Antho’2019: Our Pet Passion Once Again

Dear friends and fellow haijin,

We’ll begin by saying thank you again for your contribution towards our 2018 e-anthology, “Pins on a Map”. We also realised that we never made a formal announcement of its publication on Kindle, so we sincerely apologise for that.

As you might know, we now have three successful anthologies — the taste of sea breeze in 2016, between sips of cutting chai in 2017 and pins on a map in 2018 (on the theme of travel). It would be an understatement to say that we have become addicted to the process of publishing an anthology every year!

We are glad to announce that we at Café Haiku – formerly IN haiku Mumbai and IN haiku Chennai – are now opening submissions for our fourth e-anthology, dedicated to pets – all those furry, feathery, scaly (and in one case, rocky) friends who share the planet and our homes with us. We invite you to create a great anthology full of animal-loving delight!

Here are the Guidelines:

  • Please send in up to three each of your best haiku, haibun, tanka (or any similar form).
  • Please send your submissions to in the body of your email. As the Buddha said, attachments only bring sorrow.
  • Please include a declaration saying that it is your original work.
  • The 2019 anthology is open to submissions till 31st May. 
  • We ask only for first publication or non-exclusive anthology rights and the copyright will revert to at the instance of publication.
  • Though we prefer unpublished work, you may send in previously published work on the theme, provided you mention where it was first published. 
  • Every single submission will be read by the group and all decisions are taken after discussion by all the editors.
  • As is our custom, it will be published on Kindle at Diwali which is at the end of October 2019.

We thank you again for submitting to Pins on a Map and helping us in our small attempts to popularise all things haikai.

We now sit back and wait for your submissions on our beloved animal companions.

With seikaku and karumi,

Gautam, Sandra, Rohini, Geethanjali, Sreelatha, Vidya, Paresh, Brijesh and Raamesh (The Café Haiku people)


Video Recap: IN haiku Mumbai

A recap through the years of IN haiku Mumbai’s activities, including starting a journal (Narrow Road), publishing three anthologies and dozens of meetings filled with renku trips, inventing the renbun, reviewing haiku and lots and lots of coffee and snacks…

IN haiku Mumbai through the years

Getting A Hai From The Ku

IN haiku Mumbai’s summary of the Triveni Haiku Utsav, February 1-3, 2019 at The International Centre, SPPU, Pune.

Report by Gautam Nadkarni. Pictures and videos by Sandra Martyres, Rohini Gupta, Raamesh Gowri Raghavan and Gautam Nadkarni.

Day One

As Sandra, Raamesh and I drove to Pune city from Mumbai we were bubbling with excitement laced with apprehension about the living quarters on the Varsity campus, the cleanliness of the loos and whether we could get good cappuccino coffee on the way. But the gods must have beamed on us for the expressway lived upto its promise and the toilets were clean enough.

Having hurriedly deposited our suitcases in our rooms at the guest house, tucked in our shirts and pulled up our trousers we turned up at the appointed hour of 4:30 pm at the venue, the International Centre of the Savitribai Phule Pune University. After the high tea the inaugural ceremony was set into motion and went without a hitch. Kala Ramesh, who organised the Triveni World Haiku Utsav 2019 almost singlehandedly, wore a beautiful sari and a beatific smile.

The ceremonial lighting of the lamp and the keynote address by Susumu Takiguchi san heralded the launch of the e-Anthology of the World Haiku Review’s best of 25 issues from 2008 to 2018. The chief guests, Dr Ashok Chaskar, Head of the English Dept, and Dr Vijay Khare, Director of the International Centre, launched the e-Book to thunderous applause.

The launch of Fuga no Makoto – the WHR Tenth Anniversary anthology

Rohini Gupta speaks about her experiences putting together the WHR anthology

This was followed by the much awaited Dance Charade by the highly talented and enchanting Padma Damodaran who enacted selected haiku written by our younger poets. Everyone was bitten by the enthusiasm bug — along with the mosquitoes — and every correct identification of the haiku performed was cheered lustily and applauded.

Padma Damodaran performs a haiku through DANCEcharade

Thus the first day came to a close with a lavish dinner of delectable vegetarian goodies and nobody was really sorry to plod room-ward and hit the sack.

