Rizio’s Raj’s Eunuch: A Collection of Poems is startlingly original. The title captures the essence of her poetry and her vision—one that transcends all borders, becomes at once he and she, weak and strong, modern and mythical, sensuous and philosophical. As in her debut novel Avinasom, there is the flash of brilliance in the thoughts expressed and the words they wrap themselves in. Though a first collection, we find the poet in full control of her powers.
Through subtle shifts of the kaleidoscope, she lets us see things from a new perspective. Gandhi is presented from Godse’s angle—the effeminate eunuch who preached soft doctrines of tolerance, love and ahimsa; then she reminds us of the quiet strength of Gandhi that elevates him to the figure of ardhanarees wara. The book also evokes the enunchs— perceived as powerful in myth and history—Tiresias, Shikhandi, Brihannala, Bagoas the Persian and so on. The eunuch defies all traditional norms of measurement. Rizio’s poems too have the tendency to capture things from a slanting angle. In ‘The Last Soliloquy of Nathuram Godse’, we see Godse as a child who experienced the thrill of cutting his opponent’s kites; an act that anticipates his later undoing of Gandhi’s life with a perfect finish. only, this time there is no lasting sense of triumph for the winner, for his ‘……….. steady hand and the long line have been lost to a storm of doubt.’ And he wonders: ‘Was my fury at Gandhi only a specter from my childhood training?’
As the angle shifts, age old assumptions crack to pieces. Love can no longer be called ‘a red red rose’ because then it would mean that it withers in a day; she would trust rather the illiterate florist who says ‘the safer option is for orchid’. An even more powerful poem on the poet’s angst is the one in which she captures the anguish of the voice that is at once thunderous and sweet, full of longing and hope, passionate and sorrowful, ‘pining for a willing word’. (What it means to search for a word).
The poet’s multiple selves—seafarer’s bride, a woman, a lover, a daughter, a sister, ...
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