SHORT TAKES
Seamy side of life
Randeep Wadehra

First RainFirst Rain
by B Vaqar
Peacock books, Mumbai. Pages 44. Rs 95.

THE compelling but dark cadence in this chapbook of verse occasionally hits your gut and caresses your senses on other times. Mostly, it seeps through your being, enters the bloodstream and embraces your soul, awakening it ever so firmly to the nastier side of life that invariably leaves one with emotions that seethe and simmer within. Yet you read on as the poet’s nostalgia gives way to pain, bewilderment and anger. Poems like Silent haunt you, viz., When the sand blows,/The eyes cease to see,/blood then freely flows,/I turn my back with ease,/The earth is ripped apart,/And limbs and head are flung,/The foe has played his part,/No heads in shame are hung,/The stench of the putrid air,/And the netting of the foul,/Are blamed on the wide-eyed hare,/And silence is our sole.

English poetry in India rarely comes up with a poet worth reading. Vaqar is one such. Most of her poems shake up the consciousness.

Pen Friendship
by Dr. Manjit Singh Bal Unistar, Chandigarh. Pages 77. Rs 100.

Correspondence with pen friends used to be an elegant art, and certainly a craze among teenagers at least till early 1980s. Magazines like JS and Mirror (both now defunct) used to have specific pages for pen friends. Explore Guru Granth Bal has given us a peep into his exchanges – mostly one sided – with a Polish girl named Danuta. These make interesting reading as much as we get acquainted with the girl’s thoughts and cultural environment. The correspondence begins when both were young and continues into their mature adulthood, graduating from time-consuming hand-written epistles sent by post to super-quick natty emails swished through the cyber-bahn. Bal has, however, focused on what Danuta wrote and we are left guessing about the contents of his letters to her.

Explore Guru Granth
by Giani (Captain) Nasib Singh Dhillon Guru Granth Explorative Mission, N. Delhi. Pages 175.
Price not mentioned.

The Guru Granth Sahib continues to attract scholars of varied hues for different reasons – theological, spiritual or academic. It is an assimilation of teachings of different enlightened souls from various religious and social backgrounds in India. Dhillon has tried to acquaint the un-initiated with the essence of this holy book by explaining its salient points in lucid English. Worth a serious read.

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