Posted in Books

Book Review: Selected Poems, by Gulzar

The beauty of a poem is not only with the poet but with the reader. The reader’s imagination completes it, and it is truer for a poem than a fiction I feel. I have never been a connoisseur of Hindi poetry, but when it comes to the genius of Gulzar, I have, most of the time, made an exception. To review a poem is difficult. To review a poem is something I cannot do, but I shall share my thoughts.

There are some poems I could understand. One that got a smile, and had something deep in it was the poem “God” which is written from a small boy’s perspective. He wonders if God was hurt when he yawned during a prayer, and goes on to say it is difficult for him to understand why he is told that everything is at the mercy of God, but God’s face has to be imagined by him. It’s something I’ve wondered myself when I was a kid, and sometimes still do.

Another, titled “Neighbour”, portrays an empty house next to the poet’s house, and though he can’t be sure that they aren’t there, he deduces it from what has been missing. The poem also shows the loyalty of a dog to its master. This poem also made me smile.

Some are poems of longing or regret, some dedications to other people. One even speaks of a book being a friend, something that I could relate to easily. There is a self-portrait poem too, that speaks of identity when there is generalization.

I like Pavan K Varma’s translations, they make it easier for me to understand some poems; but the simpler ones… they breathe beauty in Hindi and that beauty I can admire even without reading the translations.

Book Details:
Title: Selected Poems
Author: Gulzar
Translator: Pavan K Varma
Genre: Hindi Poetry
ISBN/ASIN: 9780143418214
Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: Rs. 199

This book is a personal copy. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills 2014 at Tales Pensieve.

(31st May 2014)


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.