Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Incomparable Poetry of Devajit Bhuyan

I've been meaning to post quotes from my favourite book of poetry for a while now. I suspect this book is out of print - I have asked for it at most of the major bookstores in Delhi at least, but they dont seem to have it, which is a slap in the face of all that is right and good in this world. I just found the book today when rearranging the bookshelves - I thought I'd lost it, which was terrible, because it's been one of my favourite books since I found it languishing in the Outlook office many moons ago.

The book is called (fanfare) Daughters of the Soil: Fifty-one poems on Indian women, by Devajit Bhuyan, published by Spectrum publishers in Guwahati and Delhi. Mr. Bhuyan's earlier works include The Making of a Goddess - Fifty Poems on Shobha De and 21st century rhymes - about which Maneka Gandhi says, on the blurb, 'I enjoyed going through your book 21st Century Rhymes'

Now I love this book so much that I was tempted to post entire poems online, but I won't, because there are, no doubt, copyright issues. So if you're Mr. Bhuyan or anyone related to Spectrum, please understand I am posting this only to make Mr. Bhuyan's poetry better known, and sincerely hope this post might help in the reprinting of what I honestly feel is a once-in-a-lifetime book. If it does become a bestseller, I want no part of the proceeds - just the fact that Mr. Bhuyan's poetry is as universally loved as it deserves to be will be enough for me.

ok, enough - straight to the excerpts then. Brace yourselves!

from 03 - Indira Gandhi

Some one said - 'Indira is India'
We said- No! No! No!

from 06 - Shobha De

You begin
When there is end of life
You begin
When there is end of the sun
You begin
When there is end of time
Big bang or big crunch!
Yes, sex is pleasure.

from 07- Arundhati Roy

Is God a small thing?
Like a positron or meson
That can be caged in the lab
Reality will be myth and myth reality;
Can the commutatin law of Heisenberg
And Schroedinger's wave equation
Be solved with a smile
Or curly hair blowing in the breeze...

from 08-Aishwarya Rai

...When I look at the face
I feel the silvery moon light
When I look at the hair
I feel the luscious black silk
When I touch the portrait
I feel the shock of electron volts
And when I closed my eyes
I realised, Yes! God does exist...

from 09- Madhuri Dixit

From one-two-three to Nene...

...Beauty is always magnetic
Heavier than the brain
And so Troy was destroyed
Yet Taj Mahal and many epics bloom.

from 16 - Bachendri Pal

Women can do it
When the occasion comes
As was Rani Jhansi
And many unknown souls.
Climbing a peak may not be significant
But Mt. Everest is no ordinary peak
In the history of time
The message is clear
Women can do it
And that is of much significance
As you have shown.

from 17- Dimple Kapadia

...Her marriage crashed
And then was born a new Dimple
A true actress in her own right
In performance after performance.
Dil Hum Hum Kare...
And so on...and so forth.

from 18- Helen

The peep girl
With the deep cut dress
Ample show of flesh

from 19 - Hema Malini

O thy beauty
You are like the sky
You are like the cloud
You are like the forest
You are like the dancing peacock...

...O thy beauty
You were the Dream Girl
And have now matured
To more accomplished
Responsibilities

from 26-Mayawati

Joan of Arc need not be an IAS
To lead thousands to a goal

from 27 - Mamata Banerjee

Life is a fireball
More matter, no antimatter
More hydrogen, little helium
More tension, little pece
More sorrow, little happiness
But energy balance is always zero
Yet there is a woman called Mamata
Fire and only fire on her tongue
Of course only for a cause
Nothing can stop the avalanche
That has overtaken West Bengal
Is she made of antimatter?

from 29 - MS Subbulakshmi (sic)

...Her voice is Planck's constant.
And Schrodinger's.

from 31- Nargis Dutt

...The dreams of night are a forgotten thing
Only reality is to catch the queen;
Hanging like Batman
I think of my Grandpa
Was he less civilized than me?

from 32 - Najma Heptullah

In search of the black hole
I got a 'white dwarf'
A stable cold star
Surrounded by unruly asteroids
And so near to the 'Chandrashekhar limit'.

from 33-Neena Gupta

...Fatherhood can be substituted
Even through a sperm bank
But not the mother's womb and love.
In this world of machismo
You the zeitgeist
The zephyr blowing fast.
No zebu is needed to be a mother
As you have shown the path.

from 40- Rabri Devi

Can a frequent flyer
Pilot a jumbo jet
Unless trained in the cockpit?

from 42- Ruby Bhatia

Why was I born so much earlier
Than this dreamboat?
I want my youth back!
Life is like roulette
Who knows I might have won the jackpot

from 45-Shakuntala Devi

A human computer,
Neither celeron nor pentium
Yet master of the game
Babbage would not have thought of a machine
Had he ever met her.
And counting is so easy
Silicon Valley in the brain!

