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.
Title: Selected Poems
Translator: Pavan K Varma
Genre: Hindi Poetry
Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: Rs. 199
(31st May 2014)