Review of the “The Kali Project” by Dr.Anita Nahal #TheKaliProject

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Nestled among my mother’s saris and pashmina shawls, lies the cumulative poetic expression of numerous Indian women symbolizing and emoting, Goddess Kali in the just released book, The Kali Project (Indie Blu(e) Publishing, 2021). 

Since my mother was the first Kali I knew, it is only befitting to pay a tribute to my mom. When I hold my mom’s clothes, hug them, wear them or lay The Kali Project amongst them, I am saluting my mom and countless women who have carved dwellings for themselves in private and public spaces, sometimes easily, sometimes painfully, at other times achingly and tearfully. My mom was resilient like bamboo, reliable like real cotton on skin, patient like night in waiting for the sun to saunter away, sweet like honey that’s natural and cool and quick like monsoon rains to take decisions, to execute plans, to dish out delicious meals, and to tell us right from wrong. She grew up in times when girl children and women were not encouraged to disagree or voice their concerns. Their stories were theirs to hold on to, hug, cry with, and over time let go. However, she taught us to never, never let anyone hurt or trouble us. The steps I’ve taken in my life come ultimately from the seeds of tenacity she weaved into the fabric of our growth, and the inspiration to take the steps she could not. 

There are hundreds of Indian poets whose sensitive voices are etched on the pages of this voluminous, 585 pages, The Kali Project. Deep thought has gone to its production quite apparent from the cover design, the quotes in the beginning pages, the introduction, the foreword, and the Kali drawings strewn over the pages of this imaginative, powerful book. 

Three of my poems are in the book, Homo Sapiens & Hindu Goddesses in India and America, Finally, She Showered, and Kali asks, “Two, Three or Karmic Wrongs Make It Right?” Not sharing my poems as I wanted to speak about the book…and my mom…and my dad, who was a kali in disguise. 

My mom was resilient like bamboo, reliable like real cotton on skin, patient like night in waiting for the sun to saunter away, sweet like honey that’s natural and cool and quick like monsoon rains to take decisions, to execute plans, to dish out delicious meals, and to tell us right from wrong. She grew up in times when girl children and women were not encouraged to disagree or voice their concerns. Their stories were theirs to hold on to, hug, cry with, and over time let go. However, she taught us to never, never let anyone hurt or trouble us. The steps I’ve taken in my life come ultimately from the seeds of tenacity she weaved into the fabric of our growth, and the inspiration to take the steps she could not.

–Anita Nahal

Many men, and women, are afraid of, distastefully dislike, disdainfully reject and some abhor the powerful potency of what Kali women may end up doing. Women who identify  with Goddess Kali, however, are not bloodthirsty, head cutting women. Strength doesn’t need to be displayed by destroying someone physically. Strength lies in making decisions and taking the practical steps to achieve a “just, and lasting peace” for ourselves, our children and families. That is what Goddess Kali means to me. And this book does not disappoint as it shows the multitude of Kali’s faces, voices, thoughts, emotions and actions. 

Strength doesn’t need to be displayed by destroying someone physically. Strength lies in making decisions and taking the practical steps to achieve a “just, and lasting peace” for ourselves, our children and families. That is what Goddess Kali means to me. And this book does not disappoint as it shows the multitude of Kali’s faces, voices, thoughts, emotions and actions.   –Anita Nahal

I will not be able to select some poems from this heart touching, thought provoking book with myriad, aha moments, because it would be unfair to choose one poet over another. As a poet myself and editor, I inherently believe that creativity is subjective. Who am I to say a poem is good or great? I don’t appreciate critics of any kind–food, movie or book, or any other. I truly find each person’s creativity intriguing. Hats off to all the poets who have contributed to this stellar anthology. I congratulate, Candice Louisa Daquin and Megha Sood for their professional editing. And I congratulate the publishing team and designing team of this collection of flowing, halting, checking, crying, bleeding, birthing, dying, urging, dancing, loving, and hopefully, altering poems. 

–Anita Nahal

Anita Nahal, Ph.D., CDP is a poet, flash fictionist, children’s author, D&I consultant, professor & higher education administrator.  Nahal has authored one academic book, two books of poems, one book of flash fictions and three books for children besides over 30 articles in journals & blogs. She also writes periodically on LinkedIn. Nahal’s most recent data-oriented study on Ethnic and Cultural Diversity at HBCUs was published as a chapter in a book in 2015. Her creative works can be found in Aberration LabyrinthConfluenceBetter Than StarbucksAadunaRiver Poets JournalColere and Lapis Lazuli. She received an Honorable Mention in the Concrete Wolf 2017 chapbook competition. Nahal is also a contributing editor with Aaduna. Social Media Links:

Website: anitanahal.wixsite.com/anitanahal

Blog : https://diversitydiscover.blogspot.com/?fbclid=IwAR0Q4uGH3JL5qqg2DXo1UOjoDiMm4wKOH-Uyk84yntIWbL-Y_2_neJMn0Sc

Instagram: @spilt_milk_is_spilt

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