[Book Review] Overarching Imagination and Feelings | Shamenaz Shaikh

Sony Dalia, Hoping on Hope.
New Delhi: Indialog Publication. 2015. Hoping on Hope, Sony Dalia
ISBN: 81-8443-051-5. Pages 79, 175.00/US $ 25.00

Hoping on Hope is the third poetry anthology of Sony Dalia, which is a pen name of T. Sai Chandramouli who is a famous academician, poet, translator and critic in India. There are sixty poems in the anthology on myriad themes like nature, love, religion, philosophy, human emotions and flaws. The very first poem, ‘A Leaf’ is a symbolic poem; poet has compared leaf with many other things present in nature. As the lines indicate:

Frolicsome child

Floats on ocean of love

Atop the divine leaf

Displaying art of living.

While there are other symbolic poems like ‘Ubiquitous Draupadi! , ‘Beyond Horizon’, ‘Mission’, ‘Noise’, ‘Weaving Waves’ and ‘Navigation’ reflecting poet’s creative skills.

Poet has given tribute to the holy river Ganga by writing a mythical poem, ‘Ganga Mayya’ and there are other mythical poems as ‘Darkness’, ‘Charishmatic Krishna!’ and ‘Looking for Gautam! There is a beautiful poem in the anthology, ‘Comforting Veil’ which is dedicated to paradise on earth, Kashmir in which poet has described about various shades and beauty of the beautiful land in all its forms.

Poet has displayed his patriotism in the form of some verses as in ‘Remembering them all…’, he is describing about the sentiments of every Indian towards various symbols associated with the nation like national song and flag as well as he is remembering the sacrifice laid by our forefathers in achieving freedom. Feeling emotional he has written the following lines expressing his deep patriotic emotions:

Slogans of Bolo Swantantra Bharath ki Jai

Reach the sky seeking blessings of real heroes!

The poem, ‘Helpless’ is about the social and political environment of the country and in ‘My India’ he is reflecting his love for the country he belongs.

Poet seems to be inspire by Wordsworth’s love for nature as there are some poems highlighting his love for nature viz, ‘Quietly’, ‘How Nice!’, ‘The Sky Within’, ‘Sunset in Goa’, ‘Why Men Are Not Trees’. Poet has written some poems based on various human emotions, flaws as ‘Art of Living’ is about the way human live their lives. The verses, ‘Silence’ and ‘Softly’ are about human qualities and ‘Inhuman’ is about inhuman activities are performed through material things which are comfort for human beings while ‘Quietude’ is about human’s lust for power and ambition by giving example of Shakespearean classic’s Julius Caesar, ‘Prudence’ is also about misuse of power.

There are philosophical poems reflecting poet’s philosophical blends of mind like ‘Beyond Horizon’, ‘Secret of Life’, ‘Moon Light’, ‘Taste Nectar’ and ‘Life’. In ‘Bonds of Love’, he has highlighted teenage love, ‘You are Not a Body’ is a poem dedicated to wife and ‘Why Only Me?’ is dedicated to Arthur Ashe. He wrote  some poems depicting various festivals in India like ‘Celebration Time’ is about festival celebrated by different ethnic group in India welcoming spring and ‘Merry Christmas’ is about celebrating the festival of Christmas. He also wrote ‘If Not Now, When?’ and ‘Indolence’ are about winter season.

Poet has shown his concern on various social and moral issues like in ‘Unwanted’, ‘Force of Life’, ‘Perverts’ Paradise’, ‘Depraved Demons’, ‘Quo Vadis’ and ‘Violation’ which are based on crimes against women and women’s safety and issue like “Nirbhaya case”, ‘Laments of Lambs’ is dedicated to soldier, Col M. N. Rai’s death who gave his life for the country. Then ‘The Day it Was!’ is based on the incident of 26/11 and ‘Return of the Monster’ is about blast happened at Hyderabad.

There are poems as ‘Shade’ and ‘Search’ which are based on the new trend of writing poetry known as haiku. This indicates that poet is well versed in all forms of poetry and is even well equipped with the changing scenario of writing poetry. While ‘Narcissism, what?’ and ‘Peppy’ are about the new trends in society regarding the use of technology.

Eunuch’ is based on the pains experienced by transgender or eunuch giving example of mythical characters like Brihannala and Sikhandi. And the last poem, ‘Hopping on Hope’ which is the title of the book is a very optimistic poem. As the lines suggests:

where fount of melodic verses pleasantly welcomes,

where fragrance of fraternal feelings fortifies ties…

Into that blissful garden of innocent joy let me move!

The poem reminds us of Tagore’s Freedom.

It seems that Poet, Sony Dalia has bestowed all his feelings, experiences in the forms of beautiful verses in the anthology. He has immense love for writing poetry which is quite visible and his poems which are enriched with passion and emotions. He has chosen almost all the social, moral, ethical, mythical and other themes pertaining to human existence in the present times. Almost all the poems in the collection are written in free verse. All the poems in the collection highlight poet’s imagination, feelings and mystical attitude reflected in the form of beautiful verses which is the reason poet is highly praised in the literary world in India.


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Shamenaz Shaikh

Shamenaz Shaikh is Associate Professor in Department of Applied Sciences & Humanities, AIET, Allahabad.