From 47- Simi Garewal

In the madding crowd
I always feel lonely
Where can I get quality people?

...Oh pray! Where will be
Our rendezvous?

from 48-Sonia Gandhi

...But,
Let her prove her credentials.

42 Comments:

Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

I have tears rolling down my eyes, undoubtedly of wonder, joy and true appreciation. My favourite is this one:

from 17- Dimple Kapadia

...Her marriage crashed
And then was born a new Dimple
A true actress in her own right
In performance after performance.
Dil Hum Hum Kare...
And so on...and so forth.
In a fit on inspiration, I have written a poem on our celebrated author, Samit Basu.

... Tolkien's true heir, you,
of dishevelled hair
In your beautiful youth,
touching lives, so many,
As you live your humdrum existence,
In Delhi's C R Park.

There may be more. Truly inspired, I am.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Jabberwock said...

We have future laureates among us. (Both Mr Bhuyan and Ms Bagchi)

3:27 AM  
Blogger samit said...

bagchi...you know i love you, no?

3:33 AM  
Blogger gideon the gorilla said...

from 01 - Samit Basu

o great artist,
perhaps only you can do it!
perhaps only Immanuel can't,
or couldn't, or wouldn't.
but sadness is dispelled
when realisation dawns
that even when you are gone
we shall all have blue steel bunz.

4:26 AM  
Blogger #3tiYo>B_shyo> said...

damn!!!!the marauders maps's stolen my thot!!!
"I have tears rolling down my eyes,"
my case... Nargis.... brilliant. but all others are equslly teary eye worthy. rock on mr.B...

5:32 AM  
Blogger Rana said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Buchu said...

dear rana,
the word is irony.

some poetry cannot be dissected. i suspect that the good mr bhuyan's works fall into that category.

please acquire a sense of humour :)

6:08 AM  
Blogger gideon the gorilla said...

from 02 - Rana

protector of pedants!
champion of paucity!
hail the civilised cranium
of the dancing peecock!
nightcrawler, schoolboy-stalker,
you alone, YOU alone, you ALONE -
and, believe us,
it comes as no surprise.

[in my defence, i don't use words like 'paucity'; only the great Rana does. and i didn't misspell 'peacock'. sue me for being a juvenile schoolboy]

6:24 AM  
Blogger Jabberwock said...

Dammit, Samit!

The road was long but i ran it, Samit,
There's a fire in my heart and you fan it, Samit

Dammit, Samit, I love youoooo...

(with deepest apologies to The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

6:38 AM  
Blogger Rana said...

Momo,

Er, I don't remember every word I've ever used, and I may have used paucity before, but how is that relevant to this discussion?

Buchu, no, the word is not irony. It is quite something else. But I've said enough.

6:57 AM  
Blogger gideon the gorilla said...

okay, time for some proper rhymes, courtesy of Nabaran Bhattacharya.

"hi-fi philosophy"

shobai bagaye,
shobai lagaye
shokoler-i hobey onto
aaj ei shishu,
koriteche hishu
kaal-i kelabey donto

7:29 AM  
Blogger gideon the gorilla said...

rana: okay, boss. you win. you're right. you know it all. we're juvenile punks with no bearing at all on wit or humour or culture. we were just trying to have some fun. but this blog certainly isn't worth your time or effort. i assure you, though, we feel so much better for having known you. *sigh*

7:36 AM  
Blogger Rimi said...

er, does anybody know Rana personally? and does anyone else think he might just, in a verrry obscure way, be trying to be funny?

no, okay, i'm taking niceness too far. sheesh, Rana!

and Mr. Bhuyan and just replaced Mr. Beg (author of "wah! fantastico! a phoenix, wah!") at the top of my list of favourite verse.

10:02 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Samit, did you stumble upon such genius at random? How many trips to the Sunday book bazaar did it take to uncover such a gem?

10:10 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

God, is this Mr.Bhuyan for real?

Aside: Samit, I'm glad you finally read through one whole book of poetry, whatever the reason.

To continue Momo's tack and hoping Rana will enjoy! etc, four lines from Srijato, recent Anando Puroshkar awardee:

Baap khadano mayer chele
Din kete jai carom khele
Ekta boyesh periye gele
Kono kichui darai na.


Etar ekta chorus thake uchit bole amar mone hoi:

Aha re!
Kono kichui darai na!

