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Poetry Month: LANGUAGE

-Radhika Prasidhha (This language was created only when the record button started. ❤️)


There are many languagues

that don't have words or grammar rules

their thesaurus includes hugs and shrugs

looks that make you shrivel up into an ant

and the ones that inflate your heart

it includes warmth wafting from the kitchen

and hollowness carved from a deliberate absence of words

the languages are plenty .


there is the language of love

apparently there are five

we each have our own dialect

some speak in presents and words

in gestures of love and nuggets of appreciation

while others in sacrifices and hours

in sleep lost and movies watched

there is the language of anger

spoken in measured silences

impregnating the air with rancour

the letters in the alphabet are

banging doors, clanging vessels, stomping feet

sharp looks, loud voices, seething silences

there is the language of friendship

spoken in memes left on whatsapp chats

little pick-me-ups in the day

gurgles, giggles, bellows, snickers

shared stillness, kindness and generosity

are all embroidered on its fabric .


and then there is a the language of poetry

letters from poets, words of advice and observations

chunks of their day, strands of thought

hours of mehnat spent bewitching words to become poems

all pressed onto paper,

like a yellowed frangipani left in a diary or a genie kept in a bottle

coming alive

as you bring your attention to the page

rub, coax, cajole the words

to rise up

and pour themselves into you



I want to live in a foreign land,

And speak a foreign tongue.

Roll my 'rrrr's in my mouth like tart berries.

Savouring every juicy bite.

I want to trip over the difficult words,

Create crude rhythms that my tongue can dance to.

The unknown words,

Remind me I have a lot left to learn.

All that I think I know,

All that I know I am yet to learn,

And the vast and endless abyss of everything I don't even know

I don't know.

What if tomorrow,

When the world is ending,

The words simply disappear from my mind?

And I forget how to say 'I love you'

Or there are no words to be able to describe how I feel?

Then I'll pore over the dictionary,

And master the language of silence.

And say

I love you over and over.

-Charu Mittal (Watch/listen to her reciting the poem in the link)


this poem is not for bengalis

living in assam. neither for lower class daily wage muslim workers

or butchers who don't close their shops

even on bihu.

nor for the bodo, the mising, the ahom,

about whom nothing is taught about

in our history classes,

whose identity is limited to a state holiday-

we know school remains closed

on ali ai ligang

but don't know what it is.

this poem is not for any culture

if it's not my own,

not for any language

that's not spoken in my home,

not for the seats in our classroom

reserved for "other backward classes"

that mostly remain empty.

this poem is for the cape

of cultural supremacy that local media

has taught me to wear;

my koka rode his bicycle

across three villages

to teach poor nepali kids

and I don't even know what my nepali friends

eat for dinner.

so this poem is to say,

I'm sorry,

for taking up too much space

in a land that's not just mine,

for dropping racist bombshells

in the name of humour,

and calling them fire crackers,

for watching videos of people

throwing stones at your houses

and simply skipping to the next channel.

this poem is not for any of you,

it's for me,

a finifugal person who's ashamed

to even offer you her poetry.

koka-Assamese for grandfather

-Shlagha Borah, In response to Manjiri Indurkar's poem, This Poem is not for Kashmir


When I immigrated from India,

I had to feel on my own skin

the meaning of losing a language,

before it I never paid attention to

what was the meaning of being

lost in translation.

When I came here I felt like

I was sentenced to live in hell for following

footsteps of my father and, also,

to the incommunicability:

I could talk only to my family,

but I was so sad for leaving my world behind

that I let go that possibility, too.

When I went to my new school,

hoping to make new friends

but I was condemned to silence

because I had no language to speak in,

I was bullied for it and I had no words

to defend me from the bullies.

When my teacher noticed me being

isolated, humiliated and

sitting alone, there, on the last bench

she came and said to me:

‘If you do not want to feel like an

outsider, read as much as you can and

it is the only way to learn the language

and make some new friends!’

When I started reading, I made a

new friend and her name was ‘Literature’.

I would carry a book with me everywhere

I would go and read them everywhere:

at the library, in the kitchen, in the bathroom

and even under the bench!

Nothing changed outside,

I was still isolated, humiliated

and an outsider, but everything changed

inside suddenly I felt important, empowered

and new like breeze of fresh air!

This was the magic of language,

a language can kill and make you fly.

The irony is that I fell for languages,

words that used to hurt me

now put balm on my wounds,

each of language, I know, play a role my life:

my mother tongue helps me contemplate,

italian helps me to read,

english helps me to write.



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