Tuesday, October 29, 2013

'Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras'

'Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras' is a book that tells the little stories that make us who we are. . The author believes that Benaras resides in all of us Indians, in some beautiful often unknown way. The author is the Sutradhar, in that she attempts to connect an India that many do not realize exists, in that it is everybody’s story. Radha, Krishna, Ganga, Benaras and Me are all characters in this deluge of poems.This attempt at telling the story of the ancient, of love and of faith is to instil the confidence that poetry exists in all of us, all that is needed is to smell its fragrance. To those outside India, the book does not seek to be a representation of what India is or was, but a whiff of what it also can be. It is an attempt to ask people to see the little stories that govern all of our lives, stories that we often don’t see, but those that are important. A poem from the book goes thus-

-A Fisherman’s Ganga-

I sat on a dingy boat,
Looking at the Maha Aarati
on the Dashwamedha Ghat.

Seven priests adorned their Ganga
in every human way possible…
Tourists shrieked, conch shells sounded
humanity applauded.

I lit a small lamp and let it flow
Into the unknown corridors of faith-

A fisherman sat nearby
Perched on the helm of his boat
Looked at the skies,
And spat some Benaras
Into his Ganga.

(Dashwamedha Ghat is one of the main Ghats in Benaras, where every evening the Ganga Aarati takes place. Thousands of tourists and residents flock to see the Aarati, which has become synonymous with the pomp and glory attributed to Ganga.)

*The book is also available on Infieam, Flipkart, Amazon, Bookadda and Crossword bookstores

Available athttp://www.infibeam.com/Books/where-even-present-ancient-benaras-maitreyee-b-chowdhury/9789382473848.html


Beloo Mehra said...

What a coincidence! Just yesterday my husband and I were talking about planning a trip to Banaras. I would now like to definitely read your book before taking that trip! Thanks for this insightful review. Hope to read the book soon.

Garima Nag said...

Very nice !! Liked the poem . It captures the true essence of banaras

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Beloo, I do hope you go and enjoy Benaras & more importantly see it from the right perspective.

Garima, thanks for visiting and glad you liked the poem

sangeeta said...

The poem struck a chord :-)
Been on those dingy boats many times and have watched those fishermen in many moods :-)

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Thank you Sangeeta :)

Antara said...

Benaras is a magical place. You have to be there to experience it. The poetry in this book very beautifully captures the mood, essence and mysticism of this ancient city