10:26 AM  
Blogger Souvik Das said...

Chill, Rana... the poems are insipid, but also hilarious, which is often the very aspiration of high art. Enjoy the hilarity while it lasts!

10:50 AM  
Blogger The Nameless One said...

Poetry...
I always have trouble with them...

(runs away)

BTW when is the second part of your book coming out, samit? I am eagerly waiting. Would you come to Kolkata for the book launch?

10:51 AM  
Blogger khizaya said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Souvik Das said...

Sushir,

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.

That is why almost anyone with healthy faculties has trouble with poetry, as a certain theoretical physicist pointed out. You are in splendid company ;).

2:24 PM  
Blogger gideon the gorilla said...

wow. truly stunning. :D

amar jibone nai keno kono drama?
tai dibo ami karpash khete hama.
amar jinone nai keno kono dream?
tiktiki ami, poka khai, pari deem.
amar morone hoye na to headline.
prashad gaatre mutiya bhangibo aiyn.
amar morone knaadbe na kono meni.
lady cannning-er naam theke ledi keni.
ek pa shorge, ek pa noroke, jhola
ekti kaman, duti kamaner gola.

(another beauty from Nabaran Bhattacharya. we are all so misunderstood *sniff*)

7:46 PM  
Blogger Akash said...

Quick comment on Laura's post

Aha re ..ekdin sokal e uthe dekhbo aar darachche na ... "gotokal porjontou thik chhilo, jano".. ishhh ..bhabteo kirokom koshto hochche ... *long sigh*

8:31 PM  
Blogger Bini said...

loverly. this is the kind of poetry i really enjoy. momo and i have already decided what we're giving you for christmas.
and for heaven's sake, this is samit's blog - he can put up whatever he wants. jhogra korar ki karon? ey rana chheleta KE?!

8:40 PM  
Blogger gideon the gorilla said...

i think the more pertinent philosophical question would be, WHY is rana?

9:13 PM  
Blogger samit said...

rana, khizaya, whoever else: easy, tiger. theres no contempt or anything of that ilk behind this post. I have to say I genuinely enjoyed the poems. I love the book. I dont notice you abusing the GreatBong when he writes about Mithun movies. Also, if you read my blog you'll note I definitely dont have a high-art approach to poetry, or anything else for that matter, at all. And I dont think Mr. Bhuyan is less talented than me - I think he has a fabulous way of putting things, I havent enjoyed any Indian poet in English as much, and if he's less known, well, this post is a step in the right direction, no? So if you think this is about bullying him, or making fun of him or whatever, I can only feel sorry for you. If youre this paranoid in general, I have to wonder what youre doing on this blog. Also, if you find his poems insipid...insipid, are you kidding me? i cant help you.
Also, please note I am extremely triggerhappy with comment deletion. So far youve called me juvenile, a bully, sarcastic in poor taste, uncivil and insensitive. and have thus rendered me completely uninterested in further discussion. Cheers.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Teleute said...

from humble bread, honest labour - the collection of poems and short stories by sourin guha:

till death?

after hard work, you must take rest -
the dazzling sun,
in the evening,
sets in the west.
oh, my lady,
i'm tired of looking
at your crestfallen breats.
when will you come to bed
or will you keep your virginity
till your death?

enzyme

it was a mad laughter at the dead of night
a prostitute laughing and a poet crying
both of us, oh mother,
are enshrined
in the holy capital,
our bodies badly needing enzyme.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Jabberwock said...

Duck: Check some of the comments on my latest post, you'll find we're both stepping on the toes of High Art purveyors. Cheers indeed!

11:38 PM  
Blogger Souvik Das said...

Well, unless they are an attempt at breaking new artistic ground with crass analogies and technobabble, I agree with Rana that the poems are insipid.

What are any of these smatterings of jargon supposed to mean anyway?:

"..Can the commutatin law of Heisenberg
And Schroedinger's wave equation
Be solved with a smile.." [No one 'solves' a commutating law.]

"When I touch the portrait
I feel the shock of electron volts" [I'm sure he meant some sort of electric thrill, but you cannot even feel an electron volt. An electron volt is not a measure of voltage anyway.]

"...Her voice is Planck's constant.
And Schrodinger's." [That makes me wanna do drugs too. It doesn't make sense nor leave any impression of what such a voice may be by any stretch of imagination.]

"..Surrounded by unruly asteroids
And so near to the 'Chandrashekhar limit'.." [Does Bhuyan even know what the Chandrashekhar limit is? Does he even know what he wants to say?]

