September 25, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Book Review: Varanasi within Varanasi by Sharmila Ray

1 min read

Rajorshi Patranabis reviews Sharmila Ray’s poetry collection Varanasi within Varanasi (Published by CLASSIX, an imprint of Hawakal, 2022) and recommends that readers just drown themselves in the poetic brilliance of Sharmila Ray.

  • ISBN : 978-93-91431-81-5

Varanasi has long remained an emotion for generations together and to get the taste of this ancient city, you really need to align yourself to the idiosyncrasies of the place. It’s something like a bitter gourd – unless you develop a taste for it, it remains that bitter bit of medicine, but, once on, it’s a piece of ecstasy.

As Ustad Bismillah Khan (the maestro of Shehnai) had put it “An image can never be the real thing. Varanasi is where the Ganga flows, where I can play the Shehnai for Lord Balaji…”,  and so does the poet write in the introduction to the book,” Here I believe the gods come down, their arms outstretched, embracing all, and the grass grows from the skin of the stone steps leading to the river Ganga. ” She further says that Varanasi comes across as “Wretched at one point and tantalizing, seductive at the other.”

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