Silent Days is bilingual poet-academic Jaydeep Sarangi’s collection of self-contained poems in English along with a foreword by Lakshmi Kannan that deal with personal within, native links and daily living totality.
Most of the poems included in this collection are short lyrics like rain drops from the black monsoon cloud. The poems are marked by simple and lucid expressions and easy flow of free thought. Spontaneity,economy of expression and brevity are at the core of Sarangi’s poems. His poems are coloured with his thoughts on the
Race, milieu and the context in which poems are located.
In the first poem of this collection ‘Stop Here,Please!’ we find the socio-economic consciousness of the poet:
“Believe me,you are a slave in our semi-urban
Consort in a metro suburb.”
Jaydeep Sarangi’s poems engages the readers with it’s touching simplicity and an easy run of thought. Most of the poems included in this collection are short lyrics in free verse written in deceptively simple style which is highly conversational.
The poem ‘In a Home away from Home’ deals with the marginalised people who live far from the madding crowd.The poem is full of beautiful and thought provoking expressions:
“People call you ‘aborigines’
We call you the saviours of history.”
Jaydeep Sarangi’s poems are replete with his experiences in his native land--a land of red soil in West Medinipur.The poem ‘The Red Soil Allure’ deals with the poet’s longing to be in the land of the ‘tribal children’:
“I know I’m enrolled among the hunting-freak tribal children.”
In his earlier collection entitled ‘From Dulong to Beas’ he comes back again and again to the land of red soil:
“Somewhere among the trees
Some rare species of monkeys
Jump from one tree to another
Like a busy man’s schedule in a metro city.” (Kanakdurga Temple)
‘For Titas’ is about his daughter’s coming to a new world-full of noises:
“With small steps
The poem deals with her likings and longings:
“Nonte and Fonte are as if two characters of your neighbourhood.”
The untitled poem number 19 captures the texture of a dream:
“My shadow follows me
As I walk down my dreams.”
The feeling of being uprooted is strongly felt in the poem ‘Refugee’:
“...Became a home-bound refugee in all stations
Like a flying fish
Between home and away.”
In the poem ‘Cricket Australia’ the context is shifted from the land of red soil to the land of cricket:
“History of my land faithfully paints
Rich mythology of cricket who play
And who watch the game close.”
In ‘My Family Tree’ he again comes back to his native land:
“My forefathers settled near the temple of Kanakdurga”
History speaks through the temple of Kanakdurga:
“Where I sit and whisper in history forgotten.”
The deep rootedness in the red soil and the small rivulets in Midnapur,Purulia and Bankura districts occupy the seminal part of Sarangi’s poetic consciousness.
‘The Baul Call’ which is a translated version of his Bengali book of poems,.Lal Palsher Renu,takes us back to the countryside,far away from the numb urban setup.
While talking about his dreams, Jaydeep Sarangi in his poem ‘My Dream’ speaks,
“It’s my dream
My hungry heart can swallow
The whole world
Of poems and rhymes.”
Sarangi rightly refers to dreams; an avenue for survival in modern busy numbness. This indomitable passion for finer sensibilities of life leads him to portray the varied experiences of life’s daily acts in this collection. It is like a flowing stream where ideas and images come one after another. The title poem in this collection represents Sarangi’s mature poetic skills and his vast familiarity with poetic tradition in different continents.
There are guiding as well as sparkling comments by some leading writers in the back cover jacket of the book which give a new dimension to the book. Keki Daruwalla, one of the leading Indian writers in English and the recipient of the Sahitya Academy Award rightly comments, “His poems are a rewarding read, with the scent of herbscoming through the pages.”Bibhu Padhi,one of the major Indian English poets from eastern India comments, “These short,numbered,self-contained lyricsshow a more powerful Sarangi.”
This new collection, Silent Days is a welcome addition to poetry in English by Indian writers and an worthy entry to the bookshelf.