Monday, 6 October 2014
(From the foreword by Kris Saknussemm) As with all the poets I most admire, words are living things for Tikuli. But as you will come to discover, they are never deployed for their own sake. She uses them to tell stories. The images, scenes, characters and fragments of visionary empathy that you will find in this book are all rooted in her native India-and yet they reach out far beyond national and cultural boundaries. They do so because they have an interior cohesion of spirit. Her subjects are often the dispossessed, the lost...the abused. There are undercurrents of sorrow and anger. And yet love shines through, even when it seems to be fading away. Above all, there's a powerful sense of hope at work-a conviction in the redemptive strength of poetry.
The first question that came to my mind was, why the name “Collection Of Chaos”. I read and I wondered. I questioned and somewhere through the lines my questions were answered. Tikuli’s expression is unabashed and direct. She conveys the stories, the pains, the paths, the dark and the light in various forms. The chaos is both inclusive and exclusive. It is driven by inner demons, pains and struggles and it is also an outcome of societal evils, demons running through our culture and influencing our thoughts, expressions and hence actions.
In all this chaos we also see a line of faith, which may appear faint or may not appear at all but it is there. In between those lines, through various stories, there is a spirit of faith.
Tikuli starts with a gentle reminder of the presence of poetry everywhere, and gradually moves towards the darker side of expression. Some poems are definitely not for weak hearted. A few lines would touch your soul and some would become a part of who you are but the more you read, the more you would want to read.
One of my favourites, something that I could relate to, and something that I wish I could express in a similar manner is “Little hand prints”. It broke my heart, made me teary eyed but still it left a lingering hope that there are still few out there who are saving lives.
The poet moves from one life to another, from one pain to another, from one form to another but the expression remains beautiful. Some stories have open wounds, conveying a plethora of aches. Some will make you shiver in disbelief but you will still read, consumed and spent in the moment.
The poems are direct, there is no cover up. You won’t be able to hide the pain behind the lines. And then there would be some which will make you smile a little in nostalgia.
Another one of my favorite is “The Banyan Tree”. Banyan tree is the reminiscent of memories. It lives forever, grows, moves from roots to roots but still never changes. Tikuli has expressed the memories, the stories, and the significance of the tree in those stories so well in few words. If only the tree could speak, it would share something similar.
Somewhere through the pages, I became a part of the chaos. I loved the expression. It is free flowing and yet direct. It has a soul and not effusive sentimentality. Less is more and each expression is complete in itself. The book for me is definitely a must buy.
Buy this book from:
About the Author:
Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8, Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women's Web.
Some of her print publications include poems in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul(Westland). Her work has also been featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse. She blogs at
Stalk her @
THIS TOUR IS HOSTED BY:
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Friday, 12 September 2014
Heads down in fear,or
bowed to the almighty
Hands tied, Held together
By force, or
As they wait
Three in a row
Silence of death
As they break free
Three in a row
Linking this post to The Fiction Challenge: From 15 to 50September. Hosted by Shailaja V of The Moving Quill.
Image source here
Sunday, 31 August 2014
Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras is a book that seeks to tell the little stories that make us who we are. The author believes that Benaras resides in all of us Indians, in some beautiful often-unknown way. The author is the Sutradhar, in that she attempts to connect an India that many do not realize exists, in that it is everybody’s story. Radha, Krishna, Ganga, Benaras and Me are all characters in this deluge of poems.
This attempt at telling the story of the ancient, of love and of faith is to instil the confidence that poetry exists in all of us, everywhere, all that is needed is to smell its fragrance.
To those outside India, the book does not seek to be a representation of what India is or was, but a whiff of what it also can be. It is an attempt to ask people to see the little stories that govern all of our lives, stories that we often don’t see, but those that are important.
The audience for this book might be strewn across the globe, for faith is not religion-centric, it is people- centric and often without dimensions.
In poetry there is no beginning, no middle, nor no end. Like faith it is everywhere, it is omnipresent. The book affords no answers, nor no questions, but if you listen and read carefully you will see new things, a new beauty perhaps, one that has been silent so long.
Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras, much like the city has many layers. It is almost like the poet is the city, exuberating different shades of it through her words. Each poem is complete in its story and still leaves a lingering feeling, of wanting to see more, experience more and you hurriedly would move on to the next.
This is the first time I read Maitreyee and generally I like poets who paint through words. Maitreyee paints magnificently through her words; as colourful as the city and as grey as its shades.
There were many pieces that literally left me breathless (I always have a physical reaction to good poetry), there were many that made me skip a heartbeat, there were some that made me sit up, and there were some I went back to again and again. It felt like I lived a life through this book. I made a mistake of trying to read it in a hurry and immediately realised I won’t be able to stop once I start. I read it through two nights and still feel didn’t do justice to the soul of it.
Some of my favorite poems/ lines are:
A Fisherman’s Ganga
A fisherman sat nearby
Perched on the helm of his boat
Looked at the skies,
And spat some Benaras
Into his Ganga.
The parallel between the spat and Benaras is absolutely brilliant. Who can carry more Benaras in themselves than a fisherman and his inner core?
The Cry of Death
While the son bargains on Chandanwood price,
the Purohit chews on the fragrance of Benaras.
The smell of flesh,
in everyday gutters,
The poet has so casually spoken about the cycle of life and death, that it hits you deep. What would be the charm of the place where life and death are so normal? How would you so casually live where smell of death is as normal as smell of food, rather more normal than smell of food?
Even the present is ancient
In the long nights of sleeplessness,
sleep sits across like cows…
In random splendour
like pale ghosts
from yesterday's history.
Nothing describes the city better than the first two lines of this poem; Banaras is indeed ancient in present. It is glowing in the lights of yesterday’s history.
An Invasion so Complete
This poem left me wanting to know more. What was the story? And what was the end?
The Benaras Market
Divinity is cheap, I think
And so is living-
It is only the dying and the dead,
That becomes priceless
The stanza hits hard. Infact the whole poem does. Another one of my favorite;
You touch a wall,
Shiva grows in your hand,
Somewhere along the road,
lazy and ignorant
of worldly woes,
Chunnu the dog
Lifts his leg on both,
delicately and methodically.
A territory marked for each
The deity and the dog, the worshipper and the worshiped are lost and found in the line that is blurred.
And I would like to sum up with my favorite work from the book;
A God Every Minute
A man emerges naked from the waters,
leaving his entirety,
as if to Ganga.
There is no loincloth to cover his shame,
Or the lack of it
He sits then on the ghats
And minute by minute,
Becomes God and his incarnate
It is absolutely brilliant. So many things are conveyed in so less words. It speaks about the charm of Ganga and Benaras; a place where a Sadhu emerges every minute; a river that absorbs all the sin, minute by minute, and covers the distance between God and the human. It dies little by little and unites the soul with her deity.
About the Author
Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a web columnist and creative writer. She is author of Reflections on My India, a book of Indian traditions and spirituality in parts. Maitreyee is also author of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen- Bengali Cinema’s First Couple and Ichhe Holo Tai, a bilingual muti media presentation of poetry. Maitreyee is featured amongst other Indian writers such as Gulzar, Shashi Tharoor and Deepti Naval in an anthology of Indian writers Celebrating India.
Maitreyee's Blog Tour