HYDERABAD:We are home to other beings, objects and places revisited by the memories of the same every now and then. The landscapes within thus emerge as an interplay of light and darkness, shifting to give space for fissures left unattended. The lacunae develop their own lava and find a way to erupt, emerge: sometimes all at once, sometimes one by one, step by step, word by word. Poet Amit Shankar Saha’s first book ‘Balconies of Time’ is an attempt to bring forward these hidden geographies of memories recorded in bricks of mind’s own time. The body just acts as the host for the colonies of these recollections.
The poet explores both the mind and body to set alight dormant kilns of reminiscences within. The slow flame flickers lighting up the vast cities housed inside the atoms. The poet begins a microscopic search dealing with landscapes first. That’s how the introductory poem in the collection is titled ‘Awadh’ with the mention of Ghalib, the great Urdu-Persian bard, who once lived in Calcutta at Ramdulal Street when he visited the British Capital in February 1828. Amit, too, lives in the city and one can notice the delicacy of an Urdu couplet surreptitiously seep in the last lines of the poem:And again the night stumbles in unsteadily,Like a poem disinterred from one’s memory.
The simplicity of the words define the poet’s craft as he chooses clipped lines, concise fragments to let the light within his stanzas flow. And his images are of everyday life lacquered with the beauty of thoughts. The journey of letters continues sometimes in a train that gathers ‘Chips of abandoned sleep’ traversing to the mental landscape of celebrated US-Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali and kneading his words into: “Mad heart, how brave can you still be?” The indescribable happens here. The heart is questioned: a complex mesh of arteries that are also silk routes to feeling[s] as tender as the first snowflake.
The streets in the heart also house balconies hanging from pillars of distant times that forget their existence and which axis they belong to. Amit, in his title poem explore the madness of heart that appears and disappears jumping from one elevation to another leaving nothing but ashen moon: the harvest of time as a reward for the mad heart of the poet which he carries as grey dust in the streets of Calcutta that several other poets and artistes have done before. ‘Balconies of Time’ is a guide-map of memories that are nothing but work-in-progress. Amit practises this cartography not just with words, but heart, too.