Book Reviews

A Warm Probe in Arty Province

Roshni Kainikkara a graduate in English from Farook College Tirur, belongs to a culturally rich environment, who carries the grand legacy of parents (Late Kainikkara Mammi Haji and Jameela Beegam). She evinced keen interest and deep love for a variety of art forms and grew up into an inquisitive and creative person. Keen interest in storytelling, writing and knitting influenced Roshni’s creativity tremendously. She lives in Tirur with husband Saidu Kainikkara and two children (Zameel and Mehnaz) happily.  

Relationships are rooted in mutual respect and sharing of memories of childhood, she says.

The artistic and aesthetic journey continues, and it has culminated in the publication of her debut book – The Silent Letter (English and Malayalam) an inimitable lyrical offering, a publication of Mathrubhumi Books, Ramanattukara, Kozhikode 673 633, October 2023.

Silence has its language, soft, smooth and calm. Roshni, the poet values soul, listens and speaks to the soul. The word she writes floats in the air you hear but cannot tap, feel its hush and react in realization. Love stirs and booms. Her fancy flies high as butterfly flurries in quiet tune as if a dream. She in tiny poems soars beyond. Thoughts of flashy red Gulmohar hinting at the odorous love tale raises curiosity. The feelings bubble with some soothing tunes of a clandestine saga in a moonlit night. If the poet creates a symbolic scenario, it is an invite from a holy worship.

Night jasmine glowing 
Essence of love:
Moon half-drunk!         23

Obliquely, it is a sign of intensity as she paints silence of love in subtle words ‘Blue lotus dewy / Sacred and Serene: / A smile dawned’ with divinity latent 25. The sanctity in feelings lingers on as magnetic beams in silence give birth to imaginary vision carrying celestial aura feverishly waiting for fulfillment at the arrival of love divine. Love appears very opportune godly aroma in life. She feels within and realizes its presence in the natural world, and therefore, loves to indulge in mostly nonfigurative thoughts. It provides eternal happiness she feels. Those days of purity and virtues and thoughts of red blessed seeds make the difference. The seeds are wholesome and boost immunity but early days are over, she is reflective.

She is nostalgic. She loves fairy tales and myths. She recalls to her mind the sad tale of a poet-musician in Greece who felt the agony when his beloved wife died and pursued her to other world. Feelings of melancholy overwhelm the poet.  When one falls short of words, the silence is eloquent with a bitter drink just as images of a delicate casing enhance pounding. A teasing continuity continues and she jumps easily and communicates emotional enigmas and the tale of inner complexity. A little while ago, she lost ‘the self’ in the past and now, some emotions and experience she fails to pin down and rustle, and it is advent of autumn. She lives each moment alone but with someone very intimate, the beloved of ages back she does not wish to share those ecstatic moments …and even she does not know it happens inside.

Sunset glow
Rustle of autumn
A gentleness;
In the warm breeze 
In the words unsaid!  43

A mystery continues to chase. A pleasant ambiance surrounds as memories fill the void and the poet feels the shadow of someone very close and still untouched and the feeling creates sensations vague. The poet connects to a few hazy experiential blazes as she feels as if ‘Unearthing a priceless treasure!’, ‘hard but genuine’ 45. Is it some realization beyond worldly longings? Possibly, a search of an anchor it is who could guide. Understand that if the poet reflects on a relation indistinct all the time, it carries anonymity, like an artifact the poet denies. She asks everyone around to find out who he is and what the objective of search and psychiatry is. Now, she penetrates within again to understand the purpose of silent inquisition. Her memory moves between shadows of soft tunes and silence of sarangi in the sacred time. Music in tiny sprinkles and forms soothes and takes to lovely poignant nostalgia as one gets tender kindly beats, an experience outside the hold of lexis. Melodic refrain draws out smirks and caresses blissful but melody too dies, and she appears to fall in some old tragic incident when she talks of death of a Violin-string. She thinks of a life’s journey that seems full of tryouts and troubles. An unfinished journey a human being confronts amidst joys, little pains and lingering yearnings. A search to find succor continues at this moment.

