Issue Four:
Awshukh; Disease

By Dipika Mukherjee

Awshukh in Bengali, my mother tongue,
is opposite (aw) of shukh (contentment);
being ill is Awshukh. Dis-ease seems
similar, but you don’t catch Awshukh,
it catches you till ontologically
discontent, you are fevered, in bed.
My brother was in a coma, now vegetative,
he is a two-year-old dribbling drool,
communicating (at times) with thumb (yes),
forefinger (no), raising a middle finger
for rude emphasis. He is Awshukh, but Disease
spreads through the house. My mother screams
at nurses, the help, the scavenging monkeys.
She calls her children Murderers. Papa remembers
nothing. Another brother, holding the fort, managing
moods, medicines, neurosurgeons, acupressure,
says little until he explodes. We know how martyrs die,
I see one in gestation.
A maternal aunt was mentally ill; she died
beaten and alone. I feel Disease
coursing my blood,     Awshukh waiting
 multiplying     malignant,
    destroying     love,
all   ease,
snuffing   contentment.

About the Contributor

Dipika Mukherjee‘s second novel, Shambala Junction, won the UK Virginia Prize for Fiction (Aurora Metro, 2016). Her debut novel, was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and republished as Ode to Broken Things (Repeater, 2016) was also released as an Audible book in 2017. Her short story collections include Rules of Desire (Fixi, Malaysia, 2015) and edited collections include Champion Fellas (Word Works, 2016), Silverfish New Writing 6 (Silverfish, 2006) and The Merlion and Hibiscus (Penguin, 2002). She has two poetry collections: The Third Glass of Wine (Writer’s Workshop, 2015), and The Palimpsest of Exile (Rubicon Press, 2009). She is a Juror on the The Neustadt International Prize for Literature 2017, also known as the American Nobel.

Losslit canon

God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy

A lush, lyrical novel about loss and life. Set in India, this book strikes an universal chord with the story of loneliness and longing and the unconscionable cost of a moment's surrender.

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