About the poem, “LAVA”

The first poem under Love and Lust poetry series was published on Instagram (Gaffe was the first poem on the website itself). Lava was written in collaboration with 3D animation professional and blender promoter, Shuprobho Das. The background or template used at the back of the publsihed poem Lava, is the artwork of the same name by him.

Lava is a highly sexual poetry written in the decent fashion, that almost anyone can read it, without feeling awkward or disgusted. For the purpose of making people understand my perspective and depth of this special collaborative piece, I have decided to explain this particular love-lust poem, para by para.

You can share your own angle/perspective of the poem in comments or by directly dropping your remarks or criticism here.

Ritika Gupta AKA @ritikapeace

Analyzing the poem

there was a fire ablaze
neath the dermis
of bare bodies
peeking through the spaces
shriveled behind devilish hazes.

The poem directly opens with the dark and sensual imagery of the heat that is developing underneath the skin (dermis) of the “bare” or naked bodies. Fire or Heat is the popular symbol for portraying the following- anger, determination, passion, love-making, etc. Devilish is again a very typical or cliched term used to express the actions of greed, desire, lust, sex, etc. These acts are called as devilish or demon-like as they are considered to be sinful by most of the religious practices. In the context of the Bible, for example, the prostitutes are considered as fallen. The women in themselves have been called evil by not only Western but at times, Eastern religions or religious gurus as well. “Spaces” is an interesting term used here. Spaces can be the gap between the two bodies, gaps that one’s body has, or space, that is, the cosmos. Shriveled is the action term here or the verb.

there were
some salient strokes are drawn
and all that was left were
gaffe of the groaning ‘corn
as the voices crawled beyond.

The second line of this paragraph is the direct pointer towards the action that is taking place; you can interpret this action as a fight or just mold it into the erotica. Gaffe means “an unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder” (Google).

Sex or masturbation is not talked about openly in India. These and related terms around them are a taboo in the society like that of India. “‘corn” is the term used for a unicorn. One can also interpret it into modern-day allusions of sweetcorn for male sexual organ, that is, penis, used by many youths in text messages around the globe.

The term, from a creative perspective, is used to express the fantastical nature of a unicorn. The gaffe doesn’t really affect the one on whom its thrown if it is spilled out from the mouth of a unicorn, a never-can-be-there and thus a candycreature, which controls the desires and dreams of half of the maidens in the real world. Groaning of the ‘corn thus can be interpreted in two contexts-

  1. The male who is groaning
  2. The people who are diplomatic in their comments, as they themselves are into so-called dark desires but gaffe around if they hear about the same from someone. They are thus unicorns, that is, fake, fantastical, diplomatic, and untrue.

Precisely, what is filtered out for the conclusion is that girls who act like an innocent gigglish and jolly mood are mostly cherished by society. A girl likes bad-boy/hero, a girl wants someone like her father/brother, or a sister/mother needs to be protected– all such statements undermine a young-adult girl’s adulting, and probably even her adulthood. Things like allowing a girl to let them wear whatever they want and let them drink, smoke, etc, are all like sweet-lollipops. No doubt, they were some really bold steps taken, but still, when a girl gets raped, or her family knows she is not a virgin, she is disowned by not only general society but her own parents. The fight of feminists has never been centered towards these candies but, much larger goal; decentralizing patriarchy itself. Thus, it’s a fight with society’s mentality towards women, men, and trans; it is not just about the nation’s laws.

Read a story of hope, giving, and true love, online, for free…

beyond the cemented walls
laid a maiden, all alone.

These lines make the whole scene clearer. The lines are ironic as the “maiden” or the women-protagonist is actually all alone inside the room only but beyond the cemented walls. Again two perspectives can be drawn- erotic and philosophical.

when touched with compassion
the cricket crooked and cooked like a quail
and the dove was set free
as she turned every desire
into a perfect melody.

Again the scene changes, as the first line clearly indicates that the maiden was touched by compassion, that is, the compassion of someone. The second line of this paragraph can be a bit confusing.

Quail is used for Common Quail Bird. These birds are also eaten by humans and are favored in French cooking. Also known as True Cricket, here Cricket is used for a male. Now, various angles can be drawn, depending on the reader-to-reader, about who this male is. It is quite obvious, that a metaphor is turned into a simile here. The male or Cricket – groaned/voiced (crooked) and burnt (cooked) like a Quail. A bird is a common simile used for females. Also, cooking here describes that cricket is on fire, that is, he is feeling passionate; enthusiastic.

My perspective was, that the female is alone and alone does she comes to an epiphany or if you are reading it as erotica, then she is reaching the climax. Nonetheless, she is being watched and judged by either some male watching or society. Here again, very clear lines can be drawn with the Lust Stories, from which the whole series of Love and Lust are inspired.

It really depends on one’s imaginative thinking and how much one has read/learned, that one can literally shift and subvert the whole expression.

breaking the iron rods
with her sexual fiery
she dusted the grime
of every painful theory.

Here, due to the terms like iron rods and sexual fiery, finally, any reader can come to a conclusion, that the poem is written from a feminist lens and a female stand-point, and the main theme is the female and her sexuality; how it is veiled under the patriarchal norms and taboo. Subversion of these thoughts by expressing a setting where her desires are set free has remained the ground motive of the whole poem.

Nonetheless, other perspectives are welcomed. If you wish to share any, either drop your views below or see mail me, if you want to contribute your perspective to the whole concern. You can also talk to me directly, give me remarks, suggestions, or constructive criticism–here.

Set ah free
Set ah free
Ah free ah free

The expression draws emphasis on letting the female sexuality be free, and beyond the petty norms of patriarchy. the following comment, I read on Wikipedia, sums all of it extremely well–

Read the Story Behind Love-and-Lust-Poetry-Series.

Critics praised the film’s portrayal of women and its exploration of female sexuality, a subject which has been rarely dealt with in Indian films. Film critic Alaka Sahani used the metaphor of a woman’s body is draped in a dupatta while discussing the sheltered sexuality of women in general, a theme that took a central position in the narrative; she praised the handling of the subject matter as clinical in the subversion of such regressive stereotypes associated with women who have an active sex life as the presumably amorous “vamps” in the Indian film industry. Kiara Advani’s masturbation scene in the film, using a vibrator, was praised for its frank portrayal of women’s sexuality.

Mridula R of The News Minute echoed the sentiment as she praised the film’s novelty in the honest portrayal of women, their “liberation, thoughts, [and] decisions”. Others were also appreciative of the “glorious women [who] stubbornly and strikingly hold the reins” and the “sometimes not likeable, but definitely relatable women who usually elude our screens”. Commentators responded positively to subtlety in the film’s use of female protagonists; they were especially impressed by the fact the all of the stories had female protagonists “without being obnoxious about it” and how they were wielded “to tell stories from a uniquely different perspective”.

WIKIPEDIA_Lust-Stories (review section)

© Ritika Gupta


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