The poems are a wonderful painting of a boat of words where we experience the fragrance of an amaryllis and also hear the desire of a stone to become a poem. He has very boldly exclaimed that love has the potential to be like a magic spell and underlined the all-embracing nature of love to be like a continent but has also warned us about its farcical nature.
One should read not just for reading’s sake but in order to excavate the more possible meanings by which we may decipher about the depth of love.
This book can be looked upon as ‘a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings by the poet who thereby created a brilliant opportunity for the readers to grasp the nature of love and how it nurtures and bears the potential to transform a being. In his first section “Melodies of Love” the poet boldly expressed his desire to declare “life was more than a fragile existence” and we can almost see his tear drops falling but in the form of “red palash” and “the yellow radhachura”.
This is wonderfully shown in his poem “The Red Palash and Yellow Radhachura fall on the Grass” where in spite of the fact that the poet wanted to “die like Veronika with sleeping pills in my hand”, he wants to live “in the grandest way like the round orb blazing all night”.
The melody of love or the sweet charm and chime involved in experiencing this unique emotion is seen when he says that the reason for living in the grandest way was because “you had been there at the end of all roads/You had been there smiling for me….” Romance is also seen at its peak in his poem
“My Heart Becomes a Continent” where nature’s beauty is amalgamated with the expression of the all embracing nature of love. For example the poet says “My heart becomes a continent/It has rivers, lakes and a vast sea/The milk white swans swim all along/ When you are with me. Images of nature also resound in his poem “Love is a sapling that grows” which tells us that love is not easily attainable and one should have the patience while in the quest for true love.
All of us will know what the poet means when he writes “Love is what I am unable to define” as love is something divine and in order to comprehend the nature of this divinity one should have the patience one needs to nurture a sapling which will grow slowly.
The poet loves playing with the images of nature to intricately explicate his feelings in this section and another glorious example would be to have a glimpse of his poem- “I Miss You Most When You Don’t Miss Me At all” :
When the sky becomes crimson red
I miss you my dear
When the cuckoo coos sitting on the palash trees
Sweetheart I miss you
When the apple turns red from green in Kashmir
I miss you now and then
When the boughs are loaded with mango shoots
I miss you since the dawn
When frosty winter lashes at the door
I miss your warmth in the lonely room
When the mailbox is filled with letters from others
I miss you, miss you dawn to dusk
When I am at mess and feel all alone
I miss you when you don’t see my e-card in your mailbox
Or when you don’t log in
But I miss you most my dear
When you don’t miss me at all.
If one feels the passion one should remind themselves that the poet expresses it in his melodious- “Melodies of Love”.
The second section talks about another kind of melody but this time it refers to the “Maladies of Love” and here we see Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee delineating his uncomfortable sensitivity to the world of reality. He present to his readers a different side where one can draw parallel to T.S. Eliot especially in his poem “I Am All Grey in One Day”.
The lines “Morning Again…I have a newspaper in my hand , coffee mug on my table” bears tremendous resemblance to words and phrases used by T.S.Eliot for example “morning comes to consciousness” (Preludes), “newspapers from vacant lots”(Preludes), “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”(The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock).
His “maladies” also shed light to the most horrible incident which Delhi was witness to , that being the rape of “Damini” where Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee very accurately points out in his poem “They tore the Petals on the Road” and that the rapists killed “womanhood, the mother , daughter , the sister in you/All in one night…just one night”.
This one night was indeed very horrible and the brutality makes us silent in shame and which would lead us to another poem of equal dexterity named “My Days are Silent”. This poem paints a picture of oppression and voices out the silence of the oppressed but also hints that this may be the silence before the storm , the silence before a revolution. One can easily discern this in his lines:
“My days are silent and my nights are loud
Oppression and tears cover my sky
Like the dark and monstrous cloud.
The sweat drop by drop writes the daily gospel
On the canvas of our dull and sombre life
One meal a day we are allowed.
Threats of cane and low wage
Lost is all our labour
We are like barren trees
History is forgotten in whisper.
Our forefathers never saw a metropolis
But when they protested against land acquisition
They saw metro police.
We could write a scarlet letter with our sweat
Which could turn black into red
We never became a river to reach the sea
But we always remained a rushing rivulet.
Just wonderful lines which should be read with pleasure and thought provoking zeal. This book is therefore a must read as it beckons both the charming beauty and the sordid squalor involved with the experience of love. It is a book whose shape is like William Shakespeare’s line from Hamlet- “Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear/Where little fears grow great, great love grows there”.