Flights From My Terrace : Dr Santosh Bakaya -Book Review


Flights From My Terrace
The Boy in Yellow Knickers and Other Essays
©Santosh Bakaya, 2017
ISBN 978-93-5207
First Published in 2017 by Authorspress, New Delhi

The author warned me right at the onset that I might like her latest book. Giving myself up to Flights From My Terrace was a pleasure now that I had a boxful of pristine, white soft tissues under the cot ready to make up for the last time I had read a Santosh Bakaya book (of poetry) and being tissue-deprived due to someone’s poor housekeeping skills, was forced to bury my face, from time to time into a great, fluffy teddy bear that had never seen worse times till then.

Having tried my hand at writing personal pieces, I know it is hard. Hard to know the limits of this genre, to know when to jerk back the reins and hold in the madly dashing colts of memory and even harder to make sense when trying to explain to a larger audience why your great granddad stuffed his cucumbers into socks and still emphatically deny that insanity did not and does not run in the family and in the writer’s blood. Reminds me-I must take tuitions from Dr. Bakaya, who combines personal anecdotes with the universal with flair and makes me laugh with her and yet weep for the bygone warmth of family and the old world charm of home and hearth in this book of essays.

I climbed into her time machine and was instantly teleported into a garden where a father stood watering the plants, where the noises of playing children mingled with voices of happy, simple folk. I smelt the aroma of innocence floating around and found myself trying to say ‘ALIKBADKYOON’

“He never rested, but now he was resting –peaceful and quiet.” and how quickly the present went into mourning for the past as the Chariot flew.

The melting watch in the sky, poor Nipper under the neem and the furball Lazy, who I suspect just pretends to be so are by now firmly entrenched in my psyche too as Santosh’s time machine moves at a delectable pace through her memories, stopping just enough for the reader to have a satisfying glimpse of a lovable ex-hurdles champion trying out a Gangnan style modern dance and the svelte Sherry!

The sombre tones of loss, of a child-like bewilderment regarding mindless violence and of the changes wrought by passing time could not be overlooked even while I gorged my fill of Gulmohurs, toothless duos and Grannies in armchairs and resolved never to titter when one could guffaw for the unseen but ubiquitous presence of a father stands as a shade-giving tree in every memory-bubble that the author bursts and fills me with delight for having known this person if only through the narrative of his daughter.

Joyce. Jean, Dolly, Diana and David come visiting and go but I could not tear myself away. The temptation to dive into and swim forever in the company of the author who made every meeting seem like a magical encounter kept me glued to the pages. The supportive Lalit and the lively Iha keep the narrative grounded when the time machine threatens to carry off the author.
The third section looks out into a world not voyeristically but with empathy. ‘Fear’, fallacies and friendships, baton-welding characters and “betel juice erupting, like compassion from a benevolent heart”. I was transported to several parts of the world- Accra and the quaint Kunta Kinte island and to Kashmir, the journey replete with her brand of pen portraits  and the wonderous ways clouds, skies and the sun collude or connive to lend their beauty to her text. Years of experience in astutely observing the world and its minions coupled with an uncanny ability to conjure up atmosphere with the power of versatile and elegant language with no dearth of humour, all made me feel that the last section ended all too soon but the magic of excellent writing still holds me in thrall. Santosh Bakaya’s voice, the potion that casts spells everywhere, is distinctive and totally her. She looks in and out with ease, never breaking the spell she weaves. Like rain, it drenches, like rain it refreshes and like rain, it weeps in hidden nooks.
A compelling read that left me in even more awe of the power of this scintillating writer’s pen.  When it comes to Ms. Bakaya’s writing, like Pooh says, ” Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”. And the epilogue? It is sheer poetry.

©Reena Prasad

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Three Poems by Reena Prasad: “The Pact”, “Reaching Up”, “Let Me Be” | Spirit Fire Review | A Magazine of Celebration!


This is the first time I have been published in The Spirit FIRE Review. Thankful to Janine Pickett for taking my poems for the Jan issue. Do check out this positivity magazine.

The Pact- My legs swing, warm sun tickling bare feet On an egret-sprinkled green palm of earth, a purple heron soars settling on a buffalo its buoyancy turning

Source: Three Poems by Reena Prasad: “The Pact”, “Reaching Up”, “Let Me Be” | Spirit Fire Review | A Magazine of Celebration!

The Colour of a Theft – Visual Verse


Source: The Colour of a Theft – Visual Verse

 

Image by Manon Bellet

THE COLOUR OF A THEFT

The theft was a subtle art of the heart.You seem to have exonerated yourself over time, sporting the same blue as a bedspread, a curtain, a wallpaper and your profile cover but for the robbed, the blue is a tear, a gash over the darker midnight hues which at times resembles a defeated umbrella ripped by the elements and at others, a head bent in prayer, palms clasping something that they are loathe to let go of. A garden at sunset, a music that waits up, for a cycle bell trill, to flow into a wild dance unseen, unheard but then the blue was a delicate cloud over a sunset. A clash of colors, they were destined to be mismatched and one scorched. but inside the veil, the view is still delicious. Nothing disturbs the bird with its soft, white train. It sits with its gaze fixed on the moon for the same moon looks at the other side too, a little more pensive, a little more enamored. It looks at you as you go about humming in that dark blue tee unaware that the ocean just blocks away, is humming with you. The sky positions its clouds to bounce off your thoughts reflecting them through a pattering of rain. What you thought were two kites is actually just one, in love with the wind that tore it into two. Caged within itself, the blue is a butterfly remembering a net, closing its eyes to the savage rents in it. Not wishing to leave. Not willing to fly.
©Reena Prasad