Ma: Mother’s Day gift

Happy Mother’s Day: sharing a few simple lines my mother wrote in Bangla remembering her mother, who was alive then, which posthumously went into her book of poetry – that I translated to English today for my mother, even though translation has taken away its charm in my view…
Simple emotions run from one generation to the next in this precise manner. And it isn’t easy to depict these simple thoughts into words, but that’s the beauty of poetry – it transcends langauage and time.

#Mothersday2023 #mothersdaypictures #mothersday #poetry #poetrylovers #poet #authorlife #painting #saraswati

On Mother’s Day I painted Ma Saraswati. This was my gift to my mother, also in spending time with her while connecting with the divine mother whose blessings I seek in life.

This idol, white and gold bordered, was in my mother’s large glass bookcase, since before I was born. I grew up with it. Over the years, it had become dull and worn out. When I was in high-school, after we just shifted to our new home, my mother asked the painters to pain it a fresh coat of white.

Then she handed it to me ceremoniously and said, “you paint Ma however you like.”

Somehow I didn’t get down to doing it till over three decades later, yesterday, two years after Ma has gone.

I hope wherever Ma is now, she can see I have kept her word. Just as I remember to keep her teachings alive.


‘At Heaven’s Gate’: World Poetry Day

‘At Heaven’s Gate’

I’m lying on my hospital bed, close eyed,
thinking - is this what a life truly entails?

So many are struggling merely to survive,
their kin making it the purpose of their lives.

Doctors putting in all their might to save lives
but much more to make their lives worthwhile.

Nurses on their toes to provide every comfort,
infusing medicines - also their own livelihood.

Ward-help, go bed-bathing, clearing waste -
so their families are fed, clothed, have beds.

But outside my window the world goes by -
over frivolous desire, jealousy wasting lives.

As relatives and friends don’t see eye to eye -
over other’s beauty, money, well defined lives.

One envies what’s served in destiny's dish,
to others - after ordering safely tried cuisines.

Then they brag about what their children cook
as that’s a delicacy of purposeless livelihoods.

It is laudable to show off children’s winnings,
not own - if you don’t have kids pity your soul.

All this, more I see from my mind’s window -
sedated as I am for days, inside a ventilator.

Doctors, nurses monitoring my every sense,
I can hear - so they allow music on headphones.

Soft music wafts into my ears, also murmurs -
I wonder if it’s angels, welcoming me home.

I stand transfixed, looking at heaven’s gate
in peace, harmony evermore to be embraced.

But God, in his empathy and wise judgment,
closes his door, for me to live and learn more.

So back I am in the world that’s full of woes,
I have to find the right balance to letting go!

—- Shuvashree

This is my contribution on World Poetry Day, today…
The theme for World Poetry Day 2023 is “Always be a poet, even in prose.” This famous line of verse by French poet Charles Baudelaire emphasises the importance of creativity and beauty in all forms of writing, not just poetry.

"A poet’s work to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep."
- Salman Rushdie

World Poetry Day defined:

What poetry means to me personally - I’d written this in 2007/08:

#worldpoetryday #poetrylovers #poetry #wisdom #lifeanddeath

‘Every Face tells a Story’: Writer’s Cafe.

A brand consultant will tell me I’m wrong
to share my paintings on social media posts -  
as a writer shouldn’t confuse target audiences
that expect her to be reserved and focused,
to only project all the hard work she puts in, 
and demonstrate pseudo intellectual acumen. 

Just as the poets think, a serious poet I’m not,
for I randomly string words to spread around - 
though I have a larger body of serious prose
than many who claim to be sharply astute:
As I write poetry books to depict social insight,
and don’t want only poets to read what I write! 

Brand or Art both mean to me - authenticity
with a strong visionary creative individuality,
not camouflaging a fearful, shallow hypocrisy:
forging an emotional bond with all of humanity  
 to convey what defines all my life’s learnings, 
without a need to worry about my saleability!

PS: sharing the concept of Writer’s Cafe:

#poetry #poetrycommunity #poetrylovers #paintings #painters #artist #artwork #cafe #writerscafe #chennai #chennaicafe #poetsofindia #authorlife

Erudite Cafe

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
— Rumi

Even at fifteen I could tell you a robust story
with nuances of experiences in my repertoire,
but they would all have a linear trajectory –
for did I have the vision to think multilaterally,
like the characters I read about so vividly
in classics I chose from my school’s library!

My characters would have physical attributes
I could creatively define with an artist’s mind,
their lives I’d enliven with my vivid imagination
with a cogent word-palette from avid reading:
Yet, a sheltered life impedes psycho analysis.

Only high intellect doesn’t make authors
I idolized – Maugham, Tolstoy, or Lawrence
could string words like symphony conductors,
are still relevant to a study of human psyche –
whether of their times or centuries after them, thus their works live while bestsellers fade.

