Tag Archives: Vishwajyoti Ghosh

Like Blood On The Bitten Tongue: Delhi Poems by Akhil Katyal. Art by Vishwajyoti Ghosh

Like Blood on the Bitten Tongue - Delhi Poems by Akhil Katyal Title: Like Blood on the Bitten Tongue: Delhi Poems
Author: Akhil Katyal
Art by Vishwajyoti Ghosh
Publisher: Context
ISBN: 978-9389152258
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 164
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

It isn’t easy for people to read poems. There is something about this genre that either works for some and doesn’t at all for others. What works for me is the brutality of a poem – the sweet sharp pain, and the after effects of reading a poem. A poem that etches itself on to your heart, is something I look for. Constantly. Unknowingly even. The one that arrives silently and works its way to my heart.

Like Blood on The Bitten Tongue: Delhi Poems is a collection of old and new poems by Akhil Katyal. I read this collection in one day – in a gulp. I hurried through it, without letting go. I rushed through it and yet knew words, sentences, and emotions that spoke to me. I recognised them because we all go through the same – yet we feel we are different and so different from each other. Poetry makes you see the similarities, and smile or weep or both in good measure.

Katyal’s poems are about love, longing, a paean to the city of Delhi, to its streets and signs, its small shops and crooked lanes, its monuments, and corners where lovers meet. His poems make me want to go to the top of my building terrace and scream out loud. They make me want to yell and be heard. He writes of lovers – of you and I. He writes of silences – the ones that hang in the living room as we drink cups of tea and hope someone messages or the phone rings. He writes of a better world, a better country where the voice is held high and we all come together. Katyal writes of humour, he writes of the people on the margins – the ones who live in shadows and yet make themselves seen in ways unknown to the world.

Reading Katyal is to be hopeful. His poems make me believe that it is possible to find love, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. Katyal’s poems have a structure, and then they don’t. They meander and roam free like cats. They have a life of their own and that is made very clear right from the very beginning. Vishwajyoti Ghosh’s art is complimentary because it also tends to not follow any pattern or norm. The art reflects Delhi – Akhil’s Delhi – the Delhi that couldn’t be anywhere else but in Delhi. Of cable wires in the air, of pigeons seated on tombs, of the Delhi metro and people who inhabit it day after day, and also of Bombay and how he sometimes yearns for the sea. The art reflects Ghosh’s Delhi of Delhi Calm, of the Delhi in today’s time and world, of Delhi protesting against everything and standing out.

I wrote of a love gone by in the margins of this book. I found myself scribbling alongside Akhil’s words. I also found myself teared-up when he speaks of love and longing and loss and Hoshang Merchant, and then of JNU, of the Delhi Queer Pride, and all things that make us and we become or unbecome as we live.

I am not going to ramble anymore. All I am going to say is read this collection. Read it. Reread it. Read it. Reread it. Fin.

Here’s my playlist for Like Blood on the Bitten Tongue: Delhi Poems: 

  • Aaye Kuch Abr by Atif Aslam (Coke Studio)
  • Faasle by Kaavish and Quratulain Balouch
  • Aaja Re More Saiyaan from Coke Studio
  • Shaaman Pai Gaiyyan by Naseebo Lal
  • Jaana by Zoheb and Nazia Hassan
  • Aise Hijr Ke Mausam by Chitra Singh
  • Ek Chaand from the movie LOEV
  • Babul Mora
  • Ronay Na Diya
  • Dilli 6
  • Rehna Tu Hain Jaise Tu
  • Kissi Ko Bhi Toh Mukkamal
  • Jinhen Naaz Hain
  • Raah Pe Rehte Hain

Book Review: This Side, That Side: Restorying Partition. Curated by Vishwajyoti Ghosh

This Side That Side Title: This Side, That Side: Restorying Partition: Graphic Narratives from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh
Curated by: Vishwajyoti Ghosh
Publisher: Yoda Press with Goethe Institut
ISBN: 9789382579014
Genre: Graphic Fiction
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

What is home? What is its meaning? Does it lose its value when disassociated from it? When torn away and not being able to look at it and then made to rely only on memory to experience what it feels like to be home. What is home then? What was home during the Partition of India? Two countries were formed no doubt. The herald of a new beginning some would say and yet it was disastrous for so many. Perhaps, it has reached a stage that while it exists in our subconscious, we yet are afraid to acknowledge its horrors. The fact that it happened – it took place and claimed lives is something too strong for us to give it its due and then when we fail to do that, we have art to remind us. All the time.

Art makes us see what we do not want to. It makes us hear what we choose to become deaf to. It compels us to not turn our face to the other side. With this in mind and maybe more, Yoda Press in conjunction with Goethe Institut has published a brilliant graphic anthology on the partition of India and Pakistan, and also the creation of Bangladesh, called, “This Side, That Side: Restorying Partition”, which is curated by Vishwajyoti Ghosh.

The collection is unique not in the sense that it is in the graphic format, but perhaps because it aims to store memories in the form of lines and drawings and black and white. The shades of grey have no need to be documented. They are there – all-pervasive and daunting. There are twenty eight pieces in this collection – written and illustrated by over forty people. A work of greatness, in the sense of the contribution and most empathic – sometimes bordering sentimental, however don’t those times deserve that? Memory doesn’t let go.

I remember my grandmother telling me tales about partition, when she and her husband came to India. They had no choice, she would tell me and I didn’t understand then. I was but a child and now while reading this book, all I could think of was her. Displacement. It almost seems but a word till you face it. The stories in this collection look at every facet of Partition – whether it is in the most Bollywood of manner as portrayed in “An Afterlife” between two lovers who must part or in the way of the survivor as documented in “Know Directions Home?” depicting how a tribe moved from Pakistan to India and made a home for itself.

It isn’t that because of the form of expression being different (graphic + words in this case), the impact is any lesser. You end up feeling the same. At some level, only a South Asian can understand this book and at another level it speaks universally to all those people who have left home or searching for home. Vishwajyoti Ghosh has done a commendable job of getting these people together and somehow while reading this book, you know that they share a common emotion – yearning and longing. It just doesn’t let go of you as a reader. “This Side, That Side” is not just another graphic novel. It has the effect of pulling you right in and making connections that you never otherwise would have. A read to be savoured. Page by page. Illustration by Illustration. Word by Word.