• the thought fox

Note autobiographical - aseem kaul

For the longest time I held very close to me a line from Aseem Kaul's poem about Ghalib. "...Tonight, you recite Ghalib from memory; because poetry, like blood, must come from the heart..." "...poetry, like blood, must come from the heart..." - a lot could be said about the many vistas this phrase creates. for a lover, a poet or even a child who gradually begins to understand the real meaning of "by heart". Aseem Kaul's writing has a quaint kind of itminaan, his language takes repose in the slow unfolding of the world around him. Calmly, and sometimes with a dry wit, he makes a profound observation with the nonchalance of somebody lighting a cigarette halfway through a heady conversation. All good poetry is centrifugal (with apologies to Sumana Roy). It makes you go beyond itself while gently reminding you of its centre. Kaul's note is universal. It talks about the nature of identity. of the gaze, the observer and the writer. The metaphor of self definition cast in the mould of light is old, but i find it fascinating how Kaul makes it his own, slowly kneading the dough of the self into shape, letting language become a moistener for his insight.

transcript: Note Autobiographical Aseem Kaul Every time he speaks of himself you sense something, something not quite true. It's not that you doubt his sincerity-on the contrary, you know he's making every effort to be honest. It's just that by putting himself in the spotlight he has blinded himself to his own shadow, to the audience of alternate selves who watch him from the wings. He tells you what he sees, but all the while the real self remains invisible, like light seen from the inside of a bulb. It's like the difference between the way you picture yourself and your face in a photograph. The way you hold your breath at immigration, waiting to see if the man examining your passport will accept you for who you are.

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