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You are here: oxfordbookstore.com » Archives » Oxford Bookstore Review » Rhyme Or Reason - K.P. Shashidharan
Published on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 15:53

Oxford Bookstore Literary Review Oxford Bookstore Literary Review Oxford Bookstore Literary Review Oxford Bookstore Literary Review Oxford Bookstore Literary Review
Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life
Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life
Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life Spectrum of Life

 

Taking your background into consideration, when did you take to writing?

Writing has been my passionate hobby since childhood. I had been fascinated by the love of imaginative world and literary works. I have been writing poems since my school days, first time in Malayalam, being my mother tongue and later in English. I used to write short stories, short plays, poems, essays, short novels in Malayalam and English and participate in competitions during my school and college days. When I was obsessed with literature, my Mathematics teacher persuaded me to take Physics instead of English literature in college as I was good at both humanities and science subjects. Later on, after joining the Civil service, I started writing ‘middles’ in national English newspapers and poetry off and on whenever I was in mood.A few poems of “Whispering Mind” were written in 1994 when I was at Bath in the United Kingdom, but again I kept it unpublished like my middles and earlier writings, most of them I had lost while shifting from city to city on transfer.

 

Most of your poems in the book portray ideas of spirituality, romance and bliss. So, from the period that is already past till the present days, which romantic poets have influenced you greatly?

My 54 poems in Whispering Mind are on different themes, bringing different moods, suitable to different sections of the people: the teen age, the adult, and the old belonging to all three sexes, spreading fragrance of love and joy of living. There are poems on life, love and spirituality telling stories of different life patterns, pain, sorrow, happiness and pangs of existential dilemma and the eternal warfare of good and evil and contradictory life forces of destiny and determinism. All great poets, the likes Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Shelly, Keats, Tennyson, Coleridge has influenced me deeply as they would to any other poet.

Specifically speaking, I am deeply impressed by T.S. Eliot, Kahlil Gibran, Tagore. Omar Khayyam, Kalidasa, Shankaracharya, Sufi poets like Rumi and Ghalib, and Bhakti poets like Surdas and Jai dev.

 

Why did you choose to show the dispositioned 'filth of our society' with the poems like “Chameleon Women” and “Streets Are Our Home”, in your Book, Whispering Mind?

Life in its full splendor offering its myriad varieties is the theme of “Spectrum of Life”,

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the first section of Whispering Mind. Life becomes incomplete without telling the stories of the underprivileged, socially marginalized, impoverished, helpless human beings who are struggling every moment to survive on the streets facing all odds. These poems, including poems on the third sex, crime, terrorism, outsourcing love etc. are socially very relevant and pose disturbing questions to the conscience of the humanity. These poems narrate the lives of the underprivileged children, women and the third sex.

 

With the lines “ Fresh air, water, food..............Never make her inhale Injurious toxic fumes ”, in the first poem, you have tried to present both the beauty and ugliness of nature. Why?

Mother’s exhibition is natural but the greatest. When human beings recklessly exploit the tolerant Mother Nature, she gets infected by impure air, polluted water and barren exploited landscape. Mother Nature can tolerate quite a substantial amount of torture but when it exceeds the limits of her tolerance, her survival will be in doubt. I feel mankind needs to be cautioned, when this torture attains a fatalistic mode.

As a green poet, I consider it is my duty. Many poems in Whispering Mind are on environment, nature and ecology: Issues of water, air biodiversity, waste, endangered flora and fauna, toxic pollutants, global warming, Green House Gas emissions are dealt in different poems. The question is not beauty or ugly, but sensitivity of nature and importance of protecting Mother Nature.

 

Did you want reform the idea of “Adam & Eve”, with the transformations taking place in the life of Yin & Yang in the book?

Yin and Yang couple is a powerful metaphor, representing the energy vibes as well as male and female forms of nature capable of absorbing secular human values and feelings beyond all religious sectarian, geographical limits.

Adam and Eve story is from the Bible, while Shiva and Shakti, Krishna and Radha are love pairs in Hinduism. As Whispering Mind is written for the entire humanity in the rapidly transforming global village containing people of all continents, it is meant for appealing to the universal eternal human feelings and emotions, rather than adhering to traditional meaning of Adam and Eve or Yin and Yang. Whispering Mind narrates in easy verses the story of man and woman’s passions, love and pathos, anguish, anger and varied emotions intermingled in ‘The River of Life’s different turns and twists during its turbulent flow.

 

You have taken apart from the general definition of “Love”. How far is it true with the pathos in the nature expressed in the beginning your poems in this book?

I have tried to paint from the varied colors of the Rainbow of Love in the second theme. Can you cite any love poetry book having such themes like rainbow of love, religion of love, music of love, fragrance of love, and multiple love stories, numbering more than 18 in the second theme and a lot more in other two sections too?

Whispering Mind” can be considered as 3 books of poetry with 54 long story poems in one book; because it deals with 3 different themes with 18 story poems with different stories and moods interlinking uniquely all 54 poems like an umbilical cord.

It is for women and men with poem and prose intermixed with stories of life, love and joy of living. There are more than 100 pages in each section, put in one big book for making it available to poetry and prose lovers who are serious in reading and understanding universal themes dealt in the book.

 

Can the “Monkey of mind” be tamed through meditation, as is presented in your book?

Taming the ‘monkey mind’ is possible as explained by Swami Vivekananda and many other saints and Yogis long before and afterward as well. Art of living with a purpose involves taming the ‘monkey mind’. In fact we start doing it since the childhood.

