Arundhati Subramaniam marries the magical and the myriad, monsoon and Mumbai, myth and metaphors in nearly every page of this majestic collection of poems. Like every night has its own soundtrack, each piece here has a harmony unique to its own. And every time you return to them, it makes minute invisible readjustments to perfectly fit your state of mind.
The first poem in the anthology begins with Eunice de Souza’s immortal line: “Best to meet in poems”. Where does one go from here, you’ll wonder? How does one ever better this? But Subrmaniam’s unerring sense of language, like a true performer, never even makes that attempt.
Her words envelope you in a melting pot of Bombay apartments and balmy Goa holidays, hibiscus silk saris, and adrak chai. Love Without a Story is about a world soaked in wistfulness, warmth, and remembering, with the Arabian Sea waiting by its side like a faithful witness to the days of sun and rain alike.
This is a sensory, lyrical journey into known territories but through paths only this particular poet at this specific point in time could have taken us on. On a rare hungover morning when I had opened the book at random and landed on a little poem about parents, it felt to me like the sentences are reaching out from the pages and cupping my face with tenderness sans any judgment.
The personal becomes the political in these pieces, but also the idyllic, the dramatic, the laconic, and the spiritual… like the hopeful whistle of a bird on a tree that you can listen to each morning but never spot. But isn’t that enough?