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Issue ll, Winter 2023


As winter has spread through the land following gradual degeneration, leaves have shed their lustre and cold winds have started to blow through every corner, the season for a return to home is also quite near. The question of 'wanting to return' can be traced back to Odysseus's journey, with complicated answers or further questions like 'How to return' and 'Is return worth the pain and suffering?' It is amidst the rustling of the leaves and these quiet contemplations of an ordinary mind that we are releasing the second issue of Shiuli. This issue, with the theme of "Home", tries to evoke the perceptions we make of home as we move forward. All of us at Shiuli conceived of this theme when spring was at our doorsteps and we had started with a fresh vigour for life. As time has trickled slowly and certainly through the crevices of our fingers, the vigour has subsided and we are just left with our thoughts. This issue is an addendum to those thoughts crouched in the corners of our brains.
For this issue, we received numerous submissions from various regions around the world, making it extremely difficult for us to select only a few. The creative essays, short stories and poems contained in this issue explore the multidimensional nature of home, its ebb and flow through dreams, and desires which hold it together or dissipate it into different parts. In Marjorie Maddox’s “Two Poppies and a Fence”, boundaries between rectangular pieces of land, claimed as own, are gently trespassed, reflecting our inability to create imaginary partitions across myriad spectrums of division. Home is anxiety wrapped in a body that hides beneath myriad facades in Bhagyasree Saha’s “Despair of Destitution”. Home is nostalgia for dead things for Tara Propper and childhood memories for Nishtha Sachdev. Home is at times a hope and at other times a reminder of forlorn shadows of pain and suffering. Home is a universe of recipes, memories, growth charts and crawling movements of numerous generations for Thom Brucie’s poems. Srijita Biswas’s creative essay on the thoughts of a homesick student brings together memories of food from the corners of a home which lies far away, and the desire to return is overwhelming in times of extreme sorrow. Vijayluxmi Bose’s short story imagines a rural tradition of journey after death which allows leaving the home once and for all. In the short storyRaritan, Ronald Micci imagines the long journey of dreams and survival.Two Poppies and the Fence, photograph by Karen Elias and poem by Marjorie Maddox, together explore the quiet beauty of home with nature as a witness while “Still, Life:1950s” written by Marjorie Maddox after the composite photo entitledMothers and Daughters by Karen Elias unravels the contradictions inherent in the idea of the “perfect mother”. Jackie Partridge’sTree Houses present a radically fresh glimpse into the idea of home in nature while Nalanjan Shaw’sA Lost Way shows the splitting of the self in the urban domestic set-up. Ira Joel Haber’s works likeBotanical, 4 Houses and Summer are remarkable in their use of concept, colours and arrangement to renew our vision of home.
We are grateful to the poets, writers and artists who have sent us their work and waited patiently through the process to arrive at this juncture when the issue is finally getting its release. We are humbled to be able to know about home through so many lenses of perception, imagination and reflection. Each piece is a universe in itself that keeps expanding, like the vast expanse of the winter sky available in front of all of us. They give us ideas, images and glimpses into the homes of the mind and those of the bodies. They throw light on the secluded corners of these homes and reflect the light of the majestic areas with the same enthusiasm. I hope this issue enters stealthily into our imaginative minds and creates silent revelations on home and its meanings. Amritendu Ghosal and Mekhala Chattopadhyay