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You are my home


In the deep comforting darkness of the night
I find you
Your touch as light as a mirage
The fireflies make a brave attempt to light my path
To guide me till dawn, and I disown them
For this time
This one time, I would like to be lost
As I stumble through the wilderness
The silence around feels a lot like your half a smile
Mocking my heart into million shards of fragile dreams
The fragrant night jasmines
Remind me of your love
Touched and torn, broken and found
I walk through, till the dawn beckons
As the light filters through the clouds before the sun rises
I know it must be you
Who has turned the sky into a lusty lover
In furious shades of red
It must be you
Who made me travel the miles without a doubt
For this is us
And you are my home.

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I can’t be the good girl you thought I would be



I can’t be the good girl you thought I would be
I have only carried troubled times on my shoulders
Since I was a little one, when life started fucking me over
I had learnt to live like those bloody leeches in the mud and muck and sucking blood from others whenever I could
And then one day you arrived, and until that day I never realized dreams were painted in hues of the rainbow

Whatever love I can offer, is given by you in the first place
All I had in me were broken edges and thorns laced in venom
I can only offer that version of love which is filled with complaints and sarcasm
Which makes you suffocate with constant display of insecurities
If you are as wonderful as the morning breeze, I probably am that smog that hovers over the slums every morning
If you are like ray of soft sunshine, I am probably that blinding scorching heatwave that makes you see darkness in the middle of the day

Funny how I turn your roses into dried memories
Your poems into my religion
Your songs into my heartbeat
Your kisses into my soul

I have wounds morphed into scars and scabs, and some are still raw
I know not how to hide those ugly sides of me
So that you could have an idol to worship
I pick and itch at the healing scars over and over so that I know I don’t have to live with the false sense of perfection

I know not how to love you
Hurting you and filling you with anger comes easy
Your eyes haunted and furious makes me cry, yet I can’t stop
But then again, I have never been a good girl you thought I would be.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lopamudra Banerjee


Rhiti:  When you began writing Thwarted Escape, did you even think you’d come this far? Did you comprehend from before this memoir that you were pouring your soul into would turn into a book?

Lopa: As I have written in the preface of the book, the seed of THWARTED ESCAPE has been sown within the bolted doors of a solemn writing lab of the University of Nebraska, Omaha, where I has started working on various creative writing assignments in Nonfiction writing, in which I was pursuing my Masters’ degree. I started out when I was in the third trimester of my first pregnancy, as it was then that the idea of carving a memoir in a letter form addressed to my unborn daughter struck me. After my two daughters were born, and I went back and forth between traveling to India and the US, the idea of writing a diaspora and migration story reared its head stronger every day, and I trusted my instincts and plunged into it head-on. One story coalesced and converged with the other, strung with each other as marionettes, and thus, the book evolved from the seed of a personal essay to a collection of personal stories told through the lens of a wistful immigrant woman in the US. It was undoubtedly an exhilarating experience to grow and evolve as a mother, writer and a woman along with the book, since I had poured my heart and soul into writing it since day one. But it was only after some of the individual chapters of the book got published in journals and anthologies as stand-alone stories that I realized it has a shelf-life and a destiny of its own, outside the limited peripheries of my creative writing classrooms. After both my parents’ demise, when I was in India this year, I got in touch with Authorspress, my publisher, and the publication happened as a tribute to my departed parents.


Rhiti:  How difficult was it emotionally to pen down all the life experiences you have had?

Lopa:  I told you, from the very start, I had laid bare my heart and soul and chiseled myself as a narrator depicting some of the most excruciating, exhaustive and even some life-changing moments and epiphanies in the book. To be able to do that, the honest ingenuity was the prerequisite. Many readers have messaged me to tell me that the raw, honest portrayal of the various curves that lead from my girlhood and puberty to my womanhood and motherhood has particularly struck them. But I personally feel that more than the honesty of being able to narrate it all, it is the basic craft of placing myself (or my alter-ego) as a protagonist and looking at the concept of ‘Home’, the family, and the various particulars of my emotional landscape which was the most challenging part of it. Be it in the first few chapters where I dissect my childhood memories, my pent-up story of child molestation, my awkward years of groping with the nuances of puberty, or be it in the later chapters where I depict my journey as a full-grown woman and a Bengali immigrant in the US. There were phases while drafting, when it took a toll on my emotional world. However, the boon of it all has been that these various montages and memorabilia enabled me to give the narrative a perspective that perhaps would not have been possible if I had written an entirely fictional narrative.


Rhiti: Tell us about some literary techniques that you have employed while writing this memoir.

