Saturday, December 26, 2020

We're Islands - a series of watercolours from 'IGNITE-from within the confines-'

Art is a journey sometimes moving into the core, sometimes outside the line, sometimes along the periphery but unsure of where the lines actually are. Nonetheless, each one undertakes a journey of one’s own since there’s no choice; one simply can’t choose inertia. 

Art, in any form, breathes life into me; I find it quite meditative and reflective. “We’re Islands” is a series I started in March when the lockdown began. It is not necessarily a commentary on Covid19 but what I felt during the lockdown confined within the four walls in a foreign land away from the family. I have used watercolours to capture the “fluidity” of the moment; it was not a conscious, pre-meditated choice though. Choosing the medium is always intuitive. some times it does depend on what I choose as a subject. I have also used polychromos, inktense pencils, white gel pen and Pitt pen to achieve the desired effect. I apply washes and then work on layers to get the raw-rustic effect instead of the refined look. I have chosen a limited palette here, a couple of warm and cool colours as I like the mix of both; bright, eye-catchy, palpable colours in most of them to suggest a distinctive, dreamlike introspective emotional state or “mindscapes” as I call them from a strong female presence and perspective.

We're Islands-1
30x40cm, watercolour with polychromos, inktense and pitt pen

The limitless mind in general and the inner workings of the feminine in particular captivates me the most. Most of my works are autobiographical. Myths, dreams, people and their tales, the emotions and the unbridled feelings kindle my creative juices. The protagonists create parallel realms and enjoy detachment, solitude but they are rarely alone. There’s melancholic melody and are deeply reflective of their emotional states; exuding a sense of passivity but hopeful and optimistic. The interconnectivity of man and nature, the subtle rhythms that beat through the spine of the environment, the invisible thread that ties us all even when man fails to realize it, is what I like to stress. There’s duality as we are complex beings. 

We're Islands-2
15x15cm each, watercolour with polychromos, inktense and pitt pen

We're Islands-3
30x40cm, watercolour with polychromos, inktense and pitt pen

My works tend to delve deep within the self, interspersing it with what I hear and/or view from the outside world. How a situation or news hits me is what is reflected in my works. They are stories in layers. At times, there're health instances that quite disturbs my days and processes and overcoming it forms other layers as well. Isolation is nothing new to artists, we actually nurture on it, and yet I craved for home, to be with my family. I suddenly felt trapped, we became units/compartments within the home where one was for school, one for office and I squeezed in between doing art for my own self and sanity. 

We're Islands-4
15x15cm each, watercolour with polychromos, inktense and pitt pen

We're Islands-5
30x40cm. watercolour with polychromos, inktense and pitt pen

We’re Islands” is an ongoing series. It showcases this external and internal turmoil, implications, suffering, and conflict while the lamp of hope is still lambent.

My greatest inspirations are T K Padmini, Amrita Sher-Gil, Paula Rego, Kathe Kollwitz, Frida Kahlo, Lee Krasner, Hilma af Klint, Alice Neel, Paul Klee, Edward Hopper and Aleah Chapin, Lisa Brice and many more.

It is the very thought of not being in inertia, as mentioned earlier, that helped me shape this brainchild of mine - IGNITE-from within the confines-, inspired me to conceptualize and curate the exhibition at this time; one of my pet projects that I was harbouring for a long time finally found light with a group of amazing artists and poets. Though I started it on an impulse to do something worthwhile during this time of confinement, it grew profound each day until I managed a team of 16 and then we set sail. Each day since then had been a learning experience for me - visualizing, organizing, preparing, coordinating, conveying and all the elements that went with an online event. 

Find the post in IGNITE blog with the poet link and the Art & Poem segment. To read more about the exhibition, please check ABOUT and CURATOR'S NOTE.

Monday, November 16, 2020

IGNITE-from within the confines- A Thank You Note!

IGNITE-from within the confines- has wrapped up! It is of course the beginning of something new in due course.

This was one of my pet projects - I had a dream that I had envisioned for quite some time, finally found the courage to pursue, conceptualize, plan and organize... everything from scratch. That dream found light when the artists and the poets to whom I reached out were on board to be part of IGNITE-from within the confines- I received a couple of enquiries asking who my patrons are. I have none, I had no other backup other than the determined hold of my daughter, Anoushka who is also my Video Editor, and we persevered. It all feels so surreal!!