Group photo at the end of Day 1

Day Two

All agog for day two.
L-R: Yesha Shah, Gautam Nadkarni, Madhuri Nair, Vadivelrajan & K. Ramesh

Day Two dawned with Samvaad — a panel discussion anchored by Raamesh — which included Susumu Takiguchi san, Johannes Manjrekar, K. Ramesh, Rohini Gupta and, of course, Kala Ramesh, fondly labeled the Mother of Indian Haiku by popular consensus.

Raamesh anchors Samvaad – a panel discussion on haiku.

L-R: Kala Ramesh, Susumu Takiguchi, Johannes Manjrekar, Rohini Gupta and K. Ramesh

This was followed with readings by poets from their works and the listeners just couldn’t have enough of the haikai which flowed effortlessly on the stage.

Readings by poets.

Then the IN haiku groups of Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Delhi NCR had their member poets outlining their activities and what kept them going.

Pune group takes the stage.

Books by the banyan during lunch hour.

Lunch was followed by a Ginko Walk, a walk through a 1000 ft tunnel which ran from the kitchens to the dining chamber of the erstwhile Governor of Bombay Presidency. Servants, it appears, were to flit like spectres without being seen or heard.

Praniti Gulyani with Rohini Gupta.

After gawking at the museum exhibits we ended up tea-ing at Alice Garden where Prof Amit Ranjan held us in thrall with the tale of Alice Richman whose grave lies in the garden which takes its name from her.

Prof. Amit Ranjan talks of the enduring mystery of Alice…

A group photo was clicked to commemorate the occasion and we marched back to the International Centre.

Group photo on Day 2.

A delightful flashmob by the schoolgirls of St. Anne’s awaited us when we got back.

A flashmob by students of St. Anne’s

Then came the Live Kukai, or haiku contest, conducted by Susumu-san in the traditional Japanese style.

Having feasted on haikai we then feasted on Indian vegetarian cuisine. Being positively famished, because haiku makes me hungry, the lentils curry and rice made ambrosia seem like stale porridge.

Paresh & Akila set up a unique Haibun-Ghazal Jugalbandi.

Once more after relishing the surprises of our second day in Pune we were glad to go room-ward and snuggle under the sheets.

Day Three

Breakfast was a light affair with idli–wada with chutney and a rice flakes preparation called pohe which is the Marathi man’s gift to hungry humanity. In any case we were too happy to complain.

A reading session for the young haijin concluded satifactorily leading to the much awaited SLAM contest; an innovation by Kala in that it was applied to haiku, tanka and haibun for the first time; the judges, Chandrakant Radican who has been making waves in Pune city with his eloquent renditions and Nandini Nair with Kala as backseat driver telling them earnestly what they already know. If they did not roll their eyes heavenward it is only because of their breeding.

Paresh performs a haibun for the slam.

The contest was a close fight with Akila Gopalakrishnan edging into the straight for first place followed by a surprise, Shreya Narang of Delhi as second, while Paresh Tiwari and Yesha Shah placed third and fourth respectively. As for me I was out of the reckoning at the starting gate itself and had to fight off a crowd of sympathizers all of whom meant well.

Everybody sped through lunch eager for the simultaneous workshops to get underway. These workshops dealt with haiku, tanka and haibun with self as one of the mentors for the second named. Happy to note that the students were earnest in their endeavours and did the mentors proud. I was almost sorry that it was over. But then all good things must come to an end.

Susumu Takiguchi explains haiku to parents.

Some more group photos were clicked and after gulping tea and biscuits the delegates bid sorrowful farewells to each other and slouched back to their humdrum existence once again. With only fond memories of the Utsav to comfort them on long winter evenings.

Sharing a coffee on the journey back home…

Sigh!!….Until next time then!!

Schedule of Triveni

Report by IN haiku Mumbai coming soon. Meanwhile, here’s the schedule of what happened:

IN haiku
in collaboration with
TRIVENI World Haiku Utsav
1-3 February, 2019
in celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the re-launch of

Sponsored by the Department of English, SPPU; IN haiku; SHUT-UP & READ and Bank of Baroda
Special thanks to Rohan Kevin Broach for designing the posters, Aboli Kadam for the Forest Bathing charts & Madhuri Maitra & her friend for the Triveni banner.
UTSAV Time Keepers: Rohan Kevin Broach and Iqra Raza

