Monday, September 02, 2013

Book review: Solitude and other poems by Rajender Krishan

There is a whir of emotions sitting at the threshold of the poet’s mind, longing to unite with that which is beyond time and space; much beyond the temporal. Like poets of yesteryears appealing to the Divine, the language used was that which could be understood by mere mortal, and yet on reading the lines, the same unrest to unite with the celestial caught fire in the readers mind. Until, I took Solitude and other poems, by Rajender Krishan in my hand, and read without once stopping to take my eyes off the pages, I had forgotten the feeling, the stir of emotions in my mind too, which has for long been sitting at the same threshold, the gate, as it were, that transports the mortal to become the divine.

He is the poet and the muse, the dreamer and the inspiration, the watcher and the watched. “The ethereal/ apparently caged/ behind the skin/ remains forever free - / The indestructible Atman” – Core of the onion pg. 2

In fact, it is this quality, where the reader joins the poet in his quest of the divine and whirls his dervish as he longs to unite, where the watcher and the watched become one, which proves to be the pivotal point on which this book stands.

No, it is not a book crying out like a crazed mortal gone wild; indeed, the lines, what we every day experience, in our lives and our loves, the many masks we wear, like onion skin, which help us stand outside ourselves and question – “What I am? …A naked Self/ clothed by masks/ of thoughts, relationships/ projections, emotions/ attachments, detachments/ aversions, diversions/ the dual of opposite!/ What really I am?” pg.27

“I have a Twin/ -Wanderer-/ reveling in absolute freedom/ moment by moment/ painless of the dead yesterday/ carefree of the unborn tomorrow/ unaffected by laws/ merrily being/ with a singular belief/ Transient Must Pass.” Pg 40

As previewer, Dr. Amitabh Mitra, Poet, Artist and Trauma Surgeon said, “Rajender Krishan’s poetic words form images conforming to identities that unequivocally relate to India. Mystic as Dervish of Nizammudin, he writes on mythic patterns, congruent to contemporary thoughts.”

This said, the reader must not presume that the poet is not concerned with the temporal. Indeed he is. From environment, to issues facing the modern man, the workforce, politics, or the death in the kindergarten, inspired by the killings in the US kindergarten, to the hopelessness of the lingering case in court of Nirbhaya, overpopulation, he leaves no stone unturned.

Rajender Krishan, was born in India and studied in Punjab University and spent many years working in India until in 1989, he moved to the US. In 1999, perhaps one of the first of Indians in the US, he started his very famous website, Boloji.com, which for the last fourteen years has remained an open platform, showcasing the works of eminent novelists, journalists, playwrights, artists, photographers and a large community of poets. The vibrant website is a storehouse of information and research because of the authors it supports, from world over.

The poet’s style is free flowing. He is not caught in the mesh of rhyme and rhythm, a full sentence might be only one word, but I can assure you of one thing, the work appeals to all – you don’t have to be a critique of poetry, nor one who wears the mask of being a poet yourself; the real joy lies in the fact that the simple poems can be read by all and yet, the lines will evoke the same emotions, longing, craving and desire, as it does for the poet himself. In that sense the poet and the reader become a mirror unto each other.

Let me explain and leave you, kind reader, with one that touched me most.


“I have known her for forty four years
she’s known my wife for thirty eight years;
we last met fifteen years ago…..

I picked up the phone and called her
the other day….

“Hello….at last you called!”

Haan is all I could say

Our six words discourse
lingered for fifteen long minutes
in tranquil silence

….Wonder
what I actually aspired to say?
Curious,
if she expected anything else to hear?      Pg 86
 

With a forward by PCK Prem, beautiful illustrations from Simi Nallaseth, and editing done by Boloji poetry Editor − Aparna Chatterjee, the 135 pages of Solitude and other poems, is dedicated to his wife, Meera Chowdhry, Simi Nallaseth, Aparna Chatterjee, PCK Prem and to Life itself, the eternal teacher.

A book, well worth a read ….and read again! Come, my Beloved come!

Author: Rajender Krishan
Publisher: Cyberwit.net
Pages: 135
Price: Rs 225/ $ 17

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