Thank you Ahlam, Anindita, Devan Sir, German, Lauren, Liz, Yamini, Ardra, Ellora, Gitanjali, Joseph, Minichechi, Namratha, Radhakka and Sonia for becoming the integral part of IGNITE-from within the confines- and entrusting me with your works. Thanks to Rubyji, our Inaugural guest.

I thank Vibhin P C (@vibhin_pc) for doing an awesome job designing the invites, poster, profile pictures, and all the thumbnails and the Finale video. Above all, the Signature Intro Clip of IGNITE that everyone recognizes now! 

I thank Anoushka Sunil (@v1ntagefilm) for the wonderful teasers, Art & Poem videos and Introduction edits. She understands my vision and concept to its essence!

I thank the media – The Hindu, Mathrubhumi, Malayala Manorama, The New Indian Express, Gulf Mathrubhumi, Khaleej Times and RJ Roshni of Club FM 104.8 for featuring IGNITE.

I thank Sonia, Namratha and Ellora for helping me spread the word on online platforms. I thank the online platforms - Women’s Web, Sharing Stories, KEEKLI an Ode to Innocence, and Meera Bharath of Letsmakestories. Bloggers Chinmayee Sahu, Meenal Sonal, our very own Ira (Ellora), Sonia and Joseph.

As they say last but not the least; I thank each one of you who followed our journey all along. Without your love, support and encouragement we would not have achieved what we did. Thanks for being there!

You can still catch up, our links are still available:

Official blog:

You can visit all the artist and poet profiles on the above mentioned blog.

Official Instagram: @ignite.fwtc.2020

Teasers and glimpses can be found on the Instagram.


All the videos - Introductions of Artists, Poets, teasers. Art & Poem segment and All art videos can be found on the channel.

8 Artists - 40 Artworks
video by Vibhin P C


Friday, November 6, 2020

IGNITE-from within the confines- The Opening, The Artists-Poets and The Links

IGNITE-from within the confines- opened on 4th with a YouTube Premiere at 4 pm UAE time. It is conceptualized and curated by me. As mentioned there are 8 artists and 8 poets. You can find more details about the exhibition in our official blog by the same name as the title of the show. BLOG HERE.

The inaugural address was by Ruby Jagrut, visual artist and writer/ Founder- Trustee of Abir India that supports, promotes and mentors young and emerging artists. She also heads 'First Take' an annual show for the same cause.

The artists include Ahlam Abbas (Beirut, Lebanon), Anindita Chakraborty (Hyderabad, India), Deepa Gopal (currently in Dubai, from Kerala), Devan Madangarly (Kerala, India), German Fernandez (currently in Dubai, from Peru), Lauren Rudolph (New York, USA), Liz Ramos-Prado (currently in London, from Peru) and Yamini Mohan (currently in Dubai, from Kerala).

The poets include Ardra Manasi (currently in Manhattan, USA, from Kerala), Ellora Mishra (currently in Hague, from Bhubaneswar), Gitanjali Kolanad (Toronto, Canada), Joseph Schreiber (Calgary, Canada), Mini S Menon (Kerala, India), Namratha Varadharajan (Bangalore, India), Radha Gomaty (Kerala, India), Sonia Dogra (Delhi, India).

You can find all the Introduction videos of artists and poets on my channel. YOUTUBE HERE.

Our Art & Poem started yesterday. That can also be found on the channel.

INSTAGRAM: @ignite.fwtc.2020

Please check it out, we have 6 more days to go. We are on until 12 Nov 2020. I am sure you will find it interesting. Do leave your comments, thoughts and feedback there.

The exhibition found some good coverage from The Hindu, The New Indian Express, Manorama, Mathrubhumi, Women's Web, Sharing Stories and the like. Grateful for such wonderful coverage! You can check the FEATURED page on the blog to have a look.

Art & Poem segment:
check more from this segment on the channel.

Art & Poem
Vision and Concept: Deepa Gopal
Video Edit: Anoushka Sunil
Intro clip & thumbnail: Vibhin P C

Curator's Address and Introduction
Video Edit: Anoushka Sunil
Intro clip & thumbnail: Vibhin P C

Do leave us your FEEDBACK, it will only take a minute :)

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Artists & Poets - "IGNITE-from within the confines-" Our First Eight

 “To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.” ― Oscar Wilde

That said, on the contrary, here I need to reveal them for you my dear friends…

Here's the first set of Artists and Poets:

Read more about it and get to know the artists and poets by following this link:

"IGNITE-from within the confines-"

Also follow us on Instagram - @ignite.fwtc.2020

The exhibition I am curating is about to start, do stay tuned for updates. I hope that it will ignite every one from within the confines just as it did to us.