Friday 1st February
Inaugural Function at The International Centre, SPPU
4.30 pm to 5.30 pm: High Tea
5.30 pm to 8 pm: Inauguration
Ustad Bismillah Khan’s Shehnai
1 minute silence in memory of Angelee Deodhar
Lightning the Lamp
Dr Vijay Khare, Susumu Takiguchi, Dr Ashok Chaskar, Dr Chandrani Chatterjee, Kala Ramesh
Prayer song
Sayee Basole
Akila introduces the Utsav
Welcoming the Audience
Kala Ramesh
Keynote Address
Susumu Takiguchi
Release of the World Haiku Review Anthology
Dr Vijay Khare (Director, International Centre, SPPU) & Dr. Ashok Chaskar (Head, Dept of English, SPPU)
Our Chief Guest Dr Vijay Khare to say a few words
Rohini Gupta talks about the WHR Anthology
Padma Damodaran, actor, writer, director.
Anchored by Akila G.
8 pm: Utsav Dinner

Saturday 2nd February
8 am to 9 am: Registration
9 am to 10 pm: SAMVAAD—the open sky
Susumu Takiguchi, Johannes Manjrekar, K. Ramesh, Kala Ramesh & Rohini Gupta
Anchored by Raamesh Gowri Raghavan
10 am to 11am: Reading Hour #1
Anchored by Kameshwar Rao
Iqra, Gurpreet, Pranav, Sandra, Madhuri, Shreya, Srinivas and Kameshwar
11.20 am to 12.20 noon: INhaiku groups
Mumbai, Chennai (video), Pune & Delhi NCR (video) 15 minutes for each group to talk about their activities.
12.20 pm to 1.15 pm: Lunch & Book fair
1.15 pm to 2.15 pm: Reading Hour #2
Moderated by Archana Nagpal
Praniti, Kasturi, Gowtham, Rohan, Shabbir, Aboli, Kausik and Archana
2.15 pm to 3.30 pm: GINKO WALK
Experience the Secret 30ft Tunnel at the Savitribai Phule Pune University!
3.30 pm to 4 pm: Tea
4 pm to 6 pm :Inauguration of the FOREST BATHING Path at Alice Gardens (SPPU)
Susumu Takiguchi on the concept as practiced in Japan.
Kala Ramesh on the need to have such paths in every city.
Prof. Amit Ranjan, Delhi University on A date with Alice!
Anchored by Quamrul Hassan and Barshani Gokhale
—Group Picture—
6.30 pm to 7.40 pm: Live KUKAI
Susumu Takiguchi –the way it’s done in Japan
AnchorKashinath Karmakar talks about his project Indi Kukai
8 pm: Utsav Dinner

Sunday 3rd February
8.45 am to 9. 45 am: Reading Hour #3
Anchored by Kumarendra Mallick
Mallick, Quamrul, Aditya Yuvraj, Ishaan, Barshani, Raju Samal, Vadivelrajan & Ishan Sadwelkar
9.45 to 10.45 am: SLAM
A coolaboration between slam and Japanese short forms of poetry!
haikuSLAM | tankaSLAM | haibunSLAM
Judges: Chandrakant Radican, Nandini Nair & Kala Ramesh
10.45 am to 11 am: Katha Utsav
Creative Writers’ Workshop with Rohan Kevin Broach, Iqra Raza and Shreya Narang
11 am to 11.30 am: Tea
11.30 am to 12.30 noon: HaikuTALK
Bruce Ross on what the anthropologists call The Flower World in Early Cultures.
kigo/keyword – Susumu Takiguchi moderates an open discussion.
12.30 pm to 1.15 pm: Lunch & Book fair
1.15 pm to 1.30 pm: Group Photo
1.30 pm to 3.30 pm: SIMULTANEOUS Individual Workshops
Anchored by Sandra Martyres, Kasturi Jadhav, Kausik SRK and Gowtham Ganni
Susumu Takiguchi talks to the parents about haiku & Japan.
haikuHUT: mentored by K. Ramesh & Madhuri Pillai
tankaHUT: mentored by Gautam Nadkarni, Shernaz Wadia & Kala Ramesh.
haibunHUT: mentored by Johannes Manjrekar, Paresh Tiwari & Yesha Shah
3.30 pm to 5.30 pm: Farewell … until we meet again!
Lighting the diya for PEACE & TOGETHERNESS
Johannes Manjrekar, K. Ramesh, Rohini Gupta, Kumarendra Mallick
Susumu Takiguchi to announce the Blyth Haiku Contest Award Winner
Chandrakant and Nandini to announce the Slam Contest Winners
Kashinath to announce the Live KUKAI Winners.
Vote of Thanks by Pranav Kodial
Views & reviews from participants, who want to join in as we bid farewell
Anchored by Madhuri Maitra
5.30 pm: High Tea

A Tribute to Angelee Deodhar

Angelee Deodhar cast a long shadow on the haiku world in India. When she passed away recently it was a shock which has still not worn off. This is a small tribute to one of the giants of Haiku by members of InHaiku Mumbai and friends. 

