:The Nishi, said my mother, are the spirits of those who die violent deaths. They come to you at night and call your name in the voice you love most. But you must never answer them, for if you do, they suck away your soul.
/Leaving Yuba City/ Chitra Banerjee Divakurni
Stumbling on to Chitra’s novel a few years back made me really happy. Not so much her writing style, but the content of her imagination. The way she had taken one theory and weaved it into a story. Finding her collection of poetry, which was an even early collection of writing, made me grin from one ear to the other.
The way she makes rhe reader travel through her poems, the way she takes her memory and peels it off, layer by layer, and through it, spinning the reader in a vibrant cocoon makes you not want to keep the book down but take all that you would, more than you could.
Making the most familiar face, alongside reading these poems made me realize how both the women stand for the same things: using memory to make art, making art that can speak across borders and nationalities and color and all human made divisions while leaving the reader with thoughts to contemplate on and go ahead and create their own versions.