A second cup of cutting chai

cutting chai –
finally the rejection letter
off my mind

Arvinder Kaur

 

the Taj cafe—-
the steward’s smirk as I order
cutting chai

full cutting chai…
the waiter asks me once more
if I’m sure

Gautam Nadkarni

 

cutting chai –
the cup that helps me
brave the monsoons

chilly morning-
road-side vendors serving
cutting chai

finally
the sights and feel of home –
mugs of cutting chai

Sandra Martyres

 

some things
are inevitable…
ordering
cutting chai
at the hospital canteen

cutting chai
the flutter of divorce papers
between sips

Sanjuktaa Asopa

 

cutting chai
the rain falls
in both the glasses

Alaka Yeravadekar

 

cutting chai —
mother snaps the last biscuit
into perfect halves

Kala Ramesh

 

Cutting chai

The following haiku were written on the spot at our last meeting.

pelting rain-
the thought of cutting chai
drives me home

for frayed tempers-
the perfect antidote
cutting chai

SANDRA

 

hanging low
in the winter breeze
her breath
and the taste
of ginger on my lips

PARESH

 

cutting chai
again the waiter interrupts
my proposal

GAUTAM

 

cutting chai
the vegan
at a loss

cutting chais
the poets
make them count

winter’s eve
the urchin
begs for ‘cutting’

nursing a ‘cutting’
the world
through misted glasses

spring cool
the lovers share
a ‘cutting’

BRIJESH

 

the price
of wi fi
cutting chai

the argument
more cutting than
The chai

ROHINI

 

behind the Taj…
I catch the chef sipping
cutting chai

at the tapri
the chaiwala from
across the street

scanning the menu
I wonder what they mean
chai latte

cutting chai…
I watch my last pennies
jingle away

cutting chai…
still looking for
a smart kireji

RAAMESH

 

Would you like to submit something on cutting chai? Do send your haiku, tanka, haibun or senryu to inhaikumumbai AT gmail DOT com.

New Beginnings

We put out a call for haiku on the subject ‘New Beginnings’, and then life got on, same old, same old. Here’s our compilation at last, after a delay of many weeks:

*

strong winds…
a wilted flower
breaks away

~ Mahrukh Balsara

verdigris
wrinkled hands scrub off
past Diwalis

yet another dump
grubbing
for a fresh stake

one last lick
before nodding off
latest litter

new menu
the fresh lime soda
exactly the same

new home
mismatched cups
and staff

~ Brijesh Raj

new walls…
how long till this one
feels like home

~ Paresh Tiwari

new skin
the cut that wasn’t
deep after all

~ Kasturi Jadhav

grief counselling
my old lover is
my new friend

~ Deepa

new year
the resolutions fade
faster than the snow

kittens again
the same
old cat

~ Rohini Gupta

new year’s dawn
still trying to recall
last night’s resolves

memories
rising from the mist
a full moon

~ Gautam Nadkarni

forgetting
and forgiving the past memories
springs of fresh tenderness

~ Purushotham Rao Ravela

from his village dwelling
to life in the city
1BHK

new beginnings –
the drunk buries
his whiskey bottle

melting snow –
from the garden bed
a rose bud peeps out

~ Sandra Martyres

new manuscript…
In the heat of the flames
of the old one

windowsill…
a new summer day
unspools

euthanasia
the dawn’s glow washed out
by the streetlights

~ Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

*

Would you like to add your haiku on this topic? Please add them in the comments.

Inviting submissions for our new anthology

Indian summer
even our inhibitions
melt away

Even as I write this, IN haiku Mumbai has been in continuous existence for three years and a half. Over time, through innumerable cups of coffee in our monthly meets, three cafe closures, one anthology, a now-on, now-off blog, and the launch of a new literary magazine, we realise we’ve come a long way. 

So, we decided to celebrate ourselves by launching a new anthology, to be brought out by Diwali this year. And you’re invited.

We must say we had great fun putting together ‘the taste of sea breeze’ our first anthology of haiku, haibun, tanka, senryu, renku and renbun (which we claim to invent). And are happier to report that it was received well among the global community of ELH writers and readers, having had good sales in five countries. More than just a labour of love, it’s been an exercise in critical thinking and collaboration.

