FAUCET – My Poem for National Poetry Day 2017

Theme this year: Freedom

Breaking News: Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive in 2018.

Here’s a poem I published back in 2013 that referenced this struggle, among other things.


A woman
may buy a tool-kit and know how to use it
may change the washer, adjust the stopcock
swap the ball bearings
fix the leaky spigot with a spanner.

A woman may suggest to Nature
that for the next millennia
men become pregnant
a facetious fractious suggestion;
the woman knows her pleas
are just venting, as ineffectual
as hammering water.

A woman may not drive in Saudi Arabia
may not bike unless in a ladies’ only park
may not be seen in public without a male protector.
A woman must also be fertile
dribbling out male heirs;
she may spout songs in private
and dance in full Dior, smeared with make up
for her mirror and other ladies to see.

A village panchayat in Punjab declares
that mobile phones given to girls
leads them to pre-marital sex;
boys can have cell phones and call for help
when they’re in trouble, but females,
young things, must take it on the chin,
remaining on the drip-drip of advancement.

A woman there thinks: what if instead of aborting
female foetuses, the nozzle was turned off
as if by a spell, a sorcery; no babies were born
to the women of this village, then the new elders
all men, would die out without replacement
and further afield too the taps would be fixed just so
by the women who knew how.

(After ‘Woman’ by Arun Kolatkar)

First published: ‘Feminist Times’ | November 2013

Love Across A Broken Map eBook Release

The many permutations of love from girl-crushes to gigolos, spanning Manchester to Mumbai.

Get Your Free Download This Weekend: September 16 and 17.  

Kindle Edition
(available in the UK, US, India, and worldwide)

The Whole Kahani’s anthology was published one year ago in June 2016.

Love Across A Broken Map has had great reviews, some of them wonderfully detailed, and the ‘The Whole Kahani’ collective has been invited to read and hold workshops at several literary festivals.

To celebrate one year of success, Dahlia Publishing has now released an eBook edition.

If you haven’t yet read this “engaging volume that eschews stereotypical stories about the experience of the South Asian diaspora in Britain”* then now is the time to download it.

Love Across A Broken Map is available for free downloads this month:
on September 16 and 17, 2017.

Write to me with your comments on the book, it’s always good to hear your views.

More on The Whole Kahani here: http://www.thewholekahani.com/

Reviews of the anthology:
The Short Story
Byte The Book
Desi Lekh
The Book Review India
Confluence Magazine

Read a Group Interview with members of The Whole Kahani at:

*from James Holden’s review in The Short Story

‘By the Old Airport’

‘By the Old Airport’ shortlisted for inaugural Milestones poetry competition.
A poem I wrote about living near Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong will appear in the Milestones anthology later this year.
It was among shortlisted poems. The ‘milestone’ in the poem is figurative not literal.
There were some great poems about actual milestones (see the winning poem) but the theme was also broadly interpreted.


Poem-A-Thon for The Poetry Society

Poem-A-Thon fundraiser for the Poetry Café
61 poets in an all-day non-stop poetry reading to raise funds for the Poetry Café
Saturday 22 July 2017 | 12.00pm – 10.00pm
Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX London
Join Facebook event here

To help me raise money for the Poetry Café, and read why I’m fundraising, visit my JustGiving page at

Full line-up:

12.00 Paul McGrane | 12.10 Jennifer Wong | 12.20 Imtiaz Dharker | 12.30 Tom Vaughan | 12.40 Carmina Masoliver
12.50 Theresa Lola | 13.00 Ruby Jah | 13.10 Joelle Taylor | 13.20 Dean Atta | 13.30 Jemima Foxtrot | 13.40 Nicky Phillips | 13.50 Denise Saul | 14.00 George Szirtes | 14.10 Kavita A Jindal | 14.20 Mohib Khurram | 14.30 Ruth Smith | 14.40 Rebecca Goss | 14.50 Rishi Dastidar | 15.00 Hannah Lowe | 15.10 Stephen Keeler | 15.20 Carole Bromley | 15.30 Jess Mookherjee | 15.40 Elisabeth Sennitt Clough | 15.50 Ali Lewis | 16.00 Niall O’Sullivan | 16.10 Greta Bellamacina | 16.20 Julia Bird | 16.30 Tessa Lang | 16.40 Hannah Chutzpah | 16.50 Chrissy Williams | 17.00 Chip Grim | 17.10 Natalie Katsou | 17.20 Nadia Drews | 17.30 Tim Wells | 17.40 Maura Dooley | 17.50 Nick Makoha | 18.00 Kate Liddington | 18.10 Abegail Morley | 18.20 Jane Yeh | 18.30 Richard Scott | 18.40 Amy Deakin | 18.50 Ed Doegar | 19.00 Sogol Sur | 19.10 Isabel Bermudez | 19.20 Kostya Tsolakis | 19.30 Hylda Sims | 19.40 Mike Sims | 19.50 Carl Dhiman | 20.00 Liba Ravindran | 20.10 Margaret Haig | 20.20 Ernie Burns | 20.30 Todd Swift | 20.40 John Paul O’Neill | 20.50 Jay Bernard | 21.00 Anthony Anaxagorou | 21.10 Raymond Antrobus | 21.20 Amy Acre | 21.30 Dzifa Benson | 21.40 Selina Nwulu | 21.50 Dan Simpson | 22.00 Laurie Bolger

Reciting poetry at a Lit Fest in Mumbai, 2007.

Photo Credit: Rahul Chandawarkar