To Sit on a Stone and Other Shorts

Ramu Ramanathan

Published 2020
ISBN 978-81-945093-7-0
Pages 100
INR 300 | USD 9.99
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To sit on a stone —
watch the grass grow.

Witty and absurd, philosophical and funny, illuminating and esoteric, funny and serious, rooted and surrealist, pragmatic and political, comical and serious — this collection of short, pithy, almost epigrammatic verses offer a window to the world we inhabit, seen through the ever-observant mind of the playwright and poet Ramu Ramanathan.

Undaunted by a lineage that includes the pillow book of Sei Shonagon and the commonplace book of Francis Bacon, Bambai argonaut Ramanathan launches a craft of his own. Boldly he ventures where ten thousand have gone before, lightly his skiff glides over the profoundest depths, evading the sea monsters Pomposity and Poison Pen, skirting the treacherous island of the enchantress Twee. He returns with a fleece colourful and sequined and distinctively desi, having got to a T the ennui and chatter of the Anglophone middle-class, its anxieties and urban frustrations, its little triumphs and final despair. We owe him a dockside party.

In Ramu’s poems, the physical world pulsates with unsaid, indefinable feelings that lend them a quaint quality of subdued effervescence, like a dewdrop reflecting the sky. It is a way of looking at the physical world and beyond, and it is distinctly Ramu’s. Any single poem of his may look scattered with no apparent connection between the stanzas, but on close attention, one realises that an invisible chord (musically as well) of tender sadness, which is eternal as time itself, is running through it. It is so mute that a casual reader may miss it completely. It is a deceptively simple work.

Ramu Ramanathan is a playwright and director based in Mumbai. He has scripted notable plays such as Cotton 56, Polyester 84; Comrade Kumbhakarna; and Mahadevbhai. Eight of his plays have been anthologised in the book 3, Sakina Manzil And Other Plays (Orient Blackswan/EFLU). He is also the author of the poetry collection My Encounters with a Peacock (Red River), and co-editor of Babri Masjid, 25 Years On… (Kalpaz). Ramanathan writes on theatre and culture in newspapers and periodicals. He has been associated with the printing industry for three decades as a journalist. He is the editor of PrintWeek and WhatPackaging? magazines.