I met Angelee in the winters of 2013 in Pune. Seems like such unassuming statement to make. Except, it changed my life. It changed who I was. And who I will be. It is also possible that I was already changing, and she was merely the catalyst, hurrying me along the path I had already chosen.

So, let me try and begin again.

I met Angelee in the winters of 2013 in Pune. I had known haiku for about 4 months by then and we were at the Haiku Utsav. I, a neophyte haiku poet – bumbling, bustling, unaware; she, a master of the genre – respected, genial, polymath. I have to-date no idea, why she took me under her wing. Why she decided to beam one of her smiles in my direction or crack a joke or share her mail id. But that’s what she did.

If life is a journey and we at the end of our individual roads turn back to look at life stretched out in front of us, there will be dates, events and occurrences that shine brighter than the others. They will be the beacons around which the rest of our existence revolves and evolves. Meeting Angelee, that fateful day was that beacon.

For the next five years or so, I was to know her generosity, spirit, unparalleled wit, whims and her monk-like calm. All of it mostly over emails, which would come by the dozens. She gave me the gift of word. Painstakingly, one word at a time she held my hand through the nuances of haiku and haibun. She was my guru but not just for writing. Our mails would often spill over to life philosophy, jokes and cartoon strips. Her favourites were ‘Peanuts’ and ‘the Tigger and Pooh’. Mine ‘Calvin and Hobbes’. It’s only over my mails with Angelee that I realized, how crystal the life philosophy of these cartoon characters was.

She stood by me through highs and lows, through death of loved one, through failures. Over the course of time, our relationship would evolve. From Mentor-mentee, to that of friends and eventually in 2015 – when she asked for my address and sent me a sacred thread – to that of a brother and sister.

Like all relationships, we also had our differences. She would warn me against the hazards of publishing a book too soon and I would express my misgivings about her refusal to get her work out despite a lifelong devotion to the form. But like all good relationships, they were just that, difference of opinion.

Her last email to me on 27 Jun 18, reads ‘To relieve stress, I do Yoga. Just kidding, I drink wine in my Yoga Pants.’ Sixteen hours later, a WhatsApp message would inform me of her sudden demise. I am yet to come to terms with it. To accept that there will be no more words of wisdom, no more inappropriate jokes, and no more dinners or plays when we meet at haiku meets.

Someday I will be able to look at this differently. I will be able to recognize that she continues to stay with me in her poetry, mails and life lessons. But for today, I am selfish and unreasonable. I want her back in my inbox, one more time, with a joke totally inappropriate, and all the more funny because of it.

Paresh Tiwari


against calloused feet
for Dr. Angelee Deodhar

On my first visit to your house, you insist I walk barefoot in the garden. You introduce me to the plants and the trees; periwinkles, chrysanthemums, peepal, frangipani, bougainvillea, holy basil, ginkgo you point faster than I can follow.

Before I leave, you press a slim volume of Issa’s translated haiku in my palms. Between its pages you have left a fan shaped leaf. On one of your trips to Japan, you had picked up the sapling near a master’s hut. Pressing its wisp thin roots in a fistful of soft loam, you had wrapped it loosely in clear plastic.

Nine hours later, you opened the suitcase frantically, tossed out the kurtis, the trousers and pullovers over the tiled floor of the house, stopping only when you could see two tiny leaves nodding under the clear plastic sheet.

