Friday 27 August 2010

Meet Astha Gupta

Michelle Cliff opens her novel No Telephone to Heaven (1987) with the following imagery:
It was a hot afternoon after a day of solid heavy rain. Rain which had drenched them and seemed not to have finished with them, but only to have taken itself off somewhere to return soon, replenished, with a new strength.
That's West Indian rain: hot, excessive, weighty. Although rain is universal like the sun, the wind, it is also very often unique: a certain place may have a certain kind of rain, characteristic of that particular place. Love thy city, love its rain.
In her poem, "Rain", which will be published in the September 2010 issue of Cha, Astha Gupta vividly remembers rain that she once watched in front of her home. Rain is 'water balls', rain is 'clarifying and confusing / all at the same time', rain is 'grains of rice' drawing patterns on the umbrella. Who will decode these patterns, these riddles? A couple. They find shelter under that shared umbrella: 'She clutched his waist / with one needy hand'....

Astha told us, movingly, about the conception of the poem:
As clichéd as it may sound, for me rain is the quintessence of romance. Looking back, I think it was Ruskin Bond who unknowingly showed me the magic in the sound of rain beating against a corrugated tin roof. Since then, I have gaped at tiny droplets racing to the aching earth and greeting objects in different tunes every time. I have sung heavenwards as my throat was sweetened by them and I have danced with abandon as they soaked my soul. Poetry has often been for me making a single moment speak. It has been for me looking at a still photograph and then opening up the clenched fists and the closed eye lids. It has been extracting the song out of the smile and the smile out of the curved lips. It has been stretching the single moment of the woman’s throbbing for her lover into a heartbreaking ballad. And so one day when I was standing in front of our home, watching rain drops shining in the light of a street lamp, two lovers caught my eye and in that one moment as they passed before me drenching in the rain together, I could see numerous stories unfold. When I started writing these stories in the form of a poem, I realized the only common element in all those stories – they were all narrated by rain.
Bio: Astha Gupta was born in Delhi and is currently based in Bangalore, India. She watches a cultural mela get soaked in rain everyday as she weaves imaginary worlds on her ancient laptop. Her inspirations come from everyone, everywhere and everything. Her other interests are reading, acting, photography and filmmaking.

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