Jaydeep Sarangi’s “To Whom I Return Each Day” A Review by Varsha Singh

Paperback: 75 pages | Publisher: Cyberwit.net (11 April 2017)
Language: English | ISBN-10: 8182533988 | ISBN-13: 978-8182533981

Existing in multitude, Jaydeep Sarangi is a poet of peace and hope as well as a poet of pain and protest. He strongly believes that ‘poems heal wounds of men’ and for that matter of women as well. He visualises poetry with a body and tenor and a vehement silence which makes it complete. For him ‘poems are charged with rare strange essences, like a trap open over a well, from which one can hear the strange and magical murmur of the earth.’

The poems of his latest collection To Whom I Return Each Day are written in the span of one year, at multiple places. His poetic sensibility is plural, similar to his identity of a multilingual which speaks volumes about his accessibility to multiple cultures and experience of several terrains.

Through the poems of this book he returns to his roots, his culture, his traditions, his epics and scriptures, his rivers and landscapes, as well as the people who remind him of his realities.

In the 13th section of the 5th chapter of Shrimad Bhagwad Gita the body is compared to a city of nine gates, the nava-dwara-pura. The individual resides herein and enjoys or suffers through these nine gates – the nine apertures – the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, one excretory organ and one reproductive organ. Life within the body is impossible without these nine gates. Through his poem “The City of Nine Gates”, poet Jaydeep Sarangi takes his readers on tour towards the awakening of self, establishing the fact that unnecessary brawls of materialistic, outer world leads toward a nowhere zone; however, the struggle which goes within the human soul might edge towards hope and freedom, that too only through evolution, ‘from bonds of actions’. Though, the struggle of the soul is impossible without the presence of the body which surrounds the soul. He astoundingly makes certain comparisons and submerges the essence of his intense sense of sublimity with immaculate lines like:

Fire is surrounded by smoke, / Deep water by its banks / Every action, every work, small and big /Is surrounded by defects. / Our feet are in mud, doors half open, / Eyes are half closed. … (p. 11)

For Jaydeep Sarangi, epics are of great importance, especially when it comes to writing poetry, dealing with souls. His poem ‘My Temple of Delight’ gives a sound to his intimacy with the same. He says,

Since the days, before a gathering storm / I heard stories from my grand mother / Events from the great Indian epics / I planted a sapling on the breasts of my mother, / Of my tradition. I ride on my family name. … (p. 21)

He brings in somewhat similar sensitivity by bringing in another legend through another poem, ‘The Other Side of Silence’. He says, harshly,

… I never played tricks, / Never played dice like Yudhisthir. / I experience equal consequence / In Syria or in any big democracy. / I rise early to wash the asylum grime / And the land which is not mine, / Silent memories stored in the name of peace. (p. 27)

He gathers back his orientation towards myths in ‘Nataraja’.

Shiva, the cosmic unison, of life and death / Of all orders, near the perfume river / Top of the icy cold in the Himalayas. / The divine dancer, with poses / Performs like an art, / Different ‘Lasya’, / Parvati, in his arms / Life force whisper, the Ganges runs through the minds / Snakes of the world coil and coil / All are part of the sagas of the land, people / Who carry legends and myths on their back …  (p. 45)

His poem ‘Epics Rewritten’ scripts the trend of new voices which are emerging with the narratives of the ‘other’ side as well. He says,

A mirror is a mirror, fractured and fragmented / Twisted perhaps, in the middle / Like epics written from / Another end, Ravana as the hero. / Its cracks open discourse/ On nation and identity. / Life rides on its back, issues of a nation / Are mirrored with new issues / For tomorrow. A new epic of a nation. / Encompassing issues from all estates, / Mountains and rivulets. Cocks are out again. (p. 51)

The poems of Jaydeep Sarangi range from history to geographies, love to abandonment, passion to possession, love to ignorance, past to present, including the rich heritage and tradition involving his nation.

Sarangi’s poems are ‘grand-narratives’ hidden in the form of verses. They carry the depth of an ocean within themselves, each one of them. He serves, “…Half Odiya, Half Bengali and Half English. Roasted Hot…” to his readers. “Some say, ‘It’s handsome.’ Some exult, ‘You create snake holes.’”; while he believes, “Poems are moments of passion.”

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Jaydeep Sarangi has been writing poems in English since his childhood. He has been widely anthologised and reviewed as a poet in several shores. His other collections in English which received critical acclaim are From Dulong to Beas, Silent Days, A Door Somewhere? and The Wall and Other Poems. Jaydeep has edited several poetry anthologies, the latest being with Usha Kishore, Home Thoughts: Poetry of the British Indian Diaspora (2017). He is the founder Vice President, Guild of Indian English Writers, Editors and Critics. Currently, he is a faculty, Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri College(Calcutta University), Kolkata.

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Varsha Singh (M.A, M.Phil., Ph.D.) is an Independent Researcher, Critic, Poet, Translator and Editor from Jharkhand. She writes in English and Hindi. Along with being the Managing Editor of Reviews, she edits for several national and international journals.

She got her Ph.D from Vinoba Bhave University for her thesis entitled “The Midnight’s Grandchildren: Articulating the Postmodern Spirit in English Fiction of India” which was followed after her M.Phil from Indian School of Mines (now IIT – Dhanbad), with a dissertation titled “Translation of Flight of Phoenix: Some Linguistic and Cultural Issues”.

Her published books include Deluges: A collection of poems, 2014, (Authorspress),Unbangled and other Poems, 2015, (Authorspress), Bhor – A Collection of Hindi Poems, 2016 (Authorspress), The Midnight’s Grandchildren: Articulating the Postmodern Spirit in English Fiction of India, 2017, (Authorspress), Parbati the traitor and other poems, 2017, (Authorspress), Recluse: Contemporary Verses, 2017 (Authorspress), Building Bridges: Kannada and Hindi Poetry (Co-authored), (Upcoming in 2017 from Authorspress), Garud ki Udaan (Translation of Flight of Phoenix, a collection of poems by R. K. Singh), (Upcoming in 2017 from Authorspress). She has been widely featured in several journals, books and magazines.

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