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Author : Debarshi Mitra and Goirick B
Publisher : Writers Workshop
Pages : 130

The collection opens with a harrowing presentation of the night in the form of a slowly descending gloom upon the living world, manifesting in the silence and stillness of centuries on one’s back. The memory of the past and the apprehension for the future is wrapped neatly within the folds of the changing aspects of the night. The night “holds” but it also “lets us go” in directions the mind fears to foray into, into depths the mind fears to fathom. The poems appear like a palimpsest, where each poem is a trace of the previous one and each superimposed image is a reflection of all that existed. The night travels aimlessly through all of them, like a storm reaching “nowhere”.

Debarshi’s poems travel from the “self” to “stars”, from the suddenness of inheritance of language to the “desire to be elsewhere”, from endless stretches of roads to fear throbbing inside the brain. The mind journeys from words which are left unsaid, through incomparable baggage of work, across unnamed corners of cities observing men drinking tea, to the languages of immigrants, each of which tries to hold on but also escapes the grasp. Metaphors of the dark seep through the memories of the past; some are embedded as footprints on the floor. The poems engage with sounds, lights, and silences and treat them as threads converging towards the brain, slowly and stealthily. There are hallucinations and meditations; there are rustles of leaves and the piercing barks of dogs; there are moving trains and trees which remain still; there are goldfishes and hawks scavenging in fury. From the melancholy of nights, the poems move towards the painful reminder of the apathy of identity around us in this “Country of Anonymity”. The self dissolves into IDs, never to be found again, as a whole. The poems are like shadows imprinted on the membranes of the body, shifting from one position to another, changing shapes when desired, and ultimately being engulfed into the night of memories, desires and nostalgia. The emotions are gently weaved within the fabric of darkness and depth.

The second part, which comprises poems by Goirick B., is a journey through the fragmented mind and its incoherent thoughts. Every image appears suddenly like a bubble on the surface of the water and dissolves soon. The metro moves, small talk stands still, subconscious realities dissolve in smoke, “loving” turns into “breathing”, winter grows and age ascends the humongous mountain of life, forgetfulness creeps into the mind and winds stand testimony to a time in the past. The city becomes a living, breathing entity. The home keeps shifting its place. In the city, somewhere, people are still trying to find food. Trains carry memories of the dead. Every city becomes a home, an escape and sometimes also a memory of the trauma. The poems travel in real-time from Calcutta to Pushkar, from Mumbai to Charbagh, “every mile you travelled was real”, indeed! The destination is blurred, and the roads are half-empty. The ostentatiousness of the language of poetry is shunned, and the cloak of “unimpressive similes” is removed in the desire for freedom. The structures do not imitate. The poems rage with anger over the socio-political state of affairs of the country, but the poet can only be like “dust”, unable to keep himself rooted or always flowing. He lies still, holding his breath. The torment of the times is huge and being able to survive is a magnanimous task. Dreams, memories and sleep interchange their places within the mind.

The poems in the book are immersive experiences; once we enter into the realm of the night and its nightwalkers, it is only a downward dive into the politics of being, belonging and escaping. Memories, nostalgia, dreams and love accompany but one has to take the journey, alone, on a still night with a storm that rages far away.

Reviewed by : Mekhala
Date: 07/01/2023