Mumblings & Musings

Book Review

By Patricia Mukhim

This is the first book of poems I have reviewed with quotations from noted authors TS Eliot to Salman Rushdie among others. Anirban Bhattacharyya’s book of poems “Mumblings and Musings” has received a thumbs up from no less a person than Aamir Khan. Each poem here is a narrative of pathos as it seems to gouge out raw, unfiltered emotions out of the writer’s soul. The vivid references to death and how it creeps in on us in the words, “Is there time enough for time?” ending with Time stops/Your lap is over/Its time to hand over the baton to the kids on the carousel/Who know not that time is ticking by,” accompanied alongside by Ashish Bakshi’s illustration of a woman’s face on which are wrought time’s cruel marks and wrinkles that tell the untold story of life lived at the edges – a battle well fought with time leaving its indelible stamp.

Of particular appeal is the poem ‘Borders.’ This resonates very well with the lived realities of people of a nowhere land – people who are labelled ‘illegal migrant’s always the ‘other’ to be looked at askance; humans but not human enough just because borders are drawn by someone somewhere who does not know that someone’s kitchen is left in another land and her sitting room reduced to a straight line running right across the room, leaving her neither here nor there.

Indeed when we look at neighbours separated by lines on a map which divides people by the colour of their faces; their religion one senses the anguish and pain in the deep recesses of the poet’s heart.

This is a book that allows the reader to give vent to her own pain; a book that touches a chord and makes her smile through her tears knowing that someone else too has walked her path.

In “Final Chant,” Anirban the poet becomes a storyteller in verses narrating the final moments before the soul leaves the human body and the struggle between life and death to lay claim over what is after a mortal being..

In ‘Delicately Put; even the ordinary spider attains a sort of grandeur as the poet weaves a story of its life, hanging between the hangars and suits in a cupboard, but with subtle overtones of love gone wrong somewhere.

Leonard Cohen’s definition of poetry features in the book. He says, “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” Indeed one has to have lived life and experienced its highs and lows, its kicks in the shin, for someone to come up with this heart-wrenching book of poems. This book is precious for it encapsulates the poet’s naked feelings. It takes courage to bare it all as Anirban does in Mumblings & Musings.

Published by Petal Publishers, Anirban dedicates this book to Rohinton Kapadia and Bertram Da Silva, his teachers at St Xavier’s College Kolkata and to his aunt Krishna Samajdar who encouraged him to write.

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