Covid Relief in India – Call for Donations

Dear All,

As India continues to reel under the wave of a devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, people across the country are experiencing unprecedented, limitless suffering as they grapple with a collapsing health system marked by lack of oxygen, lack of beds, lack of medicines and lack of vaccines. Images of endless funeral pyres, reports of struggles over cremation plots and screams of people dying at hospital gates must traumatise anyone with a sensitive heart. At this tragic juncture, we request our readers to offer financial donations to various NGOs and foundations which have been trying their best to offer assistance to people in desperate needs of assistance. Please help if you can, A little assistance will go a long way towards mitigating the misery of multitudes.

If you are interested in finding out real time availability of beds in West Bengal, click on the following link:

P.S. Members of Plato’s Caves are not directly associated with any of these organisations. We are showcasing these information because these organisations have a credible track record of offering urgent assistance of which many people are now in dire need.

Important Announcement

India is going through the worst socio medical crisis since the birth of the nation. Keeping these trying times in mind, we at Plato’s Caves have decided to temporarily suspend all publications. Rather, it has been decided upon that we are going to use this forum to spread information regarding all covid related emergencies, availability of hospital beds, oxygen supplies, (mostly in and around West Bengal) etc. We urge the readers to spread and amplify the posts as much as possible.

We start by providing you with a list of the suppliers of Oxygen, food items and essential Supplies.

Thanking you


Plato’s Caves.

Poems by Suchita Parikh-Mundul


second skin

I drank the shade

of my skin

the day I was told

my colour was unwelcome.

I became a liquid pool

with milk, sugar

and ginger added in.

I tasted sweet

and yet I burned

in the throat

of those

who spoke my name.

Steam arose

from my surface

like pearls emanating

my body,

each one telling the

story of a little girl

who eventually chose

the colour of tea.

a girl who swallowed

all the evenings

in big gulps

and filtered them

into tones of earth,

sand and soil,

with granules

of identity swirling

like a tornado

deep within

its sediments.

If you ask me what

I taste like now,

I’ll tell you

I’m the flavour of equilibrium.

I allow the sun

to dawn over me,

I allow my skin to feel,

I allow myself to be.



I shatter like a crystal cascade

shards scattered to perfection

a pretty implosion

fragments reflecting the light

glinting in the politest manner

falling to pieces unobtrusively

laying in bits like a jigsaw

until I am haphazardly fused

continuing neatly as before.


the fault-lines are visible

intricate fractures

arteries hidden beneath the skin.


a delicate figurine

encased in a vitrine

breaking apart

and mending ad infinitum.


I am documented as

a living artefact:

dimensions and flaws noted

contours scrutinised

statistics feigned

described in academic phrases

lined with inscrutable science

a model of culture

a shadow of truth

a subject of anatomy

studied at length

transformed into a rag doll

voiceless, abused, torn



I become a woman:

jagged edges shaved

with normative blades,

broken surface levelled

with modest shawl,

serrated voice smoothened

with orchestral breadth,

identity smothered

within insular home,

buffered by the blindness

of seeing eyes,

standing in one piece,

translucent, minutely stained,

with lines running

through like kintsugi.




the examined

dismantle my breath and watch

it erode the air you breathe.

listen to its cadence punctuate

the thrum of the outside

where flowers multiply

and die like fallen stars.

map my face to trace

the darkest hours of solitude

where space and time invade

my sanctuary.

rock the cradle where I sleep

with eyes open.

look into the hollow

that forms my pupils

and lists the days I didn’t

make it out of bed.

watch the sun levitate

like a ghost misunderstood.

watch the night owl guard

forgotten nightmares.

excavate the fissure

where a smile once

cracked the cheek.

or turn a blind eye

when I look to you.

it is what I’m accustomed to.



Suchita Parikh-Mundul is a freelance writer, copy editor, and poet. She has worked with magazines and websites. Her poetry has appeared in Sahitya Akademi’s Indian Literature, online literary magazines Muse India, Cerebration, Hakara, The Pine Cone Review, and in international anthologies. A collection of poems, Liquid Apnea, was published by Sampark, Kolkata in 2005.

Poems by Anila Pillai


Account of Unheard Voices


Tapped I wish I kept those voices

To hear and feel mesmerized and pumped

When unheard them then

Never felt so profound and of depth

Now that I am an adult, all those voices preach me at times of dearth.

Ages passes and still the story looms around

Never does a flying mind be caught with string of words

I believe and now I know it’s not the note for posterity to count.


Momentary indiscretion and unworthy I settled then with them

Harassed, sad and cursed my birth

Now that those voices are left as mere voices in void

Long to hear them in person, like how thirsty would crave for fluid.

