Bilingual poet and writer Rati Agnihotri reviews Kamayani’s poetry collection, Recipe for Ladyfinger Pickle (Published by Red River Books, 2022) and observes how this collection is highly inventive, piquant, playful, irreverent, layered, rich in imagery, and borrows heavily from the kitchen.
You will need to hunt for the finger
that has learnt to explore herself
not slender, not manicured, not gloved
maybe one that has stood up
in the face of challenges and denials.
The opening lines of the collection from the title poem ‘ Recipe for Ladyfinger Pickle’ set the mood aptly for all that follows next. The poem conjures a parallel universe of women’s dreams, desires, and identities. This universe doesn’t play by the rules of the patriarchal masculinist video game setup that has come to define our mainstream universe. The poet Kamayani in her quest for a maverick woman’s world subverts age-old stereotypes and creates her own rules in the process.