Story (Featured Entry)


by Aasif Shah

Gyanandra Chowdary started young. He joined the People's Protection Party when he was still in Standard IX. In the initial stages, he passed on information from one base to another, working as an overground agent. Gradually, he neglected his studies and became a proper underground. Going from a mere foot soldier to a lieutenant commanding a specific area at the age of 23 was not easy, he would tell his trusted friends. As a lieutenant, well, almost, he had made his presence felt in the underground community. A few minutes ago he had performed his ultimate duty on his way to becoming a lieutenant. He had deposited two bullets at point blank range inside the skull of a police informer as a punishment to him in particular and as a warning to the public in general.

Gyanandra, the broad-shouldered, slightly built young man in a checked cream-coloured shirt and blue jeans, felt something in his heart that he had never felt before. His square, clean-shaven face showed no emotion but his brown eyes darted left and right. Every single nerve of his body was stiff. What he had just performed was an act of eternity. There was no going back after (Read full article)


A Friend in Need

by Sudhamshu

January 14, 2008
Subject: A friend in need
Dear Friend,

Firstly, sorry for encroaching your personal space. I have no right to intrude. But I have a lot of hope and very little means.
Secondly, let me introduce myself. Myself, Kishorechand Malikar, from Daulatwadi, Vidarbha district. I have a very high hope and faith in humanity of strangers. From the history that I have so loved to read, I learnt how people have become successful with the help of total strangers. That faith has allowed me to make friends with people I don't know, very easily. And since you are reading till here, you are also my friend.

So friend, I have to tell you the bad news that this friend of yours is unhappy and needs your help urgently. You must have heard about the crisis in my district in your newspapers and TV. My village is very badly affected. But nobody is caring to fix the problem. I request you to give me help in any way possible. I do not ask for money, because my father, Ravichand Malikar, gave me education. But education taught me, dear friend, that not much can be done without money. (Read full article)


Heat, Hatred and Retribution

by Anita Kainthla

I watched the chaos of blood in numbness. The show of gore had probably been staged to inflict a nauseating disturbance on the audience, which it did, but the drama was strangely cathartic. When the movie ended, Bill (and almost the entire cast) had been ruthlessly butchered.

All those who were knew me well enough to suggest movies to suit my delicate temperament had advised me against Kill Bill. But that’s why I chose to watch it; I needed its graphic intensity to strengthen my nerve. In the last five days I had watched Kill Bill more than a dozen times. That’s all I had been doing.

The summer had peaked to an all time high. And also, I absolutely hated Shantanu. In the last five days, I hadn’t stepped out of the house. In fact, I’d barely stepped out of the living room. Every time Shantanu came in to sit or walked through the room, I felt something like static electricity ripple through me. It was bloody annoying. Like an itch somewhere in the middle of the back, an unreachable area of the anatomy.

I stood at the window with a dull ache in my tight-set jaw, wanting to claw the (Read full article)


You, Me, Circumstance

by Pragya Bhatt

the cold floor
this room of stillness
the rain outside
a raging storm lurking close to the surface
threatening to erupt
water dripping somewhere
the fan whirring above
and i think...

of things that must be forgotten now
of lazy summer afternoons in large airy verandas
sipping lime juice alive with possibilities
and of companionship infinite...
was it you, was it me, or was it circumstance?

and of those languid walks down roads well trod
punctuated by stops at favourite bookshops
hoping for a first edition... a love letter long forgot
a bookmark waiting where someone left off

The tea before me grows cold with neglect
i stare absentminded into the milky abyss
it will be eons before these ruminations end...
It was you, it was me and it was circumstance.

(Read full article)


Exploring the unknown

by Nanda Ramesh

The buildings were bigger
So were the rooms
I stared wide-eyed
At the pretty flowers in bloom
My first day in college
Eager for the journey to start
I sat in class
When in came many a comely lass
Almost at once she caught my eye
Though demurely she turned away
Months flew by
We were friends now
With an undercurrent of
the unknown
We were both afraid to explore
There were movies
The local darshini
Talking and sharing notes
All enjoyed with company
We were too scared to try
Together: just us

Soon it was the final year
Maybe it wasn’t meant to be
But she became the brave one
To break the unspoken pact
A date
Just the two of us
Let’s spend time together
She said
And explore the unknown
My brain froze
I mumbled an excuse:
My mother is sick
Maybe another day

But the moment had passed
Never to come again
So there it ended
We will never know
What might have been
Had I said yes.

