May 25th

'Life Matters' - Poems by Usha Sridhar - A Review

By Paddy


Dear RML friends,

Very happy to share that our friend Dr. Usha Sridhar's (Ush here) poetry collection 'Life Matters' has just been published.

Usha bestowed upon me the honour of writing a Foreword for this book. I have great pleasure in reproducing my Foreword from this book, that also serves as a mini review of this engaging poetry collection. So, here goes!


Ask anyone, “What matters the most?” and the most likely answer would be, “Life matters!” And when a poetry book is dedicated to the very life matters that impact our life, then it can be nothing else but be engaging, interesting and enlightening. These and many more are the qualities of engagement that Dr. Usha Sridhar’s maiden poetry collection ‘Life Matters’ bristles with. 

‘Life Matters’ is not a poetry book one can breeze through. It is a book that needs to be savoured bit by bit and absorbed. After all, life matters the most, doesn’t it? And so, the life matters that ‘Life Matters’ speaks of need to be taken seriously and read with focused attention as the book is at once thought provoking and deals with everyday matters that we encounter in our daily life. 

My dreams on you I will not force.
Since your dreams you do endorse
You’ll be better able to enforce;
And steer the dream always on course
To achieve it on your own accord.  
In return, I implore earnestly
Please don’t stop dreaming
Strive till you achieve it, ultimately.

                                            (Page 26 – Mother’s Wish – Dream) 

This is an excerpt from the very first poem of ‘Life Matters’, that speaks of a mother’s aspiration for her daughter, something she herself could not do – dream – dream and achieve! The next poem In Shackles poignantly discusses the gender bias that prevails in our society. 

This book of poems has been divided into eight segments – ‘Women’, ‘Slices of Life’, ‘Self Driven’, ‘Working Ways’,‘Metro’, ‘Life’s Surprises’, ‘Nature’s Gift’ and ‘Some Broader Issues’. Each of these segments has poems that befit the title of the segment – poems that make one sit up, take notice and ponder over each poem with the seriousness it deserves. Indeed, the poems in each segment totally compliment the title of the book ‘Life Matters’.   

There is something for everyone in this book as it evokes a variety of emotions like love, laughter, anger, courage, sorrow, surprise, fear, disgust and peace. Some individuals like to lead an uncomplicated and a peaceful life and dislike flirting with controversies as is brought out in two poems A Simple Soul and Cross the Bridge. Some are ambitious and aggressive in attempting their life’s ambitions; you have a kaleidoscope of poems that capture this emotion. Some are lucky to get there by self driven actions as brought out in the ‘Self Driven’ section, and for many women it’s a battle that they have been waging from time immemorial to be counted in society.   We find lighter moments in the book as brought out in Sleepless Night and A Different Kind of Fever. 

In her Preface, the Poet Dr. Usha Sridhar says: “I titled my book as ‘Life Matters’.  Like any concerned citizen, I have been reflecting on and debating about how we view life and what it means to us. We are all fascinated by the diversity of life; its peculiarities and the uncertainties in dealing with it.  Life pans out differently for people; for some it is spent smoothly, while for a few it is filled with tribulations. A person’s character is defined by how he or she faces life’s challenges and deals with a myriad of issues. Uncertainties of life are our only constant companion; it is full of surprises; some pleasant and some not.” 

The thoughts expressed by her as above, shine through her poems whether it be on the life and choices of ‘Women’, or ‘Slices of Life’ that offer a lot of food for thought (with a poem also titled Food for Thought!), or the importance of being ‘Self-Driven’ to achieve one’s goals in life told through interesting poem-stories with a particularly touching and inspiring one titled From Father to Daughter. We are blessed with the nature’s endowment, and I was happy to see a section devoted to it as seen in Weaving Magic through The Vibrant Marigold and Singularity in Plurality. The section on ‘Working Ways’ discusses the life and tribulations of working people and this theme courses through Writer’s Block to an The Elusive Domestic Help. Some part of the book is devoted to a ‘Life in a Metro’ and technology trend- with the latest craze Whatsapp, aptly titled Venture out with Whatsapp. For the serious reader we find poems in ‘Some Broader Issues’ like Literate to being Cultured and Apathy a Cruel Joke holding a mirror to the life and times and the environment we live in, raising pertinent issues. 

My association with Dr. Usha Sridhar began when she started contributing her short stories and poems on my literary networking forum Her narrative skills in her short stories and her wordplay in her poems were both amazing and invariably held attention. Above all, whatever she wrote had on offer a slice of life and an underlying learning. 

Another facet of Dr. Usha Sridhar’s writing style that caught my attention was her straight forward, no-nonsense, plain-speak approach that probably came from her training as an economic researcher, trainer and corporate professional. What she had to convey, she did with an economy of words and deep conviction that invariably touched a chord and set one thinking – whether it be her short stories or her poems! And this, truly set her apart and is much in evidence in ‘Life Matters’. 

In ‘Life Matters’, her narrative skills come to the fore without much ado, frills or trimmings. She

makes her point with adequate reasoning and logic that are undeniable and leave no scope for unnecessary conjectures. Sample this from the poem A Doctor’s Call (Pages 117): 

A doctor’s bounden duty: 
Patients are not just another commodity
He should not resort to tricks, dirty
ust to line his pocket and his kitty. 
Handling cases with sincerity
Treating patients with sagacity
Should be his only top priority. 

As a hard-hitting yet gentle reminder of the Hippocratic Oath to the medical fraternity and to emphasize her points, Usha has used “A doctor’s bounden duty:” as a refrain at the beginning of each stanza in the poem, and then spells out what’s expected from the medical profession. 

Clarity of thoughts, logical presentation of ideas and empathetic approach to issues are the most outstanding features of this poetry collection. This compact book has excellent and apt illustrations accompanying the poems which set a mood and context for the verses. It is bound to have a captive readership with several nods of approval for the simple, direct yet reasoned approach in which the poems have been presented.  

I wish Dr. Usha Sridhar’s well-conceived and sensitively-penned ‘Life Matters’ a far and wide readership, that it truly deserves. Here’s wishing her many more poetry and short story collections in future.


