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Living Inside: Meditative Poetry with a Difference
|by U Atreya Sarma|
Living Inside | Gopal Lahiri | Authors Press.2013 | ISBN 978-81-7273-768-9 | Pages 97 | Price Rs 195
It would be an altogether different experience to go through, assimilate and assess the poems contained in the slim volume of Living Inside by Gopal Lahiri, a prolific poet, who writes both in English and Bengali, his mother tongue. Also a translator, his translation of short stories of Israel from English to Bengali has been published by National Book Trust. He is also into writing of “fiction, short story, essay, articles on current affairs and scientific interest.”
the poet feels contrariwise in ‘Time Slice’ –
for he is stuck in a rut of thinking –
Basic human nature and instincts remaining the same ever since creation, nothing essentially has changed in the human progress, and the “scar and pain” continue in one form or the other, despite passage of centuries – nothing has been moved from years, from centuries.
Wisdom lies in relating oneself to every bit of what one sees around in his coups d'oeil, especially in nature. In other words, nature is inherent with a harmonizing power which only a keen and gifted connoisseur could recognize, and comprehend how to –
The poet is transported to idyllic joy on taking in the various facets of the rich scenery while cruising on a vallam (house-boat) in the “unperturbed lake” at Kumarakom, Kerala –
While the poet’s pantheistic spirit captures the healing power of nature in ‘Turn Pages’ –
it sings of the subsuming and unifying alchemy of nature, while he is on a train journey, surveying the vast landscape and the moving scenes through the glass window –
The highly generalized cogitations are interspersed with flashes of the stark mundane realities –
as also of the trials and tribulations of the common people and the laity in some other poems, and “the press of humanity, | the noise and poverty” (Snippet); and “the secret songs of the saddest life” (Invoke).
You simply can’t deny or wish away the existence or aetiological significance of anything in the creation, just because you may not like a particular thing or things. A holistic approach behoves us to see things in perspective; and once we are attuned to this type of comprehensiveness, the maze of problems and irritations that seem to nettle and unsettle us fall in place; and we begin to see the solutions in all their lucidity. Learn to probe inward, and delve deep to find & follow the answers –
Everyone of us is fond of freedom, and so zealously fond – to the exclusion of accepting any sense of duty and responsibility on their part, in our present day milieu – that we itch to be centrifugal with an insouciant and anarchic abandon. Real freedom, personal or spiritual, can be experienced and enjoyed only when we have sangfroid, a sense of the reality, an attitude of ‘let go’ and ‘let go of it’ –
Though it is one and the same object, the mood and the way we look at it colours its vision, as in ‘Night Rain.’ It’s the same rain-battered night, but the plural narrator went through contrasting moods, depending upon the brightness, dimness or darkness of their inner light – “we were sad... ... we wailed... ... we kept silent... ... we rejoiced... we laughed at” and their gloom was finally washed away in the same rain-soaked night, as they –
Creation is ever cyclic and self-regenerating; the antinomies embedded in it are mutually complementary – their contradictions are only an optical illusion; the beginning and the end segue into the other. ‘The Leeway’ makes us wise to this.
In short, Gopal Lahiri is a poets’ poet, a mystical veil enveloping his ideas and expression stimulated by the inscape of the things he sees. On the flip side, a bit of proof reading especially as to the harmony of verbs would have been welcome.
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