Fellow Book Worms :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chhoyanche Kolom by Anupam Roy (The Contagious Pen): My Take And Sort Of A Review

So before I begin talking about this book, there are a few things I need to say:

  1. This is the first time ever that I am talking here about a book that is written in the Bengali language
  2. This is one of those very few books in the Bengali language that I have read in its entirety, without a translation
  3. This is the first ever book of poetry that I have bought outside my literature syllabus, from school till my post-grad level, which was decades ago
  4. This is the first time that I am talking about a book that revolves around poetry and such
That said and done, this book was highly anticipated, not just by me, but millions of other fans of Anupam Roy.

If you do not know about him yet, he is an artist first and foremost. He is a multi-talented artist who has made a name for himself as a singer, song writer, lyricist, composer, music director, columnist, social speaker (do watch his first English music video Second Sex on YouTube) poet, novelist (his first ever novel written in the Bengali language has come out this year and I am desperately waiting to lay my hands on it – that will mean another review as soon as I get it and read it, so fingers crossed!), plays the guitar as if it’s his second skin, plays other instruments too about which I am not good enough to comment.

If you would like to know more about him or the kind of music he creates, you can visit my other blog here

There are many layers to his talent, which is the reason that in just the last few years, he has, after shifting base to Kolkata, become one of the biggest names in the Bengali music industry ever. From movies to albums to coming together with a talented director like Sujoy Ghosh and scoring music for his upcoming Bollywood movie, Anupam Roy is a name to reckon with.

Chhoyanche Kolom is the first ever book of Anupam Roy that I read. I did read his columns online, but as a book, this was the first one I read.

Before I move further, let me also request here that if you see any mistakes in the post with reference to any word translation, please do let me know and I will correct it immediately.

Details about the book:

Title: Chhoyanche Kolom (Contagious Pen)
Author: Anupam Roy
No. of pages: 66
Language: Bengali
Year published: 2013
Publishers: Signet Press

About the book:

The book is mainly a collection of poems, and has a mix of poetry and prose. It is divided into namely 4 parts:

Gotojonmo ebong taar purbe (rough translation would be – previous life and beyond)

Protidwandi series (rough translation, I think pratidwandi means someone who you challenge (?) so it would mean challenger series(?))

Shamanyo othoba aarektu series (rough translation would be – a little bit or some more series)

Jaara sleeper class paanni (rough translation would be – those who couldn’t get the sleeper class)

I absolutely loved the cover. Looking at it, you would immediately see the difference between a regular book cover and something that has a touch of art in it. I loved it.

My take on the book:

I bought the book at Flipkart and got it within 3 days of placing the order. You can still order it online if you live outside of Kolkata.

For those of you who are familiar with the Bengali language, the book will be very very interesting and easy to read. It is written in big font and most pages are only half filled, some even less.

The idea is not to fill up the pages, but to fill you up with thoughts and visions. The book gives you the liberty of creating your own landscape out of every new subject.

For me, it was a challenge initially to understand most of what was written. The reason being that I could not understand the words, or their meaning. And I was also trying to understand what the poet, Anupam Roy, was trying to say.

The first time I read the book this is how I read it.

Then it struck me that my approach was entirely wrong.

I picked it up and read it again.

This time, I realized that the point was not to read all of it at once, but to slowly and luxuriously experience the different elements and emotions that the poet tries to share.

For instance, if you are reading an entire poem at one go, you may not understand the exact meaning. But, if you pick out one line and read it, there are many variations you can create in your mind.

 There are a total of 50 writings here, a mix of poetry and random lines that come together as a whole.

The beauty in this book is that any time you pick it up and open a page, you can read one line and make it your own. Through his writing, Anupam Roy shares with you his own thoughts and observations, but also gives you, the reader, the liberty of changing it to suit your own mood and needs.

Some of the best books are those that cut away from the restraints of creativity. Where the author writes something with a clear picture in mind, and you as a reader get that picture, but are also free to add your own ideas into it. I believe this book manages to do just that.

The poems and the lines are very fresh and clear. They are not melodramatic or over the top in any way, something that certain poems end up being.

I will not share any of the writings from the book here, no excerpts, nothing, precisely because I would like you to pick it up yourself and see what you can make out of it.

Also, I will not do any translations, as it will completely take away the soul of the book. Maybe someday Anupam will himself do a translation (though I don’t think that will happen and he would want to do it), but it would really make these beautiful lines reach far many more people who do not know the language. It would also create new meanings for readers like me, who can interpret the Bengali lines a certain way, and may find yet more scope to visualize with the English version.

I definitely would refer this book to anyone who likes reading, and loves the idea of creating together along the lines of the author. It is a beautiful book, one that lets you see it differently each time you pick it up.

Do read it

- Debolina Raja Gupta