The Writing Journey of Poet Ananya Chatterjee


When did I start writing poetry? I believe I was around 13 when on the terrace of my maternal grandparents’ home, my mind was flooded by a sudden burst of words. Outside, it was dark already and the words were not in my native language Bengali, nor in my first language at school, English- rather in Hindustani. They surprised me. I didn’t know when and how those words were born inside me. The lines were about the transcendence and fleeting essence of a moment. How it was so difficult to hold it between the palms. Evasive and slippery, these moments could only be revisited through memories. A simple thought, a few simple lines and yet, I felt strangely proud and liberated after creating my first poem “Pal”. 

Did I continue to write in Hindustani? Yes, and no. Though , during my early teenage years from the age of 13 to 16, I fiercely honed my knowledge of the Hindustani language, and wrote many short poems in that language, as I got older, I slowly moved to English. It wasn’t a conscious shift, it happened quite naturally. I have always been an intuitive poet. I must admit that till date I have never sat with a pen and paper to write something consciously. It has always been the other way round. A thought, some words, a few lines have knocked at the door of my consciousness at the oddest of hours. Sometimes in the middle of my day job, sometimes just before I dozed off to sleep. I have relished those words in my mind. Secretly savouring their entry. Only then have I picked up my pen and jotted them to create a verse out of them. 

There are days, weeks and months when poetry doesn’t come to me. This absence does not make me overtly anxious. But I can’t deny the dull feeling in the pit of my stomach, the slightly awkward sensation of being unhinged that grapples me from time to time. The words do come back eventually and the respite I feel then is quite incredible.

Poetry is the way I look at life. I believe what I have in me is a sense of curiosity and wonder that has stayed with me. Life experiences, constant brushes with the harsh reality of the world, hasn’t managed to erase this manner of perceiving life. I am a keen observer of all things happening around and inside of me. I am curious to know what happens next. Humour and optimism are my weapons to deal with adversities. A feeling of connectedness paradoxically interspersed with a layer of detachment – that’s, in a nutshell, my state of consciousness. My writings usually bear evidence to that.