Just as I thought I was done with the ash-berries tossed at me by the departing year, suturing up my tattered ego with a ghazal in the reigning obscurity, Mr D. P. Dash ruffled the quiet of my languid existence. Dash is a blogger who writes at ‘One Life is Not Enough’, but he didn’t stop at that and went ahead to self-publish his oeuvres, the latest being a book of verses so refreshing the droplets are still sticking to my mind.
‘Teach me to dream’ is a collection of jaunty poems written in a workaday diction that is blithely lucid. Unlike many practitioners of poetry, Dash doesn’t adorn the stream of his thoughts with symbols and motifs often. His is a candid style, crisp and direct, but it has none of the jarring monotony plaguing a host of present day poets. The movement of his syllables is rhythmic, canopy of thoughts intense, and progression of ideas startling. Lyrical and fluid to the core, there is no lesser poem in this collection of verses.
Dash is an ardent admirer of Sufi sensibility, and Cherry Blossom trees symbolising the Japanese sense of aesthetics. His fascination for haikus is writ large on his compositions, but unlike the faithless hordes of poets vomiting freely on the Internet, he has woven a string of pearls worthy of his devotion and influences.
Dash often alludes to Rumi in his poems and elsewhere. That he is a worthy disciple is evident in the very first instalment titled ‘summer —a longing’:
as i wait for you
the short nights seem so long
but i know you will not come
neither can i
i have only a vague idea
of where you are
Soon after that, in ‘your sweet absence’, he croons,
the invitation is yet to come
but i am ready on my way
in my lack of discretion
hoping to rise with you
i fall again and again
The one that stole my heart though is the ‘micropoem’ called ‘Immortality’:
Life after life
She held back her favours
All I asked was a moment
To sneak into immortality
I will be remiss to convey the impression that his strains are devoid of imagery altogether. This is how he opens the piece titled ‘on her departure’:
full of flowers and foliage
the gulmohur is here
to deliver a message of condolence
The subtitle of the anthology is ‘songs of love, longing and freedom’. ‘Freedom’, as Dash would have it, has wider connotations. He has taken potshots at entrenched hypocrisies, satirised institutions and indulged in witticisms. Of special note are the ‘micropoems’ signed off as ‘Mad Charvak’, in which he is at his irreverent best:
Wine, women, spa, cinema
Temples, Ashram, Social service, Himalayas
Gatherings vulgar, or gatherings religious
Mad Charvak says I do not rank escapes
Elsewhere, he has lampooned the ‘trade secret’ of wars, an obsession of regimes world over.
Be it the songs of yearning or parting, backhanded compliment to the customs and mores, or the blunt, in-your-face gibes of ‘Mad Charvak’, the strains of Dash are memorable for the haiku like aphorisms and Sufi-like turn of phrase, and for the stunning visions that a single tercet can prise open, or the breathlessness of the couplet of a humourist-reformist.