Originally posted on Kitabi Karwan
I have found myself pondering over the weight of words quite a lot lately. Quite literally, each letter that strings together to make a word, every delightful ‘s’ of plurality or every possessive apostrophe, makes me marvel at the beauty of the written, and even spoken, word. In that context, poems are perhaps the epitome of capturing the pinnacle of human creativity, is saying so much with so little.
Gulzar’s Suspected Poems, like the man himself, are beautifully mesmerising and have an almost magician like ability. In a way, I guess there is no difference between a magician and a poet. Both draw you in with The Pledge, awe you with the Turn, and slap you with The Prestige.
I tend not to talk about the content of the book I have read, choosing to fix my focus on the thoughts inspired by the same. For Gulzar, I have to make an exception. Using a skill that is unparalleled, unrivalled, and albeit jealousy inspiring even in petty writers such as myself, his collection of poems transcend the barriers and divisions of logical separation our mind has been conditioned to draw. Comparing the scene of a riot to a summer vacation for children is at face value, a preposterous and scandalous proposition, but one which Gulzar takes on with lithe grace and wit.
Finally, a few thoughts on the translation itself. Pavan Varma, demonstrating an erudite linguistic capacity, took the bold yet measured step of not only avoiding literal translations, but also often breaking past the original work’s rhythmic metre to encapsulate the sui generis emotion the poem generates.