Editor Speak

August 2022

The parched earth waits with bated breath for the first monsoon shower. The rain showers arrive and the earth dances with joy, resplendent in varied shades of green. To celebrate the Indian monsoon magic, we have attired our August edition in a palette of greens and called it the Jade Edition.

Our interview segment showcases an interview with a literary stalwart, Namita Gokhale, who is an award-winning writer as well as co-founder of the prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival. Our interview segment also features an interaction with Julie Rhodes, a UK based artist who paints big cats with a life-like flourish.

Our Tête-à-Tête segment includes a friendly chat with Trish Hopkinson, a poet and literary arts advocate who passionately encourages growth of small presses and literary journals that offer a free platform for upcoming poets and writers. We also have Parag Borse, a talented Indian artist,talking to us about his craft and the Marathi ethos reflected in his stunning portraits.

The poetry segment is brimming with beautiful and thought-provoking poetry by poets from across the globe. The short stories featured in our Fiction segment are touching, intriguing, interesting and inspiring. The Creative Non-fiction segment has an interesting vignette, an insightful study of women in Indian cinema by a senior journalist and a travelogue that gives us a taste of the street food of Varanasi and a peek into the life of the weavers of gorgeous Banarasi sarees.

Our Review section includes an interesting review of the Danish Netflix series Borgen Season 4 which is a riveting political drama about women in power. The Book review is a walk down memory lane for the generation who stepped into young adulthood grooving to Wham or listening to George Michael’s music. Lillete Sandhu reviews James Gavin’s book ‘George Michael: A Life.

The Visual art segment displays a gallery of stunning portraits by Indian artist Parag Borse and enchanting photographs by Anhad Jai Singh as he treks through the Rocky Mountain Trail of Colorado. The Podcast segment has an eclectic collection of poems and a short story which can also be heard on Spotify.

The Montage section showcases 'Mask Hako', a Kannada short film (with English subtitles) made by Shot Talkies. The mask here becomes symbolic of how we smother our voices and, in the process, lose our identity.  This film was part of a short film smartphone contest hosted by Talking Films Online and was awarded The Wise Owl Critics Award 2022 for a film with Literary, social and artistic relevance.

A big thanks to Harmeet Singh, our in-house artist who attired this edition in shades of jade green.

Here’s another freshly minted edition for our dear readers and viewers.

Happy Reading!! Happy Viewing!!

~Rachna Singh



Namita Gokhale

Writer & Co-founder of Jaipur Literature Festival

The Wise Owl talks to Namita Gokhale, an Indian writer, editor, festival director, and publisher. Her debut novel, Paro: Dreams of Passion was released in 1984, and she has since written fiction and nonfiction, and edited nonfiction collections. Ms Gokhale is the co-founder and co-director of the prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival with William Dalrymple which has been picked out as a case study in Harvard Business School and also entered the Limca book of records. She directs Jaipur Bookmark, the publishing imprint of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Ms Gokhale was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award by the India’s National Academy of Letters in 2021 for her novel 'Things to Leave Behind.' Other than the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, Namita Gokhale has also been honoured with Centenary National Award for Literature from the Asam Sahitya Sabha (2017), Valley of Words Book Award, Best English Fiction (2017), Sushila Devi Literature Award for 'Best Book of Fiction Written by a Woman Author' (2019) and the 7th Yamin Hazarika Woman of Substance Award (2021). She was also longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award for her book ‘Things to Leave Behind.’ Her latest book is ‘The Blind Matriarch.’



Julie Rhodes

Wildlife Artist

The Wise Owl talks to Julie Rhodes a realism wildlife artist, with a focus on big cats. Many of her artworks are life size and larger than life. She has been a professional artist for over 20 years. Working from her UK studio, she sells paintings, pastel work and drawings to collectors worldwide. Art is her passion rivalled only by her obsession with wildlife. Julie mentors upcoming artists through her Wildlife Art Blog. You can find more of her work on her website https://www.julierhodes.com





Eloquent Emotions

Image by Timothy Eberly

Autumnal Manoeuvre

The poet philosophically ruminates about the ever-changing patterns of life. The future arrives only when the present is embraced by the past.