 Book Information

Name of the Book

Life Matters

No. of Pages


Name of the Author

Dr. Usha Sridhar




Rs. 495/- USD 25/-

Authors Press
Q-2A, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110 016. India

Poet’s Mail Id





Sep 23rd

Rhyms of Wisdom

By Rajat


Book review by- Rajat Das Gupta


Rhymes of Wisdom- Author: K. H. Prabhu




ISBN 978-93-85945-38-0


HIG 45 Kaushambi Kunj, Kalindipuram


Allahabad- 211 011 (U.P.) India


http: //


Tel: +(91) 9415091004  +(91) (532) 2552257






  The book in English language was published in 2015 which is meant for Kindergarten children. This is a translation of short poems majority of which are from ancient epic literature like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagawat Gita, Vikramcharitam etc. Of course there picks of ‘Wisdom’ from medieval age also like Kabir & Purnadas Baul’s  compositions. From modern age, I found Mahatma Gandhi’s quotes also.


  Poem No. 66 ‘Among the languages’ states “Of all the languages Sanskrit is great / It is divine, humane and always sweet…”. Yet, the author presented us translations of all the ‘Wisdom Poems’ in English as it is the lingua franca of the World and ‘Wisdom’ should not remain confined for ever within any narrow geographical limit. I’m inclined to invoke Tagore here while the Poet eulogizes ‘Bharat Mata’  ~


“…The First Sun in the sky


  In glory, on the horizon did lie;


  Amid Thy Tapoban, (= ‘Ashram in the solitude of the forests set up for


                                        schooling of the students under the aegis of the Gurus


                                        on religion, ethics, morality, epics, mathematics et al)’


  With Veda Mantra’s sermon


  Resounded in the horizon,


  Many a sacred tales of Wisdom….”




  The author’s endeavor to liberate ‘Wisdom’ through English among the children worldwide is indeed commendable. In his Preface he questions the utility of rhymes like ~ ‘Black sheep’, ‘Pussy cat’, ‘a cat going to London to look at the queen’ etc. being served to the children profusely. I understand, in America, such sort of verses are largely being replaced in the children’s lesson books by more sensible ones to help them develop their judgment and practical senses. I did not collect any details of such transitions. But now after Prabhu’s book coming to my hand, I’m just pondering, while the transitions in America are welcome, did not ancient India far excel modern America millenniums earlier for which Prabhu’s book is a pointer? Again I quote Prabhu’s preface ~ “(these verses) even a grown up man can utter with dignity” ~ in support of the lessons they imparted to the folks in the yore to saturate their minds with ‘Wisdom’.


  I shall conclude by a few random quotes from Prabhu’s book, not necessarily verbatim,  hoping the readers will sit up to access ‘Rhymes of Wisdom’.


  1. Based on the book ‘Subhasita’:


  1. Message ~ “Wherever you go, ‘character’ is money, which excels the reward of ‘learning’ , ‘merit’ or even ‘good senses’.

  2. ‘Politeness’, ‘soft words’, ‘humility’ and ‘good nature’ beautify every person’.

  3. Noisy birds lose liberty, while silent cranes and seagulls have their satiety.

  4. A dullard will be called a learned man, when in the com[any of noble men.

  5. Through discourse you can win a learned man as opposed to ‘money’ to a greedy man or ‘folded hand’ to an angry man.


  1. Based on Kabir


  1. Kabir travelled in search of a fiend to find it nowhere, except ‘in his heart he did see the villain great’.

  2.  Kabir welcomes ‘slander’ which without soap and water, your washing is cleaner.

  3. “You only cried when you were born;/ but all rejoiced when it was known;/  Noble deeds will make you laugh/ When you part/ People will weep.

  4. God is there inside every heart/ The ignorant would know it not.

  5. Everyone remembers God in their sorrow, but not in one’s euphoria; but to bear Him in heart all the time will ward off ‘sorrow’.

  6. Between Teacher and Creator, one should revere Teacher, as he showed way to the Creator.

  7. By stupendous learning one’s mind is vacuous; only two letters denoting ‘love’ make one wise.


  1. From Ramcharitmanasa

     ‘Promise’ is greater than life itself, which is the Raghu dynasty’s heritage.

  2. From Mahabharatam


  1. Happily accept when prosperity comes,

    Happily accept when adversity comes;

    Fortune may smile, fortune may glower,

    The wheel will move forever and ever.


  2. Beauty is marred by physical disorder,

    Excessive desire destroys all the valor;

    Jealousy is destructive of good nature,

    Pride ruins everyone and everywhere.

  3. Heavier than Earth is the Mother,

    And higher than the sky is the Father;

    Faster, swifter than the wind is Mind,

    Grass has limit, thoughts have no end.


  1. Purnadas

        Better, better, quarrel with the wise

    Than be friend of the people unwise;

    Better, better you live in the forest

    Than be a friend of the dishonest.

  2. Mahatma Gandhi


  1. The deceiver will deceive himself finally,

    And his deceit bounces back ultimately;

    None has prospered practicing fraud,

    Deceivers are always punished by God.

  2.  Certainly I’m the wisest man,/ Agreed the greatest Athenian.

    Because I know my ignorance –

     Confessed without arrogance.







Jul 16th

‘Winged Words From the Sea To The Sky’ by Dr. Madhavi Godavarthy - A Review by Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy

By Paddy

As I read Dr. Madhavi Godavarthy’s poetry collection ‘Winged Words From The Sea To The Sky’, I realized that perhaps the title of this book is the longest line in the entire book! 

If ever there is a poll for poets making the maximum impact with the greatest economy of words, my vote will go hands down to Poet Dr. Madhavi Godavarthy! Short, simple succinct and meaningful poetry is her style. Sample this: 

Remains wood and strings
Taut and stiff
Lying and Waiting
Until hope’s bow
Touches it
Then … every string sings
And every dream gets wings!         (‘AND THE VIOLIN SINGS …’ Page 12)

That’s the entire poem that says so much in such few words!

Not for her verbose expressions or bombastic language. She has this great ability of seizing a moment and holding it captive in her words ever so subtly and softly!

The first poem in the book ‘TO DAD WITH LOVE’ (Page 9) is a moving dedication to her father that recounts the memorable times she spent with him. Understandably, this is also perhaps the longest poem in the book – 28 short lines!!! 

This morning too you said
You wanted a cup of coffee
Coffee with dad … sounds fantastic
When are you revisiting my dream, dad?
Your child is still waiting …….. ! 

Each poem in this slim book leaves you asking for more, that has you in the next one and then the next one and so on to find poetic gem after poetic gem! 

