Sharanya Misra

Arjavam. A spiritual value from the Bhagavad Gita that embodies the alignment of thoughts, words and actions. This unique word, that holds a whole lot of personality within, sits on the cover page of Geetha Ravichandran’s debut book in poetry. As she says, it is “consonance in what the heart feels, the mind thinks and words express… Just like a piece of music, where there is no place for a false note”. If you really think about it, the word is truly just about being straightforward, about being honest to yourself and to others. And that is what Geetha Ravichandran’s poetry brings. Honest, straightforward truths – of love, life and death – each perfectly woven into the next on a loom of the poet’s imagination, creating a magical masterpiece.

Arjavam has been very aptly segregated into four categories, each finding its right place in the music the poet wants your heart to hum! It begins with Layam (meaning Tempo). Here, the poems speak of death. Of Destruction. Of strength in the face of destruction and of hope emerging from death. Of loss, and the scattered emotions of those left behind.

At the dance of destruction is the song of a new beginning; Death’s hunt is foiled. [Dissolution]

Watching the ritual grief of mannequin mourners, from the void, fear that churned a lifetime, dissipates. [The Sting]

Next comes Swaram (meaning Note). If Layam felt like a journey hurtling towards a destination, an indefinite end, Swaram is like the calmness that seeps into your skin when you sit beside a still lake. Swaram is a glance into the past, laced with nostalgia. The poems ooze of childhood dreams, whims, stories and fears. There is introspection and also an awareness that not everything from the past was charming. One of my favourite lines in the book is from ‘The House That Let us Go’… “We are gentler when we breathe free”.

The rose bush that just didn’t want to grow there, and had to be given strong doses of coffee till it was coaxed to bring forth a single bloom. [The House that let us go]

A blown glass reindeer and a fake Rado from the flea market sit on the shelf…now barely acknowledged – for memories too wither like leaves. [Holiday]

Talam (meaning Rhythm) throbs with the beats of everyday life’s chaos. The poems are about the mundane, yet the extraordinary. Talam amazed me with the keenness of the poet’s eye, what skill it must be to take the simple, the petty, and transform it into art! I absolutely loved all the poems that describe Mumbai. Vada – Pav Stalls, Project Coastal Road, Chowpatty, Monsoon….all of them felt so real, I could reach out and touch Mumbai with my fingers!

Blobs of a sticky mass emerge radically transformed into golden crunchy balls. [Vada-Pav Stalls]

The world stops for a moment sandwiched between two lights, the one red, the other amber, and while cars strain their leash, the asphalt breathes the lull and waves rustle. [Chowpatty]

And finally comes Raagam (meaning Melody) – Poems of love, miracles, of belief, faith, change and of human emotions. Ragam, to put it very simply, is the poetry of life. There is a languid pace here, almost like watching things in slow-mo, that I found particularly appealing.

Maybe, love is just a crackle that sends sparks flying which singe as they settle. [Poornamidam]

Blessings are curvilinear – catapult from unknown terrains, splice the shield of disbelief to let in the wonder of limpid skies. [A stranger’s Prayer]

The poet’s astute observations of everyday life coupled with the imaginative metaphors she decks them in left me in awe. In keeping with the honesty that the title of the book promises, there are no words minced, no thoughts held back. Her brutally straightforward choice of words gave me goosebumps on occasion. “Remember the day when the sea foamed through the city’s canals?” [Tsunami] I absolutely loved how the poet reserves her punch lines for the end – nearly every poem ended with a silent bang, leaving me strangely satisfied. And lastly, the book not only reads beautiful, it has also been designed aesthetically – The front and back covers, as well as the illustrations inside – perfectly complement the essence of the poems if holds.

A wonderful collection indeed of skilfully crafted poems, Arjavam can be the perfect companion for your cup of tea on a serene morning!

The book is published by Red River and is available for purchase Here and on Amazon.

To read more of my book reviews, head Here.


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