A book of poems by former IAS officer Asok Kumar Mohapatra

Asok Kumar Mohapatra, a retired IAS officer, worked day and night to put together his book My Afternoon Poems.

The book was launched by Jagmohan Malhotra, former Union Cabinet Minister, at the India International Centre recently; V.P.Tiwari, President, Sahitya Akademi was also present.

Speaking about the book, the poet said that he wrote it in his fifties, when he “entered into the afternoon of his life” and hence, the book was named thus. It contains 101 poems which he wrote in a span of almost 10 years.

“This book reflects aspects of my philosophical life and afternoon is a metaphor in which emotions of life go through a quantum of philosophical relation on meaning and purpose of life,” he said.

The poet then proceeded to recite a few of the poems from the collection. Afterwards, his friend and former Chief Election Commissioner, S.Y. Qureshi had the audience in splits with his take on bureaucrats and poets. “Bureaucrats are often labelled as dull, laidback or even corrupt, and Mohapatra, who, probably, has written this in the afternoon while in office hours, has done justice to that tag.”

On a more serious note, he added that he is proud that Mohapatra has kept the flag of “bureaucrats as creative people” high and has given a new wave of inspiration to many.

A visibly inspired Malhotra recited a few of Mohapatra’s poems, which he said “are deeply rooted in cultural heritage of the country and evoke the finer emotions of life”, while Tiwari said he found new hues of poems in the book.