Sony Dalia, Hopping on Hope,
Indialog Publications, Pvt. Ltd. 0-22, Lajpat Nagar- II, New Delhi- 110024,
2015, pp. 79 Rs. 175
T. Sai Chandra Mouli who writes poetry under pseudonym Sony Dali is a translator, critic and editor of a reputed journal Virtuoso. The present one Hopping on Hope is his third poetry collection after Delightful Dawn and Graceful Green. It comprises sixty short and crisp lyrical poems in free verse. It is a continuation of his preoccupation with his sensitive re-sponse to his time, place and milieu. Poetry for him is a 'Criticism of Life' (Mathew Arnold) and hence his critical poetic lens scans the world around him with an eye of a creator whose heart aches to see crucifixion of 'kind souls', poor plight of women in "Perverts’ Paradise" and "Ubiquitous Draupadi", scandals and vandals, primordial fear, everyday problem in commuting, politicization of academics in "Unwanted", rising noise pollution in city, soaring violence and crime as in "Depraved Demons", "Lament on Lambs" (a tribute to Col. M.N. Rai). His anger is best expressed in "Eunuchs":
When a child cries care not these,
When a woman dies care not these
So inhuman, so spineless, so revolting
Brihannala, Sikhandi were so for a reason...
These disgusting, despicable eunuchs?
He questions our passivity.
But the poet, a mature academician, who has seen many winters and springs, is able to withstand the rough wind and lead us to positivity, beauty and strength of life. He neither loses heart nor lets us lose rather enthuses and recharges the low spirit with practical wisdom:
Life is a song, enjoy the melody
Life is a poem, savour the beauty
Life is a journey, admire the path
Life is a rainbow, respect the spectacle
Life is a compromise, accept to survive.
"Force of Life" and "Moon Light" are some of his motivating poems that celebrate the essential strength and vibrancy of life despite thorny reality:
Seasonal splendor seeps through
bird and bee; flower and bower
Waning and waxing universal
draining and gaining quite normal.
In cultural beauty of the country Sony Dalia finds a source of invigoration and motivation: “Navroz / Ugadi / Gudipadva / Poila Baishak / Every day / Every new beginning / ..... Celebrate / Creativity (Celebration Times).
The poet at times slips into philosophical and spiritual musings a time honoured practice of Indians as in "You Are Not a Body", "A Leaf", "Search". His philosophic quest wishes to end in "my image in your (God) eyes". This spiritual quest also strikes a chord with the real strength of humans. The poet also puts forward his vision of India that is inclusive, serene, colourful and inspiring in his poem "My India". He takes it forward to restate the Indian spirit of ‘Vasudheb Kutumbkam' in "Merry Christmas", when he says:
"Time to celebrate, glow and grow
Mercy sanctifies spirits, enlivens earthly life;
Universe, a family"
The last poem "Hopping on Hope” is a parody of Rabindranath Tagore's famous poem “Where the mind is without fear”; and it echoes somewhat similar wishful thinking running into a single sentence.
The poet gives ample proof of a conscious craftsman with an ear for musical cadence through alliteration and assonance and onomatopoeic use of words and a feel for form to achieve the symphony of sound, sense and wise sayings.
C L Khatri, Cyber Literature: A bi-annual Journal of English Studies
(pp 87-88,vol. xxxvi, No.-II, Dec., 2015).
Grateful to Prof C.L.Khatri for this perceptive review of my third book of poetry released in U.K during my visit in 2015. I am beholden to Prof Basavaraj Naikar for writing the blurb at short notice, which has lent grandeur to the anthology of poems under reference.