Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists, Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8, Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women’s Web. Some of her print publications include poems in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul (Westland). Her work has also been featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse. She blogs at tikulicious.wordpress.com Her Debut poetry book Collection of Chaos was published by Leaky Boot Press (Jan, 2014).
“You never come to the temple,”, she says.
“I prefer a good smoke,” I reply. She nods
and walks away. I watch her hips sway.
I take out a cigarette, tap it on the box,
I feel for my lighter. Instead I find matches.
In the temple, she lights the earthenware
lamps one after another, the flickering blue
flame coming to life with each click. Outside,
in the courtyard, the matches refuse to light,
one after another. Exasperated, I throw both
the cigarette and the matches aside.
A beggar picks them up, lights the cigarette
and walks away. Inside the temple, she still
lights the lamps.
You said I was haunted, that my body was filled with shadows.
You said I did not belong with you,
that I was rebellious, difficult,
unmanageable like my tresses.
You said I couldn’t be trusted,
that I held words captive, that they
became portals at my touch,
possessed, like dark seeds planted
in disturbed and twisted soil.
You said that I hovered between
sleeping and waking, and in that limbo
I was spinning webs, writing
verses, stories, the words casting
spells disguised as literature.
You knew fear. You feared the
skeletons that rattled in your heart,
the ones you could not escape,
the echoes of memories that have
haunted you across the years.
You said I disturbed the secrets
long hidden inside you, those things
you want so much to forget, the
private darkness that erupts within
you when you least expect it.
The fact that you abandoned me
I was hurt, but injuries can heal; far
worse than this you called me a witch, a
Lorelei, a temptress and with those
words you stole my hope.
The street is sultry, shaded
by a curtain of light, the
mysterious green of
motionless leaves. In the
spaces between fronds are
plumes of cinder red evening
sky. The air, heavy with the
smell and heat of freshly
spread tarmac, is filled with
the clamor of unseen feet.
I sit in my own quiet place,
a private haven, shape shifting,
changing colors as I float
among wondrous hues
borrowed from my dreams.
I am visible and not visible,
present and absent, existing
and not existing. Thoughts
merge, ideas coincide, the
universe continues to evolve.
I, in a shifting reality, lose all
control, just as a poet does,
when he disappears into the
morass of his own words.