A literary couple Kumar and Monika Chakraborty has been contributing to and kindled by the literary world over the last few decades. Kumar is a leading poet-essayist while Monika writes fictions. At present, in the time of disquieting isolation induced by COVID-19, New Age got in touch with the couple to find out how they are passing their days.
Kumar Chakraborty has written a few poems amid COVID-19 crisis, among which the poem, titled ‘Kal, Arkanjeler Sathe’, is actually a confrontation with death. When Kumar Chakraborty was asked about the reason behind writing the poem on death, he said, ‘I have an unconscious obsession with death. Death is a constant wonder that extremely mystifies us. And undoubtedly, we ourselves are also a sign of wonder. This feeling does not last in the normal state inside us. That is why it is natural to be tolerant. But the coronavirus has shattered this stagnation.’
‘The fragility of existence happens in front of the eyes. The helplessness and destruction of human beings seem to me spooky. So in the face of this paradoxical but extreme reality, I wrote the poem “Kal, Arkanjeler Sathe”,’ he continues.
Archangel is the angel of death. The realisation is due to the weight of the present time that has overwhelmed us, adds Kumar.
Monika Chakroborthy has written a short story centring on the COVID-19 crisis, where the central character of the story is a woman, who suffers from doubts whether she is infected with the virus or not.
‘My character smells her favourite perfume once a day. And from this process of taking smell, she guessed whether she is infected or not with coronavirus,’ Monika explains.
One day when the woman went to take the smell of a favourite perfume, she started ruminating and recalled she got the perfume as a gift from her favourite person.
‘How is that dear man now, where is he now, and how does he spend his days, in her story, I bring up all those issues as they overwhelm the female protagonist,’ Monika sums up the story in short.
When they are not writing, Kumar and Monika spend their time listening to music, reading literature, watching films as well as nursing their roof-top garden. Besides, they spend their afternoons looking at the sky from the shade of the garden.
When Monika was asked whether she had any plan to explore anything else other than writing short stories, she replied, ‘I have written around four thousand words which would be a novella. Besides, I have translated Japanese stories. Actually, in this very unstable time it is very tough to concentrate on writing.’
Kumar too feels that he is spending more time ‘thinking’ than actually putting his thoughts down on paper.
‘Other than translating few Greek poems, I have been editing the essays on Søren Kierkegaard I had previously worked on and also working on a long essay,’ he ended.