Juhi Pande fosters Narrative — review by Marius Jackson

After listening to Juhi Pande describe how she is trying to create conversation within her community and abroad, I thought about how poetic of a venture this was and the systems we have created as a society to tell our stories. Centuries ago, to achieve this type of communication would be unlikely, but it would have provided so much insight about the discourse of the world for later generations. In many ways, Juhi Pande’s city story is an archive of the candid occurrences and experiences that our world can provide, and more than likely we are all falling under similar umbrellas of experience. Pande’s project strives to make connections between individuals who might not find solidarity in the experiences of others, otherwise. She is creating an archive for future generations to better understand our perspectives as students of the world- I find that writers create avenues for this more so than any other students of the world.

In response I have written a poem to our class lecture that talks about me in relation to my city. Our cities raise us, and slowly, we choose to leave home.

My city ran away from herself a long time ago/ and I wonder when she will stop mowing over lawns that have nothing to do with her/ now, as I peek from behind my wander/ I rummage through thoughts about the footpath she left behind/ and my city is not as delicious as sin/ but she can hold down her portion on any plate/ and my city is not as coddling as kin/ but you can still see her humanity propel fate/ my destination was never in her elongated arms/ and my love did not exist in the bellow of her voice/ but I pay homage to my city and what it has made, because who is a native like me without that choice?/ Peculiar things happen in circles of institution/ speakers come in, and messages go out/ but to tell the truth about your being is what fostering narrative is all about/ and who am I? but someone who looked to share their story too/ but someone who looked to stop searching astray/ and piling behind the feet of my city/ is the distance between the prayer and the prayed/

to give voice to the moments you define as your cause/ is looming behind the mind of those like you/ and to deny your perspective as to disregard/ are actions done by those who know not you/ I am pitted between the desire of comfort/ and finding a wall against which I can grow/ and my city is running faster and faster/ where her destination marks, one does not know/

but I am running too- not very fast and not very beautifully/ and when my legs stop working to go any further, my heart keeps running to prove its due in me/ and along the way i’ll read your stories, and along the way i’ll tell you ‘come’/ and when you see my legs propel through fate/ I hope you will break your gate to run