Friday, October 23, 2020

"IGNITE-from within the confines-" Online Exhibition of Art & Poetry

Love paintings? Love poems? Love both? Then there’s something beautiful coming your way from “US,” diverse and unique voices your way.

Here's an announcement:

"IGNITE-from within the confines-" Invite

“IGNITE-from within the confines-“is a collaboration of 8 artists and 8 poets carefully curated by visual artist-art blogger, Deepa Gopal, currently residing in Dubai who is from Kerala, India. The exhibition brings together art and poetry from different parts of the world in the form of videos with introductions, art, poem recitals and texts through blog, Instagram, YouTube and personal social media handles. 

The artists include Ahlam Abbas (Beirut, Lebanon), Anindita Chakraborty (Hyderabad, India), Deepa Gopal (currently in Dubai, from Kerala), Devan Madangarly (Kerala, India), German Fernandez (currently in Dubai, from Peru), Lauren Rudolph (New York, USA), Liz Ramos-Prado (currently in London, from Peru) and Yamini Mohan (currently in Dubai, from Kerala).

The poets include Ardra Manasi (currently in Manhattan, USA, from Kerala), Ellora Mishra (currently in Hague, from Bhuvaneshwar), Gitanjali Kolanad (Toronto, Canada), Joseph Schreiber (Calgary, Canada), Mini S Menon (Kerala, India), Namratha Varadharajan (Bangalore, India), Radha Gomaty (Kerala, India), Sonia Dogra (Delhi, India).

The date will be announced soon. Do join us in our creative journey by following us on social media and by following and subscribing to our accounts.

“…the airbrush and acrylics, a haiku and rhymes

is art, they asked, even worth a single dime…

well…when ruthlessly the mighty oaks, one day fall

a poem silently IGNITEs from within the confines.”

-Sonia Dogra

Stay safe and stay inspired!

Friday, October 9, 2020

From Birds of Kerala Series

 It’s already October, the year is about to finish and we are still fighting the invisible intruder that has wrecked our system. Amid all this life is moving on as can be. Even in such dire times, we are engaged in creating something or the other. The instinct of creativity is intact, rather I gather it has multiplied manifold in various forms and arenas. I would like to take it as something positive though there may be some or many who may disagree.

Along these lines, I had ventured into something I had been harbouring for some time now. Soon there’ll announcements made here in my blog as well as all my other social media platforms, do stay tuned. It’s something pretty exciting for me and for some of my awesome friends and hopefully, it will be too for all of you, my dear readers.

Until then here are some birds from my new series – Birds of Kerala. Four on a page, small size something like artists trading cards(ATC). This is on Hahnemuhle oil/acrylic pad but I am using gouache. Gouache looks quite good too.

Malabar TrogonThey are found in the Tropical forests and coming home in the Western Ghats. So basically I am doing Birds of Kerala, hope to reach somewhere with my collection. This is a male which has a fire-brand deep red belly and I am reminded of Gulmohar, while the female has the colour of burning ember with a beautiful shade of orange! I am so awestruck by these beautiful birds!

Malabar Trogon - male

Indian Cuckoo/ Vishu-pakshi - It is called “Vishu pakshi” (Vishu bird) as it appears with its distinctive call around the Vishu festival.

Indian Cuckoo/ Vishu-pakshi

Great Hornbill/ Vezhambal (State bird of Kerala)Though it’s the state bird, it’s an uncommon sight except in sanctuaries. It’s a nearly threatened bird as we, humans, have constantly been destroying their habitat. They are supposed to be the harbingers of rain. I read somewhere that the Great Hornbill was selected as the State Bird because of its strong family ties as the protector of the family. In some cultures, they are the spirit of God and bring in good fortune when they fly over a household.

Great Hornbill/ Vezhambal 

Cinnamon Bittern or Mazhakocha - Small heron of wet and open grassy areas such as flooded meadows and paddy fields.

Cinnamon Bittern or Mazhakocha 

Most of the images and information are referenced from and some other sites. forgot the names as I have been onto it for a couple of months now. This is an ongoing one and am still working on other birds. In case you are interested in purchasing the works or print, do comment or email (it's in my About page) me. Hope you like it. 

