Foreword: Woman And Her Muse: Poetry and Memoir
Lopa Banerjee’s new book of poetry and memoir, titled ‘Woman And Her Muse’ is an artist’s journey, leading the readers to a tapestry of emotions, consisting of her tribute to Kolkata, travel, art and cinema. A memorable foreword by Dr. Santosh Bakaya, renowned author and academician.
In the pages of Woman and her Muse, we hear Lopamudra Banerjee’s lyrical screams, the heartbeats of her virgin dreams, the notes of her unsung verses, the throbbing of her rhapsodic songs, rising above existential angst and the putrid air of universal falsehoods.
In the preface, she concedes,
“Being a woman, first and foremost, the uncontrollable sense of unrest between the stagnant, familial home and the one mammoth home, the universe outside spread out in bits and chunks of images, pictures, paintings is the prime reason I chose to pen this collection.”
And we are grateful that she did.
Hers is a restive mind, swirling, whirling, and unfurling a sweet spring breeze, and a turbulent storm in a synchronicity, which is nothing but enchanting. A feisty firebrand, her writings quiver with an impassioned fervor, her feminine sensibilities erupt in staccato bursts of self-exploration, as she spiritedly writes, not only about the different women she has come across in life, the many female celebrities that have filled her with awe, but also the female protagonists in Gurudeb Rabindranath Tagore’s stories, who have so intrigued her. The more we read, the more we find their passion and volatility smoothly coalescing into that of her own, becoming an extension of herself. Gurudeb’s songs seem to be eternally etched on the canvas of her soul, and we inadvertently prick our ears to listen to them as she serenades her nights with their mellifluous notes.
Although she lives in a foreign land, she seems to have left her heart behind in Kolkata, and, like a lover craves to go back into its arms. As we read on, we find ourselves sitting on the banks of the Princep Ghat, beating our feet to the boatman’s’ song, gingerly going up the spiral staircase of an ancient building, we feel memories stumbling and sliding back and forth crying for attention, and old songs hiding in its crevices, beseeching us to listen to their forgotten notes. We empathize with her as the flamboyant hues of Krishnachura still beckon her, across continents, and we almost try to lend a helping hand to her as her slippery palms unsuccessfully try to scoop up vestiges of a bygone era. So powerful is the visual impact.
In a series of poetic vignettes, montages and prose-poems, inspired, mainly by acclaimed doyenne of naturalistic and spiritual painting from Uttarakhand, Monica Talukdar, [The Durga Series], she is at her most intense, dealing powerful poetic punches to the entrenched regressive, patriarchal mindsets and sending shivers up our spines.
In the Memoir for her daughters: The topography of a fertile mind, she pours her heart out; in fact, loud-talking and indulging in a little self-introspection along the way. This prose – poem continues to nestle very close to my heart. In very poignant words, she writes, echoing the sentiments of many a mother:
“From your tooth fairy tale and your quizzes to the loss of my own childhood dreams, from the scattered notes of my forgotten textbooks to the solitary, makeshift haven of my dissent and writing, I roam hither and thither, taking in your foamy talks.”
Couched in an elegantly elevated language, her words pour forth her emotions with a lyrical intensity rarely found today, managing to craft a new universe, exploding in a crescendo of hope. One can even glimpse the lingering beauty of those many unuttered words, peeping from between lines.
Hers is a language, clutching on to which, a tired pilgrim finally finds some rest and smudged and mangled syllables become meaningful. Hers are the notes of a song which are lyrical and soothing, softly sensuous and sublime; a succulent fruit, bloated with crisp possibilities.
Going through the book, one is mesmerized by the eternal romance of nature she so skillfully writes about and singed by the smoldering embers of love she so intensely feels about.
Here is wishing her all the best in her future creative endeavors.
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