Dazzlingly unpredictable, Ra Sh’s recent collection of poems, Buddha and Biryani, constructs a world of perception that is playfully irreverent but trenchantly real. The poet, known for his seductively tantalizing referentiality of erotica in The Architecture of Flesh (2015) and The Bullet Train (2019), strikes the raw chords of the readers again.
In the title poem ‘Buddha and Biryani’, Buddha transfigures into a desire-stricken ‘anyone’ who cannot spurn the quintessential world of the senses. His transmigration ‘foodie trip/ to all parts of the globe’, note the flavour of flippancy, is cynically farcical as the enlightened is not able to conquer the sensory world. The underpinning of the food metaphor is boldly loud in its irreverence; it ironically connotes no search for dharma but only the irresistible aroma of sensory gratification. To read this is like stumbling into a space that is wickedly transgressive, its mock slanting implying the anxiety of the ‘unlonged’, the role of control in religion and what lies beyond the formulaic when the boundaries are pushed for inner realization.