Reviews, Vol I, Issue IV
The eye-soothing azure and slate-blue sky with fleecing white clouds on the cover of this tab-sized book of poems in Bangla by Ishita Bhaduri, a well-known poet of the eighties from Kolkata, promises some tranquil good-reads within its covers. The gems that glisten from the depths of this book shows how adept Ishita Bhaduri is in maintaining crispness and freshness in her writings in Bangla, and her renowned capability of capturing thoughts and moments in just a handful of words.
There seems to be a glimpse of the Sky in most of her poems. The Sky is the Poet’s canvas where she writes and draws letters and alphabets. This is where ‘naked words dwell’ on her palms. She ‘creates them in a magical mystery’. She ‘lathers and bathes them, puts clothes on their body’, and then makes them ‘float in the moonlit river’ or ‘become rainbows in the sky’.
In this collection of poems the Poet has woven a fabric of individual poems where images, themes and frequent repetitive forms play along with each other in an intricate manner. And I believe readers will require reading the book as a whole for full appreciation, although at the same time I would definitely add that browsing randomly from one poem to another also brings in its own rewards.
Some poems portray the inexorable demands and pressures of an urban environment and the turmoil within oneself, as in the following -
Ekti bishonno jibon uthe elo shunyo theke
Nasto faler mato
(A mundane life rises upwards from the void
Like a rotten fruit)
Or in …
Ghorir knataa chhutchhe, jeno ashwamedher ghoraa
Athacho jibon, hang hoye porey ache, dastolaar baaraandaaye
(The clock sprints as if an Ashwamedha horse
While life…with its hung status lies on the tenth floor verandah
And also in…
Vaan o vonitar chaadorey dhaakche samporko
(Relationships cover up under wraps of conceit and pretense
Like a sheet of fog)
The Poet lightly touches on what she sees and feels using all five senses. The writing is nuanced and the Poet accepts, at times with a weary resignation, the challenges of the ups and downs in relationships, as we see in the following lines-
Ei sab jadiguli atikrom
Kore uthi jadi
Tobei madhyaanye chandramaa,
Aar aporaanhye jogeshwari
(If I can overcome all these if’s
Then moonshine in the noon
And Raga Jogeshwari at sundown)
Ei ghare kaaro upostithi ter pai ami
Shartobiheen aamaar sange thaake se saaraakkhan.
Dingote paari naa choukaath taai
Ei ghar chhere jete paari naa paap-ghare kono.
(I feel the presence of someone in this room
Who remains with me always unconditionally.
I cannot cross the threshold
And leave this room to enter the evil’s den)
And also …
Samporko sesh hoye gele
(When relationships end
In silent bleeding waterfalls)
The Poet demonstrates divergent yet engaging writing styles in these gem-like poems. The present encounters the past and both reflect upon each other. One can imagine the Poet exploring with her eyes and her soul the varied intricacies and the pains of parting, separation and death. There is a lot of depth to the poems and I feel most readers would be impressed by the subtleties, as in-
Rajanigandhaar kaache nato, shapath niyechi aami
Tomaake aakaash debo, tulip debo protidin
Osthe tomaar gethe debo halud golaap.
(I bowed to the tuberose and vowed
I will give you the sky; I will gift you tulips everyday
I will set yellow roses on your lips)
Dik paribartan hoye jaachhe
Gantobyo sorey jaachhe
Haat duto dhorei aacho
Your remain holding onto my hands
Ishita Bhaduri’s poetry is never blurred or indefinite. One finds a clear presentation of whatever the Poet wishes to convey. The simplicity and directness of speech, the beauty of the rhythms, individualistic freedom of ideas, effective use of poetic language and metaphors, the artful application of sound and meaningful words stimulate images similar to those produced by visual art.
Bolechhile baasor saajaabe naditeere
Brikkharopon utsabe niye jaabe bolechhile...
Bolechhile, tumi bolechhile....
(You promised to set up the floral nuptial by the riverbanks
You promised to take me to the tree-planting ceremony
You told me so…)
Baidyutik chullite dhukio naa aamaay
Vaasiye dio samudrajale
Jeno roye jaai jaler niche coral paathore.
Do not shove me into the electric furnace
Set me for immersion in the seawaters
To remain underneath among corals and pebbles.
Ektaa mrityu. Bole gelo kaal
Je manushtaa chhilo aajanmo paashe, aabege o avyashe je mukh aajo
Seo chhilo naa konodin aamaar
(A death. Yesterday called in to say
The person who remained by my side lifelong
That face still in habitual actions and emotions
He too was never mine)
Her poems constitute a series of questions that readers might be willing to do some self soul-searching before relating to themselves.
Ichhe korlei paaro
Vaasiye ditey stabdho aakaash?
Antohin shunya dupur?
Vaasiye ditey velaaye korey dukkho jomat?
(If you wish can you
Wash away a stunned sky?
An infinite blank noon?
Float away clotted grief?)
Ghumiye ghumiye buker modhye khnujcho ki tumi?
Jyotsna, naki swapno bneche thaakaar?
Vorer aaloye chnaader haashi, sakaalbelar dhun?
(What are you searching in the bosom in your sleep?
Moonshine or dreams to remain alive?
The lunar smile in the lights of dawn, the morning melodies?)
This gorgeous little book makes a lovely gift for a poetry lover or an easy introduction for a poetry novice. For a wider and universal readership I wish both the publisher and the poet jointly take up the project of translating the book into English.
For the last couple of days that I had been reading and re-reading the poems I strongly believe that readers like myself, will dip into this book time and again, only to discover something new, to find a different take to elicit a fresh view of life, love and relationships.
Reviewed By : Soma Roy
Soma Roy (b.1959) translates from English to Bangla and vice versa and also from German. Some of her translations have appeared in magazines and e-zines like Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi), Wild Violet, Choreo Mag Durbasha, Pyrta etc. Two books of poems translated by her, Marigold Moments and Rabindranath need special mention. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org