From the current Issue Editor for Navigations: A Place for Peace – About Place Journal
We are in the process of bringing you a glorious edition of About Place Journal. In the meantime, we are overjoyed to bring you these stunning global art, poetry & prose works (including futuristic) from youthful contributors to this season’s Black Earth Institute’s blog offerings to run alongside the new issue in-press now.
With the challenges of the world, today, and all we face, let’s turn to the youth for the turn in this month and relish in what talent and imagination they deliver to us. Ramadan, Easter, Passover, and New Year for peoples who plant in spring, including many Indigenous peoples, and also Bengali New Year, Tamil New Year & Theravada New Year. In other words, time to contemplate and celebrate – Happy celebrations to all!
Don’t miss this brief engagement with a new generation before us. Celebrate these works Read on!
Much love, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
The Droplets of Emotion
The Assignment Void
Time to Time Travel!!
Minutes to lightening
Jahra Tasfia Reza
Off to destination
Jahra Tasfia Reza
Into the spate
Jahra Tasfia Reza
A House of 100
Feed the Beast
By Arooshi Bhatia
When I think of rain,
I see a kingdom full of droplets;
The hills being a castle of memories.
Whenever I visit the hills,
It seems that all the days gone by
suddenly come to life.
This regeneration of thoughts,
the battle of emotions,
the hills resounding with music,
is continuously giving birth to
The smell of the earth,
along with the mist rolling in,
and the new leaves on the evergreen trees
“Dreamy” chuckled I, “yes dreamy!”
What a dreamy feeling it is!
Intense lights come into view and blind me. I can’t see what’s in front of me but I can hear it. It’s loud. It’s so very loud and terrifying. Then, for a split second, I can see it. The last thing I’ll ever see. A huge transport truck is barreling towards me. Its head lights were turned on so I couldn’t see it clearly until it was too late. The sound of metal smashing together and intertwining fills my ears. Then there was nothing, only darkness.
I lift my head. This is strange. I can’t feel any pain. My neck is intact and so is everything else. Wait..Where am I? The mess of tangled vehicles and broken glass is gone. What replies is far more serene and pleasant. A vast stretch of open space with little white dots far off in the distance surrounds me. I look down to find myself resting on a large panel of glass with a prism like pattern inside of it. “Welcome”. I turn around to find a tall being looking down at me. “Where am I and why am I here?” My voice is shaky and this creature can tell. “There is no need to be alarmed. You have died and are now in the assignment void”. My visible confusion causes them to continue. “You will be assigned to a new life shortly. That is why a place like this exists. It is here to guide souls to their next life.”. “But I liked my life! Why do I have to leave my family behind?”. I bring myself to my feet and face the unearthly being. “You are on a 100 life path. We can not change what happens during these lives. We can only bring you here and send you to the next.”. They said this very calmly. “So do I have to go to my next life? What will it be like?”. “Yes, we are waiting for a new, and available human for your soul to take over. We can not tell you what your new life will be like because we do not know. Also, you won’t remember your previous life, so you don’t have to worry about someone you can’t remember.”. Another being can be seen walking closer to the first. “Their new life is ready.”. “Wait! I don’t want to leave my family! I have a husband and two kids! I can’t leave them behind!”. No matter how much I pleaded, nothing worked. They just kept saying they were sorry and that I have to go to my next life now. I fall unconscious again and begin to lose my memories. I have gained one memory, but only for a moment. I am going to my 22nd life which means that I’m coming from my 21st. Then darkness envelops my mind once more and I am sent off to a new life.
