“Sunset in a cup” by Santosh Bakaya

Sunset in a cup

ISBN 978-93-6095-458-1
New Delhi, 2024, PP 133

Reviewed By BrindhaVinodh

“Sunset in a cup” is yet another beautiful collection of poems by Dr. Santosh Bakaya, who has already carved a niche for herself in the contemporary literary world.

She has this unique and inimitable knack of drawing inspiration from life around her, be it the squirrels, rabbits, birds, trees, and all things natural: breeze, rivers, clouds, the sky, thereby uplifting human spirits, and it is this beauty of exploring and drawing simple joys out of them that makes her voice delicately nuanced.

In many of her poems, the tone is optimistic, instilling hope and rejuvenation to our lives, often filled with the drudgery of everyday activities, but then, she doesn’t limit herself to that alone, her deft acumen in observing life’s different shades is conspicuously evident as one reads through the collection in an in-depth manner.

Let me begin with a few lines from the poem, “The Vagrant Sunbeam,” mellow in its tone, scintillating in its approach, and yet, celebrates freedom in the most simplest form.

“Ah, a drop of golden ray also falls on the lady’s face.
I gape as she stretches her arms and legs, breaking
 into a languid smile. Her hair tucked back into a bun,
touched by the sun, breaks loose.
 It is as if an invisible noose around her neck has loosened.
Her body trembles with the euphoria of liberation. Her eyes glow.”

In the poem, “The cloud,” she elucidates on the theme and spirit of love in her uniquely vehement voice, but not before hitting hard with a powerful refrain, thereby juxtaposing, a timely reminder to human beings, who have a lot to learn from the avian community. To quote a few lines from it,

“Under the blue sky, a sunbird hopped from bush to bush,
and a Koel trilled from the neem tree, hidden.
A couple of doves cooed, watching a robin leave a few
musical notes on the lantana hedge. Was it a deliberate
gesture of love? An effort to bait its elusive mate?

Life was a celebration, why all this hate?

“A Fractured reality” is a poem wherein she effortlessly pens about the emotions of an old couple on a bench, the memories they share, carved in their younger days, the secret moments they enjoyed beneath the bushes and the enjoyable recollections of simple but truly amazing, sweet-nothings in the aura of natural surroundings. Yet, touching as touching can be, the inevitable truth and reality of life fading like sunlight at the end of a day, is captured in a poignant manner. It isn’t an exaggeration when I say that this particular poem, for sure, strikes a poignantly emotional chord somewhere within. Here are a few lines from it:

“A very old couple sitting on a bench,


Do they remember those stolen kisses,
the furtive glances, those naughty twinkles
before the wrinkles came?

Hand in gnarled hand, they walk.
An eye fixed on the ticking clock. 

Tick - tock - tick - tock.

……….. The Monarch butterfly sits on the shrub
and the man tells her how it had perched on her shoulder,
long- long back, with the same ardour. They both smile.”

This is where she proves her versatility and evokes the reader’s senses with a plethora of emotions from the natural environment- joy, hope, love, longing, and inherent sadness.

Sometimes, she evinces the fear of the subconscious mind, the mysterious merging of realism and hallucination, the psychic experience, and it is clear she enjoys writing on this, as can be interpreted from these verses from the poem, “This happened last night”

“Yes, she was still there,
wearing anklets.
I could hear them singing- chiming,
miming the sound of raindrops…

Hoo-----Hoo----hooted the owl.
Hoo is singing? Hoo Hoo Hoo-
tell me tell me … Hoo?

There are many poems in this collection that make us traverse through thoughts to make the bridge of humanity remain strong and solid, not to be broken, for our own good, appealing lines that make us have a peek into the appalling sense of gloom causing unnecessary hatred among humans, by humans. Time and again, she has been delving deep into these topics to make herself more emphatic, and it is apparently evident that she is clear in her approach to conveying the message, a cry from within, expressing anguish and anxiety, arising from compassion.

 “The smell of nostalgia” is also a memorable poem, evocative and reflective, written in an exquisite tone and mood, in her signature style.

Her vocabulary is rich, diverse, and extensive in its usage, and those familiar with some of her previous collections will not be surprised if they are enthralled and enraptured by her penchant for alliterations and onomatopoeia. The imagery is as usual, vivid, vast, and startling.

The afterword by Dr. Ampat Koshy, an academician, poet, writer, and literary critic in his own right, wonderfully, widely, and eruditely captures the essence of the collection. Succinct is the word I would use for the beautiful blurb written by Henry L. Jones.

The picture by Tom Thrun that forms the cover of the book is stunning and mesmerizing. Kudos to Authorpress for yet another great publication.


Reviewer bio: Brindha Vinodh is a poet, writer, literary critic, online tutor and a former copyeditor.

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