Poetry & … moi?
You know, I’ve always run away from poetry (even from the generalities of writing, except from reading quite vigorously). Poetry, however, has hunted me all of my life relentlessly. Please, take that … literally? Well, this thing with poetry is like the oxymoron of my life — something like, This unfailing love of mine that hates you. Puzzlingly? I know! At times I’ve wondered if there’s some sort of invisible sign (invisible to moi) that points toward me saying something like, Do not hesitate to share your poetry with her! Don’t believe her when she tells you that she isn’t into poetry. She really doesn’t mean it! Furthermore, this poetic situation reminds me of that iconic movie Fatal Attraction. Alex (Glen Close) tells Dan (Michael Douglas), I won’t be ignored! He should have listened to that woman, ha! In the hopes that I’m wiser than Dan, I’ve decided to stop ignoring poetry — for the sake of my sake (at least one more time at this level). So here I’m about to present to you in the following lines of this article a poet of poets — who also happens to be an electrical engineer. Smart, very smart!
In the beginning … (don’t worry I’m not talking about the Bible, just referring to the humble inception of studying & interviewing this bright guy). ⬇
Pic comes from +Sourav Biswas book A Poet's Heart -- Some Voices of a Closed Lip -- Chapter 6, Alibi . As some of you…plus.google.com
Sourav Biswas: Can you guess where he is from? India? — Bingo!
Well, let’s proceed with this: Sourav Biswas, aka Teddy, is a cool guy from India. No, he isn’t just a cool guy from India! He’s a human being with extraordinary qualities who happens to write poetry among so many writing genres in which he participates like narrative. He too draws and pairs very nicely his drawings with his literary work. Sourav loves cooking which reminds me of the outstanding and beloved Mexican writer, Laura Esquivel author of Como agua para chocolate. Sourav’s potential is that great — even in the kitchen he (perhaps) romanticizes loving a few impossibilities right there on the Universe’s stove. Sourav has managed to turn those impossibilities into realities. He has become deaf and blind to those of his friends and relatives who have tried to reason with him about the futility of writing poetry. Some of them have tried to force him to see how little people appreciate writing of any kind, let alone poetry. Well, it turns out that it takes a lot more testicles to be a poet than a lawyer or a heart surgeon. People look up to lawyers, even though they hate them. People look up to heart surgeons, even though they wouldn’t like to meet them under heartbreaking circumstances (that serious). And when people think about poets, they feel sorry for them — even more in a world that’s ruled by high-tech gadgets. Let’s put it this way: There’s much more revenue in the great pleasures of prostitution than in literary work of any kind. If you don’t believe me, ask SD! Winking and holding! See, you should have seen that one coming because it was too easy.
Anyhow — back from there’s an apple in that mountain of bananas TV commercial — poetry is always an invitation for a life under a beer budget that’s matched with l’eau à le naturelle (tap water, my dear). Don’t go into thinking that we’re talking about the kind they get at the Hamptons or at Trocadéro. Picture Flint, Michigan. I’m going to end this part here — just like that — because we can’t French our way out of the outrageous and inconceivable. Everybody deserves to live with dignity regardless of the zip code or place in the world they can afford. People in the literary world deserve the respect they’ve earned through their outstanding contributions, example of that Sourav Biswas, and so many of you.
The weather was against us, and that sucked big time.
Sourav lives in India, surprise — ha! I’ve told him on many occasions to relocate here to the States to make my life a bit easier with interviews as well as with some projects that we’re cooking — with the help of everything but the weather. So, as you can see, my requests are solidly based on the uncooperative climate situation. Well, in reality I’ve some colorful phrases for thunders, rains, and lightenings, and the perfect storm ain’t one of the them. I’m, however, going to keep this as clean as possible in case I’ve a few toddlers reading this — you never know! Anyhow, we had to battle fussy-fuzzy images, shattered & frozen sound, and that’s when Sourav texted me a few prayers like this one, I think we should call it up for today. Really pissing me off nw. He was so upset that he left the O out of Now. I kept saying cool to everything because sarcasm is my weaponized savior of choice (quite indiscriminately). Whenever enraged, reach out for cool — another ha moment, but without exclamation mark (!).
BTW, talking about videos — here you have his book & his friends.