Yesterday, I pulled the books down from their shelves. One by one at first. And then with increasing urgency. As if I could change it all, if only I could find that solitary leaf. Hung upside down from their spines, the books refuse to cough up anything more than a few desolate syllables and a parade of orphan images.

after you . . .
the ginkgo leaf now
lost forever

Note – The title of the haibun has been taken from Angelee Deodhar’s jisei haiku (death poem) . . .
water worn boulders
so smooth now
against calloused feet

Paresh Tiwari



I have a photograph of Angelee with my mother, you cannot make out who is who. This was taken when she came home, the day after Distilled Images, the haiku conference and ‘utsav’ that I had organised in Mumbai.

angelee 2.jpg

She had a happy, restful day, going over my collection of Ganesha icons. But it was my marbles that intrigued her most, the ones I’d collected over innumerable matches in childhood (I’d lose them all were I to play now). She held a few in her hands, closed her eyes and meditated upon them. There would be a few in her hand throughout the visit.

jackfruit tree―
the one bent branch
that reached me

She did me the honour of turning me into a haibun. I don’t know if it’s published or not, she didn’t seem to keep track. She did keep track of emails though. They sit there in my mailbox, by the dozens. From mostly WhatsApp Good Mornings they had turned to senior jokes recently. I have saved them all. Like Max before her, she leaves me with a lot of writings to read on a rainy day, but without the comfort of blotches left behind by hidden tear drops.

apple flowers
―only the chill parts
the quietude

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan


Angelee : A Tribute

The manner in which our lives intertwine often gives me pause. What could possibly connect Dr Angelee Deodhar, retired opthalmogist and haijin par excellence from Chandigarh, with a nurse from Breach Candy hospital and a Bombay based companion animal veterinarian? What smile of fate brought Angelee to S.I.E.S. College, Bombay, for Distilled Images, a conference and festival of contemporary haiku in September 2014 that I too participated in?

At the end of the two day conference, Angelee asked if she could be dropped at a friend’s. Gautam, Rohini and I were more than happy to do so, as it promised an hour’s interaction with a truly accomplished haijin and a wonderful person. It was only when we approached a large Parsi settlement and Angelee asked for help finding the address, that I realized it belonged to the one client I had in that entire colony! A retired nurse with an Indian dog, my patient. And thus was born yet another subplot in the story of my life.

The next time I met her was at the Pune Haiku Utsav, Triveni in 2016. She appeared to have slowed a little but in a dignified manner, and the charm, wit and acerbic sense of humour was very much in evidence. Incredibly this doyenne of the haikai sensibility would email me a congratulatory note each time I got published. I will always be grateful for those moments of encouragement.

A few months back Mrs Shroff shared with me that our mutual friend was unwell. Thereafter all my e-mail correspondence with her would end with a query after her health. Angelee would reply with silence. When she moved on that is what she left in her wake. Stunned silence. Honest, compassionate, yet no nonsense the grand dame of Indian Haikai writing has left for better spaces. R.I.P. Angelee. We will always love you. My best wishes for your onward journeys, and may they each be lovelier, more exciting and more vibrant than the last.

bone china
your flawless skin
our memories

What follows is a conversation with Sister Pesi Shroff, old friend of Dr Shashi Mehta a.k.a. Dr Angelee Deodhar and a client of mine since some years, interspersed with some Ku penned by the good doctor herself (A.D.)

I was first introduced to Dr Shashi Mehta (maiden name) by a common American friend, Velena Boyd who had fought in World War 2 with my Karachi based cousin, Perviz Pavri. It happened perhaps in the late 60s or early 70s. Shashi was a beautiful, warm person. We bonded well and kept up a postal correspondence for decades thereafter. She used to write even then and would send me some of her poems from time to time.

meeting new friends
a flight of pigeons
rain-wet pavement

One day Dr Shashi requested if she could come stay with me for a couple of days. It turned out to be a momentous visit. She asked if a friend could come over for a bit. That was my first contact with Dr Shridhar Deodhar, a physician and a fine gentleman. They stepped out for a discussion and returned having decided to tie the knot.

sharing an umbrella
your wet left shoulder
my right one

I attended the wedding in Chandigarh. Angelee and her fiancée Dr Shridhar received me at the station with a shawl. It was cold back then and I still remember the gesture. We put up at her brother’s (Dr Ravi Mehta) soon to be in-laws’ bungalow. The extremely pleasant and comfortable fortnight’s stay concluded with a traditional gesture generally reserved for family. The Deodhars gifted me a pair of gold ear tops (Shows me her ears. Still has them on) and house hold utensils including a pressure cooker.

