Interview 20- Sohini Basak


MD: Your poem ‘They have more to say’ hypnotized me. Here I’m risking an interpretation-

The girl child ‘limits’ the household’s finance- is seen as a liability. The girl is now aware of the patriarchal world she’s in and it’s difficult for her to process this information. She finds empowerment through Marginata wasps who ‘choose to birth daughters over sons’. She wishes she was born a wasp, who have the power to even bring planes down. She finds these wasp superior to humans.

Please enlighten.

SB: I find it very intriguing that you imagined this poem being told from a girl child’s perspective. Thank you for this interpretation! To be honest, I did not have any child in mind while composing the set of insect poems, was trying to get as far away as I could from a lyric human voice (but failed gloriously). And it’s not so much superiority vs inferiority that I (wanted to) dwell on in these poems (and elsewhere, really), but the extremely complex ways in which non-human life must adapt to, especially in urban spaces. I’m especially interested in their movements and migrations, both micro and macro.

​But again, these are the backstories behind some of these poems: clearly the poems in their final versions have themselves migrated to some other spot.

Read the full interview in Vayavya here.


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Michelle D’costa is a Mangalorean who currently lives in Mumbai and works for the literary company, Bound. She was born and raised in Bahrain. Her prose and poetry has appeared in various journals like Out Of Print, Litro, Eclectica and more.

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