Contrary to some sick journalists, ok., let me clear that up because I’m not talking about hospitalized journalists. Anyhow, contrary to dishonest reporters, which are like a poisoned martini to an alcoholic. You know you’re going to die if you drink it. But down the throat it goes. Well, I’m not one of those who interviews people to either lie, humiliate, or make them somehow to contribute to my very personal agenda. So … keep in mind that my only agenda with interviewing people is for the world to get to know remarkable human beings doing their thing. I include everybody because I’m into pluralism, even if my boat doesn’t float with what my interviewees are into like when I interviewed/conversed with Catherine Guillard about her Reiki practice.
So the method I use is shamefully simple. I submit six questions to my interviewee. Some of those questions may have another question within it. I let the interviewee marinate on the questionnaire at least a week or two. Then we rendezvous, and take it from there. I keep everything totally informal, and miraculously relaxed. Relaxation isn’t my cup of tea. We converse, exchange ideas. We may do a bit of fencing making our tongues our preferred swords. And hopefully both of us survive to get to tell the story. Believe me when I tell you that simplicity can get a bit chaotic. Well, there has to be some kind of organization in chaotic madness. And yes, there is such a thing as organized chaos — indeed my language and territory. Sounds familiar? Hopefully I’m not the only one with this style. If that’s the case, I’ll have to welcome myself into my world — ha!
Sourav’s purity shocks even Buddhist monks — that influentially serious — talking about serious, I really need an exclamation mark after the word -monks- !
In his words, My reward will be everybody’s appreciation. For me talent is to be a better human being, and prove it every day. The truth is that everybody wants to be appreciated by other people. It isn’t a selfish thought. It’s a matter of acknowledging effort and existence regardless of the few things that can paralyze artists of all kinds — e.g. lack of self-confidence, timidity, or isolation. I’m talking about the type of isolation that’s indirectly-directly imposed by our society or the self-imposed. So there are factors like religion, race, gender orientation/preference (however you want to put it), or socio-economics as the contributors to those painful, and yet totally unnecessary divisions among people who fear other people (you know, the typical strategically located haters we encounter here and there). Thus to seek appreciation is normal, and indeed necessary because that’s the way we connect with each other. It’s like kids bringing their supersonic toys to the playground, and hearing other kids say, Wow! Cool things you’ve got there!
What to ask this smart guy
I’m a simple woman, but too much simplicity gets mighty boring. So I pondered a lot about those questions. I didn’t want to sound too predictable to avoid foreseeable answers from thousands of miles away. I wanted them to be like the aroma of fresh bread from a nice little town where people still care about each other. I wanted uncomplicated questions, and yet very much heartfelt because in the end I knew from the very beginning I was dealing with someone who’s into doing his very best to show up in life for himself and for others. I too didn’t want to take for granted a few things that are part of India’s spiritual culture. This is to say meditation. So that was the very first question. Do you meditate? And if so, what do you call meditation? Sourav told me that yes, he does meditate. He didn’t go into giving me a grandiose explanation to make himself look ultra spiritual. On the contrary, he kept his thoughts totally down-to-earth. He said that meditation has everything to do with zero thinking, and that to him listening to songs is what he likes to do to meditate. He too alluded that his writing is another form of meditation for him. He writes without attachments. He empties himself without controlling the outcome of his work to keep it honest, to serve well his readers. I, of course, find his meditation style highly appealing. Furthermore, many people meditate that way without knowing that it’s precisely what they’re doing.
Meditation: So take note — because you may be doing what I think you’re doing, wink!
Do you in any way find your writing to be cathartic? Or do you disassociate yourself from it as much as you can to keep it objective, or relatively more existential than sentimental? Sourav didn’t give me a direct answer on that one. He, however, provided me with a profound example. A lady in Texas got in touch with him because her brother passed away. She came across her brother’s journal, and there she found out that her brother wanted to meet a few poets. Sourav Biswas was among those poets. He was very surprised to hear that. So at that moment he realized that his poetry has a therapeutic effect on people. The gentleman he never met taught him that. On a personal note: I’m sure that it too is cathartic for Sourav because he isn’t indifferent to people’s joys or pains. Everything and everybody do matter to him, and the knowing of this made an overwhelming impression on him. He’ll remember that for as long as he lives at many levels — objective, existential, spiritual, and sentimental.