Experience taught and caught be right for I heard not those voices right

Filial sounds when there, seldom accounts when not, heavily recounts!


An Ode to April


April is as diverse month

For some it’s a moth that make silk

For some it’s a froth like any other month

For most it’s a loth to despair and displease


Culture fall as it’s a month to speak up

Joy is the tail of the full length snake

Be it jovial or making a foolery light


Marks the beginning of a new dawn

Amidst the scorching heat many rituals are performed.

Flowers with fragrance burst out and bloom

Butterflies and humming birds delightfully zoom.


Glorious flowers are kept and glared

Believed to bring luck, charm and to be flared.

The new beginning is marked with morning sight

Filled with gold, idols, flowers bright.

Mothers usually hold the eyes tight close of her child

Brings near the decorated space to worship in traditional style.

New day new look dress cool stand bare foot take blessings of elders

Along gets much awaited monetary bewilderment.


Are as youngsters we celebrating it right I think with a sigh

Or are we only waiting for the last and desired papers that cost high!

The day is relished with aim to be with the same all year long

The very next day seems nothing but forlorn.

Deepened worries stack is put back

Which is as coated as plaque!

Despair, gloom smack hard

Be brave and bloom is the best hack!


April is a diverse month

Amidst the scorching heat it teaches to be glittery along the runs.



Anila Pillai is a poet, writer and essayist. She has published her creative and scholastic works in National and International anthologies, journals and periodicals. She can be reached via mail @

Poems by Manjiri Indurkar


Ants are medical prodigies


Did you know that if you turn red ants

into a chutney you will never get a bacterial

infection?  Ants, many believe, are medical prodigies.


 An ant colony once helped detecting

diabetes and early childhood blindness

in a friend who couldn’t understand

why ants bit him, every time he peed.


When he mentioned it to me, I suggested he pray

to the ant god, Nyonye-Ngana,

whose name we didn’t know then,

but even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to pronounce it.


My hypothesis was that he had

disrespected the humble, hard working ants,

and had left them with no choice.

But what if his susu is delicious, suggested another friend.


What if they are trying to crawl inside his nunu?

Shouldn’t he taste his susu before summoning the ant god?

Why waste his time if a simple taste test can solve our problems?

Or we could just offer ants our susu and see, if they like it just as much.


So in empty bottles of Vaseline petroleum jelly

we offered ants our urine,

but only his was the crowd pleaser.

We informed everyone of our

discovery, and they were pleased.

 Because, ants are wise, and attracted to wisdom.

Ask anyone.


Funereal Stories


Aai talks about death again.

All the good swimmers we know

are drowning themselves in water.

Acche tairaak ki maut paani mein hoti hai,

she reminds me, when we find out

Baba’s friend’s son drowned in the Narmada.

He was a national swimmer, the newspapers

said, but Aai already knew that, not

because someone told her,

but because she is exceptional at this guessing game.


We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit

so we talk of each one who died of drowning,

and I listen to her stories with the patience

of a chronicler. A father and son duo,

died in Omkareshwar, a few years back.

The man’s wife still believes, they might come

back. The son was playing and accidentally

pushed the father, and they both fell into

the water, the current dragging them away.

Another father son duo drowned in a well

in their own front yard. The son drowned first,

the father drowned because he jumped in

to save the son. Expert swimmers,

all the these people.


My mother remembers the son who

drowned in the well, as the boy who

ate salt, when there was nothing else

to eat. He never complained. As if it’s a virtue

that should have given him a longer life,

but the grim reaper only knows how to kill.

Your virtues aren’t of any use to him,

nor are your talents. It’s why swimmers

also drown and die. Swimming is not

a survival skill, after all.


Just when you think that we are done

with all the drowning stories, and are

ready to move on from another death

that did not happen to us, Aai comes up

with a new one. A relative who was part

of a big circus crew in the ‘60s, once

drowned in the Arabian Sea. Now,

don’t ask me if he was good at swimming

or not, I don’t want to spoil the story.


He drowned and the family looked for him,

waited for the sea to throw him back,

the sea always gives back, whatever it takes,

Aai said. But the sea seemed to have eaten him.

And digested his bones.

Twenty five years later, when his mom was

visiting the city of his drowning,

she saw a shop, named after her son.

So, she went to the shop, and there he was,

her drowned son, who the sea did not return,

selling groceries like it is the most obvious thing.


Once you drown and come back, how else do

you survive, if not by selling survival itself?

So there he was, reunited with his family again.

People do come back, says Aai thoughtfully.

Why didn’t he get in touch or try to find them

for twenty five years, I ask. But the story time

is over now. All questions can wait till the

next funeral arrives. 