Lopa: Well, to speak the truth, the journey of THWARTED ESCAPE started with reading and internalizing some very experimental narrative/literary techniques employed by renowned nonfiction writers, starting from James Baldwin to Maya Angelou to Natalie Sarraute to Alice Walker, even before starting to write it. Sarraute’s haunting autobiographical narrative ‘Childhood’ gave me the impetus to try penning a story in double narrative, where my censuring adult self converses with my naïve childhood self and scrutinizes it. Then Joan Didion’s literary journalism techniques egged me on to incorporate a particularly haunting and uncomfortable childhood event in a multilayered narrative where the brutal truth of a woman/girl as a sexual object comes to the fore. The incredible hybrid form of the lyric essay which combines the best narrative aspects of prose and poetry had inspired me to write chapters like ‘Caged, ‘Nectar’, where the body of a woman becomes a text through which greater truths/epiphanies about the essence of womanhood is portrayed in the book. Also, I tried to incorporate the aspects which define an Indian diaspora novel, where life in both my worlds, in India and America is viewed from the vantage point of death and the constant flux of the human mind, so the act of situating myself at the core of the narrative layers was essential. I use a lot of interior monologues too, being a hardcore fan of Virginia Woolf since I discovered her many, many years back.

Rhiti: Tell us about the award that was given to the manuscript, even before it was published.

Lopa :  It was at the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference in Seattle in February 2014, quite a turning point in my writing life that I had a chance encounter with Kiffer Brown, founder of Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC and found out they were taking manuscript entries for the Journey Awards 2014 (Narrative Nonfiction). Though my manuscript was in its second or third draft at that point, out of gut feeling, I entered it for the contest, and towards the beginning of 2015, I stumbled upon their website and found out that it was a finalist and also a First Place Category winner for the Journey Awards. It was a heady feeling when the award package reached my US home address, including the Blue Ribbon and the ‘CBR Best Author’ badge. But the real excitement came when ‘THWARTED ESCAPE’ got a 5-star review from an award-winning journalist, J O’Reiley, who is a part of the CBR review team. The review can be accessed in the Amazon and Goodreads page of the book and also in their website.

Kolkata Launch of Thwarted Escape: An Immigrants Wayward Journey

Rhiti: What advice would you give to aspiring memoir/auto-biography writers?

Lopa: To speak the truth, there is no such thing as a memoir/autobiography writer, as such categorization and compartmentalization limits the horizons that a true writer can explore. Fiction writers can explore the world of nonfiction, and the vice versa is true as well. As for THWARTED ESCAPE, in it I have tried to combine the elements of a memoir and a novel, with real-life characters, dialogues, settings and the sensitivity that this passionate, volatile journey demanded, the sensitivity any work of fiction has. I can only say that it is important that a writer recognizes his/her inner voice, and strives to chisel it with honest, impactful storytelling.

Rhiti: Tell us about some of your favorite memoir writers and what do you love about their work.

Lopa: Annie Dillards, for the lyrical, poetic intensity of her essays in which she analyzes beautifully intriguing aspects of the cosmos, the passionate fervor and infectious simplicity of E.B. White’s nature narratives which defines his meditative prose, on the other hand, the fierce, feisty feminist narratives by Jamaica Kincaid, Alice Walker and also the precise, yet richly layered narratives of Joan Didion, and Margaret Atwood, each of them being fiction writers too. Indian Diaspora writers like Bharati Mukherjee, Pico Iyer, Bhanu Kapil Ryder have given me the conviction that nonfiction narratives of Indian origin authors have a particular fluidity to them, in the ways their stories become a cultural study in assimilation, both physical and ethnic.

Rhiti: Memoirs are very popular in the US, however the Indian readers are slowly opening up to it… what do you think writers and publishers could do to expand the market for publishing more memoirs.

Lopa: First and foremost, writers and publishers everywhere need to realize that the rigid categorization of a literary work, especially in prose, takes away the flexibility and power of storytelling from a beautiful literary work, carrying specificity and detail in its core. A memoir can very much be read as a 1st person narrative fiction, and a novel exploring the metaphorical truth of a character/characters can have autobiographical elements in it. What is important is that the journey that transpires in its pages should represent a lasting emotional truth, which is why readers read it in the first place, and more so, remember it.

But saying that, I feel there is a lot of vacuum in the genre of non-fiction writing. Many readers of mainstream fiction are still under the impression that autobiographical writing is only restricted to celebrities/stars/national leaders or famous individuals. So the fact that nonfiction narratives with strong themes, powerful messages can be superior works of literary merit is not enough emphasized.

