The Reverse Tree
Ahmedabad: Moments Publication. Oct 2014
Pages 62 | Rs 160 (HB)
Understanding the existence of mankind: A reverse approach
Kiriti Sengupta’s latest volume of work The Reverse Tree unfolds with intricate details and unexpected delights, and it reveals the disparate realities of life through seamless fusion. One will look in vain perhaps for something mystic or magical but Sengupta’s dissection of the lifeline experiences, and the literary tone of his voice, set this book above his contemporary writers.
Sengupta is candid as always: “I believe when lives can be random, why would I possibly plan to order and smoothen the transitions? Let them remain as it is.” In his foreword, Don Martin, the editor remarks that he likes two things of Sengupta: “The first is how honest he is.” The second one is: “…he can make the cultural aspects of his work understandable to those who may not be so familiar with them.”
There are six chapters in this book and they are imaginatively inventive to understand the meaning of life. Each chapter represents the working out of a single idea of randomness yet the question remains as Sengupta stated in a different context, “How does one get into another being so effortlessly?” Stories, sub-stories, subtle poems and back-stories of biological clock, recipe for making laccha parantha, mimicry, long haired male poets and feminine metaphors (Kiriti admitted once: “men are my keys”), transgender woman and the embedded values in reversals abound though at the center of the way of his writings is the spiritual essence. It’s an amalgam of hues and textures, introducing a new dimension to the narrative that is vastly different from the traditional up and down staffs.
One of the ways, he’s chosen to explore the issues through honest admission, is the skin colour/ racial overtone, or gay-sex/ criminal offence, etc. Sometimes his characters are in crisis and chaos but fight back at the end.
“Living as a transgender is not an easy task, to say the least. I have seen Lara managing the role of a female that she was not bestowed with, but she was a free spirit and took up the challenges with full enthusiasm.” (Crisis)
Sengupta’s thoughts on dissecting humans are intriguing. In his creative world everything, even the steamy desires, is joined and unified.
I have my own equation of loveThere are wonderful sentences attempting to capture something that most conventional writings, with their usual plot and scene norms fail to do: the drift of thought, the snippets of undramatic life and the unheard music that compounds with the intensity that is lyrical and romantic yet distant and dissonant.
my he throbs in fire
while my she is coy
I know the shape of fish-lip
gives hint of the water color deep
my lips are thin
no trace of color, but water
I see sleepSengupta writes personal anecdotes, pain and anguish in life and his clear eyed attention brings each topic into dizzying focus. Paying his tribute to his mother, Sengupta wrote, “If I am asked to pick a single teacher who has shaped me and my life, I will mention my mother.” Writing about the personal and the public with equal efficiency, his work contains a lot of useful and interesting information about the way the world wags these days. He makes his write all that easy yet his wit and analytical mind create the immediacy.
sitting idle both side
beneath my eyes
but only two of us
in the room for one...
the shoot is long and thickEverything in Sengupta is connected; more than that, everything is infused, or always infusing. No other book in recent times includes and enacts so much, and we feel as we read that we are dealing in spiritual essence and distillation.
smoother skin palpating beneath
no study of the plants, but of humans
the words of mouth
call upon true reversal
(Reversal … Reverse All)
Issue 61 (May-Jun 2015)