In a gleaming house situated in Chennai, 2050, a boy of 18 woke in the crack of dawn when the city was submerged in fog. Leanor woke up panting and wheezing. Leanor was a tall and handsome boy. He had eyes of a lion, but a heart of a dog. “Phew, I still don’t understand why I am getting nightmares…I guess it is the air filter” gasped Leanor, he turned and stared at the air filter. He did not remember when his parents fitted it in his room, but as far as he remembered it had been there for almost every day since he opened his eyes! He rubbed his wet eye-brows and started getting ready for school. After an expressionless breakfast, Leanor started to school. He had to limp through the streets because he had to wear a heavy tank of oxygen. The air pollution was in peak at that time and everybody had to wear a heavy tank of oxygen if they wanted to go out. He felt a sense of calmness when he got near the school… just as he was going to enter the school grounds, he tripped in a rock and fell in a giant manhole and disappeared into darkness…
He landed with a thud. He picked himself up and checked for bruises. “No broken bones, I am lucky” he thought to himself. He expected the sewer to be pitch dark, but he could see a faint light from inside of some kind of crooked room. He limped towards the light. As he entered the room, he had a blast of AC in his face. As he covered his face and moved forward, he saw a man in a white cloak. He moved towards the figure squinting his eye. He tapped on the figure in his shoulder. “Oh, who are you! I’ll just turn of the light ‘nd get a good look at you” Squeaked the figure. A minute later he was forced onto a chair and a given a mug of hot chocolate. The strange man was Dr Cabrekan and little known, but clever scientist. Cabrekan had come underground because of the heat. “It’s over 50 degrees Celsius above the ground ‘nd ain’t that too hot for an old man like me?” he groaned on. The whole time he had been looking at Cabrekan’s inventions, “what is that” asked Leanor pointing at a giant circular dome. “Oh that? Well, tha’s a ruddy old time-machine ain’t it? But never mind that, no volunteers for testi’n. I’ve givin up” The old scientist sighed. It was now when Leanor actually paid attention to him. He was a short and bald man with a formal look, His eyes looked wise and smart. The t-shirt which was too small for him was bulging and the buttons looked as if they were going to pop out any minute! As he groaned on Leanor was deep in thought, he was formulating a plan. “UHH, Mr Cabrekan sir, I’ll do it” he said. “Do what m’boy?” he squeaked lifting his eyebrow. “The time machine testing, I… I… I’ll do it.” Leanor stuttered. “You sure? It may be dangerous to meddle with time!” He squeaked jumping up and down. “I will if take me to the time I ask for and let me stay until I want” said Leanor smiling crookedly. The doctor raised an eyebrow, but agreed. While Cabrekan worked the machine, Leanor put on a suit that will protect him and climbed on to the machine. “I don’t know how to thunk you m’boy” Cabrekan said in a pleasing tone. He got no reply because Leanor was too sick to speak. “Be ready for the launch” the computer screamed robotically. Leanor nodded. There was a blinding light and all that was left was smoke. “It worked” the professor screamed, jumping like a boy. “I hope he is safe”
Leanor landed on a clump of bushes. He got up and started taking a sturdy look of his surroundings. He was in a dusty street. Strangely there were no people outside. The whole street was deserted! He went on and knocked on a door. He heard the sound of clambering feet and a moment later a woman in her forties opened the door. She was wearing a strange cloth in her face. “Now! Wear a mask or you will kill us all! the women said sternly. Leanor was taken aback by her rudeness. “I am sorry ma’am; I am from the future and I don’t know the rules.” Leanor said humbly. “Ratty little liars, Now get out before I spank you!” The woman spat. Scared by the events Leanor ran away. He found a comfy spot and started thinking about what to do next. As the sun started to set, Leanor started getting worried. He did not have any shelter, food or money. As he stared at the dark road deep in thought, he felt a hand in his shoulder. He turned and found himself gawping at the Dr Cabrekan! “What the hell are you doing here doc! Why did you come?” Leanor screamed. “Voice down boy! Do you want to rouse the neiborhood?” Cabrekan said in a whispering voice. “I came to help you; I Knew you couldn’t manage on your own. I also have a plan to help you”. “I know what you are up to, I guessed it” the doc added looking at Leanor’s Confused face. “I guessed that you were going to change the past by cautioning People from the past about the future and help them cleanse the environment. It was evident because you seemed to be interested in nature cleansing machines” He continued. “I even bought them in case it may be of any use”. Cabrekan showed him a giant suitcase full of his clanking metal objects. “Dr Cabrekan sir” Leanor stuttered. “I have a plan, maybe we can go and ask help from the W.W.F (World Wide Fund for Nature), because they can reach people better”. “Clever boy, that’s what we are goin’ to do”. And they travelled all day long eating and drinking from the rations Dr Cabrekan bought from his lab in the future. After journeying for a week, they reached the W.W.F central office. They went to the front desk and told the receptionist “We have come to see the chairman; I have some very important news”. “Well, you’ve got to wait, after all he is not a free man like you” the receptionist replied rudely. They waited and waited; they even had a long nap! After what seemed like a decade, they were ushered onto the chairman’s chambers.