I cast
The net of words
To catch
A feeling
But many a time
The net
Returns empty
Leaving behind
An emotion
That evades expression! 

That’s her poem ‘LOST!’ for you! Many a poet will identify with the thought that the poet has captured so well in this short poem! Here is another example of a very short poem that communicates so much with minimalistic expressions: 

Imagination’s chisel
Carves the thought
Words the shape
Poet’s sculpture
A poem!                                                 (‘SCULPTURE’ – Page 56)

Dr. Madhavi employs simple analogies to convey profound thoughts. Here is a beautiful demonstration of this: 

A flower lost in honey
A cloud lost in rain
The clay lost in a pot
Are conspicuous by their absence
Like a mother who effaces her ‘Self’!       (‘SELFLESS’ – Page 59)  

Ever imagine, something that we all did as children, would be so beautifully woven into a poem? The poet has done just that in one of my personal favorites in this slim poetry collection: 

A colourful balloon
Can’t stop blowing it
Only to get hit on the face!                     (‘UP IN THE AIR’ – Page 78)

As the title aptly suggests ‘Winged Words From the Sea To The Sky’, words conveying various moods, emotions and moments, glide in a sensual slow motion in this book which is truly unputdownable because each short poem invites you to the next … 

When the sun refused to shine
And when the moon melted away
The clouds couldn’t smile
Heavy with grief, all they could do
Was just burst into tears!               (‘WHEN THE SUN REFUSED TO SHINE…’- Page 81) 

A notable feature is each poem in the book, ends with an exclamation mark, leaving the readers too in wonderment as to how the poet could manage to convey such deep thoughts in such short poems!!! 

In keeping with her short poetry style, the poet has included 8 of her senryu to this collection (Pages 92-93): 

baby delivered in train
the journey of life
continues …. 

I stand
between the two banks
pondering …where to grow money 

great work of art
of poverty
a collector’s rich collection 

Dr. Madhavi Godavarthy teaches English Literature, Language and Linguistics at the College of Arts & Sciences for Women, Al-Jouf University, KSA. 

I strongly recommend this slim volume to every poetry lover and student of poetry. The short poems are not like bursts of words, they are rather whiffs of fresh air, soothing and balmy!

Book Information:   

Name of the Book

‘Winged Words From The Sea To The Sky’

No. of Pages


Name of the Poet

Dr. Madhavi Godavarthy




Rs. 200/-


HIG-45, Kaushambi Kunj, Kalindipuram

Allahabad 211011 (U.P.) India.

Poet’s Mail Id

Apr 22nd

Poetry Collection ‘Songs of a Solitary Tree’ by Arun M Sivakrishna - A review by K Pankajam

By Pankajam

Arun M Sivakrishna, a management professional  is a poet by passion.  He is living in Mangalore and has varied interests other than poetry such as photography, travel, sports and the like. His maiden collection of poems  ‘Songs of a Solitary Tree ‘  - Graphical Verses of Sublime Snippets published by Patridge Publishing   Company which has sixty poems, mostly short poems , themed around realities of life  are assertive, sensitive and evocative.   On an entourage through the collections of poems in this book,   one can feel the maturity of a seasoned poet in presentation of ideas with good command over the language and writing skills.

Poetry is a world of real and unreal, words used conveying more than their collective meaning and also different meanings or interpretations to each, even different meanings on subsequent readings to the same readers.   He/She is the one fascinated by nature, thrilled by romance, anguished by social injustice ,  haunted by  memories and much more.  Memories are the intangible assets of a poet.   There is hardly any poet who has not expressed their childhood memories.  Here is  a   poet who has presented poems on varied aspects with hard-hitting facts.  Like the title of this book,  titles of poems in this collection catch ones attention  like ‘It Happens Just Like That’ , ‘Birds With Clipped Wings’, ‘ Post Card From a Home Far Away’,  ‘Searing Solitude’,   to quote a few.  

Poem ‘Island, Seeker and Solace’ remarkably resonates with the title of the book and one can see the depth of the poem in these lines:


For a wood in a long flight

A tree too longs for such a pleasant

Breach in its solitary penance

It is a seeker as well as a solace

Just as everyone

Is an island

In  their own right.   (p.13)


In the poem ‘Lonely Reed Swaying’,  the loneliness, the struggles and strife of life are  painfully depicted with the metaphor of a swaying reed:


Deep inside, it would be a 

Raging struggle, of

Rights and wrongs

For or against.


At the end of all such

Struggles and hard fought strife

If you still find yourself lonely

Like a thin reed swaying about,

Would you still hope for

Someone to lift you up. (p.16)


The elation in love is subtly brought out in poem ‘Yep, They Are In Love’, taking the readers to a vista of joy:


Without the baggage of inhibitions

They set themselves free like

Birds in the sky chasing

Each other in a merry dogfight.



Like those swell of waves seeking

Shore again and again

They keep coming back to

Each other in unbridled joy. (p.17)


The poet seems to be fascinated by the splendour of rains.  Many of the poems have metaphors of rain, somewhere in a euphoric mood, depressed elsewhere.


In poem ‘Where Were You’, the intense pain of a lover is most sensitively portrayed: 


Eyes once sparkles at seeing me was

As dead as that of a cod fish…..




“Where were you,

When I weathered all these

Rains alone?!”



‘What She must have kept in Those Eyes of Hers?’  is a poem with intense pain.  It starts with the following lines,


Difficult it was

To look into her eyes

Without getting mine moist


And then goes on reflecting the inner turmoil of the speaker of the poem leaving the readers to experience the pain of the protagonist. 


Eyes they conceal an ocean

Yet, just won’t stay quiet when we badly want them

It will give us up

Like a jealous acquaintance.


Now, after all these years

Badly wanted to know

What she must have kept in those eyes of hers?  (p.20)



Poem ‘Oh Those Sweet Little Monsters’ is refreshingly sweet, seeing the tiny tots at the beach and to have listened to their ballads.


It seems the poet is drawn towards the nuances of music, like that of Vishal Dadlani, as is revealed in poem ‘An Eventful Day, Sometime Back’.   As the speaker of the poem is back home from a hectic days work and listens to his power-packed rendition  on TV  , it drives home a realization:  



We are puppets in HIS hands and 

Being happy with the way

He wants us to be.