We stayed in touch via post and inland letters. She would even send me her books and continued to visit from time to time. Once with her then four year old son Ananth. A very sweet boy, he was the apple of their eye. She enjoyed the Parsi cuisine here, be it patra ni machi, dhansak, poro (parsi omelette) or cutlets.

There followed a hiatus of almost a decade, from the early 90s onwards. No replies to my mail. I was told that Angelee had stopped working and was having personal issues.

between us
vapors from the tea cups
autumn chill
A.D. (Modern Haiku Vol. XXXI, No.3, Fall 2000)

One day an inland letter arrived from her husband apologising for the breakdown in communication. It seemed he was very unwell. Within a week of the correspondence he passed on. It was a crushing blow for Angelee and she became depressed. It was to be another four to five years before she contacted me. She was coming to Bombay. We met and rekindled our friendship.

acres of darkness
outside, inside
then a firefly

Sometime later I was diagnosed with cardiac issues and had to undergo a series of angioplasties. Angelee got to know about my financial issues and helped me out on at least three separate occasions before I requested her to stop.

She was extremely fond of her dogs.

midnight walk
the dog nudges me down
our moonlit path
A.D. (The Asahi Shimbun, Sat-Sun, Oct 25-26, 2003)

I well remember her joy when her grandchild was born.

the school bus gone
from room to silent room
the dog follows me

Then one day I heard she was ill. Angelee shared that she was feeling heavy headed. I pressed her for the reason. She said that she didn’t like to speak about her hardships. Each must bear their own burden. She could barely speak. Her family thankfully was very close knit and extremely supportive of her throughout.

summer heat-
finally letting go
the tangled kite
A.D. (C.H.O. July 2018, Vol. 14, No 2)

Angelee was one of my dearest friends, as good as family. Always helpful, generous to a fault and understanding. I have never met another like her. Although we lived far from each other we shared a strong camaraderie. Regularly exchanged birthday and anniversary wishes. It would have been her birthday on the 20th of this July. I hope she is at peace. God bless her and your family. (Breaks down)

angelee tribute pic

(Mug gifted to Sister Shroff to commemorate the birth of her grandchild)

water worn boulder
so smooth now
against callused feet

Dr Angelee Deodar’s Jisei (Death Poem) Mann Library’s Daily Haiku

Dr Brijesh Raj


the twinkle
in your eyes . . .
in the stars

Angelee and I shared many moments of warmth and fun. We met only at haiku conferences but the camaraderie we shared managed to survive the geographical distance – we lived in opposite ends of the country. What started as discussions on haikai and haibun moved quickly to facets of Japan that we both found intriguing and fascinating.

One such conversation was about Jizo Bosatsu, the Boddhisatva who postponed Buddhahood to wait until all people on Earth are saved. We talked about her favourite Jizo, with the red bib and hat, a common sight in Japan. It is said that Jizo protects families and looks after children in the afterlife and helps them in their wanderings in ‘limbo’. A couple of years ago, on Vishu, I sent her a picture of ojizosama from my visit to Kamakura. She was thrilled and her delightful email reply came straight from the heart. She put her lovely haiku onto the photo and sent it back as a haiga!

Later, Angelee’s email messages and telephone calls would (of course) bolster my efforts with haiku but would also help in keeping me focused while dealing with health crises in my family and many routine tasks – “do the routine and from it, haibun will follow”. Ever since she heard my Japanese, she addressed me as ‘JG’ (Japani Gudiya). At the Pune conference, to my friends’ delight, she would frequently rib me – JG, JG, JG. I didn’t realise that it was to be the last time we would meet.

angelee tribute haiku

tanabata –
my wish to see you again
in the river of stars

Geethanjali Rajan


A letter from Angelee

Dear friends,

I have just returned at12.27 am ,from the Jindal Hospital,Chandigarh
where Ishu and Ananth were blessed with a baby boy .

He was born at 4.30 PM on 1st Feb,.and weighs 2.6 kg.

Ishu is tired as she had to undergo a Caeserean Section.Ananth is all thumbs when the baby cries…

With lots and lots of love, from all of us,

relearning how
to change the umpteenth diaper
the arthritic granny

K. Ramesh


For Angelee


Twilight Transience

The Triveni World Haiku Utsav 2016 at Pune.

