Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review of  'Silent Days' by Ratan Bhattacharya,Dum Dum Miotijheel College

09 June 2013
Sarangi's Silent Days:'Became a home-bound refugee in all stations'
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With 'From Dulong to Beas' (Authopress, 2012), Jaydeep Sarangi established himself as a poet, but with 'Silent Days', he has created a bang in the poetic world.

An out and out Bengali poet, who made his poetic debut with a Bengali book of poems, Lal Palasher Renu, shifting to English poetry writing is a blessing for a wider spectrum of readership in India. Now many more are getting Dr. Sarangi’s poetry for appreciation, which in the words of Dr. Paula Hayes, “reaches towards asking metaphysical questions.”

But the point, our renowned Indian poet Aju Mukhopadhyay raises, is still very true about the poems of  Dr. Sarangi that the red soil in Midnapur where the boy Sarangi grew up left an indelible mark on his consciousness. This is mostly felt in ‘From Dulong to Beas’, but no less so when in a poem like ‘The Red Allure’, he sings “Longing for the red soil / Corrodes me day by day/ Like the ticking of a clock /Tick tick tick…” But this same poet is quite comfortable in his poem ‘Missed Calls’ where he is in Tollygunj auto line or in a crowded bus: “Some calls can be received / Others are missed calls”. The beautiful line that lingers in our mind “With the aroma of chanachur and puffed rice /I remember…/ The pleadings of the boy back home- “Bring me colour pencils today”.
The homesickness that is deeply pronounced in the Dulong poems is no less keenly felt in the crowded bus of Kolkata. What a mingling is this – the country with the city, the rural with the urban and what a graceful easy mobility in the poems of Sarangi.
Just mesmerizing is the next poem ‘For Titas’ where the poet is a Cortez busy with discovering ‘newer lands’ with ‘smaller steps’. He rightly says, “Life’s tracks are parallel /Side-by –side”. The poet is “a man speaking to men’ – wrote Wordsworth in defining the role of a poet. Here in ‘Silent Days’ we find the poet to be ‘Like a man directed towards / The honey of experiences”(I’m on your side).
The great lines that Jaydeep Sarangi utters will echo throughout the ever poetic Silent Days: “My hungry heart can swallow/ The whole world/ Of poems and rhymes.” This is reiterated in his poem ‘I am’: “It is the old attire, I touch with a pen.” The touch of realism in place of sylvan romanticism is there in the lines as found in the poetry of A. K. Ramanujan: “The diabetic bones vibrate;/ The head is noisy/ The mind flows like slippery liquid’.
The black crow is here an image. But in the next poem, observe the shift towards soaring high in imagination: “Blue wings of my imagination / Run wild among my ruined terrace’/ Of sad history of women in our country” (A Rose is a Rose). The poet rightly feels, “Only my native within sinks/ As the rosary of pains”.
The total number of poems is fifty in this volume and nearly all of them reverberate with the idea: ‘I was born as a home-bound’ (Refugee). The same idea of home coming occurs in his other poem that follows ‘In a Home Away from Home’ and here we find the mystical mind of the poet who envisions: “ You are there/ As the old three sisters/ Like old myths”.
How he transforms a myth into a reality in this poem and connects it to a mundane dullness of daily life. He sometimes refers to Shiva and Lakshmi on his poetic sojourn. He sometimes talks of cricket in ‘Cricket Australia’ only to remind us of ‘rich mythology of cricket’ where he again goes universal: “Cricket connects continents’.
A poet’s mind is an enigma for ever which Dr. Sarangi again and again dissects and anatomises as in the poem ‘My Mind’: I’m ready with empty heart / For a fresh war of words’. What a big leap in thought in the poem ‘ Our Journey’: “We wouldn’t come to lunch tomorrow/ It’s so far a destination/ An effort of no love / And labored glory/ Where my thoughts opened the window in a jerk”. Mind is a recurrent subject in the poems and the poet tells: “A rigid mind shivers/ With changing thoughts”.
Other poems, My Family Tree, or Mystery of Life and The House on the Cliff are poetic fantasies which culminate in the poem ‘Towards the Center’: ‘The untold legacy of subjugation” which is beautifully iconised as in Herbert’s hieroglyph poems in the picturisation of ‘SILENCE’.
The poet of red soil knows the meaning of subjugation better than many. The voice of the Dulong Bard is more eloquent here in ‘Why This Neglect?’: ‘None has read /Their tales of pain’. The concluding poem is still a promise for the long pilgrimage: “Somewhere, I hear a door turning for the final time / in a silent room of its own”.
The poetic voice that delves into the questions of identity, suffering, pains and ecstasy now waits for the realization of the ‘essence of life divine’. Silent Days is a marvelous book with its rainbow colours, kaleidoscopic perspectives and splendid nuances which will forever linger in the lonely corridors of our consciousness. 
 (Source: 'Merinnews'. )

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