A man of thirties was seated in a comfy leather chair, he was wearing an elegant blue suit and a black formal pant. His eyes twinkled with wisdom and kindness. He looked relaxed. “Hello! My assistant said you had something important to say. Shoot it out man, no formalities. You can call me Dick” The man said in a cool and friendly tone. “So, um… Mr dick sir… I am not sure whether you will believe us, but here it goes. We are from the future and it is totally berserk there, we all have to wear oxygen masks because the air is so polluted. We have to wake up before the sun rises because it will be super-hot when the sun rises and it will suffocate us, this is because of global warming. Another problem is rise in sea level which causes floods and tsunamis. Leanor said breathlessly, “There is more from where that came from”. “Wo-Ho, calm down bud, Pls tell me the truth. Kind sir, pls talk some sense into this boy.” Dick said in a ridiculed voice. “Dick…Dick…Dick, if only it wasn’t true. We are from the future and we want to change the past so that we can improve the life of the people in the future.” Cabrekan said in a calm tone. “What! Sir you too? I need proof” Dick demanded. And they gave him proof by showing the future inventions. “This is unbelievable! I am ready to serve the future world, what do you suggest?” Dick screamed. “Whispering voice Dick! In fact, we have a plan. We have some gadgets to help you, but you need to help from your side by showing awareness to the people of the world.” Cabrekan and Leanor said together. “I’ll have every recruit I have looking into this in a moment” said Dick, Rushing out of the office in top speed! “Well, our job here is done. Time to go home m’boy” said Cabrekan briskly. They clinged on to each other as they sped through the time portal.
They fell through the time portal into Cabrekan’s lab with a thud. They got up quickly and looked around for any changes, but there were none. “Well, we did our best, let’s put on the oxygen tanks and go out. Maybe we can give Dick from the present a little advice” Said Cabrekan in a hurt tone. They searched for the equipment, but could not find it! “Maybe it worked? Let us go to the ground level and see” Leanor suggested. They used the elevator which Cabrekan had designed and went to the ground level. They were amazed by the beauty of the city! The birds chirped happily; the air felt fresh. Moreover, people were wandering in without oxygen masks at noon! Life went smoothly for the overjoyed pair; they were the only one who knew the old present. As they enjoyed their new life, They Hopefully waited for another adventure to dive into!
~By Prem Kumar
Two months ago, Dragon had an indelible story to the manuscript for the globe to share. The dragon had joined the home of 99 people after the dormant sleep of the first phase of the great pandemic noble Corona. He was the 100th one who occupied a room where 99 others breathe the same air that he inhaled. Before sharing this space he didn’t have a penny to buy a mask. For the sake of his health, he had a handkerchief that he used as a mask. It was there with him as a shield for him.
On the day of his arrival, he shared the birthday of one of my classmates, Tortoise. The 100 celebrated his birthday. We enjoyed and blessed him with a bright future.
The story grew. A core schedule that 100 had to follow in the home was that every morning and evening temperature should be measured and pulse rate would be given to the doctor. For a couple of days, he had a fever. A doctor, Fox exclaimed that Dragon was well or not. Dragon perched out saying that he had a wound on his right leg. It hurts a lot. The doctor said when he finished his dinner, follow to the doctor’s room for the medicine. Dragon replied, okay sir. After completing his supper, he took the medicine.
He had been feeling better than the previous day. He joined this hostel for educational purposes, which he called “Home”.
Later on, it became his schedule when he got a personal computer. The password was so easy that he could guess the password of another person. Whenever the net buffers he logged into, another password. He would go to bed late as he was passionate about his studies. It happened for a week. But his study had no hindrance.
His seniors would do online classes and would do projects being assigned from their colleges. Most of them were from Central University of South Bihar (CUSB), two were from Central University of Haryana, one was from Ashoka University and the 10 were from Indira Gandhi National University (IGNU) in India. It was a source of inspiration for him.60 were new boys whom he had seen for the first time. We called them “CIT ‘CIT’.They tutored basic computers. The rest were from grade 12. Some were cooks and staff.
Before they stepped in Home. They were tested and if they were found to be negative they would come to our awaited classroom. The dragon had yearned for these days when he would have his doubts crystallized by teachers. We had a digital classroom. His teachers would make ppts of the chapter. They would teach a chapter for a week. Most of his classmates did not come to the hostel because of Covid-19 or they were reluctant to come.
The dragon was doing good. But as days rolled on, we experienced the darkest day ever at the Home. Doctors from the hospital had come. Everyone was assembled at the main gate. We all tested on PCR. The report was to be collected after three days. No one was afraid of tests. It was all annoying for the nostrils when the stick went into the nose for a sample.
As days moved closer, all people would give suggestions saying that they should not put down their weapon ” masks” an inch away from their face. Put it on for your safety and think of others too.
We replied together ‘No’. The next day our Maths teacher received a call and later informed the class doctor, that Fox was tested positive. Now we were scared. As they gave temperature and pulse rate to him only.
