Rupi Kaur’s contribution to the world of books today: Poetry is back in vogue. Syeda’s ‘Love and Pain’ is a compilation of some intense, well-written, and mature poems. Most of the poems are beautiful in how they sound and what they paint. For me, the book scores on three counts: one, there is a lyrical, sing-song quality to the poems that is easy on the ears; second, many of the poems are deeply sensuous, without ever crossing the line into vulgar. It is interesting how the poet captures the sexual tension between a man and woman without using any overt sexual imagery. Third, the poems are very visual, they paint a very vivid picture. The only thing that didn’t work for me was that I didn’t find a flow in the order of poems, a sort of phasing from love to pain that the title and the foreword promised. Also, there was some repetition of ideas. However, overall, a beautiful, and mature compilation, that is a pleasant read indeed.
Marian Caldwell is a busy-bee TV producer, with the CEO of the network her boyfriend. Her world suddenly comes apart, when her daughter, who she had given up for adoption when she had her at the age of eighteen, comes looking for her. It is an interesting premise but the book never takes off after the first thirty pages. It takes the predictable route of Marian breaking-up with her boyfriend, and getting back with her first love, the father of her daughter. Predictability is not the only problem with the story. The characters brood over minor issues and midway the book turns completely chic lit – with proms, dresses and boys. Giffin does a particularly poor job writing from the daughter’s point of view. Her take on teenage thinking is not particularly insightful.
Rahul meets Avantika and they fall in love. Rahul’s little daughter takes to Avantika big time. Then Avantika vanishes suddenly and the writer takes us on the journey of Rahul’s first marriage. How did Rahul and Shalini meet, how they married and then broke up. It is a simple, single-layer story that doesn’t go anywhere much – but still it’s not too bad and I found it engaging. However, what kills the book is the writing – cliché ridden, tacky and repetitive. It is better than some of the current best sellers in India but not by much.
Recommendation: Don’t bother.
It happened suddenly.
Out of the blue.
Singing a song, going around,
Suddenly – the dam burst.
The tears flowed.
The body shook.
The sense of loss, the sense of distance overwhelmed me.
And I realized what I had lost.
That despite the cheerful exterior that I maintained,
How miserable I felt.
Is it my fate to be always unhappy?
Sighing when with you.
And crying when not.
There is so much to say.
So much to hear.
So much to feel.
So much to understand.
One day and one night spent with you,
How can it quench the thirst of so many years.
You are the love of my life.
It will take me a life time to get over you.
The days of pain, conflict and sorrow.
The days when I cried in my heart.
The days when I was so sentimental.
The days when I loved to be alone.
The days I was in love!
The days of joy, happiness and love.
The days – when I considered myself lucky.
The days when I loved the moon.
The days – when I loved the rain.
The days I was in love.
What went wrong, where and when?
I do not know.
All I know is
The cups in our hands were different.
Were not drinking me
Was not drinking you
The closely held moments of warmth, togetherness and affection were shattered.
And yet so bitter