Faux Assassin | Obayed Akash | Book Review

Faux Assassin by Obayed Akash

There always lies a subject matter in the poem about the perception of beauty. It can be captured or delineated mainly in the beauty described in the poem, in the expression of the poem, on the ability to provide pleasure, or on the combination of deliberateness.

With the touch of a rash conception of thought, for whatever pleasure or beauty it creates, the poet slowly becomes more and more visible through his poetry pulling everything around him.

The poet breaks down the walls of some illusions that surround him. Maybe some more impenetrable walls are created in the meantime.

The book “Faux Assassin” is written by one of the most prominent Bangladeshi poets, storytellers, essayists, and translators Obayed Akash.

The anthology includes forty-six excellent poems wherein we shall touch on the third poem at first:

Natural Truth

All stories told by my mother
were full of natural truths

My mother’s every utterance is alive somewhere
either in the deep forest or living in some form of organism
in the depth of the sea

I know, the words of my mother or even
a half-sentence of her is not embedded in my memory
But the patabahar and shefali flowers on her grave
sends diverse colors and scents
every day without fail

I say to them thoughtfully – tell me, at every sunset
How far my mother’s face is spanned in the space?

Then a few people start
Crafting praises of their mothers’ culinary skills

Again a few of them makes the world very natural
by repeating the tales their mothers used to tell

(Patabahar – an evergreen plant, Shefali – a fragrant flower)


(Translated from Bengali by Haikal Hashmi)

The whole poem is fully covered with deep feelings and affections of the poet to his heavenly mother. Here, in the third stanza, the poet seems to be a little bit touching on the way to expose his grievances.

A suppressed feeling, as well as inner lamentation, is prevalent here. The poet is in the bewailing-mood and at the same time, he is also in the revering-mood while hiring two important flower-tools: “Patabahar” and “Shefali” to convey the deepest respect to his mother.

The concluding stanza discernably turns the whole poem into a universal poem where love, affection and respect keep abreast of and ultimately reveals the punch line of the poem i.e. natural truth.

The poet will form beautiful sentences by translating the thoughts of his mind one by one. The feeble and exhausted emotions will be strengthened by fresh thoughts.

If there is disruption in the demand, the poet feels intense resonance, the poet becomes overwhelmed.

And on the contrary, if the poet can translate his thoughts exactly, then it becomes a heavenly gift for the poet and ultimately for the readers too.

Let’s read a few lines from the poem “Utterance” wherein the poet is a little bit skeptical about the future:

Utterance

How do you speak and at the same time
Think silently about the grammar of the plants—

How daringly you speak
That may become an autobiography of a plant.

In the upcoming days
Only silence will be distributed
At the moment still you can speak in murmur.


It is only when the combined elements and metaphors of the poem are presented together then the true beauty of the poem emerges from the sublime, lining the reader’s mind.

In the second poem of the book, the poet unveils his thought about greyish-future, being a bit disturbed and questioned, whether he has been able to execute his duty properly or not.

Child’s Face

The probable grey principles of medical science or anthropology
Is still valid
To get rid of that dilemma
I have just dangled the face of my child in the sky


I am surrounded by
Local and foreign inspectors
They’re here to inspect whether I have sketched
My child’s face properly or not!

(Translated from Bengali by Haikal Hashmi)

In modern poetry, we see the impression of humanist consciousness that has been notably reflected in several poems in the book. The poet presents in front of us all the extraordinary scenes and images, enriched with the general content around him.

That is the key “openness” to the poetry of Obayed Akash. We should go through the following poem “Postmodern Cat”.  

The first few verses of the poem give us an impression of rich figurative description of a-much-beloved-under-the-guise-of a lovely cat focussing the word “you” around which the infinite dream collapses.

Postmodern Cat

In few timid toes, you’re caressing ears abound
You know infinity intimately, ever-floating around

Something violent happened or something else
You know it better with appendices and details

Much you’ve drawn others but nobody likes you
In moonlit night serene, surf on sea waves few


(Translated from Bengali by Mahfuz Al-Hossain)

Modern poets create a special type of hyperreality that readers are to face while going through the poem but in this anthology, Obayed Akash didn’t try at all to test the readers’ patience rather he has portrayed his poems in a very frank and open way.