Rhino was a senior. Dragon asked him why he burst out laughing. The fox, the doctor, was indeed a bad person. The doctor used to motivate, disrespect and criticize everyone. The Fox would say that when he saw us ill he felt annoyed. His purpose was simply to look after patients. And if he felt annoyed on seeing the patients, better he should leave this profession. Fox’s feedback was not all good from anybody. He criticised pathetically that soft-hearted people may quit living. The Fox had a company we called “parasite“. The parasites were experts at importing ill news, complaints regarding students. So we called them parasites.
On that day seniors danced. However, Dragon felt bad about the fox. He realised that one shouldn’t kill his or her humanity. He respected him as a person. But seeing his friends dancing he enjoyed it too. There’s always a silver lining between the dark clouds. But this cloud didn’t have the silver. The very next day the Rhino report was there, positive. It silenced the 100 masks. It was a great fall of grief we had. The moment we got this positive word for Rhino, we did not move from our beds. At night we were called for dinner. That call was made from a distance as we were strangers.
They went to the hospital but couldn’t find any rooms. So they came back and quarantined in one of the rooms we had at the top of the roof. The hostel was closed for a week. We would live in bed. We move out for meals only. We were afraid of being too young to the bathroom also. It was a monotonous life. Dragon’s friend would say that just because we had celebrated one’s ailment we were having this day. At that moment we made a call to Rhino stating that we didn’t receive any calls. We recharged his phone so that Rhino could make out his time pass rather than ailing himself from negativity.
temperature and pulse rate by themselves. They took medicines on time. It was a good recovery from their news.
The dragon had a moment where he shared the whole gossip. Everyone would call him Dragon. There was D Universal Company. Deepak the Rabbit was the owner of this company. Atif, the Panda was an assistant. The dragon was an employee. Rhino was a technician, Aadit the Elephant was an editor. They were the kings of all gossip. They had it for 10 minutes. The Rabbit said to his assistant, yeah! Did you give a loan to Mukesh Ambani? The Panda would say that Ambani was crying bitterly so I had to. Panda continued saying that you wanted a room on Pluto. We had made it for you. Said his boss.
All the news was edited by the company’s editor. The Elephant. The Rabbit said that the Elephant did his work passionately.” Panda doubled his salary to 20 crores. Rhino, I am trying to make a bulb that would shine from sensing heat or air. Their seniors told them why they do not make a channel on youtube. And show off your talent.
The very next day, Daimo came with the laptop and handed me over. Enjoy, buddy he said. Sir had given you for the time being you were quarantined. I had tears at that moment. As one friend was playing a song of friendship. They were heading for their home. His friends consoled him. They boosted our courage and hope, stating he was a brave boy. At that moment he prayed that God bless this globe and its people. He had filled in the form of Dexterity Global a month ago. He got selected. So during the quarantine period, he used to do his assignment Dexterity. He shared the laptop with his younger brothers who were sharing the compartment with him. The virus was not hazardous but the mental illness was hazardous. He was having a rough and tough fight with Covid -19. The food didn’t taste good. The water was bitter for him. He had dysentery. Every time he went to the bathroom. At night his nose would feel the blockage. It seemed someone had put a thick-coated liquid into his nostrils.
On the fifth day, he felt that he could not breathe any air. The passages for the air were blocked. It was his inner voice that said go on Dragon, blow out your nose strongly. He left the bed. He darted to the basin. He made a strong blow. Then it was all out. But as soon as he lay in his bed it had the same story again. He didn’t sleep that night. It was scary for him.
Every day he would drink less, eat less and had an improper sleep. He had his mask over his face. He did two things passionately. It was his studying and dancing. Sometimes he would study. Sometimes he would like what his village people get to know about him. This worried him. Every day he expected that the thermometer and pulse reader would show normal magnitude for him. But it didn’t happen so early. It took a week. He had a smile on his face. His friends were doing good. My classmate was a bit sad. Dragon said that we would leave for a home together. He made dance videos along with his assignment.
On the 8th day, we were supposed to go for the test in the primary hospital. We had happy days after three days. We were all negative as read by the report. They all had to move their home except board students. He made his bed nicely. He had made his way home by clicking a photo with his friends.
There were 20 masks left, 6 from 12th grade and 14 from 10th grade. He blessed his Home to be happy and healthy.
