Episode 04: Aashika Suresh's "In the City of Storytellers"

By Ashwamegh / 08 August 2021 / 20:00:00

In episode #4, we have poet Aashika Suresh with us on our podcast, reading her poems "In the city of Storytellers", "Day 153", and "Lessons from the future". In between the poems, host Ashwamegh chats with Aashika about her writing journey and how she uses the power of poetry in her life.

Aashika Suresh was born in Chennai, India and now She lives with her mum, and indie pup, Ingee. She is a writer, a dreamer and a sunlight seeker. Her selected poems have appeared in numerous online journals and anthologies. Her work was shortlisted for the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize in the year 2019. She writes about all the things that move her, both literally and figuratively.

In the city of storytellers

We sit facing the sea, my friend and I,
feet swinging, palms gripping
the concrete ledge like hinges on a door.

It’s a dark sea on both sides – water, traffic,
us caught in between. Queen’s necklace chokes
the city even at this hour. Kids run
on the pavement, couples are coddling
by the trees while chaiwalas squeeze
their day’s worth from pensive city rovers.

My friend turns to me, cocking her head
to one side. “Let’s play a game,”
she suggests, wrestling with the wind
to tame her hair. She divulges no details,
no rules, as she begins a sentence about
a black crow.

Instinctively, I follow it up
with one of my own,
carelessly adding to her tale
until we’re spilling private details
that masquerade as fantasies.

The breeze carries our words,
perhaps to someone waiting
at the other end of the ocean.
Or maybe, this is a story
born to drown. Who knows?

This city has swallowed whole
too many stories anyway.

Day 153 - After a photograph by Roshan Siddharth

Garden of ice,
spare me the slap
of silence. A season ago,
there was song
in my street –
a crow's on an electric pole.
A ringing ear
is proof of life. From this glass
cage, I have looked my present
in the eye,
unable yet to reach
and stop its gradual fade
to black. Garden
of ice, I refuse
to let your cold shoulder
break me.
I will hold out
for the golden hour;
it cannot be too far. Frozen
time will thaw
into a pool of children –
each one racing to the school bus
to see who will be the first one
to snag the window seat.

Lessons from the Future

If I ever find myself responsible
for a young child, I will take them up the
drying hills of Cherrapunji in November
to sit on a rock to watch the sunset. I will
take their little hand in mine and show
them how to blot out the sun with their
thumb – one eye winked shut and the
other slowly savouring the glow above
the rounded edge of their finger. A
mountain dog will sit next to us as we try
to count the stars in the sky, and fail. But
try, we will. And I hope the hills will teach
them to seek out moments instead of
money, to recount memories instead of
milestones, and to find comfort in
prolonged silences of long, lonely nights.

I have exciting news for our listeners and lovers of poetry. I will be taking requests for Poem readings. Every alternate Sundays, you'll have me reading your requested poems.

You can send the requests, using this link: https://form.typeform.com/to/jH3StN5b

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