So I hadn’t interest to write a story or rhyme,
as I couldn’t match the literary masters I read,
feeling intellectually dwarfed in comparison –
drafting official letters always in English tests,
while seeking a deep sea of real experiences,
to enrich my reading and emotional quotient.

In the first rounds of the marathon of life,
running a steady pace I didn’t put in my might
to top school or college and bask in limelight, even if for sports, the arts and extracurricular activities I won many a coveted prize.

Slowly gaining momentum on my long flight,
putting in my best at every job I held in life
even if I’d quit if I wasn’t growing in height –
always taking in every experience, that I might
one day add to my repertoire, to sit to write –
correlating with my reading I never gave up, building my mental muscle and moral might,
to nurture the short term goals diligently,
with my sight on the faraway goal post.

The poems, stories, novels, that I now write –
I may have lived with for a long long time
in allowing the thoughts to marinate
with observations on characters psyches,
while peppering with spices and condiments
from personal and professional experiences,
to create verbal recipes for discerning minds;
to sustain a menu for an Erudite Book Cafe.

PS: these spontaneous thoughts now, came trailing those in the previous post…

#poetrycommunity #poetrylovers #poetry #spontaneousthoughts #inspirations #motivations #literaryfictionbooks #literaryfiction #booksbooksbooks #bookstore #bookcafe #authorlife

Glorious Magazine: my Interview.

I feel very grateful to Glorious Magazine for reaching out to me, showing interest in my story and in featuring it, with the assurance that my journey has the power to inspire people.

I’m sharing my interview in the frames here and below the link to the magazine:
This is my story…

Here’s the whole…

Other media reviews/mentions:

With a view to my previous post on my brand story – of perseverance, grit and resilience gone into it for several decades, I would like to end this post on this note…

“Be grateful for your life, every detail of it, and your face will come to shine like a sun, and everyone who sees it will be made glad and peaceful. Persist in gratitude, and you will slowly become one with the Sun of Love, and Love will shine through you its all-healing joy. The path of gratitude is not for children; it is path of tender heroes, of the heroes of tenderness who, whatever happens, keep burning on the altar of their hearts the flame of adoration.”
— Rumi

I’m sharing these two posts below from my author page here as prologue to the above:

Please visit my Facebook author page Across Borders for more on my work…

#GloriousMagazine #GloriousIndia #literaryfictionauthor #novelist #resiliencecoach #booksbooksbooks #brandstory #inspirationalstory #poetry #author #authorlife #poet #womensempowermentcoach #lifecoach

Home is a State of Mind

Home for me is where ever you are, 
now that you’re gone - you’re always near,
you travel with me through sun and shade -
guiding my decisions in cyclones and mazes. 

I wake up in a secure quilt, with you in dreams
that are so vivid at night like days have been - 
when we lived together as a close-knit family, 
our Lhasa Apso, Silvie at tea time at our feet! 

You were home from work by seven at most, 
so I could serve you my homemade 
recipes - from Femina and Cosmopolitan magazines
I subscribed to - so I’m  up to date  on trends. 

Reader’s Digest, Chandamama, The Week,
you subscribed to - no allure to a girl anymore
as she had to learn the ropes of womanhood you,                                                                                                                                      the convent schooling guarded her from. 

Today the world might be lonely and cruel
in losing the sheltering hands of my parents - 
but in their footsteps I traverse this existence,
always at home - in their sublime presence! 

PS: the previous post led to this one…home is an emotional state…more than the physical place where one resides. It’s a place within our hearts.

#home #parents #security #growingup #lifeanddeath #everlastingpresence

Home Is a State of Mind

‘A Cover’: International Mother Language Day

“To Cover” 

Oh gorgeous dusky woman, you’re as spectacular as the darkest night.
Take a look, in your reflection the light of countless stars shine.
Descend into the heart of the universe with your black kohl lined eyes.
You’re beautiful in black, I like you a lot arrogant one!
I’m an unknown traveler who on the shores of this earth doesn’t recognise his path,
Yet a tiny ray of hope rises in my heart like a star - my dreams will fulfill for sure.
Night, oh my friend, I shall travel with you in
countless dialogue
wherein truth be found - tell me will it satiate my unfulfilled heart?
The world is very harsh - I don’t want to be tied down in any discipline or form;
A knowledge thirsty seeker of truth - I would rather wander door to door.
Oh I know you’re the image of the evolving time of the universe - devotee of truth
open your cover, wring out your heart - show your look!

— Mahamaya Saha(Chowdhury) 18 years on 18th February,1959
—Translated on 21st Feb, 2023
by daughter Shuvashree Chowdhury.

Born in 1940 Ma was 18+ at the time of writing this poem, but she was already a teacher with this reputed school…

On International Mother Language Day today, I made a sincere attempt to translate my mother’s Bangla poem from her posthumously published book, to English. The book is currently available at Kumudini Handicrafts stores in Dacca, Bangladesh. Looking forward to it being available globally…

This translation of her poem, is a tribute to Ma, but more a challenge to try and learn the language that I ought to have learned much earlier – now with a teacher for the last year and a half after Ma passed away suddenly. I have written 2 books of English poetry out of my 5 books but translating this was a real challenge – I know it’s a poor copy but my intentions are sincere for which I’m sure Ma will be pleased.

