Friday 10 April 2020

To My Violin

To My Violin
by Geeta Varma

Geeta Varma's ‘To My Violin’ is like a sweet old refrain drifting in the gentle breeze across time. She has a way with words. She doesn’t try to write poems. Her words become poems. Sometimes she says it all with just one word, like the last word in the very first poem.
but you say dark is beautiful!
you are “correct”!
although I smile,
it’s painful.
And you get up and go
the moment I sit next to your skin!

Many of her poems don’t have titles. If they had, the titles would have interrupted the breezy flow of her poems. ‘1965, Back in Kerala’ and several other poems evoke sheer nostalgia. The sights, sounds, and even the smells in a traditional Kerala home can be experienced in these poems. And this reader totally identifies with the poet while reading these lines.

I stretch myself on the couch
I’ve nothing to do
I can read, doze off or fall asleep
there’s pounding in the backyard
some chillies for grandma’s pickles
a mango drops crushing the leaves below
a squirrel runs up the tree
nothing else moves
that afternoon!

Geeta Varma has words even to recollect her silences, and her silences themselves are eloquent. In ‘1969, Entry to Goa, old’, about her voyage in a ship to Goa, the child in her echoes the child in every one of us.

Rocking on waters,
Against the shades of blue
I saw the horizon moving
Maybe, maybe not.

'1981, Madras and home' and some other poems are very poignant. A few words in comment will not do them justice. Sometimes the reader feels that she is not reading a collection of poems but a single continuous poem as the poet's thoughts recur and overlap, making the whole experience of reading the book a delightful journey. And like after any journey, the joy lingers.

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