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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 46 New Delhi November 3, 2018

Poetry of Pain, Life and Death

Saturday 3 November 2018

BOOK REVIEW

by H.K. Dua

My Soul Flower, a collection of poems by Lavlin Thadani; published by Authors Press; pages: 287.

In the 21st century India, we the people, are increasingly becoming dots and digits. Only an unanimated table of algorithms governs the behaviour of we the dots and digits who don’t or can’t have emotions or capacity to feel or think. One of the consequences of this civilisational change is the invasion of technology on the human mind and psyche. What used to define an age were its cultural accomplishments, particularly its poets and their poetical sensibilities.

Lavlin Thadani has chosen to defy the man-made barriers put up by cyber technologies and opted for indulging in her pursuit of bliss through the endangered species called poetry. Her attempt to protect poetry’s shrinking space is this impressive volume of Lavlin’s collection of poems written at different stages of her life full of feelings, emotions felt deeper inside her and her inner thoughts expressed through poetry. My Soul Floweris indeed a delectable volume to read and cherish.

In My Soul Flower Lavlin has let herself go to express how she lives with life’s little and not-so-little ironies, phenomena like birth, growing up and death and the beyond. At times her feelings become thoughts that come natural to her in fleeting moments that often come and vanish fast. She also reflects on pain, disease and death, life in various manifestations, tangible or otherwise.

A poet’s world is not narrow or mundane. Even small can indeed be beautiful for a poet. So it is for Lavlin, in a way. It’s not good to do an anatomical analysis of a volume of a poetry, but to savour it. Let Lavlin’s poetry speak for itself through its flavour lines and what they mean.

For her, Loveis ‘Knowing’

Without knowledge....

She talks of being Lonely:

“Do I tell lies?

No

I create illusions

And I live them

Caught in my own web

Woven diligently, painstakingly

Patiently...

I feel choked

With ecstasy and despair

One swoosh

And the illusion tormented

Would turn into throbbing dust

I’d be free again

To be lonely...

Then I’ll weave another

Story and

Then another.”

OnLoneliness, she again says:

“You came in

The moon was shining

You left me

When it departed...

Loneliness mine

All of it.”

OnLife she says with hope:

“When life deserts you

Wait for it

To come back to you

It will.”

Lavlin even challenges the deadlyCancer:

“In case I die

Don’t bury the tumour

Let it grow

Till it consumes

Every fibre of my devotion.”

Death figures again and again in her volume. But she cautions that:

“Death is nothing but merger with life

And I feel my hour is close

It somewhat saddens me

Yet makes me more alive

For at least I have somewhere to go

A long way to flow.”

In Finally she says:

“The God in me talked to

To the God in you

The God in you listened

To the God in me...

Perfect communication

Without words,

Finally”

OnFatigue she says:

“Drown my soul

In infinity

Beyond the fear of death

And the danger of the unknown

Drown my soul

I have no strength

My hands are soft but weak

My eyes can’t hold you as they weep

Please drown my soul—deep

And put me off to sleep.”

The title of the volume comes from My Soul Flower:

“Finally I saw my soul flower

Radiant like the full moon

In the most enchanting blush

Of the divine bloom

I broke into a dance as I celebrated.”

Even from her younger days, Amrita Pritam was fond of Lavlin, a child growing up in her neighbourhood. Their conversations often were poetical dialogues; there was a sort of communion between the two.

Amrita Pritam writes: How can this young lady be so beautiful from the outside and inside — so pure, creative, compassionate and loving ... I wonder.

Lavlin once went to Calcutta to meet Mother Teresa and before she could meet her, she found a little poor child crying. She picked up the child and lovingly hugged her. Mother Teresa was watching all this.

Later when they were talking, Mother thought of her as a possible colleague in her mission.

Had Lavlin joined, we would have missed her poetry of love, loneliness, pain and of death and life beyond, the soul, as she believes.

The reviewer is a veteran journalist who edited such publications as The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express. Thereafter he was late PM A.B. Vajpayee’s Media Adviser, before becoming India’s ambassador to Denmark; subsequently he was a nominated Member of the Rajya Sabha.

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