Instead of seeking him at places of worships

Have it in heart, that HE can seek us wherever we may be. (p.26)


A matured and wise spiritual revelation is effortlessly and effectively displayed by the poet in the above lines.  With memories gathering like ‘insects On the Windscreen’ the poem titled such is nostalgic   and beautiful.   The poet looks back and feels sad for unrequited love of a mother and her heart-aches  in the poem ‘Ah, It Is a Mom’s Way’.


Being the best friend she was and

Always been, clasped him in a 

Tight embrace, ruffled his hair and

Gave a sweet peck on his cheek. (p.34)


‘How it reminds you of’, a poem on rains analyzes according to the varied forces of rain as a baby’ s sprinkle, a daughter dancing around, a son’s day out,  taking parental proportions or even that of spouse when it swells up and pours all over, and the poet seems to enjoy the rain in whatever form and force it comes. 


Similarly in ‘Summer rain of a Dad’ ,  love for Dad is most subtly articulated  with a sense of guilt having had the veil of a misunderstanding of hate, like unpredictable summer rains, lifted.   Here also the poet uses rains to explain the mental state of the ailing father.


In an embrace

We became one

Yet, again.



Raining inside 




In ‘Ah, Mumbai, I’m All Ears’  the hectic pace of  life in Mumbai with its ‘electric sense of sounds’  is nostalgically depicted:


Every time, I hear these strains,

The Sufi wails, when the church bells toll

When chants of Aum reverberates around

Its again a voyage to those lovely lanes

I left sometime back and

Now have an yearning to go back to.(p42)


The poet is sensitive against killing of girl child and  raises his voice against it in no uncertain words in the short poem ‘War Against Killing the girl child.’

A bud nipped..

Waiting prayers

And flailing limbs..

Trailing Beats of

A Sailing Child…  (p.48)


Love for music of the poet is ambly depicted in this collection of poems. Here is a poem ‘A layman listening to Shafqat  Amanat Ali’  and also in the poem ‘A prayer to me is’:


When Shafqat sings, time moves in slow motion

We live through each strain,

Each angst filled notes in its pensive best

It’s like a dip in the cold water when the

Bone breaking chill runs from toe to the pate.  (p.58)


Work-life balance is very important for one to be happy and successful in life and this poem ‘ Mea Culpa’ is a warning to workaholics:


Successful career doesn’t make anything

Great if you miss the rest and 

I am in no position to maintain a 

Healthy balance too.

So hard to see grace slowly elude them and 

Erosion of a different kind setting in,

Price we pay for being successful. (p.67)


The poet is good at satire too as is evident  in the poem ‘Blue Linen Shirt’, which is enjoyable.


Without that blue piece of fitting linen

To make me a dutiful hubby

How can I buy a diamond for my wife and

Make her forget where I was

On the day she had her birthday? (p.88)


Songs of a Solitary Tree is a compelling read and the cost paid on this book will not be a futile spending for poetry lovers.  I believe the poet is sure to establish his own niche in the field of poetry.


Apr 20th

Poetry Book 'Salutations' by K. Pankajam - a Review by Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy

By Paddy

The dictionary meaning of the word salutation is: “a gesture or utterance made as a greeting or acknowledgement of another's arrival or departure.” Poet K. Pankajam’s latest poetry collection ‘Salutations’ primarily dedicated to her teachers, goes much beyond the dictionary meaning of its title and is actually a glorious ode and dedication to the various people and issues that touched her as a sensitive human being and her life! 

The book is divided tellingly into 11 sections viz. ‘Gurudakshina’, ‘Kid’s Corner’, ‘You in Me’, ‘Resonance’, ‘Today’, ‘Stigmas’, ‘In the Nature’s Lap’, ‘I, Me, Mine’, ‘Women’s World’, ‘In Senior’s Shoes’ and ‘Fun World’. 

I am briefly touching upon a few of these sections and some verses here because each has poems that move one’s very core and existence. 


This section has 5 poems, each a masterpiece in the poet’s gentle style that pays a tribute to the people who guided her and impacted her life, starting with ‘Reverence’ to her father: 

and the one who lived to put
the Hebrew etymology right
'Grace is God’s smile’
To you is this tribute                                       (Page 15)                

My personal favorite in this section is the short poem ‘Summit’ that I quote her in toto for its full impact and import to reach the readers: 

The ladder I carefully held
for you to touch the summit
padding your steps with my grit.
For each step you scaled
my heart leapt two in delight.
Little did I know then
You would reach a height
Where no longer I could ascend.                      (Page 18)            

Isn’t this how every teacher feels about his / her accomplished students in the later years..? The Dronacharya-Ashwathama story from the Mahabharatha is (hopefully forever) an exception though…! 


Kid’s Corner is not just about kids though it has some really cute poems laced with great humour presenting interesting yet hilarious insights into a child’s perspective as in this one titled ‘What A Shame!’: 

The tiny tot observes;
At one hit the coconut pisses
He blurts out:
Hey,What a shame!
Didn’t somebody teach
Loo habit to it
As is being taught to me?                                 (Page 28)

The poem ‘Contrasts’ attracted me for two reasons – the primary one(selfishly!) being that the child featured in this poem is named Riya which also happens to be my granddaughter's name and more importantly, because it has ever so subtly brought out the generational shifts and values! And yes, a child’s unmistakable wisdom and perception with the poet’s master stroke! 

His age shrinks
Hers in reverse                                                  (Page 26)


This section is one of my favorites in the book for it has poems in trademark Pankajam style – gentle, subtle and somewhere tugging at our heart strings! Here’s a sampling from her poem ‘Wait Is In Wait’ to unfailingly draw the readers to this book : 

Everything waits for something
Everyone waits for someone.

Wait itself is in wait.
You and me are no exception.                            (Page 37)


This section resonates with ‘Hope’, ‘Premonition’, ‘Loneliness’, ‘Between Yes and No’ and what not! But these lines laced with great humour (my favorite genre always!) from the poem ‘The Lizard’ appealed to me the most! To me it seemed drawn straight out of some personal experience of the poet!!! 

The little bathroom singer
Nothing could change his habit
but a petty lizard;
its tapering tail shed wriggled,
made his song into a howl,
that all mistook for an electric shock.               (Page 48)


Here is a section that provides poet’s commentary and message on many topical issues with contemporary titles like ‘Fly-Overs’, ‘Modern Malls’, ‘Use and Throw’, ’Grease The Palms’, ‘Any Time Murder’, etc., etc. 

