Tracing a Tiger
Basudhara Roy
VANISHING WORDS by Sukrita Hawakal Publishers, New Delhi, 2022, 78 pp., 450.00
May 2022, volume 46, No 5

To miss making one’s way through Sukrita Paul Kumar’s Vanishing Words and to forgo being absorbed into the vortex of its supraconscious stillness would be, for any reader of poetry, a serious deprivation. Many layered, teasing in its apparent simplicity, and haunting in its profundity, this slim collection of thirty-four poems interspersed with artwork by the poet herself, is dedicated to ‘all those who are struggling to survive the onslaught of disease and the loss of dear ones in the recent times.’

Taking her cue from the dedication, the reader opens the book to reach out for companionship and solace. What awaits her, however, is a dense transformative experience marked by the realization of the immateriality of life, the impossibility of death and the inherent mutability of all forms of being—physical, psychological and emotional.

‘Why would the tiger of silence not leave/ any pug marks behind in the forest of words?’ muses Sukrita. This, one surmises, is no catechism but an apposite hypothesis to begin a new poetic exploration. An established, accomplished and widely recognized poet, Sukrita is no stranger to the ‘forest of words’. A committed inhabitant of it, she is, rather, on a different trail this time, her poetry being a determined attempt to seek out these pug marks of silence from the heart of the world’s cacophony.

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