In my first book, Gemini, there is line that says, ‘My mother tongue is not my mother’s tongue,’ because my mother’s tongue is Malayalam, but my mother tongue is English. It always has been. I spoke in English to both my parents. They spoke to me in English. I grew up breathing English and living in English. Although we lived in many different places -- Patna, Bombay, Hong Kong, New York, London -- for me the real home through all those moves was the language. And that was English.
Also, when I say ‘silence in my left hand,’ English is my right hand because that is the language I write in and also in the sense that you need silence to make the language come alive-- its silence, its pauses between words that provide music, provide the beat, that provides room for imagination.
Jeet's lates collection of poems is called, not surprisingly, English. I've been told there are some CDs of the book floating around, and I've been trying to lay my hands on one. (I have the book, thanks.)
But this times itself nicely with something I've been thinking of recently. I've been putting together some poems for The Little Theatre in Hyderabad, to read at The Poetry Society. I thought it would be fun to do poets writing about writing. I know this has been done before, but I also know that TPSofH hasn't had a programme like this one. While trying to include Indian poets' works, I realised that a lot of the poems that deal with writing about writing (when it's done by Indians) tends to revolve around the question of languages and writing in English.
Now all I need is the full version of Jeet's ghazal, 'In Malayalam". Can anyone help?