Vinita Agarwal (India) is a writer from India. She has authored five books of poetry. She is based in Indore, India. She was awarded the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 and the Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award for Literary Excellence, USA, 2015 and a special mention in the Hawkers Prize 2019. Her work was shortlisted for the inaugural Dipankar Khiwani Memorial prize 2021. She is Poetry Editor with Usawa. She co edits the Yearbook series of Indian Poetry in English. She has edited two anthologies on climate change Open Your Eyes in 2020 and Count Every Breath in 2023 both published by Hawakal. Her work has been widely published nationally and internationally and widely anthologised. She was one of the twenty poets to be featured in a documentary on Asian poets titled Deepest Uprising made in Taiwan. She is on the Advisory Board of the Tagore Literary Prize. She is Co chair for CoE - a Global Council for Excellence for Environment and Sustainability. She is on the Advisory Board G100 World Peace and a Council Member of WICCI. Vinita Agrawal’s latest collection of poems Twilight Language was the winner of the Proverse prize Hongkong 2021.
To forsake your roots
to drift from place to place
language to language
culture to culture
to bring nothing of your own where you are
except a sorry desire
as one of ‘them’
is true nakedness.
To be rootless is to be vulnerable
like a sapling without soil
or an unfired clay pot.
It means you always stand apart
from a conglomerate of people
who laugh and joke about ordinary things
while you shift like an autumn leaf
rustling aimlessly on alien soil.
Unmourned by the tree
not particularly welcomed by the ground.
Yours is a small, lightweight existence
like a bonsai:
flowering and glimmering in the smallest of spaces
on just a spoonful of water.
I’d have been better off a Water Bear,
a Tardigrade who survives extremes
- minus 273 or plus 150 degrees centigrade.
Resilient to hunger, and thirst.
oblivious to biting stares,
stemming from cold hearts.
But I’m a landless migrant
adrift on sea
gazing into waters that throw me back at myself.
When I dock,
my mind flickers briefly in yours.
I look at soil as though it were gold.
sky as though silver,
Wind, I treat as pure freedom.
is to possess a universe.
To exhale, is sunlit gratitude.