What's your current project?

Friday, September 11, 2020

"Vetera Novis Augere" - Latif al-Ani - Father of Iraqi Photgraphy

The talk was just beginning after the salutations as I entered into a full house at the Folio – Majlis Talks at Alserkal on a cold evening last December. The seating itself was quite informal and audience-friendly, making us shed our inhibitions (if any!). I took an empty seat behind in between two seated, made myself comfortable and slid into the conversation. For the convenience of the audience who didn’t understand Arabic (it’s a shame that I don’t know the language and I really long to understand it), there was a translator as well. The conversation was directed by Beirut-based Iraqi photographer, Tamara Abdul Hadi and was translated by Iraqi writer and researcher Maryam Wissam Al Dabbagh. The 87-year old Latif al-Ani had the smile and gesture of an innocent child, particularly with his mischievous laugh. I loved listening to the familiar string of sounds and cherished what they said even though I couldn’t discern the complete meaning of it. I patiently waited for the English translation each time.

“I was documenting for the sake of archiving. I never thought Iraq would arrive at what it has today.”

Latif al-Ani
Latif al-Ani

Latif al-Ani is an Iraqi photographer par excellence, also known as “the Father of Iraqi Photography.” I actually went in there without knowing the magnificence of this humungous personality only to be delightfully enlightened. Born in 1932 in Karbala, he has witnessed the glory and the fall of Iraq, alike. His photographs are both ancient and modern in nature with the changing times. What started as an assignment in the Iraqi Petroleum Company he worked for took him to new heights. His job was to document the modernization and industrialization of Iraq during the socio-economic boom of the time. His love to capture moments that he found beautiful and uncanny at the same time took him on a journey across the region by foot, by car and even by plane. Al-Ani was the first photographer who took the aerial shots of Baghdad. His experimental nature along with the right opportunities at the right time gave him the impetus to produce excellent works. His intention was to capture those moments for the future generations not knowing the plight of what was to come. His extensive and invaluable archives of the radically shifting socio-political and economic climate and the cultural landscape have scaled to history photographs for they are documents of an era that the country has long lost amid revolutions, coups and wars. He remembers his camera weighing 16 kgs with only 12 films to capture and what with the kind of technology that everyone is a photographer these days and al-Ani chuckled.

“I wanted to ensure each image was beautiful, in addition to being beautiful. I was always preoccupied with beauty.”

Latif al-Ani Photos1

Al Ani was gifted a camera at the age of 13 or 14 by his brother if I remember right. Probably, that was the turning point in his life. Black and white photographs are what he prefers and his unique gaze documents the late 50s until the 70s with utmost flair. He shows women at work, girls in gym classes, mechanical engineering students, high-speed urbanization, modern architecture, tall office towers, and even Western tourists strolling through archaeological remnants. It’s a social documentary, one replete with information and education. Architecture, landscape, portraiture, cosmopolitanism, daily life are all seamlessly presented in his oeuvre. Until the restrictions were imposed, photography was a mode of life that was curbed with the turbulent times. He lost a good number of archives as the aftermath of the war, he mentioned. 

Latif al-Ani Photos2

“I was repulsed by the fact that holding a camera became a dangerous act, and I didn’t want to be a photographer anymore. I left Iraq briefly, but came back because it is my home.

The Talks were part of Latif Al Ani’s solo exhibition Vetera Novis Augere - ‘augment the old with the new’ that happened at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde at Alserkal Avenue, in collaboration with the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut. The exhibition was from 18 Nov to 28 Dec 2019.

That day I got back home with different images of Iraq that we have never seen anytime recently; happy beaming faces of men, women and children alike, robust and well-managed cities, well-clad, urban-fashion women, confident and formidable young girls and much more. Even I could feel the sense of loss of a wonderful heritage and what the place has become now. It’s a terrible plight to lose everything to war. It just slaps on the face of how transitory everything can be. In 1979, al-Ani stopped capturing images when photographing in public was prohibited during the Iran-Iraq war. Later in 2003, most of his works were destroyed by the U.S led invasion of Iraq. What remains of his photographs thus become quasi-miraculous, salvaging an era from oblivion.

Latif al-Ani Photos3

“I think viewers are surprised or shocked when they see them in contrast to what they see of Iraq today. I hope that they make people think and feel the pain we feel, and get inspired to help Iraq have another “golden age”. I’m happy that my work has had the interest it has had, this late in my life.

