Excerpts from Jaggery Literary Magazine Issue #7

Issue #7: Winter 2015


How to Sell

As a woman, being smart is dangerous unless you cut it with sexy. It seems trivial, but chalk it up to the thousands of unspoken but shared truths between mothers and daughters.

In the End

Pushed against two walls were white bookshelves that Bharath had not taken, though they were, technically, furniture. There were gaps, like broken teeth, where his books had been.

Silk Stole

Even her once-dark, voluminous curls were growing thinner by the day, like her Supperware income.


Reading the News from Nepal

What cracked was a place where metal wheels stamped with prayers
spin to spool the words away.


What deity governs this smelting
ore—slogan, heresy-talk, and your face

Is the postcolonial always already normcore

For hard times, learn to monetize your damn brown self
We are all #bindis now

Essays & Interviews

An Actual (South) Asian American Speaks from the Ruins of Best American Poetry

Our anger over the faux-et’s appropriation and dishonesty is absolutely necessary. We are right to be angry and to demand that this whole matter be corrected, addressed, and fixed. The stake is the erasure of people of color in a system structured to eliminate us through the pretense of “good” poetry, which presumes poems should be chosen without taking the representation into consideration. Yes, racism still exists, and there are still whites-only poetry communities and spaces.

Makers of Memory: Women in Occupied Palestine and Kashmir

The corporate media have failed to tell the whole story of what occupation looks like in occupied Palestine and occupied Kashmir. Contrary to Western assumptions and stereotypes, Palestinian and Kashmiri women continue to live with dignity and act in resistance. As storytellers, mothers, and organizers, women make up the backbone of these movements for sovereignty and independence, breathing life into what freedom could look like.

The War on Education

How can girls from Afghanistan/Pakistan come from educated backgrounds? How can Pakistani men and women have coeducation with all the taboos in their society? How can Pakistani families live in a house? How can a village schoolgirl be brave and intelligent? It’s just all simply unheard of. And if someone defies the stereotype—well, they’re an exception. They are of little consequence, or deserve to be shot in the head, or they are a CIA agent.


Sudipta Modi

Kalyani Ganapathy


Dear Mrs. Naidu by Mathangi Subramanian

The most profound message underlying this gentle, funny book is that you can only change your world if you have the courage to change yourself first.

Rainsong by Pratyaksha

The author compares the layout to a plate of food: the short pieces are like hors d’oeuvres, adding piquancy, aroma, and flavor to the main course, which is the long story.

Ram-2050 by Joan Roughgarden

This is a science-fiction tale that attempts to distance itself from its religious predecessor—the reader has to keep this in mind when he embarks on reading this book. There are no kingdoms, only corporations. There are no Brahmins, only geeks.

Tiffin: Memories and Recipes of Indian Vegetarian Food by Rukmini Srinivas

The book is truly a feast for the mind, providing recipes interspersed between personal anecdotes and stories, a veritable compendium of tiffin or snacky food that can be eaten at any in-between meal times and occasionally substitutes as a light meal, taking the reader beyond the limits of idli and dosai that commonly define South Indian cuisine.

Excerpts from Jaggery Literary Magazine, Issue 4

Fall 2014

The Journey Home by Nabill Idrisi

Somewhere on the N4 Intercity Highway, between Dhaka and the Brahmaputra River

15 August 2012, 01:12

I had to shut my eyes. Our car was racing against huge diesel trucks, vying for space on the narrow, bumpy road that didn’t even seem to fit the width of two sedans. The prospect of hitting another vehicle in the night’s darkness filled me with fear. Even though I was with my Khalamoni and my Nani, Ammu’s cautionary words from Florida rang in my head: Abbu, don’t go. Are you sure you want to go? You don’t know what the roads are like. It’s not like here.

I hadn’t been worried. I had come to Bangladesh this year after a long gap of seven years, determined to spend time with my ailing grandmother, and I wasn’t going to miss this chance…

Sly Smile by Gethsemane Herron

Part I

Let us talk about the willing blindness.
There are children
Eating where pigs shit,
Shitting so pigs may eat/

“The gaze fixed straight is for their privacy!”
You! Black girl
W/ (Blue Passport, Gold Eagle.)

Do not forget that your people too
dark; fringe worthy.
That you got aunties steeping
in lightness cream,
like a vegan milk to a dense chai…

Malavika Rajnarayan 

Why It Often Rains in the Movies by Anil Menon

Dear Chitra-ji, I’m married to a kind and loving man. We are the parents of a two-year-old girl. Last year, just after Dussehra, my husband’s body was taken over by the soul of some other man. Everything’s the same, but I know he isn’t my husband. I’m afraid to tell anyone because they’ll take my daughter from me and lock me up. You’re the only person I can trust. Please advise.

“Medical?” asked Chitra.

“Hard to say.” I leaned forward to return the letter. “Could be a case of Capgras delusion. It’s rare. But she’s looking for confirmation, not a diagnosis.”

“Yes, I know.” Chitra sighed, fingers poised over the keyboard…

Fragments of Riversong by Farah Ghuznavi

Reviewed by Susmita Bhattacharya’

Indeed, Farah Ghuznavi’s collection of short stories is an opportunity to journey to Bangladesh, to live alongside the characters and share their dreams, aspirations and fears.

Ghuznavi’s job as a development worker in areas such as political participation, microcredit loans for the poor, adult education for women and human rights for organisations that included British NGO Christian Aid, Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and the United Nations, has inspired her to write about the themes dealt with in her stories…

For Submission Guidelines visit http://jaggerylit.com/about/submission-guidelines/

Excerpts from DesiLit Magazine Issue #6

Martha by Janice Goveas
When she was turning four, I asked her if she was sure she was ready to sleep in her own bed. She responded with a sidelong glance and a tolerant toss of her head. “I’ve done it before, Mama.” Then she saw the look in my eyes that she will someday recognize as the pain of a tearing umbilical cord, and she relented. “But I promise I’ll go back to your bed if the monsters come back under mine.” She stuttered a little back then, and in the year since has learned to slow down her speech so that her mouth can keep up with her language, which is much older than her years. She wears gold butterflies in her ears, has learned a near-perfect plié in dance class; bestows equal adoration on Barbie, Dora and Spiderman; and when I blast the music of the Gypsy Kings through our apartment, she swings her hips with me as we go about our day…

The Fruit Basket by Sumita Lall

Divi was tired of American prospects.

There was something perverse about the way Amit tossed around his “Absolutely!”, a term that had itself become obscene in recent years, excessively dropped in mundane references to the weather—”Nice day.” “Absolutely!”—and touted as a penultimate expression of enthusiasm, an American obsession with false assurances that the world could no longer tolerate or patrol.

It was clear to her that this man possessed enthusiasm neither for the weather nor for both their parents’ desperate pleas that they indulge this collective fantasy of border-crossed romance. In fact, the latest venture involved her family’s trip to Detroit for the delivery of a gift to Amit’s family, a kind of apology for Divi’s shunning of this shining candidate a year ago…

Because I have my mother’s heels by Maryam Afam

Jannah (Paradise) is under a mother’s feet

—Saying of the Prophet Muhammad

And I wonder

what have I done

to deserve my mother’s heels

besides not moisturize my feet


I did not push five babies out of my body

raise them to adulthood

I never stood in kitchens…