A life of dreams, fancies, green meadows, open windows and ceaseless longing for inner peace and harmony between illusory presence of two dark regions with flashes of light and actuality invisible it is. When the poet is introvert in solitary moments, she reflects on the myriad facets of life. He or she goes back and back to find roots of total being in respect of the inner and outer life that invariably constitutes the existence with all its shades of joy and sorrow in silence or stillness. She observes –

Between them
An unseen string
Of solace?
Of sorrow?
Of silence?
Bittersweet!            75

Exchange is –‘Unspoken words / Undefined sighs / Unquiet silences / An Estuary’ 77.  It sends numerous messages of love, bitterness, togetherness and separation, and probable union visualized or maybe it is a drive to occasional sorrow or dark with little hopes of light or joy. In deep quietness, ‘a feeling of ‘A palette of love / Fervours, / Bright and bold’  ‘Flight, / Dull dark, / But their meeting? / Always pastel!’ 79.  It occurs in love infinite and unspoken …and it lingers on with a layer of grief.

Until now, nothing is definite. Love remains in the darkness with little hope and distinct manifestation. Whatever words she utters do not portray a certain relation beyond readiness –inkling of divinity. The result is obvious.

Without you,
Green was not a colour
Rose was not a smell
And the Moon?
Never a magic!        85

Then, the dimensions of love baffle, as failure is definite for there is mystifying nothingness between the lover and the beloved who was a mermaid to play not a healthy game in love articulated but seemed emptiness whereas he was beyond confines. Thoughts of love engulf at this stage.

Now, moments of togetherness appear flattering, as the meeting just remains indistinguishable, as they were mere wanderer unknown where time slips into oblivion even as starry nights fill the inner world with ‘a soulful message’. The poet’s suggestion to Moon and Venus, Moonlit night, Nightingales enhances the intensity of love. Depth of feelings reveals an entrancing scenario.

A valley of lilies and lilacs
A mud hut
Her whims and fancies
Brimming in vivid violets;
A love dale!   101


Between their silence and speech
Seasons went on playing
Hide and seek! 103

The poet struggles to reach destination. She inquires, throws some hints, indulges in imaginings, feels inner joy, and thereafter, withdraws. Efforts to dispel ambiguity continue. Fears continue to lurk within and so, finality eludes or she avoids the real.  It has the outline but language remains inadequate but still it is an effort to resurrect some deep-rooted longing.  Her inner world holds appeal and delight even as the intensity makes it engaging.  A woman world has limits but when she extends borders of heart and intellect, she catches hold of areas, which open up territories of intensely hidden agonized feelings and emotions but still inveterate hope survives. At this time, she looks around, picks up relatable incidents and connects the context to impart meaning while taking care of the undefined feelings for love.

A surprise greets and stuns, when she says-

Under the thick canopy of 
Trust and faith
She stood
Intently waiting for her male deer;   105

She gives a huge wrench again when she hurriedly changes the background and singles out the thread of left out love-tale –

In the gentle caress of waves
She was weaving a twilight dream
With pearls of smiles and tears;
Their sandcastle glistened in the
Setting sun. 107

And in the next poem-let, she says in charming and graceful lines, ‘In the hush of night / When dreams take flight / Moon, the sleepless, / Humming a tune; / Somewhere , / The soft tinkling of anklets; / A timeless classic!’ 109

Thus, the poet’s journey to the inner world continues. Experiences, memories, reflections in images and noise in silence continue with the unique resonance within and feeling of undetected reunion with vague questions of existence confound where the ideas of life and death crop up. She continues with the shades of love. The lines portray a tragic love story of Orpheus and Eurydice. The poet’s description is soft and modest, and she keeps classiness in phrase of thoughts and emotions.

