lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Monday, April 16, 2007

Announcing Roudri

Blogging, as a famous blogger says once in a while, will be light.

A few posts ago, I'd gleefully declared that I would start a new blog for poetry, and inflict my poems on the blogosphere. Though it was only in jest, that made me think. Larking is not a poetry blog though I do occasionally post poems, and those tend to get ignored by you philistines, anyhow.

Over the weekend, after I completed my sacred duty to cryptic crosswords, I'd set up another blog. This meant, of course, that I was eyeballs-deep in templates and layouts, and that dreaded acronym, HTML.

Template all tweaked to my temporary satisfaction, I published a first post to see how it looked. It looked awful. Back to the drawing board, so to speak. More tweaking, and publish again. Hmm, not bad, but do I want that colour scheme? Back to square one. All in all, I had a frustrating, exhilarating and constructive weekend.

Because it's going to be devoted to poetry, and Telugu poetry mostly, I wanted everything to be just so. With poetry, it had always been like that for me; even choosing the name to publish under.

When I first published poetry in my teens, I'd used the name on my school's records, B Lalita. But by the time my poems were going to be published in a collection, I'd taken to using my father's pseudonym as my surname. This was because though he had a name that only his bank recognised and insisted upon, my father was known to the world of Telugu literature and Telugu cinema as Arudra.

But I didn't want to publish as Lalita Arudra, I didn't want the surname to influence or colour how people read my work. We were mulling over pseudonyms I could use, when my father suggested Roudri. I had to grin.

It was typical of the man and his sense of humour. There I was, trying to deny that I was his daughter when I wrote, and he suggested a name that said, in one way, 'Arudra's daughter'. It was an inevitable joke in a household of punsters that indulged in multilingual puns, and I loved it.

Roudram means wrath, and roudra means wrathful, but roudri means several things, after all. It is a woman, a woman's name, a year in the sixty year cycle of Telugu calendar system, and it is another name of the mother goddess, just like my given name is. More deliciously to me, it is the Srti or tone of antara gaandhaaram, the ga used in Sankarabharanam and Kambhoji.

The possibilities were endless to incorporate some private jokes into poems if I wrote as Roudri.

Of the twenty-two Srtis in an octave, roudri is the eighth, belonging to the jaati deepta, and the gaandhaara graama is sung only in heaven, unheard in mortal world. Its pace is said to be leisurely, and its season the rains. All in all, perfect to write an introductory poem full of allusions and metaphor.

I thanked my father for the name and wrote a tongue in cheek poem introducing myself, and the collection was published. When a review appeared dissecting the poem's internal meaning I was tickled pink, I can tell you.

So I wrote as Roudri, and published another book of poems. These are not available anywhere, thank goodness, as they were badly proofread and contained mistakes galore as my scrawl was mostly indecipherable to compositors.

Thanks to publishing online, I can correct those typos and howlers and publish them again in a medium that will ensure that they aren't lost like the printed books.

I hereby inform my readers that I have set up Roudrisms, and will be posting my Telugu poems there, instead of inflicting them on you here in the Larking. Do check it out and give me feedback, and remember Larking is still my primary playground.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have copies of at least some of those early books - so there. Be nice to me. Good luck with the Telugu blog. I don't like the 'ism' but it is not my place to name your writings! Tivi

6:46 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

This is nice news, Lali. The snippet about how you chose your pseudonym was amusing to begin with and then got intricate.

Roudrijaalu would be a better bet, but like Tivi says, it is not my place to name your blog.

I will go and read Roudrisms now. Best of luck with blog, Lali.

Arudra's daughter, eh? And you never told me when I dissected his songs. Bah, like you say.

7:53 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Tivi- Talk about kid sisters cramping one's style. I will be nice if you will be nice, so there, tee hee! Seriously, though, I didn't know you had a copy, I suppose so does Kavi, sigh. Thank goodness you are family.

Your point about Roudrisms is taken aboard, but I can't change it now without deleting the blog and starting all over again; too much hard work. Changed the title, though.

Ash- You live and learn, don't you? We discussed him as a poet, and I think I can be objective as well as the next person, so there.

10:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember earning 10% for naming a title for your stories though or proof reading them- Tivi

12:01 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

That was the nose-piercing saga, yeah. Such fun writing it up I had. :-)

7:12 am  
Anonymous Arvind said...

Lalita!! you are the daughter of such illustrious parents. terrific.


5:57 pm  
Anonymous dipali said...

Very very impressed, Lali! Wish I knew Telugu....

7:47 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Arvind- :-) Whattodo, as the kids say. One can't help one's family, no? Friends we can choose, and all that.

Dipali- I will post an occcasional translation if the poem in question is at all translatable. There are some that just can't be rendered into another language, I'm afraid.

6:56 am  
Anonymous Arvind said...


2:44 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

chinni naa tanDree, sirimalle poovaa, don't make me trade emoticons :-)

11:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good luck! change the font size. it might take some time to get used reading telugu the way it looks. i do have one of your books. you donot have to be nice to me, because i donot lend my books any more to any one- not even to family- kavi

12:47 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Kavi- Thanks. I don't know how to change font sizes, this is all cut and paste from lekhini so far. I need a tutorial from somebody who is tech-savvy, I'm afraid.

I don't lend books either, unless I am very very sure they will be returned. I think that is a family trait. :-)

1:41 pm  
Anonymous Roudri said...

wow .. really nice article. now i know the actual meaning of my name. thank u for that

9:44 am  

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