Ontime Untime is 8th collection of P.K. Majumdar, the editor of Bridge-in-Making and the author of seven books of poems in Bengali, his mother tongue and an editor of two international anthologies- Bridge-in Making 2000 and Bridge-in-Making 2001. Besides being a widely published and anthologized poet, Majumdar is also a good translator as he has already translated 80 lyric songs of Nobel Laureate Poet R. N. Tagore.
The present book under review is a collection of short poems written on the diverse themes of time, life, philosophy, ecology, environment, violence, peace and love. These are the themes on which almost each and every Indian English poet is musing feeling and pin-pointing. What is striking is that the poems are equally constructed in six lines, the first four lines pondering over the theme and the last two lines (like a short couplet) reaching to the final judgment or inference.
The first sixteen poems are on time in which the poet uses symbols, metaphors and personification to convey his ideas as well as in an abstract way, voices his notions:
Time is treasures
Of resource of universe
= = = = = =
Time is the best teacher
Of human creature(1)
The poems of this section cover a wide range from ‘before the cosmos existed’ to ‘cyber age impression of a time and he opines:
Time over races imagination
Imagination follows time’s expression.
= = = = = =
Now overtime prevails
Time falls behind E-mails. (8)
In the next section, the 9 poems on line are also reflective and lyrical.
Life is a mansion
For self expression.
= = = = = =
Death strands. (9)
The poet here touched all the aspects of life and relates it with time, the most favourite term of the author.
Life is time’s follower
Time is life’s conveyer
One is unlimited whole
Another is soul. (11)
= = = = = =
History records life
Life grapses time
History is a type
Time overshadowing prime
Time is dead in history
Life is running story. (11)
The third section carries sixteen poems on philosophy in which he writes on philosophy and other philosophical aspects. To him:
True realization is philosophy
And life’s canopy
Philosophy not learning
Philosophy experience churning. (16)
The other poems of this section are meditative, symbolic, enlightening and enjoyable.
The fourth section of ecology and environment carries ten poems of lyricism and pictorial quality in which the poet protests against environmental pollution and loss of values. But for the poet ignorance is the root of evils of pollution:
Man becoming prisoner of self prison
Who will rescue to the share of reason. (24)
The poet clearly sees both the aspects of nature – silent and violent. So he has to say:
Nature is human friendly
But angered nature is not kindly. (22)
The poems of this section mirror poet’s thoughts on pollution and other related issues in which the poet puts before us his observations on the current scenario.
The next section of violence has six poems on the present global killing. The poet says:
Killing is a global game
Killers have no name. (26)
In another poem he says:
In everyman there is a killer
As a persona of thriller. (27)
But to him:
A criminal may be punished
Crime is never banished. (ibid)
Hegemony and arrogance
Are the souls of violence. (28)
In the next section of ‘peace’, the poet wishes to attain peace without missing it a while:
Let us chant mantra of peace
No more time to miss. (29)
Peace cannot be attainted merely through words but:
Trust in man only can grant peace warranty
Om Shanti Om Shanti Om Shanti. (31)
The last section of the collection has ten beautiful poems of ‘love’ where the poet remembers his love and finds:
Memory lasts longer than
Eye to eye communication. (35)
But he has a firm faith that:
What I left may someday
Follow your treaded way. (36)
Thus we can say that the poems of the collection are the reflection of modern man and life. The poet deals both the reflection and action where he chooses reflection as his part to motivate the readers to action. The choice of couplet as the form of narrative is probably the considering of couplets more flexible and pliable. The poet captures the whole canvas of social and cultural life and his dotting cover a wide range. He is structurally and texturally appearing stronger in the collection and the book has a captivating potential of thoughts and feelings. P.K. Majumdar has a long way to go yet he has attained several accolades. I congratulate Mr. Majumdar for producing such a remarkable and thought provoking book of short poems.