So, coming to the new anthology we propose. Here’s everything you want to know:

  1. Who: Anyone from anywhere in the world can submit. Our only requirement — the subject of your composition has to be India. Anything about India.
  2. What: Up to three each of anything in the haikai school of literature — haiku, senryu, urban ku, haibun, short-form renku (tan-renga, yotsumono) and tanka. Submit one renku or renbun if you like. Unfortunately for us, we’re not able to take haiga or any other illustrated form.
  3. Where: Send your compositions to inhaikumumbai@gmail.com in the body of the mail only. No attachements please.
  4. How: Please place your name, country, city and genre in the subject of your mail. So “Thaksin Shinawatra,  Thailand, Bangkok, Senryu”. Please let us repeat, do not send attachments. As the Buddha said, they only lead to sorrow.
  5. When: Submissions open 19 April 2017 and close 31 July 2017. We will then go through a reading and being period, and be ready to launch by Diwali day. So you can expect to hear from us August onwards.
  6. Why: Well, honestly, we had fun doing it once and we want to do it again. And because you and us, we all want somewhere to publish. But mostly, because there doesn’t really have to be a reason.

How to get selected:

  1. Please do judge your work before sending. While we don’t claim to be the best, we’re not so bad either. Our preference would be to have a slim but awesome book. 
  2. Please stay away from clichés. As resident Indians, we’ve seen enough snake charmers and elephants and Malana cream. Anything that shows India in a new light (and it doesn’t have to be flattering) has a better chance of being picked. Personal experiences will score, because that is the essence of haikai.
  3. We’re Trussians when it comes to grammar. Please do care to edit before sending. English is preferred; if you send in any other language please do send an English translation. We will follow Commonwealth spellings.
  4. Please be original. We’d like fresh, unplagiarised work. If you’re submitting previously published work, that’s fine, but please cite where it was published. Work published in a social media group not open to the general public’s view will be treated as unpublished.
  5. Selections will be made by our core group. Only that which passes muster among all six of us goes into the anthology. As we said earlier, our preference would be to have a slim but awesome book.

The decisions of the editors will be final and binding. And there’s no money we have to give out. But you’re all haijin and you’ve seen these two caveats before.

Happy submitting!

        sudden shower
        the mango petals fall
        off the new fruit

        Old love

        Entries received for our January 2017 prompt – Unrequited Love

        1.
        old love at the bazaar
        flower-sellers drown out
        my voice

        Kasturi Jadhav

        2.
        weeping willows –
        he marries
        his new love

        Deepa Shankar

        3.
        Leftovers
        This evening we walked over the mountain to meet the sun that has burnt itself down to a cinder and yet failed to thaw the cold between us . . .

        beginning again
        from the beginning
        you and I
        ** *

        Traces of you

        Today I fell in love with the shadow under the lamp. Yesterday it was the flame that went off in a sliver of spiral smoke. And the day before that, the petrichor of its clay shell.

        trying to figure
        the colour of loss . . .
        wetness
        ***
        The man . . .

        . . . moved with deliberate slowness. Only his shadow dogging his heels, leaving in its wake the woman who would pack his lunch in a steel tiffin-box, a toddler still tasting the sweetness of his first syllables and a dog gnawing an age-old wound.

        divorce papers . . .
        we end up deleting
        the ampersand
        ***
        Unfinished

        The typewriter has a mind and a story of its own and even though the keys go clickety-clack, the darn thing just isn’t ready to type the words I want it to.

        coffee rings
        somewhere our lives
        did touch
        ***

        Lovers

        There were those who left the shape of their absence in the evening breeze and those who stayed behind like an odd pairing of words in a verse.

        six degrees
        a raindrop ripples
        into another
        ***

        Will you too leave?

