July 13, 2007

Poems on Goa: create space for Chennai

'Last Bus to Vasco: Poems from Goa'
This is the title of a recently published book of poems. And it is by Brian Mendonca, poet, musician and Delhi-based editor of children's books of a well known university press.
On Thursday evening, as the thunder and lightning played out through the long spell of rain in our city, Brian sat comfortably on a high stool at a hotel dance floor and read out his poems.
And when he had finished, he picked up his guitar and sang two Goan/Portuguese songs for his guests.
Brian writes about the people, the sights and the sounds of the places he visits.
So, in a way he is a social chronicler.
When he was on a tour of Pondicherry (now Puducherry), he began to scribble when he was inspired by everything that went around him while at a popular restaurant of tourists.
On Thursday night, after a day trip to Mahabalipuram and a poetry reading session drenched by unseasonal rains, Brian may have retired to a nook and let the muse take over.
A passionate Goan that he is, most of Brian's poems are rooted in Goa.
Of evening prayers and devout Catholic families, of billboards that confront you on the bus trips to Vasco and children shrieking on the beach nestling in a cove; of hooting trains and raucous boatmen on the Mandovi. . . .
The self-published book 'Last Bus to Vasco' comes along with an audio CD of the poems recorded in his voice and it has an accompanying sound track.
Isn't that a wonderful idea?
Imagine the hoots of a local train filling the background and giving way to the hiss of vibrating metal rail tracks as Brian reads out his verses.
No wonder 'Last Bus to Vasco' has now been re-printed.
Perhaps we need to create a space for verses on our city.
Of intimate experiences on Elliots Beach.
Of schizophrenic journeys from Madras Beach to Tambaram West.
Of the careless breaks at Woodlands Drive-In and aimless hours at Anna Nagar West depot.
Of the mindless frenzies down the IT Corridor.
We need to create this space.
Brian holds a doctorate in English Literature.
And it was on 'Insanity in the English Gothic novel'.

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