Rhiti: On a lighter note, tell us some wonderful experiences you have had associated with the journey of this book.

Lopa: Well, THWARTED ESCAPE will always be special as I already said that I grew/evolved as a woman, a mother, a daughter along with the book. I started out with writing a chapter of the book with my firstborn, Srobona, tucked in my womb, and later, when I delivered her sister Sharanya, I instinctively added on another chapter on the experience of birthing her, thinking that the chapters would complement each other. But later, my yearly visits to Kolkata from the US and getting back there as a daughter, a daughter-in-law, mostly importantly, an immigrant implored me to look at the narrative of the book from other dimensions. The quirky humor of my neighbors and relatives back at home and the sights, smells and sounds of the streets of my hometown spurred me on with a queer sense of nostalgia. However, initially, there was no book, but only a number of disjointed essays where my pent up, calcified memories wrecked havoc in my mind. The book took shape when I realized that all of them could come together and take a novel-like curve. When I dug deep into myself, the juxtaposition of the stray cats and dogs nibbling over leftover food in my old home in Barrackpore and the snow-smeared Midwestern American landscape, the manicured, lush by-lanes which I call my adopted home made the book a binary reality for me, a reality that I have cherished even as me and my family changed our moorings to Dallas, Texas at the end of the book. In the end, though I do ruminate about the stabbing reality of death, trauma and degeneration in my family that I experience, it is the overwhelming sanctity of life and hope and acceptance that takes precedence in the closing chapter of the book.

Rhiti: Thank you Lopa, it was absolutely wonderful knowing about the journey of this magnificent memoir. Hope this reaches out to all the readers you have intended it for and attains the literary success that it deserves.


Delhi Launch of Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey


Amazon Links:



Goodreads Page:



14639779_1601235176848152_7838767645836595023_nLopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet, translator and editor, currently based in Dallas, USA. Hailing originally from Barrackpore, a suburb in the outskirts of Kolkata, India, her orthodox Bengali upbringing, from which she had wanted to break free once, implored her to push her boundaries as she explored the gems of literature, art and self-expression. She believes in the power of the written word, the artistry, the rhythm and cadence in the formation of human art that sometimes takes the shape of stories, poems, essays, paintings, sculpture, music and dance.

She says: “Within me, there is this child-woman playing with her pen and paper, birthing, changing, destroying, and crackling with the urgency to translate my experiences into stories, poems and musings, as I go about with my everyday business in the world around. I am a mother of two daughters and want to leave behind a legacy of my humble writing for them to keep it for posterity.” One of her favorite quotes on the act of writing is that of Mary Rose O’Reiley, who has famously said: “Writing would be merely an act of crazy hubris, were it not a means of discovery, cunning and patient.” It is this sense of discovery, of self-analysis and revelation that made her sit with her raw pleasures and wounds and form a world of words out of them.

Lopa has a Master’s degree in English with a thesis in Creative Non-fiction from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She also did her M.A. in English from Calcutta University, followed by a P.G. Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from Bhavan’s College of Communication and Management, Kolkata. She has delved into diverse areas of communication and writing, including working as a communications trainee in a non-profit, online content writing, feature writing, working as a University Writing Consultant et al. But it is when she pens her own emotional journey in poetry and prose that she finds herself at the most enriching, tranquil state of her being.

Her debut memoir Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey, recently published by Authorspress, and launched in Delhi and Kolkata, India, amid considerable critical acclaim, has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014, hosted by Chanticleer Reviews. She is a resident editor with Readomania, and a creative editor with Incredible Women of India. Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, a collection of women-oriented stories co-edited by her with Rhiti Bose, in collaboration with Readomania and Incredible Women of India went on to become an Amazon bestseller in 2016 and also has been selected as a book worth reading by the Oprah Winfrey Book Club 2.0. in the category of South-Asian literature.

Her poetry, stories and essays have appeared in many print and online literary journals and anthologies both in India and the US. Her poetry has appeared online in Camel Saloon, Café Dissensus, Spark Magazine, Different Truths and in print in The Significant Anthology, Umbilical Chords: An Anthology on Parents Remembered and Kaafiyana, published by Readomania. Her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novella The Broken Home, serially published at Café Dissensus and later published on Amazon Kindle, fetched her the International Reuel Prize for Translation in 2016. She has received the Critics’ Award at Destiny Poets International Community of Poets, UK and also a Certificate of Merit as part of the Reuel International Prize 2015 for Writing and Literature.


