Monday, September 2, 2013


Exquisite Images in Silent Days

by Riya Mukherjee,

The poetic collection Silent Days is a collection of exquisite images, the language being one of its kind, where the figures of speech echo the sentiments in a brusque manner culling them into a palpable whole. The simplicity of expression coupled with the harmonic tone of the poems bestows upon them an incredible power of communication which delivers the message strongly to the readers. The poems cover a wide range of emotions, the poet’s mood swinging from that of gentle happiness to grimness, from nostalgia to a fight for the rights of the deprived. The myriad of emotions is indeed a delight to indulge in.
Colour is a dominant theme in the poems. The poet bathes in ‘green’ as in “Shiva’s green neck” in the poem ‘Morning’, “red and green” in “We are Connected”, “blue wings of my imagination” in ‘ A Rose is a Rose’ forming a “collage of dipping signals” even though he feels that “we have forgotten to dream colourful and bright”.
The poet’s nostalgia for his home becomes dominant through several poems of his like ‘The Red Soil Allure’, ‘I’m on Your Side’,’I Am’, ‘Growing Old with Time’, and he constantly refers to the “red soil”, which not only denotes his birthplace but also is an entity to which the identity of the poet is closely connected.  And the poet echoes
    A sharp and burning spirit with concrete form
    Takes me to the bank of the Ganges…
    And I am reminded of the flavour of cooking rice
    And an earthen lamp fed by castor oil. 

The adverse effect that science has brought in the lives of the humans is portrayed by the poet in his poem ‘Missed Calls’ where the poet shows how technology has distanced people from their kith and kin. The poet voices his thought,
    Promises hide their faces
    Amidst crowds of everyday duties.
The language that he uses to express his thoughts impresses the reader while driving the thought home. In the poem ‘Silent Days’ the poet tells, “I shall ask the woodcutter/ To cut my shadow as it is difficult to wait for sunrise”. Then in ‘As You Go’, the poet tells “Turn left/ To right/ Draw straight lines”. The conjunction of “left”, “right” and “straight” seems antithetical.
The strong social sense of the poet is reflected very strongly in his poems as he voices the “…sad history of women in our country” in ‘A Rose is a Rose’. The pitiable condition of the women folks are depicted in the poem and it naturally culminates in his concern for his daughter Titas. The poet tells,

    Brutal within is voiced
    When her innocent body crumbles
    She bleeds
The caste question gains prominence in his poems, ‘Why this Neglect’, ‘Bilingual Bird’, ‘Towards the Center’ where he questions the casteism practiced in our society which denies one even the basic human dignity to live with. The poet depicts this disparity carried over the ages as he tells,
    None has read
    Their tales of pain
    Not even the Gods!
The poems in the collection are however not separate pieces of emotion. They seem to reflect continuity. Even the titles of the poem are in a manner as if one begets the other. The titles of the poem ‘Refugee’, ‘In a Home Away from Home’ and ‘My Other’, ‘We are Connected’ provide ample evidence that the sense element in the poems are continued from one to the other.
Silent Days is an incredible collection of poems and the poet takes his readers to the world of his thoughts, and rightly quods, “…poetry is the window of hope” that takes one beyond the “…vile illusion of transience”.

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