This is the speciality of Obayed Akash’s poetry. We find the touch of reality in the last stanza of “Wallet (Money Bag)” as well as in the poem of “Blood Ancestry”. We see the touch of magnitude of the reality.

Wallet (Money Bag)

Whatever everyone thinks
but I am concerned about its suffocating state
or suddenly getting back all the gushing air
I am genuinely concerned!

(Translated from Bengali by Haikal Hashmi)

Blood-Ancestry

Our bargaining for a particular Buffalo-fish at fish-market
Almost turning into a fist-fighting –
Surprisingly, from display, a cut-piece of big Buffalo-fish head
Jumped-in to my grocery bag


And we found out, all the fish-buyers at the market
We belonged to ‘Pisces-ancestry’

That is it; who eat our own fleshes
Our bargaining of our own fleshes might turn in fist-fighting

(Translated from Bengali by Ashoke Kar)

Does that mean the rest of the poems in the book are not touched by hyperreality? In fact, every poem in the book is full of practical issues around us.

In the thirty-fifth poem “The Rack”, we find the fragrance of love in a little bit different way through the reflection of common furniture. Stealing the poet’s faith or confidence in the middle of the darkness is not good:

The Rack

Your used clothes got stolen from the
Confidence of the clothing stand

Since then I can’t trust the rack anymore

With no accounts, at anytime
Change of places can’t be trusted

Every night my clothings get down from
My body and roam around in search of the rack

(Translated from Bengali by Razia Sultana)

There is always a lack of centrality in reading the modern poetry. Finding where to start or where to end is often difficult for the reader.

It is important to note that readers will not lack the centrality of modern poetry while going through the book “Faux Assassin”.

Besides, it is good to say that the simplicity and fluidity of the language have made the whole anthology unique and distinctive.

After reading these poems, we shall be of the opinion that all these poems represent extraordinary descriptions of all the ordinary forms prevailing around us.

Without questioning the poet alone, or extending our discussion a bit further, we can also quote here the style and diction from his previously published book “Weal and Woe of Pronoun”, which has also posed a question to us – Did the poet avoid postmodernism or postmodern-trend in his poems sophisticatedly? Did the poet ignore this trend intentionally through his poetic prowess or artistry?

Let’s try to understand it. Theoretically the poet does not really want to chase the readers in the complexities of the post-modern era rather he has tried his best to ensure that, while going through his poetry, an utmost satisfaction can deeply engross the readers’ mind.

Sometimes in reading the book it seems that the poems have reflected the readers’ own thoughts. In this situation, the readers will undoubtedly extend their best wishes and congratulations to the poet Akash.

Let’s read a beautiful poem and try to have nostalgia with the touch of nature —

The Tamarisk Evening

You used to cover your face with a towel
And with the confidence of a tamarisk tree
Would let it fly
Then the sun would rise, birds would sit on it
And nibble the mist of each other’s beak in sheer joy
Unlike morn, noon, and evening
Unrestricted time would stand still
If you wanted, you could have garment folds of sunshine momentarily
Just the thought of the wings of a bird
could have earned you lifetime liberty
But you opened the amazing grace of the tamarisk
And chose to stay absorbed in for life in the cosmos of nostalgia
Where one can fade away or break down
And also can gain huge energy to rise on feet
the pond full of fish under the tamarisk tree-

Did it ever happen to you –
While catching fish with a fishing hook
time flew by and suddenly noticed twilight had settled in? 

(Translated from Bengali by Razia Sultana)

In the eighteenth poem of the book, “Belonged to Sangita” the poet has usually presented to us the reflection of his one-time thoughts, as well as through the last verse, an example of the opposite of Platonic love —

Belonged to Sangita

Sangita was my intimate friend for ever                                   
On the whistles made of stripped coconut leaves
And on frosted green wings of golden Ladybugs
Someone has written our stories

Then, who was Sangita?

During that night, asleep, I explained her myself
‘Sangita — I love you more than I can say’
That was it; tidal waves are flashing away
Hundreds of Coconut trees, on floating green Date-plam leaves
Crowded lines of crawling Golden-Ladybugs 

(Translated from Bengali by Ashoke Kar)

Except for a couple of poems in the book “Faux Assassin”, almost every poem is a description of contemporary issue.

