Endure Together, Rise Together

By Uday Dandavate

(Extract from the collection
“a window for a home without walls”)

The Magic of Smile

a smile is
nature’s gift
to humanity
a smile has
fragrance of a flower
sweetness of sugar
sound of the ocean
colors of a rainbow
and warmth of a hug
a smile feels like
a gentle peck
on the cheek
from a distance
a smile transforms
unfamiliar into familiar
skepticism into curiosity
a hesitation into a welcome
a smile has potential to
turn strangers into friends
put anger on a pause
and stall aggression
a smile makes space for
a conversation
without words
a smile begins to
bridge distances
soften attitudes and
reveal possibilities
even when
there is nobody to smile at
smiling at the mirror
warms my heart
and opens my mind

Designing Boundaries*

prison walls
inspired path breaking ideas
in great leadersconfinement creates
appreciation for bot
freedom and boundaries
in pursuit of freedom
in fulfilling our desires
we disregard boundaries
we forget that
freedom is to be shared
in seeking freedom
we must not encroach.
freedom for one
must be constrained by
others’ right to freedom
path to happiness
is not a joy ride.
shared challenges
suffering and
create kinship.
within the boundaries of kinship
freedom becomes
purposeful and meaningful
the boundaries to happiness
make happiness attainable
an unrestrained craving
creates insatiable appetite
designers must define
boundaries for desires
we must cultivate mindfulness
and design a space
for kinship and co-existence

*Author’s Note: designing walls is especially poignant, as Uday’s parents spent time in prison, as part of India’s independence movement.

Two Different Worlds

While hiding in a bubble
I can’t stop thinking of those
who live in a world
so different from mine
Here we are
who have spent our lives,
Pursuing happiness
Searching for meaning
Sailing beyond horizons
Reaching out to the sky
Expanding networks
Growing assets
I can’t stop thinking of those
who have spent their lives,
Building our dreams
Serving our whims
Carrying our ego
Feeding our greed
Sharing our burdens
Nursing our wounds
We lament when
We don’t get more,
They despair when
They don’t get enough.
We lose hope
When we fear
losing what we have,
They have no hope
even for what they need
just to get by.
We feel vulnerable
stranded in our homes,
They feel vulnerable because
they can’t get to their home.
We wash our hands ten times;
They are dripping with sweat.
While we observe the social distance,
They run our supply chains,
They rush us in ambulances,
They police our streets,
They set out fires,
They drive food to us,
They sit at cash registers,
Terrified and vulnerable.
We are worried
How long it will last,
They are worried
How long they can last.
I can’t stop thinking of those
who live in a world
so different from mine.
Do we ever think
that to go upstairs
we push down on
the steps below?
Do we ever think
that to get ahead
we push back on
the ground below.
Without the steps
or the floor below
we could never
reach new heights
and walk very far.
It’s high time
we think of those
who we crush under
and leave behind;
Because without them
we would not be
where we want to be.
We live in two different worlds

Uday Dandavate is a design activist and an ethnographer of social imagination, Uday Dandavate has traveled extensively around the world to study people, cultures, and change. Uday’s book of poems, “a window for a home without walls” has triggered enthusiastic response as a book that creates healing and hope.

Find more of Uday’s work here: https://medium.com/@uday_dandavate

Poems That Create Healing and Hope

‘Whether we survive and thrive, or we perish,
will depend on how much we care for each another’

Interview by Ravi Raman:
Uday Dandavate on Poetry,
Design Activism and Creativity
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Belinda Subraman
Belinda Subraman
3 years ago

Thank you for sharing your poems. Loved the addition of the video.

Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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