‘Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand.’
– Ezra Pound
As I began reading this anthology of poetry and prose, these lines by Ezra Pound seemed to reverberate across the entire volume of writings. In a new phase of world that we are living in and trying to cope with, the book brings with it a glimmer of hope that one hopes to hold on to and live in. There always exists a binary relationship between light and darkness—one remains incomplete if the other is not around. So do definitions that one gives to a particular concept that one has grown up with, has been familiarized with. The cycle that light and darkness are trapped in what seems existential at one level. Even when it comes down to expressions that are used, in terms of knowing something is to bring it to light while ignorance has been also referred to as being in darkness. Language plays an important role in defining cultures that one lives in, the changing dynamics of what at one point of time defines a culture can also be observed through the language that is in circulation, and in a similar way are light and darkness interlocked with each other, at a literal level as well as a metaphorical one.
There are two kinds of light
At work always.
One. The Sun emits so much
that it reaches Saturn.
Two. A firefly
-with his 3mm bottom-
makes a whole rainforest talk. – Akhil Katyal
In Ammar Aziz’s work, light has multiple roles to play:
Why does the shrine feel dark and cold in the absence of light? ….
…the young man whose body exploded with fire, as he
walks past the grave of the saint who now begins to cast light.
There have been multiple theories around reality not being as real as we sense it to be. If one takes the example of a sky filled with stars, then those stars might have died by the time we get to see them but for our sense of sight and perception, the stars are real and there. The idea of what time is in actuality seems to get distorted with this mentioned example as it depends on the time taken by light from the stars to reach us. Many are familiar with this reality whilst many are not or choose not to be. The fear lies in the perception being distorted and thereof creating an unknown space that is not comprehensible. As Gayatri Majumdar questions her readers in her prose, asking, Have you ever wondered how many selves you wear?
She proceeds to deconstruct the sense of self and makes one wonder about what finally constitutes the Self as she writes in her final lines:
When the time is right, you grow accustomed to your new skin, your lemon wings to snake away and fly.
And there are times when a question regarding what constitutes as ‘now’ fails to make sense.
A storm so loud comes gushing down and coaxes into streams, then floods, chasing banks and boulders and bounds, and I flow. Drowning every hate and hell and howl, splashing clean my most-high rocks, becoming a mountain, I ground.
– Kanchan Dhar