P.S: This happened in December last year and am sorry for such a delay but I wanted to share the experience and let my readers know about this legendary personality.

Hope you liked this post. Do leave your comments and feedback, also do like, share and subscribe. Thanks.

Courtesy: Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde, National – Arts and Culture, Art Forum, Studio International

Sunday, August 23, 2020

...between the eye and the brain - Cecily Brown

“I want to make forms that are either just dissolving or in the process of just becoming something and to play with the relationship between the eye and the brain.”

From time to time I go through works of many women artists, I don’t do that intentionally but they catch my eye more than their male contemporaries. I think there’s so much more happening in the canvas with all the told and untold stories that may or may not relate but for the most part, it’s the former that happens where ever they come from. I think there’s an invisible thread, a link that runs through the lives of the likes of us that coincide at some point. There lies a universal phenomenon beneath each surface.

Cecily Brown was born in London in 1969. A graduate from the Slade School of Fine Art, Brown moved to New York from London in 1999. She was just 29 when she made it enormous in the International Art scene; the Allbright-Knox, the Tate, the Whitney Museum, the Rubell Collection, the Broad Museum all made major acquisitions of Brown’s earlier works, certainly an incredible achievement for a young artist of her time. She is already in the echelons of the expensive female artists in the world.

 Cecily Brown-between the eye and the brain
Cecily Brown

Brown addresses herself as a figurative painter. As a child, she used to sneak into painting books of Francis Bacon and George Grosz, the German painter (known for his Butcher Shop paintings) and she liked the horror and scariness that it imparted more than anything else. Brown needs a body as a vehicle to talk about being alive and to understand the world else she feels that there remains nothing but smears of paint. She feels concerned with completed figures and finds the need to break it down. The cacophony of glaring, grimacing and fragmented figures as subjects, some evident, some loosely drawn and some hidden, all the same unmistakeably figurative like some elusive short-hand Brown’s adept at, reduced to complexions and sometimes veiled expressions and a whole kaleidoscope of fleshy pinks, oranges, browns, purples and grey fill up her canvas. There’s a tug and pull of painterly effect and figurative content amid the brimming human presence. Her aesthetic is characterized by sexual imagery and abstract expressionistic gestural style.

Brown likes it when nothing’s pinned down or determined, to be in a state of flux, in the process of becoming which I think is quite a wonderful place to be just as we might say that the journey is much more enjoyable than reaching the destination. She’s not into pure abstraction like later Rothko or Barnett Newman as she herself mentions. She conjures up images and is influenced by Masters like Rubens, Poussin, Goya, Titian, Degas, Miro, Gorky, Joan Mitchell and William de Kooning, the abstract expressionist. Brown takes in from history paintings and places it in her own aura of the canvas where she strips them of their past and breathes into them a new lease of life unconnected to where they belonged. The Young Spartans Exercising and La Coiffure (Combing the Hair) of Degas influenced Brown immensely particularly with the fleshy tones and figures in the former and the inherent menace in the latter which were brought to her notice by Bacon, she mentions.

Be Nice to the Big Blue Sea - 2013-between the eye and the brain-HnS
Be Nice to the Big Blue Sea - 2013

Borrowing the names of classic novels, plays, and Hollywood films such as The Fugitive KindThe Bedtime Story, Those are pearls that were his eyes, High Society, or The Pajama Game, she utilizes it to her best and makes her titles quite fascinating.

Sexuality, eroticism and attraction are important themes in her works which Brown explores through the churning of embracing couples pressing against one another forming and dissolving into a gorgeous watery landscape, the palette is luscious and fleshy, the subject is romantic and athletic in execution but refined all the same. Figures in a Landscape 1 and Figures in a landscape 2 are sister-paintings both in prestigious collections. These were two of the exceptionally famous works that fetched her an incredible sum to begin with.

Figures in a Landscape1-2001-between the eye and the brain-HnS
Figures in a Landscape 1

Cecily Brown’s Bunny painting reminds me of Paula Rego’s earlier bunny paintings as well and Rego happens to be one of my favourites. What I find appealing in Brown’s canvases are the fleshy tones and the painterly texture that extends all through her wide canvas. Her story-telling has a signature style which she instills from a series of source images that are laid out in her studio and she works from them without directly holding, looking and drawing from it as she has become an adept after years of working from images, some are repeated too.