Manjiri Indurkar writes from Jabalpur. She is the author of It’s All in Your Head, M published by Tranquebar, Westland. She is one of the founders of the Bookshelf Writing Workshop. Her chapbook of poetry Dental Hygiene is Very Important was published in 2017. Her debut poetry collection entitled ‘Origami Aai’ will be published in 2021 by Westland. Her works have appeared in places like the Indian Quarterly, Cha: Asian Literary Journal, Scroll, Indian Express, Poetry at Sangam, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Himal, Skin Stories, Indian Cultural Forum, and elsewhere

Poems by Judy DeCroce


In this hour,

a year, long stilled—

guarded by stony air

everyday locking you in

narrows unchanged,

unreleased time—

days of one,

nothing more,

according to its will.

For Later–For Later

Old friends—before and after


words leave

as if nothing has happened most of my life ago

calm, flowing, feeding and feeling with

some grace in the changes

a surprise in knowing that yes,

elsewhere is waiting

echoing the days far away

towards these I move and falter

bending much—yielding less.

Judy DeCroce is a poet/flash fiction writer and educator who has been a frequent contributor to many journals and anthologies.Judy is a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre.  She lives and works in upstate New York.

Poems by Ken Cathers


pretty things


don’t know if

it’s finished yet


this pretty thing

I’m working on


has ignored me for days



is out prowling

the village


may return with

a live bird

in its jaws


a small dismembered

rodent. . . one can

only hope.


is it too much to ask

for a few stolen lines

            a stray image


pray it doesn’t

scavenge too close

to the heart of the night


grow blind

with darkness


bring nothing back

but hunger



and Jonah



and Jonah

knew the whale

was sent

            for a reason


for him, who

couldn’t swim

couldn’t drown


kicked against

everything. and


the whale was

the world

swallowed him whole


took him to the one

place he had

to be   always


spat him out



but hollow inside

blind this time


broken, remembers

nothing   almost.


waits to be

filled with voices

become other


wants none of it. . .

wants to be unchosen

sent back


awaits the unravelling

of days


watches the sky

for thunder


the ocean

for the slightest


            of whales




what it is


it is a blemish

that won’t heal

a sore that weeps

            clear liquid,


it is a pest,

irritant, will not

be ignored


something to pick at

pinch between fingers

like a flake of skin

            that will not tear away.


it is beyond

the realm of ointments

medicated cream


your doctor avoids answers

suggests prayer.


it matches all

the descriptions.

            leaks blood.


has become the focus

of every waking thought

            becomes larger


becomes something

you can

            no longer doubt


has acquired a name

characteristics. . . .


you curse

the gradual process

            of stages


resist the idea

that it is all important

all consuming


keep busy

wear long sleeves

high collars, avoid


the harsh light

that reveals

without mercy..



Ken Cathers has been published in numerous periodicals, anthologies as well as seven books of poetry, most recently Letters From the Old Country with Ekstasis Press. He lives on Vancouver Island with his family in a small colony of trees.

Poems by Sreejata Roy


Living in a house made of loneliness

In the midst of a city of unmet desires
Being thankful for the roof over my head
For the ever receding ground beneath the feet
Once in a while, a stranger or two walks past the window
Stopping by to exchange a bit of warmth
I bottle the moments in perforated glass
Like fireflies, to cast their glow
In half – hearted winters
When the smoggy sun sets to make way for a grey moon..
And the city descends to a drowsy slumber..
Or rises as blurry waves from the heated roads of an ever unquenched earth

I wonder and wait for the air to turn sooty enough

For a lone spark to erupt the city  in  flames


A Warning

Someday I am going to rip the throats
Not of those who bulldozed our possibilities
Through policies and bills,
Who profited from our blood
Spilling onto the oceans
Snuffing out millions of habitats,

But of those
Who derived no gain,
Who did not just stand and watch
Yet acquired a pleasure
by scraping
Us layer by layer
In doses of everyday matters

Who deliberately  ignored small requests
To heed which they were paid
In the first place

It is such bricks
That make those pillars stand
Over us.


Frightening Possibilities

I saw it crawl toward me
Bit by bit
Eating my insides out raw
The loneliness approached
As darkness grips
On the palling  twilight
Falling falling falling
Gaping as a howl
That devours the sunshine
To nothing

Creeping around you
As phantoms of a presence
That once was
Loneliness arrives
As you try to busy yourself
To distraction

But the porcelain vase rolls
Striking the ground with a shatter that breaks the silence
To reveal the  emptiness  it held.


Sreejata Roy is a PhD research scholar (2017-) at the Department of English, Rabindra Bharati University. She is also a lecturer at Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri College, University of Calcutta. Her research interests include the postcolonial city, Indian English novels, Gender studies and cultural studies. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on friendship networks in the urban context of Bombay.