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A complete woman syndrome in 'Never Alone': The Muse Missing
'NEVER ALONE' of Rita Nath Keshari published by Authorspress, New Delhi in 2015 is a collection of 101 wonderful poems earlier separately published in various magazines and newspapers. This is again another poetic bonanza offered by Authorspress for the poetry lovers of India.

The analysis of the poems can reveal the truth of Mrs. Keshari's poems and brings out the essence of her poetic philosophy. The poems tell for themselves in varied ways.

In the poem 'Being Alive' she defines sleep: "A good night's sleep is a heavenward journey." In 'The Companion' she said: "Under the grove we dug deep and long, our muscles rippled, our eyes sparkled; a song broke from his lips…If death be sweet then life is sweeter still." The obvious sensuousness reflected in the narration cannot be fully ignored.

In 'The Complete Woman Syndrome' she raises a vital question about a woman's life something we find coincidentally in the letters of Shobha De though her protagonist Shobha is different.

"In between one deal and another in between one tour and another home, office, club, relatives is there one moment I, Shobha, can grab and possess as my own?"

Sometimes she is a little nervous: "I grasped your finger to step out from the muddy grooves of pedagogy. 

Do not withdraw the divine finger for I shall slide back into the slush."

But there is always an undercurrent of optimism throughout her poems "only Hope the midwife waits to deliver our new selves from the ignorant womb of Time."

Dreams surface more in her creativity and this is usually common in the female poetry where a woman has to obey many social obligations:

"O love! Remain intact in my dreams. 

Promise me not to fade away as you do in actuality surrounded by indifferent faces."

Very few can rise to the height of Kamala Das in asserting feministic freedom and boldness of expression. The book of Rita Nath Keshari is dedicated to her husband and the poems are attuned to that spirit of conjugal sublimation of feelings. The poem 'The Elusive Muse' makes it more clear: "As hope mingles with the dust your shadow is a garland lasso around my breathless self." 

There is a dullness in the poems because of this lack of inspiration from other than the humdrum existence of everyday household life. The poems do not transcend feelings but they are very well recorded.  Enchanting Fingers is one such poem where she is really poetic and rise to heights of expression:

"Hands like the blacksmith's,

brow like a veteran headmaster's;

and yet what magic lurks in

your fingers that turn a simple chore

into a work of art.".

The use of symbols and suggestiveness in the poem is really wonderful. In a poem like 'An Error' she emerges to be a bit more philosophical than expected:

"The wall of callous waves

pushed my submerged being

slowly towards the shore,

leaving me high and dry."

She was describing the coming of the waves and the final feeling is that of despair. Going to the vast ocean is very difficult for a woman in the middle class family.

In 'Exile from Bliss' she is affectionate and a little sad to see her beloved leaving for a short while:

"When you went away

I sat by the roadside

watching your receding figure."

Simple lines yet so much moving. This is the artless art of Rita Nath Keshari in her poem. There is a deceptive simplicity in her expression in poem after poem where she unravels herself and we see the woman in her speaking taking the readers into a great confidence.  

Many write poems on turbulent emotions but Rita writes her poems on a mundane plane and even in her wildest flight of imagination she is hardly ethereal. She like Wordsworth's Skylark is true to the kindred points of Heaven and Home. She never loses hopes and even after the thunderstorm she can gather courage to recollect:

"But we will gather our tools again.

Each downpour slakes the thirst

of the impatient parched earth.

The sun will peep out;

hand in hand

we'll glare back at the neighbour

to avert the evil eye." (The First Thunderstorm).

She is aware of the generation gap and shows her modern outlook with her regards for the traditional concept of beauty in the poem 'Generation Gap':

"There she is, my only daughter

in front of the television set.

Her dress almost like first skin;

will she wriggle out of it

or will she slough it off?

My serpentine beauty,

sprawled out on the sofa,

her forked tongue hisses at me,

"Don't gnash your teeth at the television,

the dentist has scraped off the enamel.

Don't wail for the good old days

when family movies were made

For the now extinct Indian family dinosaur".

Her hooded charm almost mesmerised me."

Then she ironically concluded:

 "You green-eyed monster", I told myself,

"Don't envy your daughter.

Get back to the kitchen".                   

This is adjustment that Rita does all her life in the household for the kids, for the husband and in one sense, this is a commentary she has made as a poet unknowingly may be in her poems. This curtailed her wings of fire, the voice of freedom stifled greatly but for which she does not have to repent. The moment you accept the chains, then you may not feel the bondage. That is why her despair is so prominent in the poem:

"I forgot about eternity the other day…

only a thought about to be sucked

into the Black Hole of my mind

signalled persistently for rescue. ".

Rita Nath Keshari is a well-known creative writer, critic and translator. She has published six books in English so far and her seventh one is the Bangla translation of the Odia play Brahmarakshas by Dr. Hrusikesh Panda. She has over one thousand publications in a wide variety of journals and newspapers.  

The two awards she received are 'Best Poet of the Year 2003' by Poets International Journal, Bangalore and Best Poet 2011 by International Poetry Academy, Chennai. As is pointed out in her book "she has attempted to interpret her vision of life in a style uniquely her own" which reflects her innovation and a poetic nobility. Authorspress New Delhi has promoted poetic creativity in a wonderful way by publishing this second poetry book.

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