‘Majjhim Pantha’ by Roshnara Mishra – A Review by Anirban Bhattacharya
…..and the search continues. A poet, bewildered, observes the very similitude of every tedium of life, whispering “ekta rasta/hothat-i arekta rastar moto’’ (a street, all on a sudden, seems like another street) or reproved the beloved with “seshdike tomar mukhe/ omuker bhab tomuker bhongi/bhir korto” (towards the close, your face looked like another man’s). The same type of shock, with accompanying melancholy, lamentation and uncertainty, revolve round every page of ‘Majjhim Pantha’, a book of poetry by Roshnara Mishra, published by Saptarshi Prakashan.
The term ‘Majjhim Pantha’ meaning middle path, is a fine allusion to the ‘Majjhim Nikay’ or middle length discourse of Tripitaka in Buddhism. Probably the legend himself comes along as a sheer personification of the tranquil and gloomy canvas of the book. A weeping soul, as expressed in Roshnara’s own language “somosto math jure ek ha ha bataser paak” (a whirl of suffered wind around the field) howls here and there and finally rests in peace in the serene poetic images of ‘Majjhim Pantha’. There are many instances of stark pathos, “ami more gechi piprer moto/ami more gechi kobei” (I died, like an ant, much, much ago) or “bidhobar moto sada oi bichanate/ekhon amra shui” (we, now, lying on a widow-white bed). Probably Roshnara defends this sad tone with her innate soliloquy “ghumer cheye bishonnota sasthokor” (sorrow is healthier than sleep). A sharp utterance of insecurity, a hidden fright, looms large. The poet whispers “ritur motoi fere bhoy/bhabi – bochor gorabe to?” (terror comes back like seasons, I fear, whether the year will end or not) or “here jaoa ghumer bhetor borgi elo amader desh-e” (the invader comes amidst a defeated sleep). But readers, what makes ‘Majjhim Pantha’ so unique that, at the closure, this extreme sense of melancholy will encore you with that of a jewel, a pride, not just a fear or burden. It will enrich you. You can talk to the poet with each other’s untold words of illusion, such as “kothao ferar nei tai/na ferai mugdho kore rakhe” (no place to return, not to go back, is enchanting enough) or firm pronunciation of “e bari cheno tumi/porer bochor ar eso na/jogajog-hinotai riju thak chirokal, kothor, nirjola” (you know this house, so don’t come back next year, let this absence be eternal, stiff, and dry). It will never end, rather, remain in the deep end of the heart, as an old corpse of bird resembling a brown leaf- “pakhi more gele bohudin badami patar moto pore thake shob”. The maya, or illusion, whatever else it may be called, illuminates the mystic pages of ‘Majjhim Pantha’. It helps to fetch the sleep of Behula on the eye of Yasodhara- Yasodharar chokhe neme asey Behular Ghum. It casts a full moon in the fingernail on the tug of a lunar current-“chnader taan lege angule purnima neme asey”. It rejuvenates myth.
The cover page illustration by Biplob Mondal is praiseworthy enough to create an archaic and obscure tone, perfectly matched with the theme of the book. But, in the nutshell, what could a reader do after the serene journey of ‘Majjhim Pantha’. The reader breaks himself, with sorrow, fright, loneliness or faith, lying to and fro, but suddenly, like a true sense of joy, he thrills with a sudden sense of rebirth, assembles the parts again – as in the poet’s own language, “sesh periye thahor holo/protita bhongi, protita bhab/tomari”. Thus, through, ‘Majjhim Pantha’, the reader identifies his own mirror.
If I would not speak the words of love, and you,
too, so many murky words,
run frolicking inside us, and
conjugality, as an old house from banyan roots,
We would know, or sleep without knowing, or busy
with a dense rug wrapping, present amidst us – words
would have been meaningless
where, no words ever existed –
and who knows
we are born with innate deafness.
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