(Read full article)


In My Remembrance

by G.S.Vasukumar

Let me make a cripple believe
only his body is crippled;
not his mind or soul,
so that he can achieve triple
the success than those
not crippled.

Let me hold the hand
of the helpless and unwanted
so that they may feel someone
is there to care
in this world of selfish people
who only stare.

Let me give my heart
to someone who has suffered
endless pain.
Let me try to bring some joy
into their lives as long
as I remain.

Let me give my eyes
To someone who has seen
only darkness
and not the sunrise.

Let those who want to remember me
do it with a good deed.
My soul shall smile when I'm no more
When help goes to those in need.

(Read full article)

From the Publisher's Desk

October Issue of Pothiz

by Team

Dear Readers,

Festival season is on and we are back with a new issue of Pothiz! We hope the words contained in these stories and poems weave their magic on you and make this time even more enjoyable. Here is a little sneak peak into what the issue has to offer.

The featured story "Almost", talking about a disturbing reality with the protagonist and his background, makes for an interesting reading with a personal twist thrown in. "A Friend in Need" will make our urban, working youth go LOL (laugh out loud). Stories "31 B", "Heat, Hatred and Retribution" and "Roommate (in Hindi)" have a common theme of womanhood and explore different aspects of it. The common theme is a mere coincidence but they make a great bunch to be read together. There are also poems for you to read and experience. Also check out the entries in "Other Entries" section.

As always, we look forward to your feedback for us as well as for all the authors. Do let us know what you liked, didn't like and how can we do better. Here is wishing all of you a very happy festival season!

Regards Team

(Read full article)


31 B

by Meghna Pant

The brown-and-yellow steel snake slithered to a screechy stop at the Churchgate dock. Madhuri Phatke stood taut-poised, flawlessly aligned with the ladies second-class compartment at the marked spot on Platform 1. She was surrounded by a similar dozen or more testosterone-pumped toads ready for the gravity-defying sprint that belied their vada-pau-distended amorphous bodies. These willing victims with their starched-sari-covered, hirsute legs slightly apart and kohl-lined, vigilant eyes assessing the competition, strapped their Rexine bags firmly above the ribs, flaring gold-studded nostrils and croaking with the anticipation of their imminent fate in the mass-consuming reptile before them.

Twenty-three years of an unyielding routine incarcerated by the vile moor of time had ensured many things for Madhuri Phatke. 5:40 a.m. ensured that the provisional trickle of water broke its way into her reveries, making her dash into the bathroom to secure the three plastic buckets full, crutches for an otherwise handicapped survival through the day. 6 a.m. would ensure that, ablutions executed, she chopped and sweated in the kitchen-cum-living-and-dining-room packing five lunchboxes of homemade succour for her hormone-deficient husband, hormone-affluent children and her hormone-mystified self. 6:45 a.m. ensured that she swathed herself with yards of modesty from her exclusive selection of five (Read full article)



by Anu Singh Choudhary

"मेरा नाम असीमा है, असीमा कॉन्ट्रैक्टर। नाम से हिंदू लगती हूं, लेकिन हूं मुस्लिम। पांचों वक्त की नमाज़ पढ़ती हूं और रोज़े रखती हूं। क्या किसी को मेरे यहां रहने से कोई परेशानी है?"