        What if I take a chisel and a hammer to this paperweight and release the flower and the delicate leaves within.

        chalk lines . . .
        the squares we skip and
        those that skip us

        Paresh Tiwari

        4.
        dry red roses still stand
        in front of the closed door
        unrequited love

        Tahera Mannan
        Nagpur, Maharashtra

        5.
        heartbreak
        the rose in the vase untouched
        by the storm

        noon torpor…
        the suddenness with which
        she leaves my life

        gone away—
        now only the swirling mist
        to embrace

        Gautam Nadkarni

        6.
        Gamble

        Walking through the neon city of the world, I imagined, could bring back the zing into our relationship. She is dazzled by the casinos and bright lights. And I see in her eyes, for the first time in years, the same warmth that I had seen when we first started dating. Then turning to me she says – “I’m in love with Vegas”

        flight back home
        the one vacant seat
        to my left

        Sandra Martyres

        7.

        winter’s grip
        your fingers clasp
        another’s

        flotsam
        into the twilight
        the soul you chose not

        Dr. Brijesh Raj

        8.
        faraway look…
        on the horizon
        a single bird

        Mahrukh Jal Bulsara

        9.
        rose day
        my haul of yellows
        unmatched

        shehnai sounds…
        they brick up the window
        opposite me

        old rose petals
        her forty year old no
        browning slowly

        hatsuyuki
        watching your footsteps
        vanish slowly

        Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

        Haiku review: New Year dawn

        In this post we review this haiku by Susumu Takiguchi:

        winter rain…
        wetting the sound
        of the bugle
         

        (Excerpted from The Works of Susumu Takiguchi, World Haiku Review, Jan 2014)

        *

        Brijesh Raj

        For me winter, rain and the bugle combine to bring up the Last Post, a farewell/remembrance piece dedicated to the brave military personnel martyred on the battle field.

        They also evoke an image of their loved ones in black, standing tall… proud and teary eyed. Perhaps L2 is meant to convey the choked feeling they are bound to feel on such an occasion. L2 ensures a beautiful deepening of emotion and is a truly special juxtaposition in the context.

        All in all a wonderful ku.

        *

        Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

        At first, this haiku appears as a very ‘so what’ shasei ku, simply a bugle sounding in the rain, purely a description. But as with all good haiku, the insight is always below the surface.

        Look at the fragment: winter rain. What is so special about sounding a bugle in the winter? But think again: is it the literal winter (which it is on one level), or is there a metaphorical meaning that arises in the space between ‘winter’ and ‘bugle’?

        In the phrase: the bugle sounding reminds one immediately of the last post (a haunting tune if one has ever heard it), an army sounding the passing of a veteran. Thus the bugle loops back to winter, and Death raises his ghastly cowl. So is it rain anymore, or is it now tears, the bugler tearfully bidding a fallen comrade farewell? Susumu leaves it unsaid, leaving the reader to complete the semi-circle.

        In terms of phonic structure too,  this haiku is euphonous. The first line (win-ter rāīn, 2 short syllables and 1 long) resonates with the third (of-the-bu-gle, 4 short syllables) in a uniform beat, or taal as we say in Indian music theory. The middle is visually longer, but just four English syllables (wet-ting the sound), but applying my Indic music sensibility, the stress wet-ting and the sonorous so-und give me five beats, a nice contraposition to the lines 1 & 3.

        *

        Paresh Tiwari

        I have always been a fan of synesthesia and melancholy in poetry. As far as synesthesia goes, how can one be a poet and not really taste the scent of a rose or be able to touch the warmth of the colour yellow. There is something exceedingly romantic about it. And melancholy, well let’s just say, it stays by your bed like a trusted old friend. This haiku manages to get both bang on.

        The one thing, this haiku doesn’t manage to get right however, is a clear distance between two images. Reading and re-reading the haiku, makes me wonder if there even are two images in this haiku. May be not. Then what are those ellipses doing at the end of the first line? Are they simply meant to allow the reader for a longer pause in a bid to provide him the much needed mindspace that would eventually lead the sense of hearing and touch blend together seamlessly.

        I would like to believe so.

        Do I think, a different fragment would have done more justice to the phrase? I doubt that. I believe despite of not having two clear cut images, this haiku could not really be bettered in a tangible manner.

        Or should I wait, is the poet trying to tell us something else entirely with the ellipses. Is the deep chill of loss, brought to fore by that evocative winter rain meant to lead us into the pain (and may be the tears) of the bugler, and by extension the poet and the reader too?

        A satisfying if a bit mystifying haiku. A verse that I would always like to come back to for it presents me with a delicious ambiguity.

        *

        Sandra Martyres

        a very evocative write. there is a certain finality associated with the sound of the bugle. It seems as if even nature aware of the solemnity of the situation is sending rain showers..

        Brijesh this is a wonderful choice of haiku…

        *