~Suneet Madan

Image by Stanley

Today is Matin’s Birthday!

The pandemic separated loved ones, making them distant faces on a screen in a zoom call. The poet laments this separation and its depressing fall-out.

~Stephen Page

Image by Hannah Wei

That Foreign Student

Young boys and girls leave their family and countries in search of higher education and their own place in the sun. The poet portrays their sense of desolation with a touching sensitivity.

~John Grey

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The poet wonders what it is that stirs the beast of abuse in a father. How were the innocent children at fault for provoking such maniacal rage? A sorrowful introspection.

~Daun M Wright

Sunset Flower


Beautiful verse that finds enchantment in little things like swirling sunsets, cloud formations and pink soled paws.

~Ann Privateer

Image by Cédric VT


In death, the poet wishes to be one with the earth and generously nurture the grass and trees.

~Dee Allen

Image by Allef Vinicius

In Dreams

The poet dreams a dream of unfettered laughter, of lavender and peaches but the dream disintegrates in the cacophonous sound of trains and calls of groceries and fish.

~Abin Chakraborty

Image by Kym MacKinnon

Cosmic View

An enchanting verse where we walk with the stars on tiptoe and where the quivery fingers of the moon braid us with silver.

~Carol Kanter

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Like the Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes, the statue of the Greek sun God Helios lay supine for 800 years before a rampaging army melted it into nothingness. The poet weaves the image and symbolism of this statute in his poem.

~William Doreski

Image by Sean Oulashin


A hole on a sandy beach, spurts with water and reverberates with the boom of the sea. The poet perceives in it the fulness of the sea.

~Neera Kashyap

Image by Daniel McCullough


A kaleidoscope of images banded together to symbolize and represent disharmony and lack of cohesion.

~Megan Denese Mealor

Dead Sea

Reflections on the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea of the poet's imagination is vastly different from the Dead Sea of her experience. The poet philosophically dwells on the differences.

~Jan Ball



Travelogues Musings Essays



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Where Every Bylane has a story to Tell

The City of Varanasi is known as a centre of spirituality and religion. But the city has more to offer says Varanasi dweller, Aayushi Sharma who takes the reader on an enchanting journey through the Food street of the city, its Banarsi saree weavers, a boat ride and the spellbinding evening arti.

~Aayushi Sharma


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Outside Hội An

In his travels, James Roth comes across different cultures and different facets of human character. He enjoys capturing these in his writings. An interesting vignette of an old woman outside Hoi An.

~James Roth


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The Forever Women

The women on the Hindi silverscreen breached social mores even as they stayed beautifully wrapped in femininity, grace and mysterious restraint. It is this blend of softness and strength that makes them so interesting. An insightful anaysis by a cinephile.




Stories of Fantasy Romance History

Image by Rushina Morrison

Water Music

A father and son bond over music. And yet, it is music that pushes them apart. A sad and touching story by a wonderful storyteller.

~Steve Carr

Reading Outside

Jinxed in Love

Priyanka was no conformist. She was a freedom loving woman with a diehard progressive attitude. How will this attitude affect her marriage and her friendship?

~Pooja Singal

Happy Girls

A Girl called Hira

A childhood misdeamanour leads to the banishment of a much loved childhood playmate. What was the wrongdoing that resulted in such a severe punishment? Will the author be able to come to terms with her sense of guilt and self chastisement?

~Ranjit Powar

Image by Kat J

A Turnaround

One day a battered and bruised Kaira finds herself seeking refuge in her friend’s house. Who has hurt her? Would Kaira find a way out of her torn existence?

~Kritika Dixit



Movies Books OTT Releases

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Film Review/Web Series

Borgen Season 4: Power & Glory

More than a political drama, Season 4 of Borgen stands out for its portrayal of the struggle of strong women in positions of power and the somewhat unethical choices they are forced to make at times to hold on to the reins of control.

