Review of my book 'Pages of Life'

Existential hues
Reviewed by Rajbir Deswal

By Amritbir Kaur.
Chetna Parkashan.
Pages 71. Rs 100.

AMRITBIR Kaur is essentially a poetess of the concerns of life. In Pages of Life, she has hope and despair, daring dreams, half-written words, lies and truths, rancour in the heart and reasoning in the mind. She has tried "summing up life in a fake sentence!" The young poetess gives a faithful account of all that is strewn around in terms of pains and pleasure, issues and agitations, longings and apprehensions; and she gives a talisman, "beat the sorrows for joyful tomorrows". She not only puts posers but suggests remedies, too.
She has a unique capability to explore within—"search sans the use of eyes". But when it comes to seeking support for certain causes, she laments, "’coz a few hands don’t rise to pray and to protect". She has used beautiful expressions, like "I was alone when with you and lonely without you"; "but you turn deaf by the noise of the unsaid"; "My hands are full but not a speck carried"; and, "I wish I were rain, always advancing never stagnating".

Amritbir feels for the orphaned thus: "Sky is his roof and earth bed for the whole life till he is dead". She realises the pain of crime against children and recommends, "To check crime against a child and punishment not to be mild." Also, she laments the female foeticide brooding, "Where death comes with life!" In I’ll be, she only rues missing the "human part".
Despite her over-occupation with death and disease, old-age infirmities, loneliness and grieving, she still "chases a thousand dreams" and`A0is eager to search for her identity as the one "carrying a world inside", confessing at the same time and submitting—"I made`A0a mute appeal to vent the tongueless grief".
Her outpourings in the poem Reflections are like waters flowing down the dried streams, and she is beginning to sail along. "I relishingly recollect ... When dreams were stringed to toys/When nothing in the world was bad/When all I had around were joys/The times of innocent wisdom/And not of wise deprivation."
Amritbir has enough that is original in her, yet she tends to harp on borrowed diction and style of the classical poets. There is an abundant lyrical flow in her creations and she cares two hoots for strict and dire straits of rhythmical prescriptions and metres till the time she can make herself clear, and heard, too. She makes a point without caring being pointed out for being an "innocent sinner".
This young poetess doesn’t talk of fashion and fads; love, longing and live-ins; styles and stilettos; but, of things serious and sagacious enough to betray her age. She raises questions and answers them, too. The only obscurity in her is rectified when she contemplates, "I follow the traces in my mind ... Mindful of those I move on".
Pages of Life holds promise to "wake up in a greener world", for its creator believes that "the world is essentially good" despite the fact that here "Joy and pain swap places and destinations do a vanishing act!’ A refreshing read from a resplendent mind.

Published in 'The Tribune' on 27 February, 2011

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