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Seriousness is the hallmark of the wise. Sensitivity that encounters the inequities and injustices all around will engender high seriousness which is the outward expression of an ever vigilant mind. Reading a few of Aditya Shankar’s poems, one gets this first impression.
Asked about his views on poetry he says:
“I have never tried to define poetry. Rather, I have failed to fix it within the confines of a few words. Poetry takes a different shape, a different meaning in each of our encounters. It is sunlight, shade, heat, pain, anguish and a canvas of hope for me.”
In his poem ‘The big clock tower at the railway station’ excerpted below, one can detect a sensitive soul that mourns the loss of a sense of community because of the acceleration of the process of isolation of the individual from the society, driving into his/her own private time-zones—
Today everyone inhabits their own comfortable
Zones of history and time —
Public time has died.
Keep inhabiting your own space in the platform.
Smile only to familiar faces.
Let the fact that your watch has stopped, and you
are totally out of place and time,
Remain a secret...
Aditya further adds:
“I find difficulty in adjudging the politics behind my words. Though, I strongly believe that there is space for words and poetry in the modern way of existence, and only poetry can say and occupy the space for poetry. Therefore, it isn’t strange that my intensity of understanding, loving and heightening poetry has happened mostly through poetry itself. Poetry seems to hold the same spirit and language of questioning all over, as the words of Yehuda Amichai, Langston Hughes, AK Ramanujan, Jayanta Mahapatra, Sophie Hannah, Sujata Bhatt, Allen Ginsberg and Ayyappa Panicker have inspired me at different stages of my thought crisis.”
These lines from his poem ‘A little of me’, further illustrate his views:
A little of me exceeds all calculations.
Without my knowledge,
It replaces my strong response with silence,
Brave ideas with frustration,
Innocent smiles with greedy knives.
It makes my walk towards vastness end up in hideouts...
Aditya Shankar’s is a lone voice. It is not often that one comes across poems that stand out for such introspection. This young poet holds forth a bright promise for the future, one feels.
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