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It is not always that people can be categorized as a phenomenon. And Shilpa Roy is a phenomenon in the making! I met her for the first time when she was reciting one of her poems at a community gathering of poets and writers. She had that smile and that tone of her voice which left me wishing to know more about her. Soon though, I was reading her poems online and some of them made me hum the songs of Jayanta Hazarika, which I always felt are half-finished verses. Shilpa’s poems, published in her debut book, “Of Pastels and Inferno”, will make you stop, think, read from the beginning, and then reread again. The poems will make you question her, “Where do you get those thoughts within a thought?” And Shilpa would simply flash that mystical smile, which will make you wonder what she’s thinking of next. And that’s what makes Shilpa who she is! In Adieu Mortal Existence, when he said, “I would wait for you beside the Kolong river for the Bihuwaan,”, I could faintly hear Bhupen Da’s ‘Kohuwa Bon….’ wafting in from across the waters of the river. Shilpa’s poems are infused with a lot of local flavor and that’s the reason why they’re so special. The poems have appeal not just to an Axomiya who loves the ring of the words, Burhi Dihing, Bhogdoi, and Jia Bhoroli, but also to people who bracket themselves as ‘Lovers’ with words hanging from the crescent of the moon. Shilpa’s poems are peppered with simplicity, yet they create a space for profound thoughts. I would say inspiring thoughts! I wish the best for more phenomenal creations to flow from Shilpa’s pen in the years to come! ~Tinat Atifa Masood

Of Pastels and Inferno

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