Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: Zindagi Ke Martbaan Se – Poetic Reflections From The Jar Of Life

I confess that despite being a literature student and also taking Hindi as one of my subjects during my graduation days, poetry has always brought out mixed emotions. You either liked it or scrapped through it for the marks. And there were people like me who oscillated in between. While travelling on the path of writing authentic impersonal reviews, I chanced upon this book of poetry by Kuhoo Gupta who describes herself as a born singer, an IITian and a Gulzar fan. Her poetry book, Zindagi Ke Martbaan Se – Poetic Reflections From The Jar Of Life, is a collection of 79 poems written in a very conversational fashion. The Hindi verses have Urdu and English mixed in it.

Thanks to my previous shaky connections with poetry, I made an attempt to truly appreciate the varied topics and emotions covered by Kuhoo in her debut book. So, we meet love (loads of it), nostalgia, remembrance (that too in kilos), emotions and many random topics. You do feel that these poems have been written during an emotional phase. The sentimentality has a touch of contemporary via the use of modern lingo. So, you have poems like ATM, Teri Wali Nas (vein), Kasam Se, Khushboo, Parvaah, Grand Canyon, Hourglass, Mansuba, Aadatan, Tera Pehla Bosaa, Betakkalufi, Metro Station, Zindagi Mausiki Hai, Ranjishe, Fasle, Pehli Mulakat, Khudgarz, Bhawandar, Gehrahee, Ehsaas, Technology, Immortal and Kitaab.

One can notice a certain impression of Gulzar’s shaayari on her style as it is colloquial, simple and at times, profound. One still has to read a lot from Kuhoo to make her stronger connection with the legend. One can appreciate the fact that her poems display a certain maturity, though she has a tendency to go a little too philosophical in the matters of the heart. But she has not kept herself limited in that sense. There is that poem on global warming or on quitting smoking and even on what the mind wants to.

It is the language which might interest you all. It is a reflection of the GenX wherein Kuhoo uses Hindi mixed with Urdu and a word or two of English. Many of us who have departed from Hindi language after school might be happy to know that the language here is simple. But allow yourself to understand the deeper meanings. One of the smartest thing done is you can find the meaning of some of the Urdu words used at the bottom of each poems.

I had a few favourites. One, titled Bhawandar, speaks of being caught in a swirl wind of sorts and her need to find a place to speak to herself. Another of my favourites happens to Gehrai which wonderfully speaks of trying to find the meaning of relations and finding its depth. My personal favourite is Illma – a two line poem of trying to find the depth of others but not sure of their own. I loved the fact that the length of poems is varied but the meaning it is trying convey is sublime.

Kuhoo Gupta’s maiden attempt at poetry and Hindi one at that too is worth taking notice. Zindagi Ke Martbaan Se – Poetic Reflections From The Jar Of Life is a note-worthy pick, but only if you have the patience and nature to understand what she wants to say. We would look forward to more attempts but purely in Hindi.

Writer: Kuhoo Gupta
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: Rs 260
Genre: Fiction
January 2014

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