', among others. He has also edited several poetry anthologies. He has been honoured with the Kalinga Literary Festival 2020-2021 Poetry Book of the Year Award for his translation of Kalidasa’s 'Meghaduta' and 'Ritusamhara'. He has also received the SAARC Literary award for his contribution to contemporary South Asian Poetry and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2013. Abhay K has also been honoured with the Asia-Pacific Excellence Award in 2014. His poetry collection, 'The Seduction of Delhi' was shortlisted for Muse India Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2015. His latest book-length poem 'Monsoon' has been published by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters.

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Poetry

Poetry

Eloquent Emotions

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Where's the Dream?

Our dour-faced scepticism does not acknowledge the magic of gingerbread houses, pumpkin carriages and talking mirrors. In the rat race of adulthood, we have left behind childhood, a precious but abandoned treasure.  

~Mridula Sharma

Sunset

Dawn on Arunachala

In order to settle a dispute between Brahma, the creator and Vishnu, the preserver, Lord Shiva is said to have manifested as the sacred Arunachala hill. A temple dedicated to lord Shiva stands atop the hill and both look down with supreme indifference at the shenanigans of an ephemeral world.

~Neera Kashyap

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A Pocketful of Borrowed Beads

Fragments of edgy energies, brass singing bowls, chakras, shamans, nests of secrecy are strung together to form a rosary of beads. Will the brutal winter transcend into a regenerating spring? Will the mourners achieve collective healing?

~Alison Jennings

Little Girl Praying

Sudharma

A biblical name, despite its connotations of grace, alienates the poet from the Indianness of her origin.The urge for homecoming, the desire to melt into Sudharma (good morals) becomes a desperate longing.

~Joanna George

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Late Night Garage Duty

The greasy radio plays golden oldies, as the poet peers into the corpse-like innards of a lawnmower and tries to bring it back to its former working glory. The poet sketches an image of a ‘man on a mission’ doing late night garage duty, in a few deft strokes.

~John Grey

Hammock Relaxing

You Lie in a Hammock

Swinging a metaphorical hammock, the shadows of leaves weave magic spells on the poet’s face as he waits for the tread of a magical and mystical love. Weary and tired of waiting, the poet likens his wait  to a time bomb ticking a stealthy tattoo.

~Dmitry Blizniuk

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A Swallow that makes Spring

The poet abhors the pandemonium created by hate speeches reminiscent of Satan’s address of the fallen angels in Milton’s Paradise Lost. He wants to be one among the holy swarm of swallows whose arrival makes Spring.

~Jernail Anand

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Spellbound

Like a priestess of yore, a spellbound poet worships at the feet of a creative deity and weaves together her words with indelible charcoal that captures the essence of her soul and being. 

~Kathleen Chamberlin

Non Fiction

Non Fiction

Memoirs Travelogues Musings & Essays

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Travelogue

Silver Ramparts

The hills hold a very special place in Chitra Singh’s heart. She takes the readers on an enchanting sojourn to Ramgarh, a quaint getaway in the Kumaon hills. The gorgeous Alpine landscape and the silver ramparts of the Himalayan peaks of Kamet, Nandaghumti and Nanda Devi will appeal to a genuine nature lover.

~Chitra Singh

Musings

New-Used Vehicle

When a child gets a driving permit, parents celebrate the occasion as it is the first step into adulthood for a child. Buying the child a car becomes a project all parents look forward to and save up for.  Niles reminiscences about the time when he and his wife buy their young son a new used vehicle. The sparkle in their son’s eye is a cherished memory.

~Niles Reddick

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Fiction

Stories of Fantasy Romance History

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The Seventh Sense

Am impending gum surgery sends the author in a tizz. Images of the ‘Die Hard’ Bruce Willis and the ‘The sixth sense’ Willis haunt his dreams. A humorous piece that takes a self-deprecating laugh at the terrified victims of an orthodontist.


