Title:Writing by the Window
Author: Nivedita N
Price: Rs 99
Published by: ParanthesesPhroetry Press
Picture Credit: Sridevi Nayak K
Poetry is an image, it is an echo of words, unlike prose. It is an art wherein the words create a vision.
This is an experimental endeavour at juxtaposing poetry and images, but as an old world poetry connoisseur, I think the purpose of poetry gets lost in this exercise. A poem is in itself a complete image, unlike a blogpost. Maybe that's why somewhere down the line, this idea didn't go down well with me. Although that doesn't mean that I am not open to creative experimentation.
I liked the cover page designed by Sridevi, Nivedita's friend. It sits pretty with the title of the book.
In the first poem "House no.4, Street no.10", old memories are revisited which was a visual journey and knock at the door of your heart.
"The aroma of mother’s varied sumptuous dishes
And nailed on the fridge our to do list of wishes
Our nascent chuckles still echo
Ah! For that piece of green paper a lot we did forego"
The souvenirs of memories that the poet left can be visualized by the reader here.
"Why did you swallow the last breath, Grandpa?" is an emotional read where in the poet talks of the pains of parting with a life partner and the gullibility of old age.
"Smiling and blushing like a shy bride, she looks up to the luminous moon till she wakes up to a mundane ritual laugh aloud till tears swallow her red cheeks
She sits down quietly reading spiritual texts."
These words picture loneliness of ageing and is a visual journey through Nivedita's grandma's life, as she lives it now.
"His mother" was a cute rendition of memories that the poet shares with her friend's mother. I liked the physical sketch of the person to whom this poem is dedicated to. There is too much ache in the frail, bony, droopy eyes. Stray grammar errors could have been avoided.
"Today I met your father" is another poem talking of a relationship between a father and son.
"His rate of speech like Rajdhani Express" is a beautiful metaphor.
"Today I met an old friend" has loosely woven images that could have been developed more.
Caged Love is a colorful poem which reminisces the life of the poet's love birds, caged but very deeply in love.
"They behaved like love birds too.
with their beaks they shared grains day and night.
looking at each other, they let out funny sounds"
The question was a powerful end.
"The Brahmin boy and the Dom girl" was one of my favourites. Talks of the differences dividing our society and how rebellious acts can put to rest such issues.
Poems like "A glimpse of you", "The Station", "Tree story", "Tea', "Wildflower", "The Patriot" and "Colours"were stray poetic doodles that could use some more snapshots and be developed into poems that swallow the readers into a sensory experience.
Love note was a love struck seeking for words. I liked the way she decided to play with her knowledge of different languages here.
Middle Class poet reminded me of my own love for weaving political poems.
"I write while the rice settles to whistle.
I don’t have a writer’s table.
It is used as a dining table."
These lines wonderfully describes the limited resources that do not bind us down.
"Menstrual cycle of a pen" is a bold try to draw a metaphoric parallel between a pen and a woman's period cycle. "
The pen is too embarrassed to explain. Upset, the paper rolls itself and sulks; the pen holds it rib and cries in pain."
Many women may identify with these lines.
I must appreciate Nivedita's observation of people shunned the society and the empathy towards them. "The Artist Beggar" was a wonderful dedication to the common people lurking on the streets, who may have talents much like us.
"Feast of Rose" quietly captures the vagaries of the human heart. It played with colours and captured moments which it was intending to do.
In the "Stubborn Pen" she has conjured images of a strike that usually happen in south india to the life of a pen. She could have used more of the figurative language to transport us deeper into the life of a pen.
"Hanif Qureshi" reads more like a story with metaphoric comparison. The ending was a "wow" moment though.
Gattu and Arjun were pieces about people trying to find their true selves in this journey of life. Arjun was a long read, dragged at certain places, although the message was heart warming.
In Bougainvillea, her prose piece, the idea of girls allowing a dance didn't go down well with me.The image could have been that of a seductress who was empowering, or did I loose the message here?
I was not happy with the way the poem travelled from maths to words to Bougainvillea. Or was it too hard for me to comprehend?
"Gabbilam [bat] is a peek into the life of a bat, a cussed creature. Colours did no wonder, until she spoke of black.
"Freedom to preach" and "Oh! You Pashtun woman" challenge the rabid cruelty of patriarchy which doesn't allow women to bloom. Again, I wished to settle for more images.
"Hyderabadi Pigeons" is an attempt to use pigeons to tell the story of Hyderbad's evolution.
"They flew to their mothers in old houses, whose tears ignited more heat in the city."
These lines tell the cringing tales of mothers who saw the city burn.
Jogwa could have developed the images of potholes to create a clear visual perception.
"As AP dies" is an intelligent poem that metaphorically tells you of the death of the Andhra Pradesh, and the struggle to part it wealth.
"In the land of Krishna" is the tale of abandoned grandmas and Nivedita's grandma who live in two different worlds. She traces both the worlds clearly."My father forcefully pushed away those women who wanted her to suffer.
It was a sweet revenge they were taking.
And my father, perhaps, with a love for my mother,
wanted to stop this cycle
He demanded sensitivity.
The scars of grandpa’s death lessened over years.
Granny was delicately taken care like a child. From behind the curtain, I look at her as she savours jalebi,
Taking the last bite, she remembers him and blushes like Radha."
"Sitae" could have been fed with more scenes from the agnipariksha.
The last poem Draupadi and Krishna was a valiant effort.
" Our togetherness is limited to rubbing against each other; yet when we come together, we create waves".
Here the poem scores points whereby getting lost.
Some of Nivedita's poems are fresh like "The brahmin boy and the Dom girl", "The Middle Class poet", "Menstrual cycle of a pen" and "The artist Beggar" because the portraits she has drawn with her words etch in our minds.
Other poems like "Why did you swallow the last breath, Grandpa?", "Hyderbadi pigeons", "In the land of Krishna" and "As AP dies" are emotional outbursts at life that has been unfair, these poems tug at your heart and you can read chapters from your own life in these poems.
There were a few grammar errors here and there while I didn't find any spelling mistakes.
I give the book 3/5, two points go away for grammar mistakes and loosely bound images that border around commonness.
For a first attempt, this reads like a gift of words, because some of her poems are freshly blooming while others are still nascent buds waiting to open and spread their fragrance. For me, the idea behind carrying pictures with the poems didn't work, but for many who are willing to experiment this maybe the beginning of a new genre.