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Updated: May 27, 2011 20:50 IST

Penning the pain

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Sumita Mishra. Photo: Special Arrangement
The Hindu
Sumita Mishra. Photo: Special Arrangement

Sumita Mishra mulls over trials and tribulations of human lives

Most would agree with the fact that poetry always spawns in a dystopian mind. For when everything is perfect, there can't be anything to be written about. It's when things go awry, when hopes are trampled upon by feet of life, or when expectations plummet because of some unexpected occurrence, that a thing comes out from heart to fill the emotional or moral lacunae caused. This is poetry. But Sumita Mishra does not have any of these poet's symptoms. She had a conventional childhood and early youth, apparently, which was made indelible by her getting into the Indian Administrative Services. Coming from an orthodox Brahmin family, she chose to marry a turbaned engineer-turned-farmer, yet fulfilling one more of her desires. She is happily married and has two daughters. Her life is a tale of consummate happiness. Then where is the lacuna? Where is that unfulfilled desire? Where is the room for poems? “Perhaps, they signify an expression of deep sleeping pain residing in each of us,” says Mishra, who recently launched her latest book of poems “Life of a Light”. The poet has been writing since she was eight. “At that age, one is not conscious of various emotional forces shaping the world. One does not know about hate, deceit or jealousy. It's only as you grow up that you become aware of the world around you,” says Mishra. “So initially it was all about nature that I wrote,” she adds.

The poems seem to be written by someone whose life has been full of compromises, whammies and turbulences. “But don't we all feel the same we grieve or when we long for something? These poems are moments of reflection. They are a rumination of a sad soul. And you have to pay for your laughter with sadness, so you can't help being sad,” remarks Mishra. Interestingly, when Mishra wrote these poems, it was Khushwant Singh whom she decided to confide in by making him the first person to read these poems. “And it was he who encouraged me to compile a volume of my works.”

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