Finding Me A Review by Mini Gill, New Delhi

Finding Me, a book of English poems by Atreyee Borgohain is an existential narrative, posthumously published. These poems have been conceived in a time span of a couple of years. She had to race against time in order to live and know life through and through. Her poems echo her inner voice, one who was lost in the fear of loneliness and isolation. The present was to her an age of restlessness with lack of belongingness and an identity crisis and all these feelings overflow in her compositions. This poetry collection looks back to the past as well as it looks ahead to the future. They were conceived at a moment when the poet had felt vulnerable at the hands of life’s rebuttals and had started to find shelter in her words. Words allowed her to witness the conflict of her own sensitive soul with the harsh reality of the little Time that was spared by fate at her hand. Atreyee was quashed not only between the two worlds that pushed her into the abysmal pit of nothingness, but every other moment when she confronted reality where she realized that there was a strange compulsion in her to locate herself inside the cocoon of another imagined world. A sensitivity is felt in all of Atreyee’s poems. Relationships emerging through her verse lines are emotional when some absurd moments of time threatened her identity. She was trying to find her place in that strange universe. The “mystic alleys” bothered her and she was pained to see the false promises of life and found everything running out of that quickly caught her in the quagmire of doubt and derision. Cognitive dissonance marked her poetry when we discover an oscillation between belief and disbelief. Finding me is an interface between reality and illusion. Subterranean attitude of life takes us to an unknown terrain of truth where everything thought turned her towards the obscure when there was nothing for her to turn to.
So hard to find love here, so hard
Among the vast strangeness of concrete dwelling
The overall atmosphere of the book is one of a drugged stupor of sadness and a terrible ennui; the poems are heart melting and they ring a bell to usher us into the familiarity of our own going about in the past or present. There are forces which compelled Atreyee to realize that the world was ever changing which in turn made her realize that truth was too harsh and that life in fact was rather transitory. The
urge to strike a balance led her to trudge upon an untrammeled path which instead
took her towards an acceptance of eternity in death. The concrete walls between relationships had bothered her much to the limit of sobriety. The temporal world and its limited emotions and time pricked her much; she was made aware that she was caged in within herself in a plastic vessel where all was too real and compelling to this young soul. Almost all her poems reflect this phenomenon of a vulnerable loneliness and that feeling of low with a disbelief that often accompany it.
Empty hopes follow me,
Unending time, restless moments,
Yet there is nothing to believe.
Her poems reflect the urgent need to escape; she had felt that she was restlessly searching for another world far beyond. She found a chasm ever widening between the virtual and the everyday occurrences and inevitably we discover dichotomies even in the realities that are simply hidden within her text. It contains poems her questionings of the ways and means to comprehend the dualities of passing time and the otherness of the realities of life. The question that her verses primarily poses to us is this – What can we do about human suffering? Have our established ways to deal with the existence of pain are just enough? Atreyee in fact was trying to relocate herself here and thereafter -
Maybe I’ll be gone some other place
Till the time you realize that
I am not there.
The concept of time is presented very perceptively where the propensity of time within the span of this life was almost everything to her, and her poems try to coerce upon the rhythm of life to the verge of its exclusion. There are several suggested meanings inlaid within her lines that enrich her verses and we get a closer glimpse at her sensibilities towards the veritable passing of time.
Time is still
You are passing
Atreyee was verily fearful about this mortal life, and she could almost foretell the love that her father would feel for her when she would not more be there beside him. The entire course of her poems was framed within this dilemma of life and its consequences at the final parting. Aitreyee however was certain that if there was to be immortality, then it was only in love.
Let me be
Until my soul is released
There is a poem addressed to her mother; though it was written as a school assignment, it carries her sincere gratitude and love for her mother even when the other world had closed upon her sensibilities with a sad consequence. Atreyee who was suffocated living within the bounds of this world had said -
No bonds to tie me up
No home to go to
The collection ends with the autumn of her life which she had almost prophesied as happening exactly on time, and also as the mundane way of a world without love and its innocence was becoming not acceptable to her tender understanding. Some psychological forces ran down upon her slowly and certainly and there was too much desperation in her by now that urged her to escape from the uncertainties of her own bearing which shattered her trust in love and the authenticity of her own existence.
It is the autumn of life,
When nothing remains to shed.
A reminiscence written by Atreyee’s motheris an epilogue that comes as the concluding piece in this collection. It contains the pain of a mother who was helplessly grappling at the hands of time, and it also gives the reader a meaningful glimpse into what it meant to be without a daughter, one whose life was snuffed out at the cruel hand of an incredulous fate at such a tender age.
Finding me is a beautifully crafted collection which shall remain a meaningful endeavor of a mother’s promise to her daughter to keep alive her cherished words that tug at every heart strings.

Published by: Rupanjali Baruah
Wordsmith Publishers, Guwahati
Price: Rs. 100/-