Note: Sourav’s girlfriend complains about poetry with him because he tends to win the arguments with her. So she believes that poetry has made him a more sensible man who can be quite objective and prudent.
Which are the times or days that would cause your writing to be less prolific? This is to say — what stops you from writing (even if it’s for one single day)? Only if something or someone snatches my pen away. I do believe his girlfriend has already tried that without any success. Wink!
Is there a subject that you wouldn’t touch, or prefer to stay away from, and if so why? In his words, You should learn how to write at any moment and about everything. I agree with him quite strongly!
How do you look at the world today? In other words, do you find it sick or well, or in the process of ever becoming/changing to something different from one moment to the next? For that he had one word, confused! I didn’t want him to expand on that (unless he felt like it) because that one word was a book in itself — totally self-explanatory.
What’s the one event in your life that has shaped you the most and why? He said that there hasn’t been a specific event that has shaped him. He compared himself with clay that gets molded multiple times each day. He finds in those daily moldings endless possibilities of becoming something else — someone greater and stronger. That’s what I call a very assertive answer, like exquisite wine — perfectly mature.
Everybody knows about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, but what would be the one thing that most people ignore about him? His answer was an eye-opener into the Indian mentality on this subject. It was as if I were opening a very personal and historical wound among the Indian people. The type of wound that’s almost impossible to find in textbooks where Gandhi isn’t idealized. India and Gandhi: Some love him, and some dislike him perhaps strongly. Anyhow, those who dislike his liberating methods think that he acted out of selfish motives. They think that to be liberated from British rule hasn’t helped them much if any. They find themselves with incredible problems like religion divisions (Hindus vs. Muslims), extreme poverty levels for too many of them. Some feel betrayed by his agreement to the creation of the state of Pakistan. They think that they’re dealing with the consequences of the agreement. To a certain extent they don’t find him to be a total Indian because he became a lawyer in Britain. Then he topped that off, according to the view of those who aren’t too fond of him, with his acceptance to work for a Muslim Indian firm that sent him to South Africa. Those are a few of the aspects that some Indians find difficult to overlook about him.
Sourav has defended Gandhi’s position as a political leader and as a spiritual man from those who oppose him. He talked with much passion about that during our video conferences. I could notice in his voice sincerity and respect for a man who in the end had given his very best to help India’s independence. He described to me how he so humbly and eloquently has tried to reason with some of his friends about the Gandhi situation. Sourav, however, gives his friends, acquaintances, and people in general ample room to agree to disagree. Sourav is willing to listen, and expects in return equal respect toward what he has to say on that (or on any given issue). Bottom line, this poet behaves with much levelheadedness — excellent quality in a person, for sure!
Is there an element of Gandhi in your writing? E.g. his energy, central thought for freedom and dignity, or/and his well thought-out association with common men and women? Sourav looked at me straightforward without signs of hesitation. He said, I never try to associate myself with big people. To be the best you have to be the best. Your life is very unique.
I believe him. He’s a very independent man. His ideas are really unique, and he takes great pride in his originality being like the watermark that distinguishes him from well-known or lesser known artists, writers, and poets. You can see in him the incredible efforts he makes for that to be the case. I would go so far as in to say that to expect less of himself he would consider it lethal — a trait that’s quite common among extraordinary artists and writers.
Hence it’s pretty understandable to see why he wouldn’t like to be compared or associated to great leaders like Gandhi, even though he respects Gandhi. He wants to be a man who owns his falls and triumphs. He expects to live out of the shadow of someone else’s accomplishments, victories. He gives his very best every single day because he knows much is expected of him — by his parents, friends, relatives, and perfect strangers.
I turned up the pressure just a notch by telling him what I personally expect from him — I expect you to take up the world — indeed nothing less than that for as unrealistic as it may sound. He knows he can count on my support, and on my brutal honesty at all times.
His global project!
Gratitude is everything
Sourav (hey Teddy) … allow me to thank you for your time, your patience, and your commitment to this informal and yet engaging interview — Open Conversation.
If there’s a fat chance (or even a tiny one) that you like what you read here, please clap and share! From the bottom of my heart, thank you❣️