For some reason, I invariably think of the Siberian cranes, known as Kurjan here in Rajasthan, each time I read Teji Grovers poetry. These birds glide and trudge through the skies across many oceans only to land in an expanse of stony, gravelly wilderness. Here they spend a few months surviving by pecking at these pebbles. Do they cover this bewildering distance, flying over the seas just to land in the desert? What kind of ironic fateful journey is this? What pain, message and unsolvable puzzle cause i Thinking this through tires us and that is when the puppet in Tejis poems shuts its eyes. Turning the cranes and the puppets into word pictures is the natural destiny of poetry. Expectations, nightmares, despair, love, tumult, lament are essential elements in the transparent realm of the soul. These essential parts keep returning as images and sounds in Tejis land. However, beyond a certain point Teji herself turns invisible even as the images and sounds continue to revisit. She is totally absent, so much so that she becomes one with the expanse. This act of restraint, deornamentation and nakedness becomes possible in Hindi due to Tejis way of writing.
Water / writhed like some bone in the puppets eye
To give space to what transpires in the invisible, in the midst of the dense darkness of the visible and the clamour of the spoken, to lift the swab of white cotton mindfully and spread and entrust it to the sky of poetryTeji Grover attains this end not merely in Hindi language but in the field of poetry as a whole. Being a poet like her is in effect like being able to observe and hear suffering transform and transcreate into language: You have given me the suffering of the word suffer/ at the moment of my departure. She writes about that which has waited in outflowing grief for an eternity on the blazingly hot plateau and then has become silent:
He has forgotten his receptacle of wateron these inky black boulders like some word
Tejis poetry is stationed in an arena between the perpetual drawing apart of waterlike flow of words and thirst for words. Ashok Vajpeyi, the poet, has this to say about Maitri, one of Tejis collections of poems: For centuries poems have been written about places. But there are poems which make and create their own place. This space isnt ...
Table of Contents >>