Voices

Lockdown Poetry Contest Winners: Manjul Bajaj and Suchita Parikh-Mundul

These poems made it to the top of eShe’s Lockdown Poetry Contest 2020.

These poems are part of our Lockdown Poetry series where we feature the winners of eShe’s Lockdown Poetry Contest 2020 for women writers held this July. Of the 108 eligible entries, there was one winner, 10 runners up, and two special mentions.

Here, we bring to you the works of Manjul Bajaj and Suchita Parikh-Mundul.

Reversal

© Manjul Bajaj

The dog takes me out
for an afternoon walk
Power has switched ends
along our leash
from last week to this week.
She leads boldly
I follow, meek.
She’s my outdoor permit
and reprieve.

Outside, I find,
the world has changed…
Bougainvillea
cascade down from
treetops, unchecked,
like waterfalls in Cherapunji
do from mountain tops.

In our colony gardens
Spring has sprung
wild and unruly.
A crazy riot
of flowers intermingling.
The lines of control
set by the gardeners
are all breached.

The poppies are frolicking
in the cosmos beds.
The petunias have forgotten
their place and are everywhere.
The sweet peas
are shooting for the skies
lined along the garden fence –
tall soldiers in pastel pinks.

The sky has turned into
the Tower of Babel –
chirp, cry, screech, hoot.
The birds are speaking
in many different tongues.
Each bird calls louder
than the next
TuTuMaeMaeGuttarGoo.

A peacock checks out
our silent street
very circumspect in his appraisal
An intrepid monkey tests
a car roof, perhaps wondering
if it will be fun
to come out dancing
later at night
with a few friends.

The pigeons,
those forever pashas,
rajas of the rooftops
not ever famous
for their deference
have now declared themselves
independent satraps
of balconies
and window ledges.
Humans be damned.

At a window
I see
A lone human staring out
gloomily.
Locked in, locked down,
humbled by a virus
too small to see.
Thinking maybe, perhaps,
after all, it could be
there’s more to this world
than just me.

Manjul Bajaj, 57, is an author who mostly writes fiction. Her latest novel is In Search of Heer (Tranquebar, 2019).

Window Watching

© Suchita Parikh-Mundul

I have stared myself into Cubist art,
standing at the window,
looking through the pane and at the pane,
interchanging my perspective
with myself.

I stand grounded in introspection,
varnished by days that stretch
like golden fields,
feeling fettered by their
endless expanse.

My iris is the cityscape
with wispy clouds and eagles in flight;
a pearl glistens where my lips might be,
still in quiet solitude,
enclosing secrets of the sea.

My feet are watered down to rose bushes,
planted firm and flowering deliriously,
while daydreams of picnics
paint my fingernails
and colour my cheeks.

Altogether, I am a symbiotic composition
sweeping across the mind’s vistas,
carousing with the past,
picking wild thoughts
for a museum-quality posy,

as a stethoscope sits wryly
in the shadows,
hanging on my every breath,
awaiting the moment
I step out of bounds.

At 40, Suchita Parikh-Mundul calls herself “a half-baked writer and pseudo poet with a handful of bylines in her cap”.

First published in eShe’s September 2020 issue. Stay tuned for more prizewinning Lockdown Poetry coming up on eShe.

2 comments on “Lockdown Poetry Contest Winners: Manjul Bajaj and Suchita Parikh-Mundul

  1. Asit Parikh

    Wonderful work suchita, excellent poem, keep it up, God bless you.

  2. Asit Parikh

    Wonderful work suchita, excellent poem, keep it up, God bless you.

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