A literary work in the real sense is a reflection of the time and situations it is written in. Somewhere, it is the responsibility of the creator to give an unbiased and non-judgemental viewpoint so that readers can use their discretion and ponder upon the ideas highlighted by him. Tirtho’s work, “Cityscape,” is one of the few books that depict city life and inhabitants’ lifestyle. The work has a record of the perspectives from the eyes of an observer who has specific intent of critiquing and speaking the truth in its starkest form.
The usage of minimal colors and images on the cover of the book and the simplicity in writing the title introduces the readers to the world of the poet, where what he sees is merely in shades of black and white. There is no grey area for him, and he does not mince from speaking what he has in mind. There is the presence of skyscrapers, the valid symbols of city life, and the shallow nature of human beings altogether. The cover does the primary job of clearing it to the readers that the world they are going to enter, which presents not just the realities of life but also the truth about human beings themselves.
The titles that Tirtho chooses for his poems are particular, crisp, and compact. He somewhere seems to bear the Baconian influence in his specificity and pragmaticism. This style of writing is rare to be found in present-day Indian writing and something that only writers who can think out of the box can speak of. From the first poem, “Urban Truth,” Tirtho’s intention becomes crystal clear to the readers, unveiling the untold truths which, paradoxically, everyone knows yet would refuse to admit. As he writes more and more poems, there is ample display of his criticism and critique of human beings and the lives they lead.
Most of the time, Tirtho takes the garb of sarcasm to make his arguments hit harder than they would otherwise. This style reminds the readers of Jonathan Swift, although his work was in the prose form. A mindful and insightful reader is bound to get interested in Tirtho’s work from the beginning and would quickly turn the pages to read more of what the author has to say. His media background and eye for observation bear a powerful influence on both his style of writing and the manner in which he handles the subjects of his poetry.
Poems like “Virtual World,” “Terror Goes Viral,” “Sabotage,” “Give Gods A break,” “Joke,” “Post-Win,” “In A Redlight Zone,” and many others are sharp and hard-hitting in nature. Due to their sharpness and extremism, the content may not be welcomed by all readers. Other terse poems like “Pram Fever,” “Pickpocket,” “Carbon Tale,” “Blessings,” “Terror Goes Viral,” “Acid of Distrust,” “Chain of Distrust,” “Torrent of Technology,” “Scavengers,” “Credit” and so many more are all about the hard-hitting realities of life which only a mature mind can read, decipher and understand. The poems are very crisp, and the author conveys maximum thoughts with the usage of least words, yet every word makes absolute sense.
If there was a lost generation after the world wars, there would be a lost generation after the technological boom, too and, Tirtho’s work will be the spearhead of that movement. The nature of “Cityscape” is not something which will appeal to every reader. The readers who want to read about the harsh realities of themselves in an unornamented and straightforward manner can read the book. But readers who bear the influence of romantic writers or who are far away from the Swiftian style of giving their cynicism words would not find this work of their interest. Charles Dickens and William Blake wrote about the aspects and people of their time who were unseen yet seen and not the ones who would be a preferred subject of their writings. The same flavor can be found in Tirtho’s “Cityscape,” which features subjects of his time which may never find mention in any writer’s writings otherwise. This restricts the reading audience to only mature and readers with a broad mind, which adds to the text’s aesthetic appeal.