The novelette titled ‘My Glass of Wine’, written by Kiriti Sengupta, reminds me of the apposite remarks of R.L.Stevenson, ‘Wine is bottled poetry’. Be that as it may, Kiriti has chosen to explore the prose and poetry from a dizzyingly different perspective. The rewards can be high; but so can the risks. As Pluto observed, ‘Wine fills the heart with courage’, Kiriti walks on with his treasures of ideas and emotive personal narratives. He sends us also reminders in his Introduction, ‘Always be a poet, even in prose’ (Baudelaire).
Don Martin in his Foreword has rightly pointed out ‘A book of poetry I could easily understand’. He further added ‘One thing to note is the book will be enjoyable for non-Indian readers, just at it will be for the natives’. Natives or non-natives, one can enjoy traversing the path of Kiriti with open eyes and relaxed mind.
A natural writer with a sharp and sympathetic mind, Kiriti has woven his personal anecdotes with aplomb. The book has been arranged in eight chapters. Each chapter barring the last one, sketches impressions of life and the true beauty of these tales lies in their delicate endings preferably in poems, which manage to tie up the loose ends if any and leave almost everyone contented and makes great reading.
No one know I worshipped you
with my flaming heart;
no matter if I had a flower white,
you were to float, and fly
like the passing kite. (The Air)
Here is an author, who understands his readers perhaps better than most contemporary writers and immediately builds a rapport with them. Chapter one traces the path to the world of literature. His thoughts are rooted in reality and his analysis is measured in summing up at the end ‘I think, is all about consumption- more you consume the fuel of your being, better is the outcome!’
Like an infant consuming
Killed essence of
The eternal soul; and consumed,
Essentially I remain… (Consumption)
The author finds it interesting, for example, to view Rains through a different lens, perhaps through the eyes of a poet. His lucid prose and lovely poems delights not the ear but the mind and body as well. ‘My ‘rains’ denotes a situation, which makes me feel lost. I mean lost in the crowd, lost in my thoughts, lost in my occupation, lost in my discipline’.
There is both the blissful celebration of contemplative mind and suitable words. Inside the world of his, it may happen that you find his writes are full of ideas and overbearing at times yet he vividly invokes power and delicacy at the end. Here is another sample- He watches life, years and his thoughts embracing it all as in…
My earphone whispers and
Lips glued to the chewing gum.
My glasses moisten|
As I find you eyesome.
Is this what they call love? (Vermillion)
Detached at time, Kiriti looks harder at the world with keener eyes. He spins out real life stories sharpened by his wits and allow us to have a private glimpse of his creative method. Kiriti’s poems are charming and always complemented with an introduction. Sometimes it echoes with loss and shadows as well. ‘I have had my share of setbacks that originated from love and yielded some scratches, which were only human!’
Few beautiful scratches, deep within,
Soft marks, palpable even after months;
No wounds, but tiny scratches brown-|
Soothing, mesmerizing in between! (Scratches Only Are Human)
In many ways a personal narrative, he writes in an original voice and his poems capture mosaic and rhymes with truth. Even a letter or a few lines spark his imagination. He likes to refer letters to ‘clips’ of words. I love this tiny creation;
They are siblings;
the older fetches rain, while
the other burns my train.
They keep on hugging
enticing my hunger and greed. (My Family)
An excellent observer of the surroundings, Kiriti is content to keep it light (as if sipping a glass of wine) with minimum fuss, preferring his tales and anecdotes are rich in memory and valuable even it is explained to the outsider. He advocated ‘Dear readers, let us be name-filled. Let the world realize that we actually hold our names’. It’s a pity that the book ends so quickly!
The cover design by Marut Kashyap is eye-catching and the get up of the book is well-ordered. An accomplished writer like Kiriti needs no introduction and the last chapter ‘what they say’ appears to be redundant. Even the advert at the inside back cover is a big No No.
Keeping in mind- for every glass, for wine inspires us- many glasses will be raised to toast the author. For all those who wish to witness a new wordsmith at work, this book is a must on their reading table.
My Glass of Wine by Kiriti Sengupta
Author’s Empire Publications, New Delhi, Price- Rs 125/-