Thursday 6 July 2023

Saaramilla – It’s Okay

Book Title: സാരമില്ല (Saaramilla)
Poems by: Jayasree T.
Illustrations by: Basanth Peringode
Published by: Thinkal Books

I had been losing myself in the pages of Saaramilla (It Doesn’t Matter) when I came to and felt that I should put down here a few of my thoughts on this amazing book. However, I feel slightly awkward, writing in a foreign tongue about a profoundly beautiful collection of poems in Malayalam, my own mother tongue. But, as the poet says, it doesn’t matter. It’s okay. Saaramilla. I’ll do this my way.

Most of Jayasree’s poems in this collection are short. Some are shorter. The shorter her poems, the more powerful and potent they are. Let me throw in here a few of her verses along with a quick and free translation of them just so that I can connect with my non-Malayali readers as well.

ഒരു പുറം
ജീവിതം. (രാപ്പകൽ)

Much as light falls/there’s a side/that slips into the dark/in this whirl/of life. In this poem, Rappakal (Day and Night) the poet, in a brilliant stroke of a single sentence, brings out the laborious cycle of life and the passing of time. A few words put together connect the subtle contrasts of life. The lines are powerful and they hit you before you know it. The poem is like the tip of the metaphorical iceberg. There's massive truth submerged beneath the surface layers.

വരിവെച്ച് പോവുന്ന
നിൻ്റെ ഉൾത്താളുകളിൽ
പാഴ് വാക്ക്
വീണു പോയിട്ടുണ്ട്
വായനക്ക് കരടാവാതെ
അതെടുത്ത് കളഞ്ഞേക്കൂ. (വായന)

Another brilliant verse – Vaayana (Reading) – that made me stop short and go back to reading it again and again. Amidst the words/that line up/in your inner pages/a wasted word/of mine/has randomly fallen/pick it up and throw it away/lest it spoil your reading. The deeper I dive into the layers of these lines, the higher I soar in the skies of my imagination. This is the kind of poem that once written, a poet would feel content forever.

വെയിൽ പൊട്ടിത്തകർന്ന
കൂട്ടി വെച്ചാണ്
രാത്രിയുണ്ടാക്കുന്നത്. (രാത്രിയുണ്ടാകുന്നത്)

Raathriyundaakunnathu (The Making of the Night) presents a chiaroscuro with words – and yes, that's possible. Sunlight broken up/into bits of shadows/are picked up one by one/and put together/by the day/to form the night. The poem at once brings to mind a thousand collages of light and shade, each like a jigsaw puzzle, breaking up and joining back again to make a new picture. The poem ends too soon leaving infinite pictures forming and re-forming in your mind.

എത്ര ഇല വിരിച്ചിട്ടും
പിഴുതെറിയപ്പെടുന്നു. (കള)

Kala (Weed) could be a nature-lover’s lament. Especially my kind of lover who is perpetually fascinated by the weeds with their perennial blooms and die-hard foliage. Spreading leaves aplenty/blooming all the way/I am still plucked and tossed away. But rake the lines a bit, and you see much more than weeds lurking between them.

And so on and so forth. Jayasree’s poems have many such gems hidden in their depths. The poems are well illustrated by Basanth Peringode. The book is well designed and well produced by Thinkal Books. I wish Jayasree’s book wide readership and her pen more power and poetry.



  1. Meaningfully Composed and understandably interpreted. Kudos to both.

  2. Beautiful Lines and very well translated & explained.