Tirtho Banerjee’s ‘Standstill’: A Journey Through Memory and Emotion

New Delhi (India), November 7: ‘We are nothing but our memories and all that we experience in our life.’

Tirtho Banerjee’s fifth poetry collection ‘Standstill’ encapsulates this thought and goes beyond. It is not just a chequered journey of recollections but also a quest to rediscover the lost feelings and revive some buried emotions.

Tirtho, who has been a media professional for over 25 years, gives words to his memories and pours his heart out as he reminisces the past that is inextricably tied to his present. It is a profound catharsis and every poem strikes a chord with the reader.

In ‘Standstill’, some poems that remember a deep-seated memory are personal while some memories are recalled objectively. Some talk about specific episodes, not necessarily personal experiences, and some about personal emotions.

Link to the book:-

Here are excerpts from an interview with the poet:

Q1. How did you conceive this book? How long did it take to write it?

Ans. Our future is shaped by our present and our present is built on our past experiences. Without memories, life would be so monotonous.

What we go through today, feel, see or say gets registered somewhere, only to resurface later. Episodes of the past keep revisiting us. They kept revisiting and haunting me too. So, I decided to give them a voice and offer them some respite. It’s not without reason that the tag line of ‘Standstill’ is ‘When memories beckon words’.

It took me around three years to write this book. Everything came in flashes. I let my thoughts crystalize. The process was long.

Q2. So, it’s a compilation of your memories. Has it been presented in a chronological manner?

Ans. You can say a compilation of some of my memories. There are many memories that I couldn’t write about. Simply because the feelings that they evoke are too intricate to be expressed. Some emotions defy words. I find words too inadequate, at times. And when I look for precision, it eludes me. All my poetry is layered – actually, that’s because life is not in black and white…neither are emotions. Gulzar sahab once told me ‘Emotions are not so defined’. He was so right.

As far as chronology goes, I didn’t want ‘Standstill’ to be that way. Moreover, some memories are not personal…they are episodes that are imprinted in my mind and I recalled them objectively. Putting a date to every poem or memory would have been too limiting and restricting.

Q3. This is your fifth book of poems. How do you find yourself evolving as a poet or author?

Ans. I have evolved a lot. Not just my writing or words or expressions but my thoughts too. When I read my first book now, I feel some poems are amateurish. But it’s a reflection of my thoughts at the time I wrote them. I have come a long way from sounding slightly stilted at times to expressing myself in my own distinctive way. It takes a lot of time and courage to find your own unique voice.

Q4. What are your expectations from ‘Standstill’?

Ans. I have written the book…it’s like my baby that’s out of my womb – creative process. I want it to grow up and make a mark. I would be satisfied if readers like the poems and it makes them appreciate my work.

We recount a past whiff, and its fragrance stays with us. I hope the whiff of my poems in ‘Standstill’ stays with my readers and makes a difference.

Link to the book:-

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