As avid readers of the poem, we understand each poem has a specific focus and subject-matter. The poet has collected his poetic materials from almost all-walks-of-life.

The hierarchy of logic is present in almost all the poems. The first verse of forty-fourth poem “Poem for Well-Being” opens the presence of tailor shop through the “natural physique of the girl’s body”.

At this stage with the poet, we all say in tune, that we can all be well. Let’s read the poem —

Poem for Well-Being

Sustained the stabbed injury at the tailoring shop, the young girl 
went back home after recovery. From someone’s painful wound
We know one should only pray for wellbeing-
The wings of dead dragonflies at the foggy dawn or 
At the dart infested room, tales of therapeutic studies has been written onto butterfly’s wings-, nobody care to remind. 
Few newscasters listened visual gossips of the girl’s physical and with minimal risks they telecasted the feature that aroused more disbeliefs about her well being.


(Translated from Bengali by Kamrul Hassan) 

The modern poet creates his own world through his imagination; he may have similarities with other worlds or may not even have them. He finds inspiration from contemporary subjects.

In Akash’s poetry, the readers find all the thoughts of reality, love, daily-mythology, some abstract feeling, realism, sufferings, romance of daily affairs and absolutely the presence of nature.

A portion of them is covered with abstract atmosphere. All these poems describe the poet, all the marginal professionals, lovers, labours, clowns as well as intellectuals in a very expressionistic and realistic way.  

So after reading the poems “False Assailant” or “Faux Assassin”, written in his own charismatic language, in his own way, we breathe a sigh of relief by completely liberating the poet “Obayed Akash” from the barrage of illusion.

False Assailant

Now I can easily come in and go out through the glass.
I can create the future in the churned out wet face of yours.
When you were hanging by holding the skeleton of cloud, floating from one place to another and loving it like a false assailant- it is unbelievable but you pushed them to the brink of death in a dark black night.
Even at that time, you didn’t have a place of your own! And one day suddenly your face surfaced on a ruin
in the only water filled ditch of the earth saved from the hands of destruction- you put that water-body in a glass to hide yourself from the looming destruction.
And I was promise-bound to cross that vast ruin by flying over it, that’s the reason you pulled me down from the sky to your personal belongings;
and at that very moment, a surprise struck you- and you got the impatient excitement of creating something new out of me

(Translatede from Bengali by Haikal Hashmi)

Faux Assassin

Now I’m wondering, how easily l may pass through the glass from one side to another. On your soaked swirling face — how comprehensively I can decorate the future!

While you’ve been swinging by holding cloud’s skeletons, and like the Faux-assassin, you loved these habitats after habitats — yet incredibly, in an instance of grand dark night, you forced them to disappear into the death-hole!

Even then, you did not have your own habitat! And then all of a sudden, your face emerged from the grave wreckage — onto water trench, that’s the only one of its kind that exists in this world — you trapped that very trench into the glass to hide yourself from the recurring ruins!

Me, I’d pledged to fly across the destructions, so you dragged me down into your personal collection arena; and then flinched at once — with intolerable furor of nascent genesis have been evolving all around me —

(Translated from Bengali by Ashoke Kar)

The poet approaches us vividly presenting some catching-images and those images draw our attention.

The words and phrases used in the above poems: the churned-out-wet-face, the skeleton of cloud, the brink of death, promise-bound, the grave wreckage, to hide yourself from the recurring ruins madness, etc lead to a conclusion – Which, in the last line of the poem, make an invisible excitement in front of the readers’ eyes.

We shall conclude going through the poem “Flute” so, let’s flute —

Flute

The rusted old flute
Its tunes have turned into “dhurpadi”

Now a days the moisture in the air
Soaks the used old gramophone of bygone era
And the voice of tunes become hoarse

Those who are lovers of classical music
Those who love the old numbers
They have snatched away my new flute

(Translated from Bengali by Haikal Hashmi)

All the poems of “Faux Assassin” have well and aesthetically been translated from Bengali by five renowned and respected poets, writers and translators of Bangladesh namely – Ashoke Kar, Haikal Hashmi, Mahfuz Al-Hossain, Kamrul Hasan and Razia Sultana.

They will definitely be praised by the readers for completing their task.



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