top of page

Winners Announced: Poetry Competition, 5th Cycle –‘The Lost Social Sustainability’

Theme described for the Competition was - 'The Lost Social Sustainability'

Let us look back at the times when human beings started living in permanent settlements along with community members, depending on each other for survival. They worked on the same road, met at nearby temples, their women congregated at the community well or hand-pumps and their children played freely on streets, with no sense of harm as their grandmas sitting over verandah cots watched over them. All had a sense of ownership that was communal and they could quickly identify anti-social elements.

Times have changed.

Now cars are seen all around, all day long, until the cities sleep. People want to get out of congested streets; there are those who are displaced in the name of redevelopment and rehabilitation. And then, there are those third kinds who move to the periphery to form gated enclaves, where physical barriers are high, allowing only incidental social exchanges. Those living in gated enclaves have higher living standards, but they live with a fear of being robbed or killed at any moment. As streets stay empty, neighbors remain strangers, kids do not play outside and grandma has nobody to talk to, neither her cot any space. The Architectural Poetry Cycle calls for an exploration into this lost realm of 'Social Sustainability' - a lost world.

The 'Citation Award' goes to Srividya Sivakumar

Dovecote Dwelling

Since when did we become a line and not a circle

A pillar and not an arch

Why aren't we ashlar instead of wrecking ball

What happened to the stepwell meetings and handpump laughter

Each bracket in our life is not mere ornamentation; it is the buttress

of our existence

Where is the ‘social’ in social distancing and is it really a new thing

Seems like we've always been withdrawn

from w t r

a e





from t

Withdrawn into polycarbonate shells of indifference and intolerance

Withdrawn from camaraderie, we seek coincidences

Devoid of delight, we dwell in dovecotes of dejection

And we wonder. We constantly wonder. Not about the stars and the tides,

but about loneliness.

About how we become a line and not a circle.

This is how the water recedes

Start with a village.

No, start with a river.

And a house and intrepid travellers.

A chicken coop and fields of shimmering green gold.

Spread your arms wider.

Take in the family that moves in. And friends.

That house becomes a community.

That field becomes a kibbutz.

You and me become us, them, they, we.

Spread your arms wider. But hold on to your heart.

It's one bad year. And then a few more.

People leave. Just for a while. Or so they say.

The while becomes a whole lot of time.

The kibbutz is kaput.

The dreams, concretised.

There's silence in the river.

Even the fish have moved on.

The 'Special Mention Award' goes to Diana Webb

Building of the Moment

There was a beauty in the trees. The way the branches interlaced, formed wooden arches, As a little boy he'd sat beneath them, loved their symmetry, the way the bark could shine in green or gold or copper. And now he crafts a new design. A place where everybody young or old or married single trans or gay could sit and sip a honeyed drink while reading haiku carved along the rafters, in the wooden floorboards, bringing moons and stars and flowers and rain and snow to dance together in the air where voices joined in unison to share the poems with each other.


paint for each window

distilled from birdsong


The structure of her DNA. She often wonders. In her dreams the double helix reaches up and out just like a balsam seed when popped rears up its spiralled inner structure. Her great great grandad was an architect and staircase winding into staircase throws itself on to the surface of the ground on which she walks.

foundation stone

crystal ball awhirl with auras


Certificate of Appreciation_1: Mahima Jagadeesh

Singing cheery days of a town

“Hi Aunty! Can I have some sugar? “

I asked to her with a heart sweeter

Giving away a warm smile and a sweet greet.

Passing on the sweetness to our milkman,

Who never fails to cheer up every other man.

Happiness was to see the beauty of Rangoli,

In front of every other home, also when

Ladies exchanged recipes, so mouth watering

Just to the ears even before cooking a curry

I waved at my friend, both in a hurry

Headed to our school, just a walk away,

“Bye, granny”, I said to her.

Sitting on her cot, waved back higher.

Pets never tied around neck,

That let free to connect,

With their fellows and jump with glee.

The day shined through

As one’s coffee & conversations brew

We returned like birds chirping

To paint our evenings with smiles energizing

Playtime was a matter of fearlessness

And freedom, a feeling so pure

It was the time for storytelling

By grandma’s expressing

Their heart and soul out

To all the folks around

The opened doors that invited

Neighbors keeping them connected

And so did the balconies and terraces

Today, as I sit inside my home

With all these thoughts in a race

I pity my grandchildren

For having a social life,

So technologically driven

It’s now a dream to talk

To the neighbors and go on a walk

We no longer feel safe outside

Living in our own dens

Feeling socially lost inside.

Certificate of Appreciation_2: Jagriti Bhowmik


Floating clouds in autumnal sky,

tickle the memories decades ago.

A turfy green around, chirping of birds,

blooming Frangipani and a stone gazebo.

As if I could still hear

Cheerfully playing children,

Whispering young lasses,

Few sweet proposals denied in fear.

When the sun is ready to set,

The northern breeze brings darks fragrance,

Some elderlies would gather to debate

on politics, sports, culture or some reminiscence.

I’ve witnessed many sunny feasts,

bonfires till late night and evening parties.

Now, all these have been a long past,

With progression of time, everything has changed so fast.

The turf has turned to bushes,

Cracks have engulfed the dome.

Creepers have covered the steps,

The squinches are now spiders’ home.

I miss the footfall of people,

their laughter, shouts and presence.

I’m a pillar of this gazebo,

standing perplexed in remains.

For more updates, visit the Instagram handle of the Organisation.

323 views0 comments
bottom of page