The last mentioned title caught my attention as its theme centres around a real incident that incidentally happened in the ATM of the bank I worked in and my own colleague a victim : 

It happens all in a split second
You are trapped in a kiosk
Gripped in fear, can’t raise alarm.
Before that you are conquered.
For in his court of conscience
He will be tried for life;
Neither parole nor acquittal exists here          (Page 56)

Another poem in this section ‘Mother India Wails’ has depicted our country as it is today and finally the poet’s impassioned plea thus : 

Passive press, poverty at the peak
in pitiable shape are pillars of democracy

Oh, the great lovers of this country
come down from your heavenly abode
to take rebirth on this sacred soil
your mission here is sure to succeed               (Page 58)

One can also not miss the great message contained in the poem ‘Cognizance’

Does atomic monopoly
for diplomatic advantage
equates to lakhs of human lives
and much more in suffering?                          (Page 63)


This section expresses poet’s deep concerns for peace and her anguish over the futility of wars and has some contemporary titles like ‘Password For Peace’, ‘Clean It Up’, ‘Recycle Bin’ etc. These lines from the poem ‘No Wars Please’ particularly caught my attention: 

To put across terror my words are unfit
Devilish traits in man at its worst
Do we need to relive our hoary past?
Through such carnage what do we get?         (Page 69)


After some serious and thought provoking ones, here is a chapter with two light-hearted and fun poems ‘Dog(ged) Deliberations’ and ‘Cricket’ that reflect the poet’s grip over the genre of humour  as well! The latter poem deals with a villager’s foray into a cricket match being held in a metro:

eleven ward boys in uniforms came running
also two patients with bad injuries all over
dressed with leg pads, gloves and helmets.
Then came two doctors, wearing coats and ties
....................................                                     (Page 131)

Pankajam’s ‘Salutations’ thus address each and every aspect of our life and living. There is something for each one of us in this excellent collection of poetry. The poet’s keen observation of human nature, her surroundings, the state of the nation, her concerns for this country headed towards further moral and political degradation, her dreams and her aspirations… all come through in her sensitively penned poems that nudge our conscience ever so gently… without preaching or pontificating. 

It is the constraints of publishing space that restrain me from writing about the other sections of this excellent poetry book at length. Yet in conclusion, I am tempted to quote these lines full of deep angst, yearning and sorrow from the poem ‘Is This Old Age?’ in the section ‘In Seniors’ Shoes’ that left a lump in my throat: 

She grumbles:
‘If I could go back to that era
where years can’t grab my age ….’

She condemns:
“If old age betrays everything
then why not memories?”                                (Page 123)

A stand out feature of Poet Pankajam’s ‘Salutations’ is the brilliant quote that accompanies each of the section titles. The poems are mostly short yet succinct and thought provoking. I would recommend ‘Salutations’ to be held as a prized treasure by every poetry lover to go back to every once in a while to savour Pankajam’s superb poetry. Undoubtedly, this is Poet K. Pankajam's best poetry collection.

Book Information:  

Name of the Book


No. of Pages


Name of the Poet

K. Pankajam




Rs. 250/- USD 12/-


Authors Press

Q-2A, Hauz Khas Enclave

New Delhi 110 016. India

Poet’s Mail Id

Mar 29th

Book-launch of - Ripples and Reflections - By Dr.Venugopala Rao Kaki

By venu
“Ripples and Reflections” by Dr.Venugopala Rao Kaki launched


Ripples and Reflections, a collection of poems by Dr Venugopala Rao Kaki, was launched at PR Government Degree College, Kakinada on Feb 19, 2016. It was unveiled by chief guest Prof T Viswanatha Rao, former HoD (English) and Special Officer of   AUPG Centre, Kakinada.  SM Kompella, noted columnist and lecturer in English (Retd) was guest of honour. The faculty and the students of the English department as well as media persons attended the function which was befittingly organized by V Srinivasa Rao, HoD (English) who was ably assisted by his departmental colleagues. 

V Srinivasa Rao invited the chief guest, the guest of honour and the poet onto the dais. Introducing the poet Dr Venugopala Rao to the audience, V Srinivasa Rao recalled his long association with him, and how Venugopala Rao was lost in the world of poetic imagination, composing beautiful poems and published them in various literary journals and newspapers. Prof T Viswanatha Rao in his scholarly speech described Venugopala Rao as a born poet to whom poetry was a spontaneous reaction to express his thoughts on varied aspects of society. While reviewing his poetry, the professor stated that Venugopala Rao was an imagist of imagists and his poetry was simple and message-oriented. Quoting the poem “The Best Teacher” from Ripples and Reflections, he elaborated that the messages Venugopala Rao conveyed through his poems were simple and straight. He observed that like a traditional Indian sage, Venugopala Rao was deeply steeped in Indian tradition which was amply reflected in his poetry; and that his poems were beautiful and quite inspiring.

SM Kompella portrayed Venugopala Rao as a highly-gifted poet endowed with fertile imagination and a profound vision. A noted columnist and free-lancer, Kompella recalled how hard it was to get one’s poems published in a national newspaper like The Indian Express (now the New Indian Express); and how Venugopala Rao’s poems were almost regularly published in its magazine-section in 1980s. This was a clear demonstration of the poetic talent and craftsmanship of Venugopala Rao. Kompella noticed a marked influence of Rabindranath Tagore on Venugopala Rao’s poems.

Responding to the compliments, the poet Venugopala Rao thanked the dignitaries and everyone concerned who made the launch a grand success. He expressed that his three decades of journey with the Muse had yielded over 700 poems, 40 short-stories, 80 haiku and a considerable number of critiques apart from a huge body of articles published in newspapers. He was immensely happy that a prestigious publishing house like the Authorspress had published his book. Dwelling  on  the creative  process and his way of penning poems, Venugopala Rao voiced that only when  he  was  possessed by an idea, electrified by an emotion and captured by  a vision, did he withdraw into his poetic cocoon and churn out poems  in that state of  inspiration. “What SM Kompella   observed with regard to the influence of Tagore on my poetry is true and Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore   ever remains the eternal source of my poetic inspiration,” confirmed the poet.  Averse to the idea of being caged in a few particular themes, he stated that he longed to compose his poems on every subject beneath the sun and that he always wished his poems to be spontaneous and natural in a simple language.