~Dr Ramandeep Mahal

Book Review

My Music will Last

George Michael’s musical legacy was weighed down and lost under the weight of paparazzi misinformation. In the book ‘George Michael: A Life’, renowned biographer, James Gavin rips off the veil of misinformation shrouding George Michael and reveals a talented songwriter, a creative music composer and a troubled soul at odds with his sexuality.

~Lillete Sandhu

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Trish Hopkinson

Poet & Literary Arts Advocate

The Wise Owl has a friendly chat with Trish Hopkinson, a poet and literary arts advocate. Hopkinson is co-founder and director of Rock Canyon Poets, a regional poetry group which put together two anthologies: ‘Orogeny’, a collection of Rock Canyon Poets work; and ‘Inspired’, a collection from the community poetry writing workshop she teaches every year with support from Utah Humanities. She also co-founded Provo Poetry in 2015 to feature Utah poets in Poemball vending machines with locations in Provo and Salt Lake City. In addition, Hopkinson is a board member of the International Women’s Guild and curates Poetry Happens, a monthly feature on KRCL’s ‘RadioACTive.’  Her poetry has been published in several magazines and journals. She has authored several chapbooks viz. Reconstructed Happiness, Emissions, Footnote , Amost Famous. Hopkinson happily answers to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, wine tasting, and craft beer. Most importantly, she encourages growth of small presses and literary journals that offer a free platform for upcoming poets and writers.


Visual Arts
Treat for the soul

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Parag Borse


The Wise Owl has a friendly chat with Indian artist Parag Borse whose paintings in vibrant pastels, oils and acrylics bring alive the rural Marathi ethos with great panache. A graduate from the prestigious JJ School of Arts Mumbai, Parag Borse has exhibited his wide repertoire of paintings in National as well as international exhibitions and also participated in art camps across the world.

Prag Borse was awarded the Ruth Richeson prize in portrait category by Pastel Journal (USA) in 2013. He was awarded by the International Artist Magazine for his works ‘Wrinkles and the Rooster’ (2011) and ‘Reflection in Ripples’ (2012). He was selected among 99 best watercolour artists in the World by ‘Splash 15’ Watercolour Magazine USA. He has also received several National awards in recognition of his work as an artist.


Visual Arts: Painting & Photography

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A Rural Ethos

Parag Borse's paintings are luminiscent and lifelike in vibrant pastels, oils and acrylics. They bring alive the rural Marathi ethos with great panache. A graduate from the prestigious JJ School of Arts Mumbai, Parag Borse has exhibited his wide repertoire of paintings in National as well as international exhibitions. Read his interview and view the Gallery displayed with his interview.

~Parag Borse 

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Rocky Mountain Trail

Rocky Mountain National Park has an area of 415 square miles that encompasses a spectacular range of mountain environments. From meadows found in the montane life zone to glistening alpine lakes and up to the towering mountain peaks, there is something for everyone to discover. Anhad Jai Singh captures the beauty of the National Park as he treks through the Park. 

~Anhad Jai Singh



Podcast of Top Articles, Features, Poems and Stories

Happy Girls

Short Story Podcast

A Girl called Hira

Writer & Narrator:

Ranjit Powar

Image by Daniel McCullough

Poetry Podcast


Poet & Reciter:

Megan Denese Mealor

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Poetry Podcast


Poet & Reciter:

Daun Wright

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Poetry Podcast

Like the Colossus of Rhodes
Poet & Reciter:
William Doreski

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Mask Hako

The Montage section showcases 'Mask Hako', a Kannada short film (with English subtitles) made by Shot Talkies. The Directors of the film are Yashas Manjunath and Sharath Madhu.Mithun K Achar is the Cinematographer. Music is composed by Nithin.M. The film is set in 2045. The mask in this short film becomes symbolic of how we muffle our voices and in this process lose our identity.  This film was part of a short film smartphone contest hosted by Talking Films Online and was awarded The Wise Owl Critics Award 2022.