Disclaimer: No parts of this interview can be reproduced with the consent of the Author or the interviewer. 

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She has forgotten


She has forgotten what it is like to be kissed

To be wanted by a man she loves

Her parted lips only sing lullabies now.


She has forgotten the last time

His touch made her moan

She traces her own caramel skin

With her fingers

Only to find wreckages of the lost time

Unwanted, Unloved, Undone

Her shadow embraces her in the dark

It tells her, ‘darling it’s over’


The butterflies in her stomach will never be back

Her heart would not ache

Her lips will not taste the unabashed love anymore


She looks at the rain fall gently

Her insides completely parched

Her eyes tell a thousand lies

Of the woman she was

Of her desire

She was a mother now

Baby, she has lost her fire



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The Bloodmoon Does…



Sometimes you put on kohl on your tired eyes
For you still want to look beautiful when you cry
Even the five cigarettes in a row doesn’t make sense
Only the bloodmoon does

Sometimes, the black coffee which sits next to you cold
It feels like your blood
Dark and soulless
And you still sip it, for you want a taste of your own blood

Sometimes, it is about that night, when you stay awake
To see your daughter breathe and smile in her dreams
To tell her stories which she can’t hear
And touch her colour stained warm hands

Sometimes, you crave, you yearn for a villain
To come home and tell you what a terrible mother you are
For you forget to make dinner
And feed your brood boiled rice and potatoes.

Sometimes, this moment, these lines, they make no sense
They don’t make poetry
They simply make you believe all the lies people tell you
That there are no heroes in your agony

Sometimes you are not a mother
You are just a woman
The villain of her own story
The saviour of her daughter.



My darling, forgive me…


My darling, forgive me

I am sorry that I paint butterfly tattoos on your hand

When I really should be filling in the colouring book with you

I am sorry that I tell you rainbow coloured stories which are not true

When I should really be reading out from a book

Baby, I am afraid that you will be mad at me when you grow up

For I never comb your hair properly, since I love your messy mop

Will you be upset about all the times I dance with you to the mad tunes?

Instead of helping with your homework

Will you tell the world, what a terrible mother I have been

For building castles with discarded shoeboxes for your broken dolls

I am sorry my love, but believe me

In few years, when I am not here

You will look back

And love all the lullabies that I sang, out of tune

For you.

Love me then, for now let me be the terrible mother

That I am…

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A Forgotten Affair by Kanchana Banerjee – A Review



A Forgotten Affair by Kanchana Banerjee is published by Harlequin, an imprint of Harper Collins. Since it is a Harlequin romance I was expecting something else, but I was pleasantly surprised from the very moment I started reading it. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I would still say this book is refreshingly different from the recent romances that I have read.

Banerjee weaves a tale of love, loss and despair with an élan only seen with seasoned writers, it is hard to tell that this is her debut book. From the first line to the last never does it once feel forced, the story takes such a classic beautiful natural flow.

The story revolves around, Sagarika, a character you feel immediately drawn to for her vulnerability. She is beautifully drawn by the author, she is like a hauntingly melancholic painting done in transparent watercolour.  It is intriguing to see how Sagarika struggles to put back the pieces together after she recovers from a near-fatal accident and a complete memory loss, there are two distinct portrayal of her character, the vibrant effervescent one before the accident and the confused vulnerable one coming to terms with her mind’s blank canvas.

This book deals with an extremely sensitive issue, that is of emotional abuse in domestic quarters, we tend to overlook this and most of us are still very uncomfortable talking about it. Through Sagarika, Banerjee has taken the readers to this uncomfortable zone and made us question ourselves, how many times we have been emotionally abused by someone close, yet we have chosen to keep quite.

The characters are the strength of this book, it is more than the situations, it is the emotions and actions of the characters which drive the book. The portrayal of Rishab, Sagarika’s emotionally abusive husband is extremely real, I had a constant feeling of unease every time his character appeared in the book. The best friend, the lover, the mother all of them have their share in the story.

Banerjee’s language is flawless, the narration smooth and the transition of time between Sagarika’s memory loss and the time before is done without breaking the chain of the tale. The simplicity of the words used adds to the powerful emotion it carries, I am glad she has chosen a simpler vocabulary to tell her story.

The editing is commendable.

The cover is beautiful.

Banerjee’s A Forgotten Affair will remain one of my favourite books that I have read this year, for two main reasons first being a that this book left me with a feeling of love and hope at the end and the other being a strong emotional connect that I felt towards the main character who I felt an immense urge to protect myself.

Overall an excellent debut!


Please note: This is NOT a commissioned review. 

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