Vatsala Radhakeesoon

Born in Mauritius in 1977, Vatsala Radhakeesoon is the author of various poetry books and an experimental abstract artist.

She started writing poems in English at the age of 14 and kept on expanding her poetic skills in other languages such as French, Mauritian Kreol and Hindi.
Vatsala Radhakeesoon is one of the representatives of Immagine and Poesia, an Italy based literary movement uniting artists and poets’ works. She has been selected as one of the poets for Guido Gozzano Poetry contest from 2016 to 2019. Her haiku book Tropical Temporariness has also been nominated for University of North Texas (UNT) Rilke prize 2020 .At the age of 41 in 2019 Vatsala started abstract painting and considers this as a miraculous turning point in her life.

 Vatsala Radhakeesoon currently lives at Rose-Hill, Mauritius and her day job is that of a    literary translator. She is also one of the interview editors of the bi-annual online journal,
Asian Signature.

The Only Boy

The teacher decided to bring some changes
in the classroom.
As from the following day,
each girl would sit next to a boy.
What kind of discipline was that?
I couldn’t understand;
I was never distracted during  lessons,
I was shy,
How could she separate me from my best female friend?
However, school rules were the same for the timid, the chatty
and the mischievous ones.
That evening I ate a little,
but confided nothing to my parents;
“Who will sit by my side?” I kept wondering.

The crucial day was facing us,
First, the teacher asked us to arrange all desks neatly,
Then the sorting was done.

The boy who sat next to me was slim,
He had  an elegant haircut of straight dark hair,
a large forehead,
a high  nose bridge – unusual among my generation,
He smiled softly,
He spoke a little
but when he did he was the epitome of politeness;
His jokes were the best – Some finely chiseled wit
devoid of all blunt mockery,
He was not involved in the tough games 
that boys played during recess-time;
Where was he during lunch-time?
That remained the mystery.

I came to know his birthday was on 14th October
and mine was on the 17th of the same month;
Whenever we had difficulties with the classwork,
we helped each other,
When we engaged in some innocent mischief,
we covered up each other.
If someone had forgotten a pen, or pencil 
or the lunch box at home,
he was always ready to generously share his own,
Whenever help was  needed,
he was the first one  to stand up.

After a few weeks,
the teacher allowed us to go back to our best friends,
So, I went back to sit by my best female friend reconnecting
to our girlish secrets
and he went back among the boys betting 
which team would win the next football match.
However, he never missed a friendly chat with me
whenever he got a chance.

I soon noticed how some girls were envious of me,
but jealousy made no sense to me,
Neither did it to him,
We found it as boring as an alien.

The Divine had his own plans 
and it was undoubtedly so:
He remained the only boy in the class that
every girl cherished to sit next to.

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