The function concluded with the felicitation of the poet by the Department of English, PR Government Degree College.

Feb 6th

'Mirror Image & Other Poems' by Dr. Charanjeet Kaur - a Review

By Paddy


Words hide within themselves
And teach you how to draw the curtains
Between you and yourself
And yes, sometimes, words also mean.   

                                                 ('Words' - Page 13)

When a book of poems has such an insightful beginning, it is but natural to be drawn deeper and deeper into its pages as they involuntarily turn and have us enraptured and entrapped in the play of words! That is the mesmerizing quality of Dr. Charanjeet Kaur’s ‘Mirror Image & Other Poems’. Not for her verbose or highfalutin poetry. Her poems come in short, crisp and succinct verses; they don’t burst into our face; instead, they follow a smooth and soothing path that takes the readers along a sublime poetic journey ...

This compact book of poems has been divided into 6 chapters with telling titles like ‘Words…’, ‘The Untouched…’, ‘Rain Songs…’, ‘Purdah…’, ‘Reclaiming…’, and ‘then life, again…’. These are not tightly stone walled sections…Some poems can easily be interchanged with other sections and yet they would continue to carry the same impact. Here’s a bird’s eye view of each of the sections: 


In this very first section, words have been employed at their economic best for maximum poetic impact as demonstrated by the poems ‘The Inside Room’ (Page 14), ‘Silence’ (Page 18) and ‘Celebration’. The section serves as a curtain raiser to the book and also as a forerunner of the great poetry that follows. 

it took on a shape
with care
it grew into the form
he loved so well

he knew it
it was his dream 

                                            (‘Lost’ – Page 16)


The poems in this section are highly introspective and reflect the poet’s deep thoughts on various issues - ‘Karma’ (Page 26), ‘where is his god’ (Page 27), ‘The Night the Tree was Felled’ (Page31) ….

Did they become the sounds and the dust
inside the sightless tunnel? 

The Untouched.     
                                            (‘The Untouched’ – Page 25) 

these two living eyes
have gathered the dust of pilgrims’ feet
and moulded it into this body of mine
to set themselves in, again and again

                                  (‘Caretaker at the Shrine’– Page 30) 

hate – like the bark of trees
bruises, draws blood, - dribbles…
but doesn’t let it flow.
                                  (‘Betrayals’ (v) – Page 32-33) 


This section presents glimpses of the poet’s intimate insights …

This muddy puddle
so big and inviting
shimmering wavelets
always moving ahead … 

What a big splash will it make
If mamma lets me jump in it

Just once…
                                  (‘Rain Songs (for Simran)’ – Page 38) 

Without a blink, without a sound
you felt it shoot,
course through your veins,
mingle with your blood,
and you made it your own,
intimate inside you.
                                   (‘Pain’ – Page 44) 


This section comprises just four short but powerful  poems that portray the poet’s concerns for the status of women.

USE ME – hard coired fluff
 wide-eyed wait for the wink of a knock
with your four-inch heel
stomp on it good, my dear,
it will not know the point:   

                                               (‘The Doormat’– Page 50)                        

by default 

                                               (‘she’ – Page 51)

 V - Reclaiming 

In this section, the poet reclaims and shares a slice of the various stages of her life, whether it be the delicate expression of yearning and saudade seeping through the poems ‘Reclaiming’ and ‘The Last Letter’ (Pages 55-56), or ‘Death’ (Page 59). 

The quick, sprightly step – always in a hurry –
that took you – too soon, I fear – to your destination;
I can still sense it
when the evening breezes blow softly on the green grass.

                                  ('Reclaiming’ – Page 55) 

It is your final act of love, I know,
So close to betrayal … so brutal …
But it wasn’t to hurt anyone that you died so quietly.  

                                  (‘The Last Letter’- Page 57) 

Letter from a Daughter to a Father’ (Pages 62-64) is a sensitively penned poem that depicts the journey of the poet’s life with her father Bapuji and the deep empathy that she felt for her mother. Understandably, this is perhaps one of the longest poems in the book – not an easy task to encapsulate one’s relationship of a life time with one’s parents in just about three pages! 

Cloud Burst’ (July 26, 2005 – Mumbai) is a set of poems marked (i) to (vii) that speaks of the scary and haunting scenario of the 2005 Mumbai Floods that caused mayhem in this Maximum City! Commencing with poet’s description of the rains to how it impacted life, living and livelihoods… and above all, the human values it brought forth in ordinary people, themselves affected by the rains and flood, the poems present the Mumbai as it was during the floods and the resilience (sorry to use this clichéd expression to describe Mumbaikars!) of the people who take the situation by the horns and conquer it! And then, it is life as usual for your Mumbaikar! 

The Floods in the Mind
No less than the floods in the streets     

                                  (‘Cloudburst’ (July 26, 2005 – Mumbai) - Page 67) 

To ease our conscience
we piously turn to join the blame game
as smartly turned out men
and women in studio refined accents
bay after the blood of
ministers, commissioners, corporates,
electricians, train/bus drivers
garbage boys and everyone else
for the sins that have infiltrated our city spaces
for sixty years.
Yes. We turn bitter and muse
‘Look! What Man has done to Man!’

Impulsively, we get up and give
an extra chappati to the servant girl,
bring out worn-out tee-shirt for the sweeper boy,
call up our distant suburban relations …

                                    ('Cloudburst’ (July 26, 2005 – Mumbai) - Page 69) 

(I have quoted extensively from this moving poem as it has sensitively brought out human nature, tendencies and emotions in times of crisis like this)    


Aptly titled ‘Then Life, Again…’ after ‘Reclaiming’, this concluding section showcases the the spiritual and philosophical side of the poet, presented through sublime verses that reflect her deep faith in the Almighty. 

the mind is quiet
with the peace of sleep after a bad accident
no longer the pacing through the dark nights
no longer the slow rhythm of the tired sweat   

                                              (‘then life, again’ – Page 75)

The patient earth has seen it all,
the first flight, the falls, the struggles to rise,
the flowers that cushioned it
and the thorns that bled it

                                   ('Reflection’ – Page 77) 

The pilgrimage, my Lord,
is incomplete.
You look away Lord.
Don’t pretend you don’t.
Lord, if only I could teach you
to look straight into my eyes
and face yourself in there! 

