Friday, August 10, 2012

Supriya Panda a woman with golden heart...

Supriya Madam and Prafulla Sir at their residence

Srimati Supriya Panda is a noted short story writer in Odia language. Most of her short stories get published in many popular Odia literary magazines. She serves as the Head of Material management in KIIT University. Though she is a scholar in English Literature her first love has been Odia, in which she expresses her sensitivity and knowledge through short stories. She originally is from Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. Baripada and the Simlipal Hills are her secret heavens where she has left the wonderful memories of her childhood and youth. The pure serenity and grace of Santala ( the Tribal) culture of Mayurbhanj thereby has been close in the chambers of her heart as yet. I feel very proud for knowing a great writer, thinker and above all a simple lovingly person as her, personally.

I came to know her and her literary works and got to interact with her through Poet and Prof Hrushikesha Mohanty of Hyderabad University and Aama Odisha e-magazine. Her first mail to me was filled with so much affection and tenderness that I was overwhelmed with joy. And afterwards whenever I get mail from her, my heart fills with warmth and happiness.

For the first time I got to read one of her stories was "Kuha Kahlara" through Aama Odisha e-magazine. The story narrated the pitiable condition of a poor handicapped boy Chottu who learns self protection and fighting with every adversity. He learns to safeguard himself from a goon named Ratan who always used to torture him both physically and mentally; but when ultimately fails as the last resort he plans to murder Ratana. It is about the story of victimised childhood of every child labour and destitute child beggars. About her story, Supriya madam says "While writing this story even I could not control my tears. I felt, Chhotu is left alone by all of us and we invisibly forced him to do what he did because we did not bother to stop Ratan. Like a tortoise, we always safeguard ourselves under the shell from people like Ratan and Chhotu never had a shell to hide. We had left him to season in all exposure from his childhood. When I can not protest, where I am supposed to, it reduces me to a mouse or a tortoise etc. Then I pick up my pen and I write." Another beautiful aspect of the story is that the handicapped boy falls in love with a Kahlara plant and Kahlara flowers with whom Chotu used to share his feelings of happiness and sufferings. Kahlara flower is believed to be favorite of Radha by which she used to get becharmed as in the presence of Krishna. 

About the cruelty and rudeness of people in the society as seen in Ratana's character, she says- "big problems never scare me, rather I find I am not a bad soldier to fight. But what hurts me is rudeness of people. I get hurt, even if it is not aimed at me. If I witness it also I feel bad. I always pray to God to give me necessary strength to control my temper so that I will not be rude to people even if I feel much provoked by them. God also gives me that, because I have an agreement with Him that I will never ask Him to do me any other favour. Ha.. Ha.. I strongly believe that only once we can afford to be rude or unmannerly in our life time. Do you know when? When we just die, let me quote two lines of one Urdu Shayree" Gustakhi Maye Karunga Sirf Ekbar, Gustakhi Maye karunga Sirf Ekbar, Jab sab Chalein Paydol, Maye Rahunga Kandhe Pe Sawar."

She says, war of any sort is unnecessary and is a greater form of cruelty. In her own words- 
"For a long time, after construction of great temples and adventures of our ancient Mariners, no great history was made by us. We only fought a series of wars and battles for centuries together and as a result our art and literature were left neglected. Here, I would tell you something in whisper, I am dead-against of any war,any sort of violence. Again, although I salute to Saheeds who sacrificed their lives for the motherland but at the same time I fervently wish that the war could have been avoided and these young lives should have been saved.

I never tried to become a thief, had I, then I would have stolen all the bullets of all the countries and hide it for ever. Bullets know the addresses of their victims who are innocent people but only being aimed at in the name of war. When I think of it I feel awefully helpless.In my next life I would try to become a thief and as I do not have any background I would take some inspiration from Jean Genet of France."
She has always been humanistic in her perception, thoughts and approach that has verily shaped her literary life. I have with me two of her wonderful short story books which I collected from Agraduta publications in Cuttack. Her stories are prosperous with a lovingly humane touch that analises the deep rooted social and human psychology. She has a wonderful vision of observing things that makes her very special a human being. Her stories tell about her. Those depict a very rare trait in her; that is, as if she is in quest of finding extraordinary in very ordinary negligible aspects of life...! This is so true! Life lies in that ordinary kind of things; the mundane feelings and all that makes us drenched in them. And she is blessed with a wonderful sensitive heart to understand and express the same.

Please find the interview of Supriya Madam with Aama Odisha E-magazine @Supriya Panda





Once I got to read a story of her published in Sahitya Pruthibi titled "Pari Kaahaani". The lead character in that story was in quest of a fairy since his very childhood. He had firm faith that the fairy would come one day to the place where he usually waits for her. She came. But his awaiting was not complete until the end of the story when he is pretty old and .... Eagerly I asked her- do real fairies exist? What the fairies can mean besides their celestial beauties..! Madam replied to me in her usual adoring words-
"You have asked me about fairies and their connection with real life. Darling, fairy is the concept I have used as beauties of life. Deep-rooted love (in any form), the eternal waiting without any complaint, the beautiful bond even without living together, all these things indicate the ultimate beauties of life. I find fairies in real life. They are rare, no doubt, but still exist." 


When I first met Supriya Madam, I was overwhelmed with joy with the way of her showing affection. Her blessing for me and my family has been the greatest gift that I ever can possess. "A woman with a golden heart" that only I can say about her. A true Odia in heart, she has deep love for motherland Odisha, her culture and people. A sensitive and pure hearted person she is, blessed with the art of competently reading other hearts too. All the subjects of her stories are less fantasies but more realistic that makes a reader moved by a sense of perfect rapture. May maa Saraswati and Prabhu Jagannath bless her always and give  supreme strength to produce many more wonderful literary works to glorify the Odia Sahitya jagata.