Where, when, how often and with whom? is a 30-foot-long triptych (donated to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art) The 2 central figures appear like apparitions, veiled as their eyes are washed off. They remind Adam and Eve’s expulsion.  Another aspect that appears in the same work is the shipwreck as in Delacroix and Gericault. Brown speaks of the impending violence when the French cops surrounded a lady in *burkini and asked her to remove the excessive clothing on a beach in Nice a couple of years ago which happened to catch the news. She speaks of the viewers who appear to be complicit voyeurs on the beach. I agree when Ms. Brown mentions that even in this century women are told how they can and cannot appear at a particular place say here a beach. Voyeuristic viewing appears as the subject in her painting; there’s always a voyeur there. She likes to respond to the things that she has seen. It just happens to point that how violent our society is, there’s always an underlying menace. She likes to think of herself being the intermediary feeding off the past and giving it to the future. Horror and sweetness are the constants in her canvas and of course some drama. 

Where, when, how often and with whom?-2017-between the eye and the brain-HnS
Where, when, how often and with whom?

One needs to be physical and performative at a bigger scale like Brown’s. They are incredibly ambitious and fill up entire walls.

The ones I admire more are of a darker nature along with the above mentioned like All the nightmares came today and Black Painting 1. I like the ominous quality to it. 

All the nightmares came today-2012-between the eye and the brain-HnS
All the nightmares came today

Amidst all the cacophony nowadays people wear headphones and weave in and out not realizing that they are going to bump in on someone at the last instant. They are totally unaware. They are so engrossed in the gadgets. The phone has brought about the death of society in a way. The figures in the paintings are unaware of the other though they are in the same physical space but they are not connected. This disconnectedness in today’s society is the tipping point.

Agreeing on those terms, I feel we are totally engrossed in our petite compartments that we are no longer bothered about what’s happening at the larger picture. If only we took some time to pause and look around, we would notice where we are heading.

*Burkini - a portmanteau of burqa and bikini - a woman's swimsuit that covers the entire body, leaving only the hands, feet, and face exposed. A type of modesty swimsuit for women.

images: Artspace, Pinterest, Sotheby's, Artnews. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

On Creativity and a couple of my Poems

If you ask me what I love more - painting or writing, it's difficult to decide. I love both, equally. Both have their own merits. Sometimes my visions come out through painting, sometimes through writing and sometimes both; some being repeated and reinforced. It’s difficult to pick one! As I recently replied to *Sonia’s blog post - Did the form find me? where she talks about the process of her writing. Such conversations with myself had been there for a long time and what with Big Magic. I am coming to that in a while. I don’t start with the whole, I begin with a vision/dream, catch-phrase, a sentence basically a fragment that keeps repeating itself to me so much so that I have to let it free, out into the world of reality. It takes a form and life of its own without any support from me, I feel. All the same, you are in a state of limbo until you finish it. You do not exactly know how it's going to go. 

It’s like what Elizabeth Gilbert says in **Big Magic – it’s something external, something outside of ourselves that provokes us into creativity. It was believed in ancient Greece and Rome that creativity did not come from human beings but it was a divine attendant spirit that came to you from some distant and unknowable source for a distant and unknowable reason. It was called Daemon; a genius spirit. Even Socrates believed that he had a daemon who spoke wisdom to him from far.

“I am subject to a divine or supernatural experience… It began in my early childhood – a sort of voice which comes to me; and when it comes it always dissuades me from what I am proposing to do.”

Socrates as reported in Plato’s ‘Apology of Socrates’, around 399 BCE

Romans called it Genius which were magical divine entities who were believed to live on the walls of an artist’s studio.  There was this distance, a psychological construct, to protect you from the results of your creativity.

Homer, Virgil and Ovid believed that they had no talent of their own and that it was “breathed into” them by gods. Plato believed that poets became possessed during creation like some soothsayers and that it was some kind of divine frenzy. Vasari mentions Michelangelo as “directly inspired by God” in The Lives of the Artists. Einstein called it “a sudden illumination, almost a rapture”. Liz calls it “downright paranormal”. Even our very own ancient authors in the Vedic ages have attributed their creative outpour to God's voice and they themselves being merely a conduit.

Then came the era of rational humanism and the individual, self became important and genius came from within. That was too much of a burden for a mere mortal to handle according to Liz (and I do second her).