असीमा ने ऐसे अपना परिचय दिया था पहली बार। मुंबई के अंधेरी के चार बंगला इलाके की कोठी के एक कमरे में चार लड़कियों को पेइंग गेस्ट बनाकर रखने की जगह थी। तीन तो पहले से थे। कमरे में वो चौथी रूममेट बनने के लिए घुसी थी।

दो मिनट तक असीमा के सवाल पर सब चुप्पी साधे बैठे रहे, अपने-अपने बिस्तरों पर, अपनी-अपनी दुनिया में। एकबारगी नफ़ीज़ा ने चुप्पी तोड़ी।

"मैं नफ़ीज़ा डीसूज़ा हूं। डीसूज़ा हूं तो ज़ाहिर है, क्रिश्चियन हूं। खिड़की के बगल वाली बिस्तर पर जो मैडम बैठी हैं, उनका नाम है लिली पांडे। अब लिली जी पांडे कैसे हैं, ये तो उन्हीं से पूछिए। लिली के बगल वाले बिस्तर पर हैं विशाखा पटेल। नैरोबी से मुंबई आई हैं भरतनाट्यम सीखने। इनकी धर्म, जाति का हमें पता नहीं। कभी ये फोन पर गुजराती बोलते मिलती हैं, कभी मलयालम। बॉयफ्रेंड जर्मन है। हममें से किसी को तो एक-दूसरे से परेशानी नहीं। ना नाम से, ना टाइटिल से और ना जाति-धर्म से। आप अपनी बात बताएं (Read full article)



by Ayn Frances dela Cruz

It is always the you
that we write about
the you that begins
with our first breath
that hears the sighs
we emit
foetus-like in the night.

I have always
searched for you
that first moment
when I slip-slid out
from my mother
wrapped in my blood
was it you
who scraped
my first skin?

In the near horizons
of sleep
I look for you beyond
the overextending shadows
only to see you tattooed
on my eyelashes.

(Read full article)


Foe or Friend

by Dr. Santosh Bakaya

The boy gaped at the flitting beauties glamorously decked,
Marvelling at the early birds as they busily pecked.
On that pleasant morning he hopped and skipped,
In a frenzy of excitement, he tripped and slipped.
He rubbed his eyes and savoured the morning breeze
Ah, life was fun! But suddenly his brows did crease.
As the fluttering jewels in the morning sun pirouetted
To the spot he suddenly stood rooted.
The bright morning sun grew suddenly dark
And a dog, in dread, let out a piercing bark.
With mortal fear, the boy was gripped
Would his secure world be cruelly ripped?
The school bag quivered in his hand
Alas, what was happening in his land?

Tridents in hands, tilaks on foreheads broad
On their lips, the name of their belov’d God,
The furious mob surged forward
The boy started shaking, though he was no coward.
With a passion great the wind howled
With vehemence strong its dissent it growled.
Was it a giant dragon gone haywire?
No, they were merely people spewing fire.
He cringed in fear, as the mob drew nigh
He watched as they pounced on a passer-by.
They poured kerosene over his head
The little boy started shaking (Read full article)


भोपाल स्थित यूनियन कार्बाइड कम्पनी के कारखाने से एक हानिकारक गैस का रिसाव हुआ जिससे लगभग 15000 से अधिक लोगो की जान गई तथा बहुत सारे लोग अंधापन के शिकार हुए. भोपाल गैस काण्ड विश्व इतिहास का ऐसा नासूर है जो हर दिसम्बर मे बहुत बुरी टीस देता है. हालाँकि, इस घटना से पीड़ित लोगो की संख्या लाखो मे है और वहाँ जन्म लेने वाले बच्चे अब भी अपंग पैदा होते है. मुझे ये नहीं जानना की किसकी गलती है है.....मुझे बस 26 सालो के दर्द की दवा और उन करोडो आंसुओ को पोछने वाले हाथ चाहिए जिनसे सत्ता और पैसे की गंध ना आये.

जब भोपाल गैस काण्ड के दोषियों की बात होती है तो ऐसा लगता है हर चीज़ उन्होंने खरीद ली है...शायद ये शहर भी!

ये ग़ज़ल भोपाल गैस त्रासदी पर लिखी है.

ये उनका शहर है! -

कातिल आँधियों मे किसका ये असर है?
दिखता क्यों नहीं है हवा मे जो ज़हर है?
चीखें सूखती सी कहाँ मेरा बशर है?
ये उनका शहर है....

धुँधला आसमां क्यों शाम-ओ-सहर है?
आदमखोर जैसा लगता क्यों सफ़र है?
ढलता क्यों नहीं है ये कैसा पहर है?
ये उनका शहर है....

जानें लीलती है ख़ूनी जो नहर है.
माझी क्यों ना समझे कश्ती पर (Read full article)