Spark – March 2015 Issue

We are happy to present to you Spark’s March issue “Woman: Facets and Forms”. A fiction and poetry special, we have truly explored myriad perspectives of what a woman could be, ranging from mythological fiction to letters to the future to poetry about a woman about to give birth. We are also proud to present a feature on a programme by the ICRW called Parivartan, that aims to reduce gender-based violence by working working with men and boys through cricket!


Sita, the heroine of Ramayana, is the symbol of an ideal woman in India. But what if she had a chance to be a little less ideal? In this mythological fiction penned by Bhargavi Chandrasekharan, Sita questions her life choices, discovers her repressed dreams and busts her own myths.

Getting Men on Board for a Gender-Equitable World

Fighting gender-based violence requires women to be empowered, but equally important is encouraging men to never resort to violence against women. Parivartan, an ICRW programme, aims to reduce gender-based violence by working with men and boys through cricket. The results are encouraging, as Madhumita Das of ICRW says in an interview to Vani Viswanathan.

Parting Again

For a woman, the sadness that comes with parting could be as traumatising as a snake twisting and turning in her belly. Sukrita Paul Kumar captures the feelings of a pregnant woman about to deliver her baby.

Learning to Fall: Lessons from My Girlhood

Lopa Banerjee presents the little wonders, the fumbling, the falling and the rising of a girl on her physical, psychological, spiritual journey of attaining maturity through a poem.

The Scavenger

A professor finds himself in the house of the local garbage collector, a foul-mouthed woman he would rather not be seen with. But there are surprises in store for him, as he discovers the layers defining this woman. Vidya Panicker tells the story.

Beyond the Spotlight

There is something to every woman that is beyond what is stated and beyond the obvious. With all the spotlight that she has recently been attracting, there are depths to her that are yet to be unravelled, even to herself. While the world has been busy defining, and even glorifying, her role as a mother, sister, daughter and what-have-you, the woman has moved on from strength to strength, enriching old pastures and discovering new ones. She embarks on a new journey every once in while, unravelling little-known mysteries, her own self not the least.

I Owe an Apology to Mom

Ranu Uniyal writes a poem about a protective and tenacious mother and her daughter who isn’t courageous enough to speak up in a city steeped in bloodshed, lust and death.

She and She

When a woman becomes a mother, the expectations from her go many notches up. And most of the times, there are two ‘shes’ battling within her. Anupama Krishnakumar reflects on the endless dilemma that a mother faces – her children versus her own dreams, accompanied by a guilt that never ceases to be.

Biriyani and Birthing

Subha Srinivasan talks about the looming crisis of Caesarean-sections becoming the default means of giving birth in urban India. It’s time women start understanding and taking control of how they give birth, she says. Read on for an engaging take on the issue.


A man observes a woman in the darkness of a movie theater, attempting to unravel the mystery that she is, in his own mind. Paresh Tiwari writes a poem on the unravelling while also touching upon how the entire movie is actually mirrored on the countenance of the woman.

Dear You

A 23-year-old writes a letter to her future self at 30, touching upon things she’s learnt over the years, and where she hopes she will be at 30. Vrinda Manocha’s letter makes you smile even as it can make you feel a lump in your throat.


Maheswaran Sathiamoorthy clicks vivid images of women in their various, natural moods.

My Mother’s Music Lessons

A mother teaches her child music, even as he wonders about the future of the music that he is learning. Years later though, he realizes the worth of the music his mother taught him and the truth behind her words. M. Mohankumar pens a poem on the music lessons and the conversations between the mother and her child.

Don’t Call the Third Umpire

Mr. Agarwal, confined to his wheelchair for twenty years now, is a constant attention-seeker from his wife, who, because of his condition, has remained his sincere caretaker. The days are thankless and long and the years pass by, until Mrs. Agarwal’s daughter-in-law, Shefali, intervenes. Jyothi Vinod writes an interesting story on the warm relationship that a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law share.

Left Behind

When Gauri Trivedi was leaving India along with her husband and baby to settle down abroad, her mother raised a very simple yet pertinent question. Gauri shares what the question was and how her perceptions about moving out of India have changed from the time she left years back to now. Here’s a writeup in which a daughter opens up to her mother and introspects. Read on.

Photograph of an Unknown Woman

He is spellbound by the beauty of an unknown woman that he hastens to capture this epiphany in a photograph. But destiny has something even better in store for him. Nandagopal T writes a poem that tells you the story of how the photograph was born into this world.


Tonsing, a poet and Meera, a journalist meet at a conference and immediately feel a connection. Hushed issues come to the forefront, and gender and sexuality vis-à-vis self-identity are questioned. Joie Bose tells a story of secretive love and hurt.

Flights of Freedom

Inspired by the writings of Simone de Beauvoir, Sukrita Paul Kumar writes a poem on gender equality and liberation from gender identities.

Under the Mango Tree

Sudha Nair tells the story of a young widow, Meera, who battles with the memory of a secret she wishes she had never known.


A man is clearly smitten by the innocence of a young woman who he is in a relationship with. But what would be the fate of this relationship? Paresh Tiwari’s poem presents the man’s roundabout answer to the question, even as he attempts to justify his stance.

A Singular Loss

THE LOUNGE | STORYBOARD It’s the age of the multiplex when it comes to movie-watching in India today. The popular predecessors of the multiplex, the single screen theaters, are now on their way out. Parth Pandya rues the fast-approaching end of a memorable episode in the lives of movie-goers, and recalls some fond moments associated with single screens.