~Jeffrey Feingold

White Wooden House

The House of Infinite Possibilities

Jacob Smit’s bungalow sits on the boundaries of Serengeti National Park. Jacob’s friend Lethabo and his stunning girlfriend Blessing are his guests for the weekend. Out for a walk alone one evening, Blessing disappears. Has she become food for Old Sneezer, the huge male lion ? Or has this ‘magnificent creature’ found her place among her own?

~Steve Carr

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The Visual Vocabulary of My Name

An 'accident' of conversation between Della of Washington and Chitra of India, makes Chitra reflect on the magical antecedents of her name, which lay buried under dusty familiarity. 

~Chitra Gopalakrishnan

Getting Ready to Run

Courting Controversy

A teen boy in a new town and a new school, becomes the target of school bullies. The head boy comes to his rescue and offers him moral support. Is this the beginning of a friendship or something else?

~Sanjita Mittal

Reviews

Reviews

Reviews of Movies Books and OTT releases

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Guilt of Motherhood

Leda, a professor of Comparative literature, arrives for a dream vacation to a tiny Greek island. Leda’s attention is caught by a mother-daughter duo, who remind her of her younger days when she as a mother of two young girls, had felt opposing tugs of filial love and frustration at missing out on opportunities in life.

~Vrishti Dasgupta

A Biopic with a Difference

This biopic is not a boring and reverent tribute but a dramatic and exciting sojourn with two great scientists, Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai. This period film also connects with the present when it introduces A.P.J Abdul Kalam as one of the characters of this drama.

~Vani Jaipal

A Rain drenched Missive of Love

A long poem written in the ‘rubai’ tradition’ of Omar Khayyam, with its 150 quatrains in free verse is a delightful read where the reader feasts on sights, sounds and aromas that the poet has masterfully and effortlessly stroked across the canvas of his poem. Poet-diplomat Abhay K's latest offering is magical and lyrical at the same time.

~The Wise Owl Team

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Tete-a-tete

A chat with Jas Kohli, a talented upcoming writer who is slowly and steadily making a mark in the romance-comedy genre. He also happens to be a renowned practicing cosmetic surgeon. Jas Kohli has authored three novels viz. ‘Anything to Look Hot’ (2015), ‘Lights! Scalpel! Romance!’ (2019) and ‘Lights! Wedding! Ludhiana!’ (2021).

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Interview

Madan Lal

The Wise Owl talks to Mr Madan Lal, an internationally recognized and award-winning contemporary artist, who works in acrylic and mixed media. He has been feted and awarded the National Akademi Award by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 2017, Silver medal by Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation in 2016, Emerging Artist Award by Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation in 2015, Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi Samman 2019 and many others.

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Visual Arts

A Visual Treat for the Soul

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Photography

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Art In Nature

Nature is a mastercraftsman that sculpts and chisels with panache creating sculptures that enchant and rivet our attention. Krystal Krocker Stier with the discerning eye of a nature lover and an expert photographer finds Art in Nature.

~Krystal Krocker Stier

Pen & Ink Drawings

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Meaningful Sketches

Jaanvi Kapoor, a young artist sketches with a deft and practiced hand. Her sketches are indicative of the duality of the human persona. The sketches of melting faces bring to mind Dali's Melting Clocks. 

~Jaanvi Kapoor

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Tete-a-tete

In Conversation with Gopal Pardeshi, an upcoming  artist whose paintings depict rural life with objects like wooden doors, windows, earthen lamps, lanterns etc. He works in acrylics alone. 

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Editor's Pick

Remembering Lata Mangeshkar

The Golden Voice of India

The Eternal Lilt

~Balpreet

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The Wise Owl: Podcasts

Podcasts

Podcast of Top Articles, Features, Poems and Stories

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Story Podcast

The Visual Vocabulary of My Name
Writer: Chitra Gopalakrishnan
Narrator: Rini Simon Khanna

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Story Podcast

The Seventh Sense
Writer: Jeffrey Feingold
Narrator: Jeffrey Feingold

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Montage

The Cinnamon Sparrow

 A passerine bird of the sparrow family 

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