When I met her I little dreamt that I should absorb the vision that was Angelee deep into my heart and soul. So that I could conjure it up at will, caress it with my eyes and breathe in the fragrance of her gentle smile. Who was to know then that she would depart so soon and leave us clutching at wisps of her memory.

morning mist—-
fading into nothingness
her smile

A tanka for Angelee:

the ashes
of her memories
long scattered…
still looking for a star
with her name on it

A haiku for Angelee:

rooster’s cry ~
how painfully the sun births
this empty day


Gautam Nadkarni


I did not know Angelee personally. I met her or let’s say heard her for the first time at Distilled Images – the International Conference and Utsav on Contemporary Haiku. It was at this event that she participated in the session – straw sandals: learning to write haibun.

Haibun, is a form that I was totally unfamiliar with, but she set my imagination on fire with her presentation on the subject. I returned home and stretched out immediately for a pen and paper and that’s when my tryst with haibun began

cropping and clipping-
I wish I owned a pair
of word scissors


Sandra Martyres


I have met Angelee just once and that was during the Haiku Utsav at Pune- a shooting star who blazed across the firmament of my mind, sprinkling me with star dust.
I dedicate this haiku to her :

navel cord-
from this one banyan
a grove of trees

Vidhya Venkatramani

torn pages…
fragrance of her ink
in every word

we refuse to let go
of the memories

Shreya Narang


dripping mist
pulls the sky
into the valley

The first haiku I wrote, also the first haiku accepted (Bottle Rockets, autumn 2005), I dedicate to Angelee Deodhar.

Even before I met Angelee, I met her husband, Dr Deodhar. I was asked to collect two of Angelee’s books from him, as he was visiting his sister, who lives in Pune.

Dr asked me to recite one of my haiku. I recited ‘dripping mist’. I was so raw. Didn’t even know how to say it. It was over even before I started it! Dr said, “Angelee always says a haiku should be repeated twice.” I did!

Then I met Angelee in February 2008 at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji’s ashram at Bangalore where I had organised the 9th World Haiku Festival. We had honoured her with a Kashmiri shawl … I still remember the warmth of her beautiful and gentle smile.

I’ve met Angelee many times after this and spoken to her innumerable times (long conversations) and our exchanges were always filled with laughter. Her sense of humour was special.

Each time I called her before I organised any utsav, and even during the making of the anthology Naad Anunaad, she would say, “take care of your health, Kala. You are doing a lot. Don’t spread yourself so thin.”

The five days I spent with her at the Haiku North America Conference in Union College NY in 2015 and more recently at Bhubaneshwar in February 2018 are days that will remain with me.

Her death was a shock, it was too sudden.

undulating desert sands
touch the evening sky …
memories of you
blossom from somewhere
deep within

Kala Ramesh

More than a decade ago, while I was struggling to learn this new and teasingly short form of poetry called haiku, I came across a few poems which moved me. Some were by the masters and intense, the seventeen syllables coming across the centuries with vivid and unforgettable images.

And one haiku was by an Indian I had never heard of at that time. The poem was warm and comfortable and brought the scent of home with just a hint of unresolved issues behind the scenes.

between us
vapors from the teacups
autumn chill

So much in a few simple words. Poems like hers made me decide to explore this unfamiliar but tantalising form of poetry.

Over the years I read more of her poems.

haiga workshop
in the downstroke of the brush
the sound of rain

sharing an umbrella
your wet left shoulder
my right one

I met Angelee a while later, at a Haiku conference in Bangalore. She was warm and friendly and always gave me an enormous hug. We continued to meet mostly at conferences and stayed in touch over email. She was always very prompt about answering mail.

In the last few months she was not responding to email either and I heard that she was ill.

an I.V. line
anchors me to the monitor
thoughts still wander

While looking for her haiku I found her death poem right here on Cafe Haiku. Who can say it better? She had a tough and painful life, but it is the harshness which creates the most beauty.

water worn boulder
so smooth now
against callused feet

I wonder if somewhere she is still writing haiku, carefree in some ethereal realm.
We will miss her in this physical one.

Rohini Gupta

Haiku review – the last poem

This is the haiku review for the haiku, the last poem, by Sanjuktaa Asopa. The review is by members of In Haiku Mumbai and Chennai.


the last poem
signed with a flourish-
falling star




This poem leaves so much open to interpretation that it has all the hallmarks of a super haiku.


I say haiku with some reservations because “falling star” appears to be a kigo. Yet the sensibility seems to point to the senryu. After all, writing poetry does not belong to the purely natural world and appears to be more man-made.

