Book Reviews

Sujatha Warrier's Attic

Sujatha Warrier, The Attic and Other Poms, Authors Press, 2018, 68 pages, price Rs 250/-

Sujatha is a new entrant to the field of women poets. Now she has gone up on the ladder in being included in the World of Anthology of Global Harmony and. The blurbs on the cover page speak high of her poetic talent. Wrote Bibhu Padhi: 'To read these poems is go through journey that records small (italics, mine) themes of engagements that are acutely human.’ The renowned poet Gopikrishnan Kottoor concludes his burb: 'There is gaining maturity and elegance in this collection.'  A very pleasant addition to the poems are the line drawings for many poems by Bharathi Varrier. (Varrier is, perhaps, a variant of Warrier.) This deserves distinctive recognition by all the emerging poets.

The very first lines of the poem (The Attic) sets the tone of the entire text. 

Wil the tarantula crawl out
and traverse the hidden crevices’
of the crowded attic of my brain?
I’ll let the darkness, the silence
and let the stillness be,
lest I send mites
the qualms-
running all over my raw nerves
in fits of frenzy
I wish I could vaccum my attic clean. (p.13)

The part after that attic is transformational and wholesome. The speaker of the poem displays her mindset. The poet is not the poet. This must be kept in mind by the reader. Throughout the text some kind of anguish and terrible tribulations of a mind is ‘experienced’ by the reader. The Night Tonight is tactfully presented in the line drawings.

The night’s tonight
An overflowing cup
Of sweet sparling white wine
I drink hard
Into the little hours
And have still…. not had my fill

In vain I seek
The wean off the lure
Of the spilling frothing brim
Still succumb again
To the heady hour
Of the night and the moonlight. (p15)

The Night After speaks of a devastating rain which makes feelings and hurts burning the mental feeling. Is this in itself reason of calling feelings of devastation? The speaker’s doubts and vagrant thoughts are very personal as speaker tosses and turns sleepless. The Half-Moon seen through the French window reveals that the speaker is well-to-do. The reader is left to imagine or guess the speaker’s pain while reading as simmering night’s embers half unspent and half unleashed. In the poem about the wee-hours biding a fond farewell under the night’s cover before the sun’s round turn.

Without wasting the reader’s time, I go straight to the most important point, I reproduce here what the poet wrote about Konark:

Konark is a small town in Odisha, India, famous for the Konark Temple. According to the local folklore, Dharmapada, the twelve-year- old son of Bisu Maharana, the chief architect of the temple, helped the artisans mount the crown stone of the temple which they had been at a loss to accomplish. Then to save the reputation of his father and his co-workers from the ire of the King which would have led to capital punishment, he gave up his life by jumping into the sea from the top of the temple. Unfortunately, over the centuries, the temple structures have ben run down by the salt and sand-laden winds of the sea. I consider this poem very beautiful. After the poem Retro View things seem to be looking up. Here is Receding Frames:
Views are infinite frames
within frames
of fleeting memories
or thoughts
or, afterthoughts
or a few stolen moments
in retrospect. (p.35)

Rain in Summer is great. For a thoughtful person it makes movement impossible and what is more important it puts one in deep rumination of places, people and things.

Frantic was the stampede
of pelting raindrops
in the dead of night
on my roof top
The night wore on
and the music mellowed
to a rhythmic drizzle
and a silent lullaby. (p.37)

The tune Megh Malhar is mellowing and things start becoming more and more mellifluous.

The air was a caress
soft as a sigh
of breathless anticipation
Drizzle gathered
in a downpour unabated
the soul to its deepest core
Overwhelming currents of Megh Malhar (’39-40)

Thoughtful people poets think of ultimate reality and destiny.

Veering away, meeting,
Crossing, parting ways,
Some returning, some not.
Destinies form an intricate doodle
Twisted and knotted
But never broken
Past turning points
Where beginnings end
And ends begin (p.41)

Looking at birds, flowers and leaves (see the line drawing) makes the poet of herself, a person

I am the wind that blows
I am the flower that smiles,
the bird
that flies in thought
across a million skies
I am the space that links
you to me
and the space that links
you to me
and the space that keeps us apart
I am all the while
in you and me
bound to none
belonging nowhere at all (p43)

Sitting, rocking in a chair looking at trees and leaves one thinks of being and life.

Whiffs of air
whisper sweet nothings and
Life gently rocks in its chair,
A soft heave backward
to browse the distant skies,
A smooth lunge forward
into the infinite horizon,
A sharp upturn
And the world is askew,
flipped right upside down. (p.47)

Music is a passion for all and surely more for sensitive ladies.

Soulful strains from the sarangi
Drift in a gentle breeze
Rousing soft ripples on the fervid pools of stillness
Of the silent summer night
And strumming
A million heartstrings. (59)

Every thing has an end. The poet came a long way from the attic which is wisely shut off. -

Search, again, is from self to self
To the one unknown from the known
Give up one or
Let go the other
To always run into
One or the other
Along the way
Until you become
Your soul companion
And your only destination. (p.68)

The lesson the poet could search for and discover at last and decisively is this: Be Yourself.

Sujatha’s book of poems carries a myriad facet of life, living and time. Beginning with the dark and dusty attic feelings and ideas go on whirlin, gyrating. I enjoyed imagining her go through life’s visionary thoughts.


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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