I am a little uptight. The lady I want to introduce to you today is so precious that I am afraid to choose the words which will form the strokes of my brush as I define her, lest they fall short. Yet, I know they will fall short. What words can contain this woman?
Sridevi Dutta is poetess.
The truth is, to me the word Poetess is the fullest definition of her that I can find. It says everything I could possibly think of saying. It is a word that holds myriad nuances within it. With one word I can wonder at her depth of perception and be astounded by the audacity of her flights. The word tells me of her dreamy playfulness while it shows me the visions that gather in her prescient eyes like childhood’s companions.
Her poems have always made a home in me, always. I breathe the warm air they exude and it seems so familiar, so… mine. Her words, whether from her poem or off her prose, fit into my inner space. They’ve always belonged there. I have a serene sense of homecoming when I read her. That serenity has a sense of narcissism, as if I am impressed with myself.
I could write about Sridevi for ages and never tire of it. There are too many levels on which I feel connected to her; deeply, unquestionably connected. The connection is inevitable and irrevocable, beyond the possibility of debate. But I wont write anymore about her. You must experience her yourself. Find her blog at The Write Journey.
Feeling as connected to her as I do, I am thrilled to the core that she consented to write something for me. To be able to bring her beautiful words to you, fills me with a deep, calm pride. Sri, thank you for this hauntingly beautiful journey you’re taking us to. Thank you for letting us witness the luminescence of your melodious song.
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
~ Maya Angelou
Here is the song the bird sang for us:
As a child, I loved sitting by windows(as an adult I still do). Opening windows held many promises. Promise of a movement, promise of a night pushed away to background, promise of a hesitant trembling movement taken forward or the promise of a gentle ripple breaking on the surface of dormant, static dream. Opening windows spelled freedom of the rarest types , freedom to be you –the chaotic silent you who dared to step out of boundaries, or the crowded-claustrophobic you trying to understand something as trivial as social embarrassment, the tale gatherer you, the story listener you, the fire you, the mystique you, the mundane you and embracing all these, the woman you.
As a woman, when I sat by a window, distances faded and destinations blurred into nothingness. Windows morphed me into a traveler- a path seeker.
Another woman– my mother, an avid tale seeker and as big a window enthusiast as me, would answer my , “Amma why do you love windows?” with a simple “Because every tale has a window sweetheart!”
And just as I would struggle to understand the full meaning of this statement, she would whisper laughingly into my ear, “A tale without windows is like a house with ghosts.”
“You mean like a horror story?” I would ask open-jawed .
“Horror stories are not the only places where ghosts reside Sweety”, would come her reply and the big pretender that I had always been, I would pretend to understand…really understand.
And so I continued to sit by the windows. The big grilled ones of the trains where landscapes fled past you with the lightening speed of thoughts or the small square ones of the airplanes where you felt suspended in a single, big clouded thought or the round cabin holes of the ships where your thoughts were firmly anchored to the deep ocean bed below.
But sometimes weariness would set in. Fatigue would seep into the bones as though the train you were travelling by came to a grinding halt right in the middle of a dark tunnel; or the metallic wings of your airplane found the heights too unbearable to rise; or the waters beneath your ship turned choppy when you were deep in slumber.
You close the windows one by one. You even bang the door shut, not letting in light. Not letting in even a teeny- weenie ray through. You seek succor in the dark. You tell yourself that perhaps you were not meant for travel. The shadows soothe you, patting you to sleep .
As you close your eyes , your mind conjures up visions. Disjointed, yet forming a perfect whole. A single bird making tiny vague circles over the village fields, a brown faced girl… her dry, dishevelled hair held in two dangling ribbons waving frantically to you, an urchin- his smile silhouetted yet distinct in the setting sun racing alongside the railway tracks and all these against the clickety-clackety rhythm of the bogeys as they hurtle towards a nameless destination.
You continue to close your eyes and realize the rhythm of the train has somewhat changed. The train now whistles with more intensity and you feel the metallic vibrations deep within your bones. You know now that you are crossing a bridge. A river would be flowing underneath and there would be village boys splashing in its waters. A few tiny boats would be sailing, their nets filed with the day’s bounty and somewhere on the banks would stand a few buffaloes, languid and placid, their shiny, oily skins lovingly scrubbed by their masters.
You gently open your eyes. You know you have crossed a bridge. The choppy waters from another time have receded to a mere ripple. Below your deck, you see a pair of dolphins dive into the sea. You open one window after another till every inch of your abode is filled with gentle moonshine. You walk out and watch the universe fast asleep in its warm cocoon. You clip on your long lost wings and start to fly. The darkness feels warm and fearless on your skin.
You hum to yourself the song of luminescence and celebrate.