“Bitter Gourd” and other poems by Nishi Pulugurtha

Bitter Gourd

The dense green is a nice photo-op
I hold the mobile in my hand
As I look around for something that grabs my attention
I notice a bitter gourd hanging beautifully
The leaves creeping here and there
Entwining with the dead branches fallen all over
Hues of green and brown
I see another one peeping from behind
A small one
Fallen seeds and nature’s work
Among all the dirt, there it was
Pushing back so much of the unwanted
Breaking out
Carving a small place
Being seen
Uncared but there.


Cost of expense
Such as lighting, equipment
Any little extras
Paid for out of a fund
For medicines?
For fruits and vegetables?
For groceries?
For staples?
For a child’s education?
For living generally . . .

The electricity bill is too steep
The main is switched off
The old lady sweats in the heat
But then who cares.
The ‘overhead’ needs to be curtailed.

My Son

The worship of the goddess is done
The festivities are all over
Durga is Shakti, power
Why do we pray to her?
When the wife is ill-treated
Insulted, humiliated, burnt, kicked, stifled, chained, mistreated.
No one bothered about me in my marital home
Marital house
It is only after my son was born that they began to behave well towards me.
Am I just a womb?

Does it Really Matter

Some might talk
Some judge
Some arrive at conclusions
Some read things into it
Why? What made you?
Loads of questions
Questions on questions
Everyone seems eager to find out
Inquisitive, Curious
Questions that needn’t require answers

Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha is an associate professor in the department of English, Brahmananda Keshab Chandra College and has taught postgraduate courses at West Bengal State University, Rabindra Bharati University and the University of Calcutta. She is the Secretary of the Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library, Kolkata (IPPL). Her research areas are British Romantic literature, Postcolonial literature, Indian writing in English, literature of the diaspora, film and Shakespeare adaptation in film. Dr. Pulugurtha has presented papers at national and international conferences in India and abroad and has published in refereed international and national journals. She is a creative writer and writes on travel, film, short stories, poetry and on Alzheimer’s Disease. Her work has been published in The Statesman, Kolkata, in the anthology Tranquil Muse and online – Café Dissensus, Coldnoon, Queen Mob’s Tea House and Setu. She guest-edited the June 2018 Issue of Café Dissensus on Travel. She has a monograph on Derozio (2010) and a collection of essays on travel, Out in the Open (2019).

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