1. Small Boxes

tiny little boxes with faces, some
with superheroes, a bunch of flowers perhaps
some with strange shapes and strange names too –
Names I am unable to decipher
that seem weird at times.
And then I hear a voice
A greeting at entry in a sing song way
That familiar voice has a name, a name I know
and then a few more voices speak out slowly
and then just my voice.
Class in a different world, it seems
class in my home, at my desk
in my corner, at my time.
As I lecture to a screen with small boxes.
small boxes that make my class
That answer when I call out their numbers
At times ask a question or key in one
where they type and do not talk much
where voices get muffled, cacophonic too
Mostly it is quiet, the small boxes pasted on a dark screen
That connect and disconnect.

  1. As the foliage takes over

the big playground where children played, ran, hollered
where a cricket match would be on
a football match in the mud and slush
young people sitting under the shades of trees
catching up, having fun
bags and books, mobiles and matches
heartbreaks and conversations, shared tales
of happiness and woe.
Eerily quiet now
as our lives changed
overgrown grass has taken over

Beautifully green and sad
no voices there, no one
just the green that sways at times
as the wind rustles.


The book goes into the refrigerator
My slippers are under my clothes
I look for something –
Now, what is it I am looking for
I find a piece of paper, I look at it intently
It is important, I think, must be kept safely
I lift my mattress and put it there
How did these things get there? A spoon, a towel
What is this in my hand? How did it come here?
They trouble me, I do not know what to do
I climb up the bed and lay down
Sleep envelopes me, things happen
They trouble me, I get up . . .
I need to find it, it must be kept somewhere.

(Published in Prachya Review. https://www.prachyareview.com/poems-by-nishi-pulugurtha/)


The little river flowing through the city
A city that gets its name from the river
Fed by a lake that is further ahead
Spanned by bridges that hold both sides together
Feet move up and down across some
Wheels and feet make a motion elsewhere
The clouds create the grey, the clouds add to the cold
Tall spires stand out piercing the clouds
The screeching of the gulls does not disturb
A churchyard rears its head from behind a wall
Rows of tombstones peep out
A small speck of red, someone has just been remembered.

(Published in Teesta Review. http://www.teestajournal.com/p/inbhirnis-nishi-pulugurtha-little-river.html?m=1)

Nishi Pulugurtha is an academic and creative writer. She writes short stories, poems, essays, travelogues, and on Alzheimer’s Disease. Her creative writings and poems have been published in anthologies, journals and magazines. She is the Secretary of the Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library, Kolkata. She is the author of a monograph on Derozio (2010), a collection of essays on travel, Out in the Open (2019), an edited volume of essays on travel, Across and Beyond(2020) and a volume of poems The Real and the Unreal and Other Poems (2020). She guest editedthe June 2018 special issue of Café Dissensus on Travel: Cities, Places, People and is guest editing the February 2021 issue of Café Dissensus on Epidemics/Pandemics in Literature. She is now working on her first volume of short stories and a volume of poems.