“A great poem can move you, shake you and remind you what it is to be human.” – Oprah
At the outset, let me candidly express that I’ve taken upon myself a most difficult task of appraising poetry; and that too of a poet (and writer) I can blindly trust as far as her writing is concerned.
However, what made things slightly easier for me was the fact that like Oprah’s quote as above my focus was on how Nandita’s poems connected with me; touched me (and reminded me of my humanness), and that perhaps would help me present a somewhat unbiased view of her first poetry collection.
The first thought that crossed my mind while reading the poems from her beautiful book, (with an exquisite cover), was that the poet did not shy away from expressing her deepest thoughts and feelings. Her poems are bold and unapologetic in their stances. The thought that people might judge her through her poems might have occurred to the poet but that did not deter or hamper her flow.
“Let’s edit our story
give it a beginning
though there is none
and all the characters
of friends, helpers and meddlers
for only you and I are.
The sighs and tears resolve magically
And this love we dream of has no end.
Blue pencil what you will
The story remains unchanged.”
Talking about ‘flow’ brings me to my next point of observation. The term ‘flow’ is used in psychology to mean – a state of concentration or complete absorption of humans with the activity (or situation) at hand. After years of research, this idea (was conceptualised and) presented by the great Hungarian – American psychologist
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. According to him, people are the happiest when in a state of ‘flow.’ And that artists, inventors, writers, musicians and poets experience this state more often than others. Nandita is a perfect example of the kind of person who derives the maximum happiness in creating her work. She’s least bothered about the outcome. Her aim is to explore her feelings or give wings to her imagination; recall a particular delicate moment; or express an emotion unexpressed – like a true poet, she does not care to explain herself but flows on…while the reader may be left second guessing.
“In the end I let him go as a bird lets go of the sky
Sometimes, all compasses still
Ours wasn’t an allegory and must remain untold
Hide and seek between rainbow and water vapour”
Divided into Summer, Rains, Winter and Between Seasons, the poems from the collection take on the mood of the specific season and yet gracefully move from one to another very much like the changing seasons. A lot of focus is on highlighting the need to love and be loved, human strengths, and their follies and oddities. Yet she does not judge anyone. She merely questions while leaving the readers to seek their own answers. Somehow I also felt an underlying brooding sense of melancholy in some of the verses which could be attributed to the poet’s style… or her life – experiences. However, what’s very obvious is her love for imagery…the entire collection is liberally garnished by her figurative language and beautifully so.
“This November wind is cold
Bleached white as the empty bench
where promises used to sit”
“Razor edge of your patience or temper
Whichever you’re losing”
Nandita’s style of poetry writing is the exact opposite of what I mostly like to read (and write). Yet in her case, she draws the reader in with her brilliant imagery, poised thoughts and an inherent ability to understand and express human emotions superbly.
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