One of the more pleasant surprises at the Jaipur festival was discovering the work of Tishani Doshi (previous post on Kitabkhana here). Tishani trained as a dancer with Chandralekha for several years, and perhaps this gives her a more liberating view of the body than most. Anita Roy drew her out on several subjects, and spoke at one point of women’s dilemmas–motherhood, the messiness of the body. Tishani came back with a different viewpoint, borrowed freely from Chandralekha’s philosophy of the human body as the microcosm of the universe, of discovering and unleashing its power.

Here’s a bit from ‘Homecoming’, in her collection of poems, Countries of the Body:

“I forgot how Madras loves noise
Loves neighbours and pregnant women
And Gods and babies….

….How cars in reverse sing Jingle Bells
And scooters have larynxes of lorries.
How even colour can never be quiet.”

Here’s a link to ‘Ode to Drowning’.

And here’s the opening verse from ‘On the Burning of An Unfamiliar Aunt’:

“My family gathers around to mourn,
But mainly to whisper
How killing yourself
Amounts to confessing
Life somehow got too much for you.”