Rukmini Moitra, Sulekha and being pensive in the pandemic!

Like they say, there are poets and there are poets. There are the ones who write only for the adulation that they seek. And there are the ones who put their most precious thoughts on paper, jealously guarding their emotional outpourings, chary of giving strangers access into the innermost recesses of their souls. Rukmini Moitra is certainly of the second kind, skimming the surface of her creativity and sharing only what she thinks is good enough to be discarded with the readers, even as she treasures the gems that eyes other than her own have never been blessed enough to dwell upon.

How do I say this? Simple, the “Pensive in Pandemic – A Collection of poetic thoughts” that Rukmini Moitra has published, screams from every line about treasures that are buried perhaps in the inner recesses of her mind, perhaps in the pages of notebooks that have been locked away from the prying gaze, perhaps torn in a million pieces and fed to the winds. But poems there have been. Gems there are, for no one can be so naturally lyrical, so emotionally sensitive and so soulfully evocative and not be more prolific. The thirty little ditty’s that comprise the pandemic induced content of thoughts pensive are only a harbinger, a kind of a pointer that promises a fistful of fantasy by delivering a pinch of reverie. Yes, Rukmini Moitra and her tongue-in-cheek writings are no less headstrong or biased than her Pujari, and her life, replete in a beetroot platter.  

The sheer simplicity of the words is kind of infectious and one wishes there were vaccines that one could get oneself jabbed with, if only to overcome the desire to read more of Rukmini Moitra’s work. Lucky indeed are the students who have had the pleasure of being guided by a teacher who is so linguistically pucca, someone whose words seem to fall in place with grace, whose poems show no struggle as they form and blast their way into the very core of the reader’s being. Pouring evening tea in a remorse cup, is after all, not something that can be brewed by many.

The sheer magnitude of the sensibilities that are involved in this collection of poems is mindboggling. One the one level they talk of the mundane, while on others, deeper still, they allude to unsaid words, the kind of silence one would expect from an unassuming and reserved poetess, who would not have broken out of her shell, had the world not been forced into cocoons of their own by the pandemic and the lockdown that had followed.

Rukmini Moitra

She implores her readers to “read all the poems and to feel them too”, which is, again on one level a simple thing to expect, while on the other, a task that is surely not cut out for everyone. Reading poems is easy, to feel the words float and gallop through the mind as one reads pieces, especially if they are skillfully woven, is surely not something that everyone can do? And, then to feel them. To be as sensitive as the poetess, to sense the ebb and tides of her emotions, to be intuitive enough to relate to the ethereal traces that the poetess leaves unsaid? Soul connects that transcends the realm of the words? Well …

There was a specific reason why I had picked up the book. And no, I must admit, the reason was not my love for poems, but my unalloyed love for the ink it was written with. Rukmini Moitra is married into the Moitra family, the one who had started, and are still running the Swadeshi ink brand Sulekha. During the lockdown, while many of us, forced indoors against our will, had picked up the fountain pen and ink to while away our time, Rukmini Maitra had wielded the pen to compile some of her creations and give it the form of a book, one that she, going against the dictates of her mind, decided to share with the world at large. The manuscript, I am told, was written exclusively with Sulekha ink – no mean feat for Sulekha, considering the fact that she was conceived nearly a hundred years ago, in a place that is now a different country, to fuel the pen of a Saint who some wish was an anachronism, to be used in an implement that almost a relic of the past.

All I can pray for is that Rukmini Moitra’s works become as everlasting as the Sulekha ink they are penned with. They certainly have the same quality that defies time.         

The book is available in:, Amazon, Flipkart and select bookstores.