Apart from categorizing the poem, there is more than one level that opens up to the perceptive reader.

Who was this poet? Did he/she know the poem would be the last one at the time of writing? Or did the chronicler interpret it this way much later?

The flourish mentioned, may be an interpretation rather than intended by the poet.

Falling star, is suggestive of decline, but who noticed it, the poet of the last poem or the chronicler?

All these questions have a myriad possible answers, and as a well known critic once said, rhe more interpretations possible, the better the poem.





This haiku by Sanjuktaa Asopa starts with an end by referring to a last poem. The stage is set for a sad haiku defined by a sense of loss in the first line itself. The second line introduces the poet (without any pronouns) and shows the flourish with which the poem has been signed. The image of a poet who is on the verge of a literal or metaphorical death is what comes to mind. This could be the last time the poet will ever write and sign a creation.


Then, Sanjuktaa juxtaposes the flourish of the pen very deftly, with a falling star. Suddenly, the poem takes on a very different depth because to me, the image of a falling star is one that lights the sky and one that many yearn to see and perhaps, wish upon for their own future. The poet has perhaps lit up the world around her with her own creations and now, knows that she has to move on. And hence, the flourish of the last signature. The clever play on the words ‘falling star’, which could refer to leonids and perseids or to the falling star which is the state that the poet herself could be at, leaves the haiku at a semicircle with plenty of scope for the reader to step in and interpret.


From a sad haiku, this turned into a poem about quiet acceptance, dignity, ends, and perhaps, even trailblazing. The endless possibilities are definitely what made this haiku a winner. (It won a prize in 2011 at the Calico Cat international bilingual haiku contest held by Origa in memory of Hortensia Anderson).




the last poem—anything that suggests “a last” is so sad; and here it says-a poem. how sad! When does one say its a last poem .when the poet is no more. A death ku?


signed with a flourish— wow that gives me hope but with a tinge of sadness that its all coming to an end. but not before that one last performance.


falling star- bright and beautiful journey of a star before it gets lost


As I finish reading this poem, one image flashes on my mind. Sachin Tendulkar.




A rather sad haiku is brightened with ‘a flourish’. The last line sounds final.  Did she give up writing? Or is it a death haiku?


Falling star suggests the process has been going on for a while.  The decline may be due to old age or the declining fortunes of a famous person. But it is rescued by ‘signing with a flourish’ which shows a certain awareness of the decline and a defiance of it by signing with a flourish even right at the end.


So it’s really a hopeful haiku. I like the flourish put in the middle line so it can cushion  the bleakness of falling star which might have been too much of a downer on its own.




The context of the phrase gives a second meaning to the fragment: of the poet on the decline. This reading then reanimates the phrase, in my mind there’s the image of the poet/ess struggling to accept that s/he’s no longer as popular as s/he was, and like all declining stars, the flourishes becoming more pronounced. The first line nevertheless indicates an end to this struggle; the acceptance, perhaps even surrender, that there will be no more poems. So why not sign it off with a flourish?


Analysis is of course, not without context. Though Sanjukta might not have intended it, her ku makes me re-examine the publishing phenomenon that is Rupi Kaur, now on the upswing even as her popularity leaves the current price establishment in tatters, and I wonder how prepared she is for the inevitable eclipse. In the same way that one sees writers, sportsmen and ageing movie stars.


Is it a death ku? I do not think so, but there is the inevitability of it, but an artistic rather than literal death. A signal for our times.




There is a certain pathos to this ku. The last poem of the poet signed with a flourish… gives the impression that the poet’s best days are over and that his talent is on the decline. Recognising this sad fact, the poet gives significant importance to what he thinks is his last work of art.




Perhaps a death ku, L1 sets a poignant tone. The word ‘flourish’ in L2 though suggests an almost impish satisfaction at a writing life well spent. After all, even a falling star draws gasps of delight.


I wonder if it could also allude to the creator’s pen using the skies for a page and a falling star as a signal for us to sit up and take notice, now that his/her work is done




She is an aging diva, a doyen of yesteryears. And now she has given her final performance. She knows she will not be performing again. And hence gives her best.


This piece is also reminicent of O.Henry’s last leaf. The masterpiece that the artist dreams is his/her final performance.


Does she like the artist in the O.Henry’ s story die a physical death? Or is it an artistic death?