My 2nd academic language through school and college on my Mother’s initiation was Hindi as she had struggled with the lack of knowledge of it as a Bengali – going straight from Dacca in 1964 to Gwalior and then Delhi till 1975 when she moved to Calcutta.

#internationalmotherlanguageday #mothertongue #Banglapoetry #Bangladesh #Englishpoetry #mother-daughter #translatedpoetry #Bengali #mother #poetrybooks

Ma & I 🥰😍

Learning the underlying art of Art!

You’re friends with a man who likes you for your work - he has seen you’re in the good books of the boss and the universe.

You fall out with this guy soon because you’re called upon to be friends with the rival guy who always gets on his other side.

Competition is so ripe among warring sides at the slightest provocation - and you’re just a cog in the wheel if you’re on opposite sides of ambitious men.

Then a third has warmed up to you by now, as you’re not on either side of the original divide - he balances on the fence of competition and gets a cutting edge from all sides.

The 2nd rival guy who you’ve gone out of your way to help, drops you for supporting the first - understanding your loyalties to each are die hard - ranking is from the time of association.

So you have been fair and square with all three - but obviously you haven’t wizened, in growing up to be fifty from the trusting fourty - to know you cannot survive without politics, and have to stick to a side.

You may like to be friends with all and sundry, as you believe only your work will talk for you - but how can you balance the fragility of four men including one at home unequivocally!

But they all smile back at you confidently,
linking vibes on photos - like they’re childhood bumkins on a hurdy-gurdy ride:
A mere woman you watch the gig and learn!


PS: this would have to be my Worst Poem, ever! 🤓😛scribbled it straight on Facebook…

#womensempowerment #womansupportingwomen
#literaryfictionauthor #moralstrength #lessonslearnedthehardway #poets #authors #takingsides #artist #lifecoach #literaryfestivals #authorssupportingauthors #poetry

The Loss of my Face

‘The Loss of my Face’ 

My face twitched and spasmed,
twisted assertively to the left side,
also dropped as I looked on wide eyed -
but I strove to relax my mind
in an attempt to pacify the nerves,
that were inciting my facial muscles
as they contracted and screamed back,
resisting the distortion of my face,
which in illness was losing its unique mould.

I took a deep breath, bid my soul to relax -
why was I panicking on the loss of my face?
Have I not as yet an identity I can bank on
that’s unique from all the brands I worked at,
where my face has been my identifying part
rather than the ideas, worldviews I represent,
or the skills that I have honed repeatedly
to help me retain my identity to the world!

My self esteem burst through my facial mask,
giving me a unique strength and liberty of will,
imparting to my skills strong eagle like wings -
the power of my words would be the wind
breaking my childhood silence and reserve.

As I found my identity coming out strong,
from the well of experiences and wisdom
accumulated deep inside of my being -
That’s the moment of truth my life
leans on,
my self confidence firming up as its offspring.
— Shuvashree Chowdhury

“Whoever uses the spirit that is in him creatively is an artist.
To make living itself an art, that is the goal.”
Henry Miller

PS: this is a sequel to the previous post.

#poetry #poetrycommunity #poetrylovers #lifelessons #poetryislife #novelist #selfconfidence #lifecoach #authorlife
#selfempowerment #henrymiller

The Charade

‘The Charade’

Frivolity and self centeredness go hand in hand
as do vanity and a low self esteem –
All four jump around and dance, as do elves
around a person – in a fire of pride and envy,
the fumes of which stifle, and suffocate humanity.

A high emotional quotient, also self esteem –
dances with a vision of compassion, even sympathy
on tombs of such moral rot and spiritual decay,
bypassing human burning torches with an insight
of deep maturity – for inner peace and tranquility.

Just as those with money may sympathize with you
but they don’t consider you mock their poverty
of – thoughts, insight, spirituality and a vision,
that sees right through this facade of fake morality:
As imitation jewellery adorning smirking chimpanzees.

At times, as now, you choose to voice your opinions,
at others you look on at circuses with sheer pity
as you see exaggerated effort to hold on to charades,
even as you feel richer from these experiences
that in deep silence builds your resilience of frivolity.
— Shuvashree Chowdhury.

“A bird when it flaps its wings to fly, does not fret about being alienated by the universe, it looks towards an endless sky, assured that at some point it will be joined by some close friends and some new, then they will fly in patterns of ethereal beauty, for all they left behind to see, not concerned with those whose eyes hurt to look at them due to the glare of the sun.”
— Shuvashree, An excerpt from the novel, “Entwined Lives”

#poetry #poetrycommunity #intelligence #lifelessons #pity #charade #intelligence #lifecoaching #wisdom #lifelessons #poetslife #novelist #authorlife