Bijoykumar Tayenjam writes in Facebook on 22 October 2018.
When it comes to poetry, I am a very slow reader. May be this has something to do with my education. In college I have not studied literature. My profession is not even remotely connected with literature. I want to munch each and every word. I prefer to read poetry when I am alone with no one to disturb or distract me.
I find Namrata Pathak’s ‘That’s how Mirai eats a pomegranate’ a book of exhilarating poems. Uncanny illustrations of Reetuparna Dey, whom she had taught once, provide pictorial representation of some of the poems. Some tell anecdotes, some draw caricatures and some melt like ice cream in the mouth but give a different taste when chewed.
I found some of the poems perplexing and attacked them like solving a difficult jigsaw puzzle. The poems are like photographs of a figure taken from different directions cut to pieces and then put together to reconstruct the figure conveying the beauty and expression seen from every conceivable angle. Once you know the clue every piece fits in easily.
‘As you draw a travesty out of a homecoming,
the feet boil
in a mundane rickshaw ride from Malingaon to Fancy,
the ashen hands of the ghats
the belly of a pregnant evening,
here memories are pickled
by summer-laughs —
limes in glass-jars.
The city stores your eyes intact in slime water,
Bluish-green, like two marbles.’
(Conversations: pieces of glass fragments)
For me beautiful words only do not make a poem beautiful. Beautiful words cannot guarantee a poem to be beautiful. Well, beautiful word is an asset to a poem but not its soul. Imagery and expression play more important roles in a poem.
Love is your glass
parody the lit sky,
our canopied evenings; it grows like lanes,
grows further still like lanes,
into a strangeness of one another’s touch,
into a faint scent of the yet-to-come,
(The fourth man)
The evocative power of her poems surprises me — I went several years back in time, to my childhood days when I used to fill every space available in my notebooks with sketches.
The night is a mouthful of nothingness.
In enormous teeth gnaw at your
tilted voice. The upward thrust
on the roof of the mouth tastes of wind.
(Night at Mohanbari)
Some of her poems exude lyrical emotion.
I saw poky bamboo leaves thrusting out of the wall
the day my father lay on the hospital bed.
His amputated words
I find her description of Robin Ngangom very interesting since I know him personally.
He is an anonymity
that burns many tongues.
He is a many-petalled bruise.
the thin-tailed fish of your wedding night,
stacked pungently with sweets,
hell and fire,
this man who digs into your skin,
eats the bread crumb trails of your name,
makes you his gastronomic delight.
His poems are claws,
they tear your flesh away in nocturnal wars,
in diseased disappointments.
Wound. Blood. Pain.
Everything else is deathlike. Or lifelike.
(On reading Robin Ngangom)
Namrata has been successful in making words to breathe in her poems. She seems to have created a style of her own, a difficult thing for anyone to achieve.