Modern scientific Yoga, Pranayam and Meditation take charge of ‘monkey mind’ and try to control and direct the way we want. If you are a scientist your mind is preoccupied with ideas of researching and innovating to bring something new to the world. If you are dancer, you merge your sense of being into your dance. It happens to poets, writers, painters, artists, actors and in all creations. It may happen in violence and terror or even in intense love, passion and compassion and kindness. For Saint Mother Theresa, taking care of the deprived is like meditation. For Yamini Krishnamurthy dance is meditation.

 

Keeping the poem “Awakening” in view, is religion, meditation, yoga – best teacher for self – realization?

“The Awakening” is one of the poems in the third section which is named as towards awareness, awakening and bliss with 18 poems on different aspects of spirituality and self realization. The idea is to try to unravel the mystery of life, from birth to death, answering the metaphysical quests of the mind like who am I and where have I come from and where do I go and what is the purpose of life. The idea is to cleanse the mind if it is polluted by unhealthy emotions, empower the body by Yoga, taming the mind by Pranayama and attain higher concentration and focus by meditation.

I wouldn’t say self realization is equated with religion, meditation and Yoga in the traditional sense. What I meant is that if one has to focus on one’s work, whether it is business, science, art, dance, paining or anything what we do for a living, even day to day work and different professions like doctor, engineer, architect or legislator, your mind and body and spirit should be aligned to optimize results and giving full concentration to your work. This will help to identifying the inner talent and optimize the full potential to achieving best results and once you do the best of what you intensely believe in should help in self realization.

 

How far do you think is the harmony of “ Atman” and “Brahma” possible and significant in the present age, as presented in your book?

I use “Atman” in the sense of one’s inherent energy which gives life to the body. I use the term “Brahman” as the eternal supreme energy flow in the nature which create, sustain, preserve and destroy the cycle of life.

The whole intention is to identify the inner energy, awaken the power latent and hidden in us which is our inherent talent dormant in everyone. While Yoga make good body and mind, mediation and Pranayama help controlling the monkey mind to refocus for whatever pursuit we believe in. What we need is synergy of partnership and collaboration and of course linkage with the right external energy flow or partnership to bring synergy and the supreme energy flow of the law of nature.

 

According to the poem “The Story of Love and Envy”, do you think, evil can always win over the good?

I would request the reader to read the last line which explains that though Envy succeeds in killing Love in cold blood, Envy does not realize that deep inside her the seed of Love has started growing as Love. What I really want to convey is that both Love and Envy are like Yin and Yang and in the womb of Love envy can take birth and vice-versa Love may be born in the womb of Envy. Evil is not winning over the good in the poem instead good wins over evil.

 

From your fable poems, your faith in the Supreme is quite evident. What is the message from God that you want to spread to the present generation?

The present generation is doing great. I want to tell them to assimilate a bit of philosophy and metaphysics that may help in fulfilling their dreams. Even by doing the best, sometimes results may disappoint some so gravely which may seem to exceed the tolerable limits. This may lead the mind to states of melancholy, anguish, depression leading to psychological disorders where only faith in Nature or the Supreme energy flow in the universe can come to aid.

We may believe in our inner strength, will power, latent talent and energy. We may also seek external synergy by collaborating and partnering with positive forces that may help us to succeed.

 

Earlier you have written, “Middles” on various themes in some of the leading dailies and “Whispering Mind” is your debut poem. Would like to try your hands on Plays and Novels or short stories?

Yes, I was considered as a prolific middle writer in the nineties. I will try my hands on writing novels, short stories and prose too. Most probably I will be writing something other than poetry. Like Whispering Mind, I want to write something different, something refreshing and new in format, content and style; if possible, bringing forward some meaningful message to the community and molded in an interesting storyline to keep the reader hooked from the beginning till the end. I am seriously thinking of a book of short stories and a novel in years to come.

 

Name some of your favourite poetry books.

My favorite poetry books are romantic in theme. I am fascinated by the deep philosophical romantic saga of TS Eliot’s world famous work “Waste Land”; spiritual intensity of Tagore’s Geetanjali; the philosophical profundity of “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran; powerful passion underpinning in the “Rubiyalt” of Omarkhayyam; spiritual romance of “Kumara Sambhavam” by Kalidasa; “Soundarya Lahiri” by Shankaracharya and the religious undertones of Sufi poets like Rumi, and Bhakti poets like Kabir, Surdas.

 

Profile

K.P. Shashidharan

Author, K.P. Shashidharan, is an alumnus from the London School of Economics, member of the Indian Audit & Accounts Service, a premier higher civil service in the country. He is currently working as Director General (Commercial) in the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. He is well known in the audit fraternity; has addressed academic, professional, industry and business forums on corporate governance, environmental sustainability, Triple Bottom Line reporting, International Financial Reporting Standards, internal audit, information system audit and fraud examination.

The author is a prolific writer in prose and poetry, has published more than hundred ’Middles’ – literary, humorous, satirical pieces on the editorial pages and on various themes in leading Indian

national English newspapers viz. Hindustan Times, Indian Express, The Pioneer, Times of India and The Hindu.

He has travelled extensively in India and abroad and is a man of various talents and passions. Author had never known a time that he wasn’t reading or making up stories or poems. The pulling out of a pencil and a notebook and writing a poem or a story has always been a habit since his school days. It was this passion that led to the birth of this beautiful baby, his first book Whispering Mind.

 

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Interviewed by Aditi Roy Designed by Subhadip Mukherjee