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Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Fifth by Dr (Ms) Prem Kumari Srivastava

The Fifth by Dr (Ms) Prem Kumari Srivastava

Twelve years ago,
she entered the staff room.
‘5 appointments made,’ exclaimed the colleague from Political Science disbelievingly.
‘Major tug of war ensued till late last night,’ echoed the other.
‘Two new faces’ chirped the ‘one’ always with news.
‘Three predictable appointments,’ crooned the lazy one.
‘the fourth a very bright one, the Head’s protégé,’ came a voice from the corner.
‘the fifth?’
‘we don’t know’
‘An outsider,’ was the unanimous verdict.

She heard it…all of it.
Her face belied, but I noticed her ears
Beetroot red.
This was twelve years ago.

Today, she had called.
And narrated for twenty-five minutes.
I put the phone down and almost mumbled to myself,
‘she is dying.’

This girl-woman
with inherent brilliance -
flighty, unsure, grumpy, cranky,
would laugh and cry in one breath,
rushing in, when there was no hurry;
in frenzy, when wholly unnecessary;
A Samaritan for people in distress;
a warm, wailing puppy, when in stress.

Today, I saw a death
of what she was, and what others thought
- and rebirth -
all at once!
into a bright, sure-minded poetess!

Author’s Bio: Prem Kumari Srivastava is an Associate Professor of English at Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi. A Visiting Shastri Fellow at University of British Columbia, Vancouver in 2010, she has several research presentations (national and international) and publications in books and eminent journals such as South Asian Diaspora, Routledge, Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, Literary Paritantra and Creative Forum to name a few. Co-Guest Editor of the journal Fortell (Forum for Teachers of English Language and Literature), New Delhi for four issues in 2010-2011, she has been appointed the Guest Editor again for its forthcoming Silver Anniversary Issue no. 25, Sep 2012.
Her research interests are Cultural Studies (indigenous and the popular) American studies, Religion of Saints and e-learning: with an overarching focus on Gender. Her poems have been showcased in Indian and African journals.

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