In the musical mystery of love
Notes and chords
High and lows
Major and minors
Or just
Orpheus and Eurydice     121

As you go along with the flow of sensitive poet, you imagine the multiple twists in feelings and thoughts these carry –‘His silence? / Her words. / Her gaze? / Her full stops. / Her gestures? / Her question marks, /And his love? / Her poetry?’123.   In the words, she permits the lover of poetry to let the imagination go wild so that he understands the embryonic meaning love conveys. Question marks in tiny verses signal straight query that has intrinsic optimism and philosophic tone, and the frequently used exclamation takes one to another land of lovely but witty joy. She makes restrained moves, surprises, and it strengthens force of little lyrics.

From here, she turns to nature again and correlates human feelings with the natural world the best and most enduring relationship for every man of words and an incorrigible lover, for nature gives soothing comfort and refuge to him in the absence of lover or beloved.

The poet in Roshni finds serene and lasting shelter in varied colours of nature. She is clear in lines –‘Asoka in full bloom / Deep red bouquets / Shades of love and lust: / Cupid just playing / With the hearts! 133

Aloneness offers different perception as she gently observes –

In the shadows of
Love and lust,
A lone flower
‘Moon vine:’
 A waiting in solitude!   141

Natural surroundings give signals of a broken love and promises where longings appear hurt and yearn for Shangri la where life is worth enjoying bereft of worries and hopes for an angelic bliss. Afternoon siesta is enjoyable in silent and soft- faintly seen watery rays, and in this mental and emotional state, the experience lingers on and at the early evening hours, one hears thumri - exotic, stimulating and striking bodily gestures with passion. It excites and thrills with religious penchant. The scenario stretches to provide pastoral joy as ‘Night queens, the damsels / Fireflies, the knights: / so the Night?’ … thinking of a romantic fairytale, the poet in Roshni is just spectacular, and then, the emblematic meet up astonishes.

Lyrics, the zeal
Music, the zest;
So, You and Me?
An unsung duet!    167

Is it a journey to divine love –land, the formation indicates but still seems imperfect? She returns to nature and speaks about its different climatic temper. Clouds and songs of rainy season relate to inner makeup of human character whereas in winter, one finds tinge of sorrow in wide smiles, perhaps some languor overcomes. At times, there appears unique union between the two where craze, pain, wishes, panic, love and extreme joy, appear entwined. This moment turned out their world of delight and sharing of words of love and existence. In a lighthearted vein, the poet calls acts in life a puppet show with concomitant paraphernalia. That is life! Here, the poet does not paint a rosy picture of life lived but further asks man to probe beyond what is not. Despite multitude of complexities, defiance and tests, she affirms –

When I look back at you
I see,
Thorns and thistles
Wounds and sears;
But somewhere at the
Tip of a leaflet,
A drop of dew
Where I see 
A Rainbow in the clouds!         189

Again, at last, she demonstrates immense spirit and zeal to live life confidently. That is innate buoyant and cheery nature of a poet in Roshni. Lyrics delight in little experiential symbolic lines and give a holistic view of inner life with its bright and dark areas of hope and joy, some ache and agony of gone and astray ecstasy whether of the mind or intellect or of the transient physical bliss.

To be positive is an asset, and it largely avoids potential of hatred and rancor. In the continuity of struggle in love, one obtains the real meaning.  The emotional surge is colossal and she puts in efforts to shorten a multipart thought progression. She is rarely direct but in a restrained and indistinct mode, speaks of great truths emerging out of genuinely felt experiences in relations, she confronts modestly. She carries the cultural heritage of family’s love and creativity -a testimony of dedication to the values of love, support, and artistic encouragement. Undoubtedly, she appears an enthusiastic voyager in the region of art. ;Symbolic expression is her forte and it provokes to think of life more realistically with a judicious, warm and constructive outlook. Fresh in approach to life, love, relations and nature Roshni captivates and it is her innate strength, and that way, ‘The Silent Letter’ will prove a brilliant and treasured gift to the world of poetry.


More by :  P C K Prem

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Views: 441      Comments: 1

Comment Only a person who loved nature so much could write such beautiful lines

Roumas Bin Abdurahman
12-May-2024 03:17 AM

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