Urdu Poetry – K.C. Kanda

My connection with Urdu poetry is mostly limited to my memories of my father. He could remember and recite the most appropriate ‘sher’ at a party and regale fellow officers for hours😊.

As I grew older, the beauty of the world enclosed within two lines, never ceased to amaze me and give me a warm, fuzzy feeling within. Much like the distilled beauty of Zen poetry.

I have loved this book since I purchased it months back. It has poetry in Urdu, english and it’s translation, also in English. While I wish I could read Urdu, this is the next best option.

The topics are divided according to the main gist, like, Love (Ishq), Mysticism (Tasawwuf)… They have couplets on that topic by all eminent Urdu poets. This is what is most fascinating…. How one topic is viewed so differently by every poet 🙂

I pick open a page at random and read a few couplets, trying to read it in the English/Urdu version. It’s like the taste of some exotic drink on one’s tongue. Beautiful!

Shri KC Kanda has produced a labour of love… His hardwork and passion cannot be missed.

In bringing so many poets inside one cover, he has given the reader, amateur or seasoned, a treasure for keeps.

The Before and After

The Before and After of my morning cup of tea !

This concept is so beautiful.

There is a Before and After for everything (other than make-up and weight-loss! ) The plump toffee that just went into our mouth, leaving a crumpled wrapper behind or the beautiful vegetables, full and shiny in a steel parat, now chopped and cooked, creating mouth – watering dishes. Or that crisp, ironed outfit that saw the fancy function, now lying in a not so artistic heap .

To train the eye to see the beauty in simple everyday objects is to open up an astonishing new world of possibilities…. A new way of Seeing…


Sometimes, all it takes is a ballpoint pen and paper to keep one happily occupied for hours while waiting for appointments to happen or flights to take off or journeys to begin or end….!

And one looks at those stolen hours with gratitude… Gratitude for the delays that happen in life because then one can explore, unhampered, unrestricted and unhurried….

Words Worth


I see them floating around, pieces of paper, like confetti, carrying differently coloured words….disappointed…happy- maybe…been planning…so sad…glad…will do…nature…love…children-

All these are snippets of pages from ancient diaries, diaries maintained over years, never re-visited, re-read yet carrying the ominous burden of the past. Stories about real and imagined hurts, extreme happiness, earth shattering sadness, tales about life-altering decisions and completely misjudged predictions of the future. At the end of it, this is all they are…a collection of words used to express the ephemeral nature of the emotions one is going through in the process of living. At that time they act as valves, helping one let off steam or gain perspective, but then their work is done. Holding on to them is like trying to grasp at shadows.

Therefore, I systematically tear them to bits and throw them up and they fall around me like refreshing rain. It is a hugely cathartic experience, like a ritual cleansing, like taking a long soak and watching the dirt move away, leaving a fresh and clear feeling in its wake.

It has been said, “Never make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.”

These written words serve the purpose of showing just how temporary these emotions really are, how quickly they change colour and just how important it is to recognise them for this quality. There is nothing permanent about them, the feebleness of the word, “Never” or the fragility of the word, “Always”. In a non-permanent world, they fool us into believing that it will be different for us, that we will buck the trend.

What they serve to show is that, permanence is the biggest fallacy and change is the undisputed constant.

As I sit in a sea of floating words, I let go of all that I thought was permanent and train myself to enjoy the only thing that is…this simple, beautiful, present moment.

And true to my nature..I reach for a pen to record this new, life-altering insight. 🙂

A Life Apart – Neel Mukherjee

This book is a very unsettling one.

It moves between a triad of three different story lines as does the trapped reader, seeking some relief for young Ritwik, the protagonist of the novel, who is struggling to escape from memories of an ugly childhood and the relentless onslaught of his present condition.

From Raj-era Bengal, that throws quaint insights into life during that period in the words and through the eyes of an Englishwoman, to the unfolding story of an eighty-six-year-old who gives Ritwik shelter in exchange for servitude, the reader is left connecting the far-flung dots on many occasions.

This book is about exploring the vast loneliness that dislocation brings. It’s about trying to find a place to belong, first within oneself and then within the physical world.

Neel is relentless and merciless in his story-telling and it is this quality that makes the reader squirm. He debuts with elan and has not concerned himself with niceties or subtleties at all.

Ward off the evil eye

With chillies and lime
Yes, it works…

You will find them
In most unlikely places
Like on zipping autos
And hole in the wall spaces

Everything will be fine
It seems to reassure
Take your reckless chances
Of protection, you can be sure!

I remember

Moonrise and fireflies
When uninhabited hills
Were mere shadows
In the dark and
Fireflies lit
My path
As I walked my way home
So at ease with night
As though it were

Before We Visit the Goddess – Chitra Banerjee Divakurni

This is an easy read as most of Chitra’s novels are. In following the lives of three generations of Bengali women one realises quite clearly just how one mistake can alter the course of one’s life…quite often for the worse..

True to Divakaruni style there are descriptions of food that make one want to rush out to the nearest Bengali Sweets and soothe that mithai ki craving! 😃
There were no ‘Aha!’ moments, no real insights but just a soft comfortable feeling of having a good book close at hand especially when the monsoons made going out of the house an impossibility. 😊

Scroll to Top