I don’t attend many Book releases, but recently, the poem lover entity in me got pulled to a book release of ‘ASH IN THE SKY’ by Srujani Mohanty. It was quite an interesting release as it gave an insight into what goes into the minds of the top level revenue officers in India. The book reveals the poetess in the hearts of the officer and cements the fact that even a tough officer is a human at the end of the day.
Srujani Mohanty, an Indian Revenue Service Officer of 1999 batch has been penning down her thoughts over the last few years since her student days, and it finally got a book shape through her debut poetry collection in English, ‘Ash in the Sky’.
The book has released by Mr. Bibek Debroy, Padma Shri, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Niti Aayog, at India international center , New Delhi. Also seen were many book lovers and renowned people including Mr. Siddharth Gigoo, award winning author and film maker , Mr. Amulya Patnaik, Commissioner, Delhi Police, Justice J.D. Kapoor, former Judge, Delhi High Court and ex-President, Delhi State Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission, Dr. Devesh Roy, economist and writer, Justice A.K.Patnaik, ex Supreme Court Judge, Justice A.K.Sikri, ex Supreme Court Judg, Justice P.K. Bahri, former Judge, Delhi High Court, Justice C.M. Nayyar, former Judge, Delhi High Court, Mr. Ajit Patnaik, ex Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General (Dy.CAG), Ms. Nirupama Kotru, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, , Government of India, Mr. Arun Goyal, ex-Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat,Prof. Girishwar Mishra, Delhi University, Ms. Sushmita Khare, Head-HR, Lite Bite Foods, Mr. Amit Khare, General Manager, Trident /Oberoi Hotels, Gurugram, Justice Usha Mehra, former Delhi High Court Judge, Justice D.P. Wadhwa, former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Katriar, former Patna High Court judge, and many others.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Devesh Roy, economist, says, “The narration of relationships reminds the reader of the intellectual transfers akin to what were there in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake. “Her poems are beautiful, especially those inspired by Japan. I can relate her at another level because not only does she look at the world in a different way; some of her poetry touched my heart.” Siddharth Gigoo, award winning author and filmmaker”
This collection of 82 poems in all, seeks to revisit the art of romantic lyricism…. celebrates motherhood, close ties with parents, travels to Japan, closeness to nature, especially the world of flowers like carnations, Dahlias, and cherry blossoms, along with the pines, the conifers, the deodars and the maple leaves.
There are four sections in the book: On Love and relationships, Nature’s vista, Japan diary and Soul’s Stirrings and Sojourns. It draws on love and other relationships with people, with children, deals with portrayal of nature and changing seasons through vivid imagery of flowers……cherry blossoms, dahlias, jasmine…… Another section focuses on Japan, its beauty and its people and the poet’s experiences there. These poems especially celebrate the natural beauty of Japan in all the four celebrated seasons. The poet’s soul was touched by the divinity of the surreal sights of Nihon and the way the Japanese people cherish and treasure them.
The cover page of the book is a picture of this garden in full autumnal glory. The poems based in Japan leaps to one’s consciousness with the beatific descriptions of natural beauty. The anthology culminates with the section on soul’s stirrings and sojourns…. dwelling deeply upon one’s inner world.
This book of poetry is a labour of love, only love! It is an attempt by the poet at creating something tangible before it slips through her fingers, something that completes her design of life and captures her worldview. A beautiful mosaic of people, places and incidents have left an indelible imprint and created deep niches in the poet’s life. These phases of life, these people and incidents that have left behind a rich emotional and intellectual trail for her, have all been presented through this poetry collection. The book reverberates with earnestness and a freshness as it takes up the nuances of a life that can be made beautiful by receptivity to things that stir one’s mind and soul.
The poet, Srujani Mohanty, an officer of the ‘Indian Revenue Service’, of the rank of Commissioner of Income-Tax, and is currently posted in New Delhi in the Department of Revenue, Government of India. Born and raised in Rourkela, Odisha, in the quiet campus environs of National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, by erudite parents, both of whom are professors. Her father made an deep impact on the impressionable mind of the young author by his love for the English language; she was fed by a steady diet of Daphne de Maurier, Graham Green, Pearl Buck, P.G Wodehouses. Her Mother, a professor in English Literature, further conquered her soul with her literary and spiritual treatises by raising her on classics, dramas and beautiful verses of William Wordsworth, John Keats and Robert Browning.
She began her writings in high school and she kept on honing and polishing her creative work as time sped by. At college, she took away many honours at the creative writing competitions, be it inter-college or University levels. She graduated as the Best Arts Graduate from Sambalpur University, receiving the OSEAN gold medal. She also loves to dabble in acrylic painting and is trained in Hindustani vocal music.
Speaking to us about her future plans, she expressed her desire to move into writn g mix of prose and poems Romance and life.