                                            (‘Prayer at Shirdi’– Page 80-81)     

Words just smoothly flow out of Dr. Charanjeet Kaur’s pen (contemporarily speaking, her Mouse!). In her ‘Foreword’ she says “My poems speak, I hope….Poetry also is the process of…coming to terms with the world – with all that one has seen, felt, emoted, willed, loved, hated, thought, experienced, expressed, withheld … And, yes, sometimes words also mean” 

Dr. Charanjeet Kaur’s poetry does all the above and much more. And her poetry collection‘Mirror Image & Other Poems’ bears testimony to that!

Book Information: 

Name of the Book

‘Mirror Image & Other Poems’ (83 Pages)

Name of the Poet

Dr. Charanjeet Kaur


978-81-8157-823-5 (Hard Back) 978-81-8157-824-2 (Flexiback)


Rs. 150/- (Hardback) Rs. 100/- (Flexiback)


Writers Workshop
162/92, Lake Gardens,

Kolkata  700045. India

Poet’s Mail Id

Jan 7th

Crooked crusader - morally impaired. By Chinmoy Hazarika

By mgk
Is being "bad" really that bad? The story is one of a young sociopathic adult in an alien environment, battling and manipulating the odds in his favour.   
My first book Review- A new writer in town with a topic that has been left unspoken for ages now. A book that speaks of the mediocre students life, his hardships and achievements in pursuing the course. Students yet to be graduated and the graduated ones can relate to this book to it's fullest. Crooked crusader, morally impaired yet being bad is not really bad. 
Pranay is the only son of urban middle-class parents. Since childhood, he has never had any real friends, owing to a boarding school education that kept him shuttling between home and school. A mediocre student at best, his life takes a turnaround when he is sent to study dentistry in a never-heard-of Dental College in South India. It is here that he discovers that he has skills that he never knew he had. The story is one of a young sociopathic adult in an alien environment, battling and manipulating the odds in his favour and eradicating the ragging menace from his new home—Dental College. He strives to be the boss in his banana-republic of a hostel. This is a simple and relatable story that delves into the murky world of ragging in hostels and how the megalomaniac protagonist turns it to his own gain.
Dec 23rd

Book Review – Rajeev Moothedath’s ‘Straight from the Heart - Thoughts and experiences of an HR professional’

By Paddy

‘Straight from the Heart’ sounds much like the title of a Rajeev Moothedath poem! But wait! This is not a collection of Rajeev’s well-written poems (as the line in small letters following the main title indicates, but that doesn't take away Rajeev's considerable talent as a poet!) but a collection of his articles on HRM – primarily Learning & Development and Leadership, his core competencies.

While in the Management parlance HR means Human Resource, for me personally it has always meant Human Relations. What stands out in Rajeev’s book ‘Straight from the Heart - Thoughts and experiences of an HR professional’, is that Human Relations and the value addition they do for building robust organizations, have been given equal importance and have been seamlessly incorporated while discussing the nuances of the various Human Resource issues in organizations.

I am no management professional nor do I have any claims of being a trainer or a HR person.  Yet, I have taken up the challenge of reviewing Rajeev Moothedath’s treatise-like compilation of his articles on the various aspects of HR because he is my ever-forgiving friend and also, I felt that a title like this deserves a review straight from the heart! So Rajeev my friend, here I go!

‘Straight from the Heart’ by Rajeev Moothedath is a slim 126 page book from which if we take away the first 16 pages devoted towards the prelims of the book like Foreword, Preface, Index etc., the rest of the 110 pages are packed with immensely informative and erudite articles on various aspects of HR, Leadership, Development, Workplace Dynamics and so on. Most of the articles are based on the extensive notes made by Rajeev during the KSSs (Knowledge Sharing Sessions) that he attended. These articles reveal another KSS and that is the Knowledge Sharing Skills of Rajeev besides his excellent documentation and reporting skills. I am sure it is not an easy task to not only participate in such sessions as a speaker or audience, but also maintain detailed notes to be able to convert them into well presented meaningful articles.

The book has been divided into four sections:

 I   : Directions & Signposts
II   : Leadership Thoughts
III :  Experiments in L & D
IV :  Introspection & Way Forward

As the titles of the above sections suggest, Rajeev has logically sequenced and built up the topics by sharing the proceedings of the various KSSs he attended, instances from his own extensive experience as a HR professional, case studies and even a book review (Championing the Bosses – Pages 44-47), all in a manner that makes the book an easy and engaging read. It charts the readers along a gradual yet structured course, starting with simple questions like “Who are you? Where do you want to go?” (Pages 17-20) and thence developing on various corporate themes. Thus, each article serves as a preface for the next.

In fact, the very first article in this collection sets the tone of the book and starts with these very pertinent questions “Who are you? Where do you want to go?” – questions that we need to ask ourselves often while working in an organization to give a direction to our efforts and career path, as also in our day-to-day life. Here is an article that tells you how to become “great” from being just “good”! These powerful lines sum up not only the essence of this article, but also serve as key principles for a meaningful corporate life:

“Corporate values are signposts for where you are going. When in doubt, when taking decisions you just have to look at them and ask yourself "Am I being true to this corporate value?" and Go ahead if the answer is "yes" and drop it if it is "no". Senior leaders need to speak in one voice and at every opportunity, about the correct ways of practicing the corporate values of the company. Examples both 'good' and 'bad' related to the practice of these values need to be shared and discussed frequently throughout the company.” (Page 20)

Simple language with an engaging and easy flow and a generous sprinkling of real examples from the corporate sector (Rajeev’s own experience as a top management HR professional comes handy for these), all contribute towards making the entire book ‘Straight from the Heart’ easily relatable.

Whether discussing “Business Agility” (Pages 21-23) or holding forth on how ‘The West got it Wrong” (Pages 32-34) or demystifying an aspect of “Communication” (Pages 54-56) or talking about the “Right Man for the Right Job”(Pages 57-60)  or questioning “Is Winning Everything?” (Pages 67-69) or extolling the virtues of the “Power of Appreciation” (Pages 93-95) or lamenting on the “Lost Employees, Lost Customers and Lost Productivity” (Pages 101-103) or telling “Stories from the Work Place”(Pages116-119) or exhorting the merits of “Application of LOA (Law of Attraction) in the Work Place” (Pages 122-125), a standout and outstanding feature of all the articles in Rajeev’s ‘Straight from the Heart’ is, aside from the fact that the book serves as a  great knowledge resource and guidance document for any corporate professional, one can also resonate with it at the personal level, as there are many practical life lessons to be learnt from each of the articles in the book.

