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Calling the Shots

by Prabha Nair

Calling the Shots

Calling the Shots reflects many moods and themes. Many of the poems in this book highlight personal experiences. Having been on a roller-coaster more times than I care to relate, I have often asked the One Above whether He had any earthly idea (how incongruous!) what He was doing. Obviously He had for it is now my turn to call the shots!

Two things have spurred me on to write, perhaps with indignation :

• Court rulings sometimes do not mean a thing. According to court decisions, when I was divorced in Singapore, I was allowed access to my only son, who meant the world to me and whom I had nurtured with so much love even as he was growing in my womb. However, in real life, rulings can be violated, if ever so subtly. I was denied access to my son. All pains were taken to ensure the cord was severed. Seventeen years is a long time for a mother to be separated from her only child. The poems, Unsevered Cord and Cremation bear testimony to a mother's pain.

• After 13 years I remarried - this time to a US citizen of Indian origin. Based solely on trust, I left a comfortable life, gave up a good job, my family and friends and burnt my bridges to join him in the US. However, less than two weeks after I arrived here, the nightmare began and it became stark clear to me that there was absolutely no love or even kindness in the person I had married. Totally lost in a strange environment, finding myself all alone in a country where I had no family or friends to fall back on and having to spend three weeks in a women's shelter with one's husband making absolutely no effort to even look for one, is a mind-blowing experience. I discovered the survival spirit in myself and have never looked back since then. Poems like, Assurance , Awakening , Companionship , Conscience Gratitude , Johnson's Creek , Pardon Me , On the Highway , Unleashing, and Respite will testify to the turmoil I had undergone.

Some thoughts are best expressed in one's native language. I would have liked to call this book Velluvili , meaning 'Challenge' in my native language, Malayalam. However, as Calling the Shots appeared to transcend language barriers, it seemed to be the better choice.

Lest the reader be misled, not all the writings in this book are bitter or somber though. The moods are varied - reflective, serious, teasing, questioning, wistful, demanding, impish - in short everything that a woman is!

Please receive the poems graciously.

In appreciation, Prabha

ISBN 1-887932-92-5; soft cover, 116 pages. $12.95