Friday, December 31, 2010

The last Leaf

This blog contains a series of poem-like fragments written by Dibyajyoti Sarma:
At 25, Dibyajyoti Sarma thought life is beautiful, and he had seen it all (He was in love, of course.). By the time he turns 33 (he refuses to grow anymore), he has made some terrible choices, is single, and realises that he doesn’t know about anything anymore, except that there would be many more choices to make. He is weary of these choices, as he continues live in a wasteland between hope and remorse. He knows he’s mediocre, always striving to overcome it. He wants to do so many things at the same time that he loses focus (that he is genetically lazy, being from Assam in the North East of India, doesn’t help either). He was trained to be a college teacher, now works as a newspaper ‘deskie’, realises the importance of money, but it’s too late already to be rich. Aspires to be a published author, but doubts whether it’s in him. An optimist when not going through bouts of clinical depression, which is almost everyday. He continues to dream of a better existence, when Rabindranath wishpers in his ears: “I don’t get what I want, I don't like what I get...”

The End

The
End
The
Beginning
And
In Between
It’s Brilliance
It’s
Banalities...

The Dedication

To
my
parents
Paramananda Sarma &
Minu Devi,
hoping
they
never
get
a
chance
to
read
these
statements.

The Cover

Poetry is a private act, like masturbation, I wrote somewhere. You write poetry for yourself, and it requires courage to show it to others, knowing they won’t be interested; there are so many things worth the while — other than someone else’s broken ramblings...

Someone said, I think, it was Byron, that, to be a poet you must either be in love or poor. When I did my first book of poems (Glimpses of A Personal History, Writer’s Workshop, Kolkata, 2004), I was both. That book was a compulsion; to stop myself from going crazy...

After that I had imagined that my career as a poet is over. But my pen continued to search for papers to jot down feelings, frustrations — on stray papers, napkins, shopping bills, margins of books, notepads, newspapers, and during winters, my skin...

These lines define who I am, or what I was...

When my first collection was out, Hyderabad-based teacher-poet Hoshang Merchant asked my why I must write in English. Not only my sensibilities Indian (Assamese), even my English is broken. I often confuse prepositions. Yet I write in English, because it’s how I think, with wrong prepositions...

While poetry remains a private act, poets need an audience to sustain his creativity. I started writing in English for my audience, my friends at the university — that was a long time ago. The world claimed them to do her bidding. Me too. And my poems lay there, gathering dust...

These lines were written in the last ten years (2000-2010). Perhaps there were more. I lost them. A few of them were published here and there, something I was very apprehensive about — when the world suffers so much, who would be interested in what I feel!

Why then is this collection?
Because I couldn’t just throw these lines away.
These lines are me.

— Dibyajyoti Sarma.

The First Chapter

Forgive me My Lord
For I have sinned.

I do not know precisely
What I did, but
My sense of guilt
Haunts me night
And day —
I was born with it,
Like my skin
My uneven eyebrows...
I carry this burden of guilt,
Like the clothes I wear.

When my classmates bully me
It’s my fault.
When my mother is unhappy
It’s my fault.
When my brother fails
It’s my fault.
When my sister finds herself with no options
It’s my fault.
When my father returns home drunk
It’s my fault.

Everything is my fault.
I’m guilty of everything.

I was born with this guilt.
I did not want to be born.

You cannot stay in the womb forever.
Ten months, ten days were long enough.

I was born with an
Old man’s mind
Without memories.
That’s why I don’t remember
The reasons of my guilt.

Was I the one who
Killed the share of their own flesh
Earth’s first defilement?
I don’t remember.

I touch my forehead,
Smooth as an unwritten paper.
There nothing there.
I don’t remember God’s voice.
I wonder what it would
Sound like; would he
Speak to me in English?
I would like to think he would
Speak to me in
My months tongue, a dialect
Of an unknown language —
I would like to think, he would
Sound exactly like my grandfather,
Whose voice I had stored in an old
Tape recorder to keep him alive
Once he’s gone, and
Which I’ve never listened to.

My grandfather, we all were
Waiting for him to die, which
He eventually did, and
We all missed him.

I miss him terribly. I
Think of the time I did not
Spend with him. I
Think of the things I did not
Learn from him. I
Think of the stuff I did not
Do to make him happy.

He was a sad, old man whom
Nobody loved, and who wanted
To be loved.

As I add days to my age
I move towards becoming like
My grandfather. I too
Want to be loved, And there’s
None to love me.

That’s why I run away.
Like Cain.
I run away from the place
I belong to.
Like Cain, who just wanted
To grow corn and be happy.
Like Cain
Who wanted to make
God happy too.
Like Cain, who thought his
Ways are better than his
Poor, unfortunate brother.
Like Cain, who just wanted
To settle down.
Like Cain,
Who was cursed to roam
The earth without roads.

I would like to settle down too.
Somewhere.
Anywhere.
Where the sun will follow me.
Where the stars will light
My bedroom.
Where trees will bring me food.
Where the still water will
Hold a mirror for me.

I want to settle down.
Not like my grandfather
For whom it was the last
Option, the end of all options,
But like Cain, as
The first and only option.

I’m tired of running.
I’m tired of imagining.
What tomorrow would be like.

My grandfather saw a tomorrow
That did not exists.
He searched for happiness
On foreign shores —
He grabbed something else
(I do not really know what)
For happiness; wasted his
Youth chasing it,
In the process making his
Family unhappy
Himself unhappy —
And to die a desolate death.

The night he died
I had my first sex.
I did not like it,
But clung to my adventure
As if it was the only way
I could save myself from
being my grandfather,
the old, unloved man.

I miss my grandfather.
Perhaps he could have saved me
Perhaps he could have told me
Why I’m guilty.
Perhaps he could have given me
The mantra to survive.

Who decides how long you are
going to live?
God? Whose God?
Abel’s?
Ajamil’s?

My grandfather died in his
90th year. He was ready, he
Told me a few days before.
There was nothing for him
In the world. His
Wife had died a year ago.
She was lucky to precede her
Husband, even though they
Were not in talking terms
For more than 30 years.

Death makes everything possible.

Death sets everything right.

Journal Entry: 74

What decides the journey’s end?
The arrival at the destination
Or the fact that you’re tired and
Want to stop?

Can you call this stop
Your destination?

Do nomads dream of a home
Of concrete and stone?

What if you forget
The address of your destination?

What if your destination
Is a dead-end?

What if you realise it’s not what you
Wanted when you set out on the journey?

Would you start all over again?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Journal Entry: 73

As you continue to
Add days to your age
You don’t really miss
Your childhood.

Seeing these children
Playing marbles on the road
What you really want to know
Is how did you really
Look like
When you were as kid

No photograph is a
Sufficient answer.