10Apr 2016: “No Waiting Like Departure” by Debasish Lahiri



Departure, if seen as an avenue of escape, is a journey leading away from the condition of nothingness; yet, like the other avenues of escape in our lives, it is eliminated as a possibility. On the 25 of March, 2016, Debasish Lahiri’s book of travel poems, No Waiting Like Departure was successfully launched at Oxford Bookstore, New Delhi.

Eminent achievers in the field of arts and letters with their gracious presence assembled for a grand evening of poetry adda. The official launch was followed by a vibrant and delightful panel discussion featuring leading figure in Indian poetry and fiction in English, Keki Daruwalla, Prof. Sukrita Paul Kumar, currently holding the distinguished Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at the University of Delhi and honorary faculty at the Durrell Centre at Corfu (Greece); writer, poet Debasish Lahiri, and publisher from Author’s Press, New Delhi Sudarshan Kcherry. The discussion was anchored by academician and film critic Pradipta Mukherjee.

The discussion was spearheaded by Debasish Lahiri’s introductory remarks on how waiting becomes an anguished appreciation of time, time being the aching reminder of a return, in his book. Keki Daruwalla discussed the travel poems as snapshots and endeavoured to see how the mind of the poet works in capturing these snapshots.

Prof Sukrita Paul Kumar highlighted the self-exploratory nature of the poems and commented on the conscious design, form and style of the book. She spoke of the captivating nature of the title of Lahiri’s book with reference to Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot.

If departure is an enchantment, Pradipta Mukherjee wanted to know more about the intriguing nature of the title “No Waiting Like Departure” which was splendidly discussed by Lahiri. Further ruminations continued over the fascinating journey motif surrounding the poems, the movement from the familiar to the unfamiliar, the personal to the universal, where Prof Kumar mentioned how strikingly each poem and its city become a metaphor in itself. Pradipta Mukherjee also highlighted how journey as a metaphor gets foregrounded in Lahiri’s first book of poems First Will and Testament. Prof. Pradipta Mukherjee teaches at the Department of English, Vidyasagar College for Women in Kolkata. She is a member of the Prasar Bharti Regional Film Reviews Board. Her area of expertise is the interface between literature and film.

Keki Daruwalla significantly mentioned that these poems are not just migration poems. The extent and experience of such travels are varied and the reader gets a taste of it, a fact proved by a very interactive and eager audience.

Report by: Prof. Pradipta Mukherjee, through Debasish Lahiri, 9 Apr 2016

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