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Padmaja Iyengar and P-Enchants: An ever smiling poetic soul from south India
Padmaja Iyengar, a wonderful poetic soul who regularly posts poems from her book P-Enchants is the Cultural Advisor of Vijayawada Cultural Centre. She writes wonderful satiric pieces. Although her smile reflects her cordiality and sincere commitment to friendship and poetic creativity, she loves to interact with poets of the globe and always shows eagerness to unite the globe poetically.

On the April fool's day last year, I sent a friend request to Paddy on a social media site, when I knew that she was associated with a great poetic venture on behalf of the Vijayawada Cultural Centre. She was travelling to Hyderabad for attending a poet's meet and apologised for not being able to talk. I was a little frustrated. But in the evening, it was a surprise for me that she wrote that she is happy to be my friend and we had a long talk on poetry and other issues.

I probably met the wisest female poet of the south. I heard that she is going to organise an International Conference on Multilingual Poets. I talked to her, addressing her as Mrs Padmaja Iyengar ji. She at once reacted with love and care and said, please call me Paddy. I was stunned to know her down to earth attitude and cordial nature. Out and out professional as a poet and the Cultural Advisor of Vijayawada Cultural Centre, Amaravati, she was poetic no less.

I came to know that I can call her Paddy, no madam, no didi, nothing else. At that time she was so busy collecting poems from all over India and abroad. She was a kind soul and dreamt of uniting India poetically. I asked her whether I might be of any help. Oh my God! She was so happy and cordial. Night after night and day after day, we worked for the collecting poems for this wonderful anthology called Amaravati Poetic Prism, a collection of 527 poems in 53 languages which won the Limca Record and was launched by the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Chandrababu Naidu, who  honoured me too as one of the National multilingual poets in the International Multilingual Poetry Meet.

Paddy was behind all these great happenings. She did her best for this anthology. She forgot her own writing for P-Enchants, her own book. She forgot her own health ailments. All who saw her in Vijayawada was amazed. She is profound, sincere, caring but so detached like a lotus in the water. It is a great feat for any human being and particularly for a female poet. She was outstanding as a friend and as a source of poetic inspiration.

One who come in her contact can never forget her. She herself sought nothing but was eager to cheer and inspire all others and she was a smiling soul. She was a poetic soul, a poet of the poets, for the poets and respected and loved by the poets. She was Paddy, the smiling poet of south India.

The moment I read her poem 'Hoitus Poetus', it came to my mind that I must focus on her own poetry. It was as superb as any of the satirical piece composed by Dryden or Pope...a lampoon of the highest poetic merit. I cannot resist sharing some lines from the poem here.

This wannabe poet, poetry's own Munnibai MBBS 
Crazily compiles multilingual poetry anthologies, yes.
She hobnobs with many poets of repute
And sometimes even gets into a dispute
What is she up to – this poetry's own hoitus poetus?

Earlier I read one such poem

The sudden and definitive DeMo
Has given some explosive ammo,
To those in doubt
And those without,
With guns and roses to get at NaMo.

 Paddy is superb in satirical pieces of writing

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But mostly, Paddy is a gentle poet of aristocratic suavity. I loved her way of presenting ideas in a conference. She is a nice talker. But in poetry, she is a little serious and looks like an activist who can blend activism with aestheticism.

All her life she was in a banking job and still the great and profound interest she has in literature – it is simply amazing. I recall the life of Charles Lamb who had been a clerk in the South Sea House but still did not allow himself to be turned into wood. Paddy looks vibrant when she is with her pen and the golden nib glitters.

She can gracefully satirise the cashless society in her poem 'Color Complex'.

Rama and Krishna were common market usages
To denote you-know-what transaction adages
For some time none of these
And hopefully never please
As India soon a near cash-less journey wages

Paddy sometimes is indulged in introspection and feels that her mind is a hunk carrying a lot of junk which is 'accumulated over so many years comprising worries pains and tears.' She is so straight-forward in her thinking and in her poetry:

My mind at last is free and clear,
I can now think without any fear,
About my choices and life's goals
With no negatives to prick holes.

When mind starts smelling like a gutter,
It's time to free it from junk and clutter.
We have to device our own, special tool,
To extricate the mind from the cesspool.

Probably here is Paddy unique. One interesting thing is that I blocked her on Facebook. She might be thinking that I have gone mad. But she knows I respect her, love her and cannot really block her. She remained the same when I sent her the friend request again. I met her in Vijayawada and after the honour from Hon'ble CM I thanked her saying that, Paddy I am indebted to you. Probably she felt some pain and told me in a feeble voice, "you blocked me'. Then she smiled. Unforgettable Paddy, I did not ask her to forgive me. May be this is because she was Paddy, our ever beloved Paddy the poet's poet, friend of all friends. We both smiled and it persists, and will persist for ever. A poet can never block another true poetic soul from the mind. She understood. Salute to you Paddy and your outstanding poetic venture.

About the writer, Dr Ratan Bhattacharjee

Dr Ratan Bhattacharjee, the trilingual writer (Assamese, Bengali and English ) and academician, who is Associate Professor & Head, Post Graduate Dept of English, Dum Dum Motijheel College, Kolkata and Guest Faculty at Rabindra Bharati University, is also Member in the International Advisory Board of International Theodore Dreiser Society, USA. He is a regular columnist in The Shillong Times, The Sentinel, Dainik Statesman, Kolkata and book reviewer of The Telegraph and The Statesman. Known as Oleander Poet of India, he has to his credit a number of poetic volumes including Melodies and Maladies, The Ballad of the Bleeding Bubbles, Oleander Blooms and Our Daughter, Our Princess and his first book is translated into Assamese as Raktakta Burburanir Malita.

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