I am so fond of her story of the famous American poet, Ruth Stone who as a girl used to hear her poem thunderous and barrelling towards her and the whole earth under her would shake and then she would start running like hell to get a piece of paper and a pencil. Sometimes she would reach her house on time to collect her poem sometimes she would miss it and at other times as the poem moved away through her, she would grab it by the tail while writing on one hand and drag it into her and then the poem would appear backward; from the last to the first word.

Okay, now after all this talk about creativity and genius, my intention is not to talk about all that is magical and supernatural but there are times when you do feel mysterious and magical; that which can not be explained in normal terms of the tongue. I don't mean it happens every time but there are some rare ones. 

Without further ado, I just want to put forward my humble attempt at writing poetry. These are the poems that were appreciated when I submitted it to the Asian Literary Society. I have been contributing to the weekly and bi-monthly prompts since June. I had been writing for some years but wasn’t showing it anywhere (until around 2018 when I started submitting it when some close friends and family encouraged me to do so) though except a couple of them in this space here. You can check it under the tag Poems.

This post is to all my friends (real and virtual) who have been asking me to post my poetry and of course to all my lovely readers. Please do read and leave your feedback.

Below are 3 poems – Soldier (Certificate of Excellence), Thunder (Third Prize) and The Haunted House (Outstanding Performance). Titles are in bold letters. Images are all my digital manipulations from free photos.



The air rancid, smoky and scathing

Hills bellowing, mud floating, eyes burning

To the acrid acids of burning tanks and ‘broken wares’

Breath choking to the fury of both sides

Bodies muddled in mud, bleeding wet bond of blood

Facing death at each step, explosions devouring the valley

Where we tread hushed through barricades and trenches-

Like slopes of the valley at some boys’ road trip on a heyday-

The town stands flaming, distant shells bombarding

The land murky and scarred, battered to dust

The soldiers walk stealthily cold fear possessed

It’s a distant call, remote from our legions

Prominent men make agendas for conquering regions

In well-lit breezy rooms over a glass of champagne

While life and will of the common man is overstepped

No choices offered, martyrs made and sidestepped

For personal glory and amassing a fortune for conglomerates.

Like all siblings they did compete in sport

In all life’s adventures

The sky their home, their favourite playground

They ran hither thither

They loved their company, always near

Never needed any other

But there were times when they fought

Losing track of time

The sky rumbled all day and flashes appeared

Lightning wriggled like a snake

But sharp and white, fiery in its form

Just behind thunder roared

And rocked the long and wide dorm

Thunder always a step ahead

Lightning that shook the spell

Made her despondent the way things fell

Yet once the downpour cleansed their being

Like any sibling, they become jovial twain

Until another time when things went awry

And they tended to fight again.

Each house is a haunted house

With an imperceptible story

From a prior date of dwellers

In the past who are now on the walls

The silent pictures speak a thousand tales

Of hidden secrets and stowed details

As you walk from room to room, do you realize

The phantoms cascading in invisible guise?

-Treading – gliding – treading – gliding - 

They tread and glide without noise, they sit

On the staircase by the door that creaks a bit

As I move around doing my chores...sometimes less

Sometimes more, I hear -- (heart pounding)

-Pounding – pounding – pounding -

I hear them in the silence of the night.

The night so dark that it stares right back, in

The fabric of that night – if you stare hard enough-

One can see the forms pressing from the other side.

-Pressing – pressing – pressing -

Intangible impressions of the invisible hosts who

Dwell after we bid adieu (we may join them too)

Each house is then a haunted house.

*Sonia Dogra is an absolutely amazing blogger-writer I came across recently whose work Unlocked: Historical Tales in Verse was the first piece I read and was blown over simply because I never thought that anyone could write about history so beautifully in verse. It's apt for school kids and young adults to know more about the interesting facets of history. Sonia blogs at A Hundred Quills.

**If you are a creative and/or any human for that matter, you should read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert at least once. This is one book I go back to every now and then. There's so much one gain from it and it's truly a work of genius. I am a HUMUNGOUS fan of Liz and her words are soul-stirring for me at least. Every time I listen there's something new to learn. So do give it a try. If you have already read it, do share your thoughts.

Watch this video On Fear, Authenticity and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Marie Forleo.

I am linking this post to ISWG (Insecure Writer's Support Group) and PPF (Paint Party Friday).