The eponymous poem Parting Wish recollects in one single
sweep all the good things that epitomised the persona of the
poet’s wife—her deep devotion, her chaste emotion, her steel
sincerity, a giver of joys... inching towards death, worried
about the poet’s health. The poet could not help ending the
poem with ‘A difference to me and mine’. The ending reminds
one of the famous ending of one of Lucy poems of the nature poet
‘But she is
in her grave, oh/The difference to me.’
Poems such as Contradiction,
about wastage of paper, Corporate Living, about the
togetherness of ants when faced with a difficult proposition,
giving to the poet ‘a latent lesson/ in diligence/ and
corporate living, and the poem Limit, about ‘Money is
honey/ whose sweetness/ Bears the after-taste/ of diabetes, Speechless
Message and Blue Balloon are other poems which break
new ground and have something new to offer to the readers. Luckless
Lass is almost the poetic rendering of the life and times of
the courtesan Umrao Jaan, depicted beautifully in the movie of
the same name by the inimitable artiste Rekha.
(sons are gold/Daughters are silver) has its sequel in the poem A
Cycle. Mediocrity Mechanism, Rectification, Suicide
Spree, Holi Hai, etc., are hardly the subjects
tackled in the poetry of the 21st century. We have come far from
the poetry of the likes of Sarojini Naidu. New Millennium,
Fulfilment, To the Kargil Heroes bring to the fore
the poet’s reaction to things contemporary.
The last poem, Searing
Search is bogged down by the absence of precise
connotations. The Miracle celebrates a new love and in
the same breath the poet feels mired in misery and treachery.
The poem echoes the many concerns the poet has dealt with in
other poems more thoroughly. The poet tries to relive events in
his life and is somewhat contented to round off the poem with
‘Dreams do blossom into realities/ Miracles do happen in life’.
Of the many
poetic devices at his disposal, the poet opts only for the
Swinburnian forced alliteration. A few would suffice:
foppish fashion fantasies;’ ‘Decked with dishes and
delicacies;’ or, ‘Sunny, sandy shores,’ et al.
Somehow or the
other, the feeling comes to mind that Vishal is too much into
Hindi and Punjabi poetry. A case in point is a stanza from the
poem Fair Encounter, which is self-explanatory:
A gem of
injured merit/ Suffering with a smile/ Sensitive beyond
sensitivity/ Her lapsing into loneliness/ Ah.
The book has an
old-world charm in which facts of life have been given the
format of poems, but the subjects Vishal writes about are hardly
touched by modern poets of Indo-English poetry fed on the likes
of Nissim Ezekiel, A. K. Ramanujan, or Jayanta Mahapatra. The
book does not have the potential to go down well with the
aficionados of modern English poetry.