JAIPUR: Taxmen are not always hooded men carrying axes on their shoulders and out to extract their pound of flesh from you as is shown in comic strips like Hagar the Horrible. They can also be sensitive persons who can contemplate, visualise and create subtle and sonorous poetry. This could help a makeover in the image of the much-maligned department. There is a muse among the senior tax collectors here in the Rajasthan capital. And the Department is encouraging her work.
Chhavi Anupam, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, came out with her fourth collections of poems, "The Silver Moon", this past week. The book, a collection of 63 poems, was released by M. N.Verma, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Jaipur.
"I keep a pen and a piece of paper near me. Something keeps going on constantly at the back of the mind even when one is working," Ms. Anupam said talking to The Hindu in her office at the Statue Circle. Now you know what at least some of them are doing when they are not after your money! "My job is onerous and heavy. It requires a lot of reading on tax laws," said Ms. Anupam who had her first collection of poems, "Roses", released in 2001 while working at ITO in Delhi. "I get moved with things events and situations. It seeps down to the heart. In poetry I get a channel to release my feelings." "It is joyous," she said about her muse.
Ms. Anupam's poems relate to the heart, mind and soul of womankind. The title poem, "The Silver Moon", is a representative piece. "The Moon when I look up, stealthily lowers humming filling my empty cup, with a celestial liquor, lifting me up... yodelling out of this worldly chequer''. The poems, touching both the ethereal and the mundane, profound and on rare occasions profane, carry the intense feelings and reflections of the author. The poem "Stay the course" would perhaps never give the feeling that a person dealing with taxes penned it: Grieving for a glimpse, longing for a touch, weeping for a few comforting words, from a person leaving, another one in convulsing agony.
But it is not always the bleeding heart which one comes across in the poetry of Ms. Anupam, a 1986 batch Indian Revenue Service officer. Stern though equally sad reflections are found in "What can we do?" Then I will tell you: face it man this is what life is, and when you had left I'll hurriedly get dressed for my evening party.
A product of Maharani's College here, Ms. Anupam has been writing poetry since her school days in St. Angela Sophia School. The past three years had been extraordinarily productive for her. After her first collection in 2001, the second book, "Heart to Heart", came out in 2004, "Due Drops" in 2005, and now "The Silver Moon". Deep emotions of women and the transcendental power of nature are the characteristics of her poems.
Ms. Anupam says she does not belong to any group of poets or any school but she thinks highly of Vikram Seth and Arundhati Roy and adores D. H. Lawrence, Ruskin Bond and Peico Iyer. She loves P. G. Woodhouse as well. The seniors in the Income Tax Department are very supportive to the in-house muse. In fact, their words of appreciation have been kind of assurance to her on the quality and content of her verses. What is obvious is, poetry is not taxing for her!