He knew that there were billions of masks he had on this globe. Many of the masks were lost a couple of months ago because of this Covid-19. He prayed for all good. When Dragon opened the Facebook page, there were unread messages that said “Be brave Dragon. God Bless you, my dear.” He believed that we all could be successful if we stay strong.
It is a fiction story. The dragon is the narrator. Our peace can be in any form. Either escaping hardship through a tough battle, getting around the dreams of our own. In this very story, we come across so many characters juggling innumerable activities during the second phase of Covid-19. The narrator knows nothing, he followed a simple tool that is ” Know that you don’t know.” What is abridged in stems and walks of life, is unpredictable. It is an action-oriented habit and will be observed in this story. How Dragon comes to obstacles and finds ways to face them. There’s peace in the environment we live in. The piece is within but if the vibes that support from people are more healthy. It is observed here. “Finding peace we go roundabout. It is nowhere, within knowing its values to create and share.” Our earth is one home. We need to save it for ourselves. There are generations to come and will look for a peaceful home. If today we think and plant this peace and our generation will breathe in a clock for the present and continue to you.
Feed the beast, for it helps you thrive.
Feed the beast, for it favors your life.
Feed the beast, for it eradicates your foes;
Feed the beast, whose operations are unknown.
Feed the beast, who cherishes your support.
Feed the beast, who upholds control.
Feed the beast, who puts gods above innocent breaths.
“He was no angel,” they say with a knee on a neck.
The name of the poet is Arooshi Bhatia. She is a high school student from INDIA who is currently study in The Lawrence School, Sanawar. She is very enthusiastic about creative writing and dramatics. She has also participated in many creative writing competitions and is also very active in her school’s theatre.
Kaitlyn McBride is a young writer from Pennsylvania. She is currently working on poetry and short stories involving light science fiction and philosophical concepts such as eternalism. She is quite an active person taking up activities like mountain biking and the Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do.
“This book is amazing” were the first words that came to my mouth once I, Shashwath Venkatraman, finished reading the first part of Harry Potter. Little did I know that the story would inspire me to write a book at the age of ten! I adored reading books. I was very imaginative. The imagination led to writing books. I was born in 2011 in Chennai. In my spare time, I used to share all my imaginative thoughts to my parents. They encouraged me to open my thoughts beyond this world. The other reason I am good at writing books is that I am extraordinary at visualizing what I write or read, so it is easy for me to think how it will be if I write from a different angle… In my free time, I also like to play sports and explore. My skills are filming, drawing, dancing, and writing. I am good at everything I try, so it is tough for me to find my passion. I am a shy, caring boy, but I take time to adjust to anyone and anywhere. I like to read Famous Five, Geronimo Stilton, and Harry Potter. I like to play with my farm dog, but I am scared of ferocious dogs. Strange isn’t it? My favourite classes are arts, math, and science. You may think I am a chatterbox, but that’s true. I hope you like my story. Bye for now!
Jahra is a 10th-grade student and an artist who has been painting for 3 years and selling them. She has won many awards in competitions arranged nationally. She also got her name on press. She became the winner of an art competition organized by Kishore Alo and Save the Children in Bangladesh. Jahra’s Artwork has been featured in Whimsical magazine 2021. She is a passionate and diligent artist who loves to create art in order to frame beautiful sights into reality.
I am Prem Kumar. I am a resident of a small village named Gonpura, ward no.10 near Phulwari Sharif. I am studying in an NGO named Shoshit Samadhan Kendra. I joined this in the year 2009. Presently I am in grade 12 from the Science stream.
I lost my parents and elder brother when I was three months old. This had happened due to a pandemic of Kala-Azar, which hit in the year 1990 and then in 2002. I was a victim of Kala-Azar. I was treated in the hospital of Agamkuan. Most of the people were helped by Sir C.P Thakur.
I live with my two uncles. He is old. One of them is having 5 daughters and an elder brother. They work as labourers. My aunt is no more. Sometimes they work in the fields of upper castes. One of the sisters is preparing for government jobs. One is married and the rest are studying and helping in domestic work.
My father was a leader. He helped people. My mother was a housewife. I lost them in the pandemic of Kala-Azar.
I am unfortunate that I could not see them.
Archit Sinha is a high school student with experience in tutoring and non-professional creative writing. Sinha has a keen interest in the social sciences and believes they can help one understand the world in wondrous ways and help make it better for all life on Earth.
They were educated in Delhi Public School (three different branches) and have been honored with several awards in academics and extracurricular activities. Having lived in many places, they have come to appreciate the beauty of the quality of being human, and hope to spread their experiences throughout the world.
Archit enjoys spending their free time producing music and cycling.