I would like to quote from the article “Entrepreneurial Leadership” (Pages 39-43) that  in a way, provides a sneak peek of the book itself, being excerpts from a session on the subject by Dr. U. Srinivasa Raghavan, Director Centre for Retail Management, Strategic Advisor & Professor of Strategic Management, Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) Chennai and former Secretary-Posts to the Government of India. The article also showcases Rajeev’s admirable documentation and presentation skills:

ABCD of Entrepreneurial Leadership: 

1) A - Aim High: If you aim for 100 marks there is a possibility of getting 90 marks. He cited the example of seventy year old Akkamma, a poor illiterate woman of Karnataka who has made planting trees her life's mission. She has already planted 10000 trees & continues the good work. If a poor villager can aim so high, why can't we? 

2) B - Believe: Have complete faith in the mission yourself- This will stand you in good stead till the end. It doesn’t matter if only some people believe and some don't. Just have total belief yourself. 

3) C – Creativity / Cope ability:  Be able to change with ever changing situations creatively. The accent in the future will not be on our capability but our cope ability.

4) D – Determination: Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve. We only need to be determined to see things till the end.

Ten Commandments of Entrepreneurship: 

1) Be a visionary like JRD Tata

2) Be innovative like Steve Jobs

3) Take advantage of opportunities like Dhirubai Ambani

4) Dream & be creative like Ratan Tata

5) Be a change agent & manage change like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

6) Be a problem solver like K.V.Kamath

7) Take measured risks like Raghavendra Rao

8) Be a leader and Lead from the front like Narayanamurthy

9) Be a decision maker like T.V.S.Iyengar

10) Be achievement oriented & self actualize like Shiv Nadar

An endearing feature for me personally (and I guess it will be for many others like me) of Rajeev’s book is the simple language that comes straight from the heart – no highfalutin technical terminologies, no pontification on management concepts and no sermonizing. In fact, even complicated and serious management concepts and issues have been dealt with by the writer in simple terms, drawing from the rich repertoire of his vast corporate experience – be it a discussion on a serious subject  like “The New HR Agenda – Respond, Realign and Reposition” (Pages 26-31), or the issues involved in “Taking Learning to the Shop Floor” (Pages 86-87), or “Becoming Purpose Detectives” (Pages 70-72), or ‘Mind Programming” (Pages 112-115). 

An HR professional with over three decades of experience in public and private sector organizations, Rajeev Moothedath a.k.a. M.N. Rajeev recently retired as the Asst. General Manager (HR-Contract Management), Hyundai Motor India Ltd. He also served as the HOD of Learning & Development for five years at Hyundai. Rajeev has addressed several professional meetings and HR sessions. His articles have appeared in ‘Deccan Herald’ a leading Bengaluru daily and on web portals like He also writes a popular blog on HR topics. 

As I have mentioned earlier, ‘Straight from the Heart’ by Rajeev Moothedath is a slim volume of great knowledge resource and a guidance document for not only practicing HR professionals, but also for all strata of corporate leadership, students and even common folks, as it is packed with highly informative articles and sheer horse sense. 

My recommendation: whoever you are, go grab a copy of this book and keep reading it every now and then! 

Book Information:

Name of the Book

Straight from the Heart – Thoughts and experiences of an HR professional

Name of the Author

Rajeev Moothedath




Rs. 200/- USD 15/-

HIG 45, Kaushambi Kunj, Kalindipuram
Allahabad  211 011. India

Author’s Mail Id

Author’s website

Hrdian Speak –


Dec 3rd

'The Eclipsed Sun' by Rajat Das Gupta ~ Reviewed on

By Rajat

Review on of the book of Tagore translation ‘The Eclipsed Sun’ – Author Rajat Das Gupta by Prof. Abhik Roy Ph. D, Faculty in Loyola Marymount University, California & by other

The Eclipsed Sun Paperback – December 16, 2013

by Rajat Das Gupta (Author)

·         Paperback: 397 pages

·         Publisher:; IInd edition (December 16, 2013)

·         Language: English

·         ISBN-10: 819281873X

·         ISBN-13: 978-8192818733

·         Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches


Reviews published in


Rajat Dasgupta’s The Eclipsed Sun was originally published in 2002 while its much enlarged and enriched 2nd edition was published in 2013. Soon after its first publication in 2002, the author received several accolades from eminent scholars in the academic world.
Translation work in any language is a difficult task. Certainly, it is all the more daunting especially when one is dealing with the immortal works of Tagore. Tagore’s writings in Bengali are rich, complex, nuanced and highly evocative. Tagore’s songs and poems are known for their lyrical quality and cadence and, most importantly, for the profundity and perspicacity of Tagore’s thoughts. The author has done a superb job of translating Tagore’s works into English. In my opinion, he has brilliantly captured the natural rhythm and the rich musical quality of Tagore’s songs and poems. What is truly impressive is that the elaborate notes that precede each translated piece are based on solid research by the author. These notes certainly help the readers to get into the spirit of the translated piece. It is highly commendable that the author has successfully managed to encompass pretty much all the important works of Tagore, which run into massive 15 volumes, in approximately 397 pages. The author aptly describes his work as something which will not “not stand on the way of exposing the greatness of the Poet as each piece of his work, big or small, is a window to the panoramic perception of the Poet of the wonders of Creation and his other noblest human faculties.” The author deserves our appreciation for his dedication and hard work and, more importantly, for making Tagore’s works available for those who do not know Bengali. I have no doubt that the translated work of Mr. Dasgupta will be a great source of delight and inspiration to the readers.

Abhik Roy, Ph.D.
Professor, Communication Studies Department
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California

The poems included in the poetry collection reveal the subtle sense of the mystery, beauty and love for the elemental simplicity

By Dr. Karunesh Kumar Agrawal on May 27, 2014

Format: Paperback

The poems included in the poetry collection reveal the subtle sense of the mystery, beauty and love for the elemental simplicity of life. . In these poems, we find how the poet withdraws from outer experience to concentrate on the inner. These poems are full of amazing and deep imagination. It is evident that in all these poems there is present a rich style and a variety of melodies to attract the readers.

You Might Also Like