A very close friend asked me why I chose these three poems, and if there was any link among them at all. At a first glance, the three poems are geographically located in three different places -- Assam, my birthplace; Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, where I did my field-work for a Masters dissertation in Linguistics, and Delhi, where I lived for a decade or so studying first at Jawaharlal Nehru University and then working as a journalist for several years at several places before marrying a 'Delhiite'. The poet's voice, if there is something like that, is personal in "landscape" and "Dilli". When I shared these poems in an informal forum, I was told how the 'pain' of the first got re-generated in the third, in an altered form. The normative gesture of missing a lost landscape (birthplace) and another landscape (home away from home) where I lived for a considerable length of time, is iconized, according to my commentators. A few identified readily with "Dilli" because it is iconic of anybody's uprooting -- if roots are the only 'imagined' links -- from a place of utter familiarity. Nice supposition. But all the while, I contended that Delhi as a city had not enhanced my so-called rootlessness. What it had done is cast my own beliefs and fears into a complex relationship of unfamiliarity that I was ready to understand and to some extent, absorb. Hence, the question: "Dilli do you love me?" And this love is a new love, a grown-up love, somewhat carnal in flavor, as opposed to the sense of love's loss in "Lost Landscape" -- a love that is a child's attachment with her pleasurable as well as reviled things from the past (flute, Borgeets, bloodshed, death); a love that is now anecdotal in her contemporary memory; a love that she doesn't sanctify but showcases for sure. When finally my readers mentioned the words 'love' and 'roots', it was interesting to see the kind of symbiosis the words formed in the context of these two poems.
As for "Buddha's Children", the poetic voice there I think is pretty much a 'fly on the wall'. It's a documentary poem. Perhaps it should have spoken about the beauty of Tawang, the golden monastery, the breathtaking mountains all around, etc., if the poem were to follow a traditional descriptive route. But I'm glad it speaks about the people, the villagers, who make up the spirit of Tawang -- every morning as they trot up in a file along the precarious mountain roads to find work and come back exactly the same way. It's almost a set routine. What is not is the lavish monastery, the cheerful monks and their larder full of grains and food. The latter, therefore, never interested me. The villagers did, while they carried on building roads, scrubbing the Tawang courtyard spanking golden, minding their mules and children, chewing on their paltry meal and waiting patiently for the divine blessing to come.
In the same section of Kritya (second from the bottom), do read the wonderful poems of Vera Zubarev. Also, in the section "In the Name of Poetry", see Eileen Moeller's work. Absolutely refreshing.