"Babbage would not have thought of a machine
Had he ever met her." [There were human 'computers' before Shakuntala Devi, and that is where the word kind of came from actually.]

I may be not as artistically accepting, humorous or aesthetically refined as you, Samit, to appreciate Mr Bhuyan's poetry. But at least I'm unrefined enough to yell "But the emperor has no clothes!" when I see none.

12:15 AM  
Blogger samit said...

WHY am I getting so much heat for this post?
I liked the guys poems, I posted them!
I didnt post them in a newspaper, I didnt get paid for posting them, I just did it because I felt like it, ok?
I do not have to explain why I like them! I like many strange things. These poems are among the strange things that I like. I spent an hour yesterday watching a Telugu soap opera. I loved it. I dont speak Telugu. Your comment seems to indicate you object to factual and stylistic inconsistencies in the poems. Can we just please see these inconsistencies are WHY i enjoy them, and leave it at that?
And what on earth was that emperor has no clothes crack about? was it about me? because im no emperor. youd just be shouting 'the beggar has no clothes!' and that would just be cruel. if it was about mr. bhuyan, i am fairly clueless about his fashion sense (though there was one interesting poem about Ritu Beri) and about his whereabouts, so i am at present unable to tell you whether he is nude or not, wherever he is.
btw: insipid, as far as i remember, meant tedious/boring/lacking force and character, which these poems are clearly not. but lets not get into that either.
i clearly have a lot of time on my hands today

12:39 AM  
Blogger Shobhik said...

hehe... I like the poems too.

Of all the poems in the comments, I think Maru's got the best one though.

4:00 AM  
Blogger Buchu said...

souvik, the poems are way too entertaining to be insipid.

please close analysis korish na poem gulo-r. relax :)

6:11 AM  
Blogger www.gypsynan.blogspot.com said...

Dear distinguished (but modest) author,
The letters section on this post is a true classic! One stalks the blogworld for such epiphanies!!Politeness is such a high and complicated art :)
Gushily

12:24 PM  
Blogger Souvik Das said...

The reason you are 'getting so much heat' for this post, Samit, is simply because Mr Bhuyan's poems are so insipid (,defined as lacking in taste, meaning or impact,) that any appreciation, however true, can be mistaken to be sarcasm. Poetry often walks the line between low-brow art and bad. All the rhymes in the comments section were low brow and very enjoyable, but Bhuyan's were just... bad.

Rana was concerned that you might be embarrassing Mr Bhuyan by extolling his poetry, riddled with silly inconsistencies, as a once in a life-time achievement. (My allusion was to the Emperor's New Clothes by H C Anderson: http://hca.gilead.org.il/emperor.html
,not to you or Mr B's fashion sense.)

But hey, this is your blog and much of art lies in the eye of the beholder. So if you truly appreciate Mr B, that makes you a more welcoming and happier man than myself and you are entitled to express it.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Akash said...

samit, I did not expect that you would delete those "unpleasant" comments by Rana et al. How wrong I would be if I infer that you are not open to criticism-- a trait which I do not associate with a progressive writer.

4:13 PM  
Blogger samit said...

indeed. how wrong you would be.

7:09 PM  
Blogger samit said...

like any other progressive writer, i am a saint.

7:18 PM  
Blogger samit said...

souvik: you are entitled to dislike his poems, of course. Perhaps the excerpts I picked were the wrong ones for you. You should pick up a copy if you can and see if you find the rest of the pieces less insipid. Im pretty certain there has to be something in this book for everyone.

given this comments section, it does seem im a more welcoming man than you are. but happier i seriously doubt.

7:25 PM  
Blogger samit said...

momo:
you are lover, be not fighter
love also is not cigarette lighter
love is two bird singing duet
you are poet, and you know it

thalassa: I found this under a pile of books in the Outlook office. It had been sent there for review.

everyone who posted poems: brilliant stuff! keep em coming!

7:31 PM  
Blogger Srin said...

Wah! Fanatastico!

"love is two birds singing duet"

11:32 PM  
Blogger Bini said...

in love. completely.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Teleute said...

love also is not cigarette lighter

i am stealing that line and will live by it forever and ever and ever.

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

momo's doggerel
tripti korrerel
as for devyajit bhujyan
let him ripen, shojjon
while samit the duck
hosanna, he's in luck!
young ducky basu
(may you always)
make us laugh to aansoos
so rana - nota bebe
carpe diem, ad valorem.
ah, well....
topshe

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi samit, was there a poem on taslima nasreen, by any chance? that would be worth waiting for.
cheers,
shahpar

10:43 AM  

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