Though the poems presented here did not
take more than six months to write, they have been with me, in a way, all my
In a lonely childhood, filled with
longing, fantasy, and wonder, I picked up the thread of an awesome and
mystifying question: what is life? Throughout my life I have been inhibited, by
my experience and awareness, to discuss it with anyone. Self-inquiry and
reasoning in general have not been strong points with mankind. The inquiry has
remained persistent and pervasive throughout my life, mushrooming into a
religion-like faith, and finally crystallizing into an intellectual meditation.
Poetry is the super-distillation of human
experience made to discover and create beauty in life. It is also the expressway
to truth. It is the most human and sublime of the written expressions. Man is
born with poetry, but it is generally suppressed by the ways of the world and
the struggle to survive. It is a man of imagination who keeps it alive, even at
the cost of pain, to enrich his existence. Poetry is the hope of settling calm
in the midst of a turbulent storm, the courage of conviction when the world is
against one's cause, the dance of the imagination when in the lap of nature,
rapture at the point near the end of the road to the truth, and the beating of
the heart when enwrapped in loneliness. It is the product of human reason but
not bound by it.
The industrial-commercial era has squeezed
out a good bit of poetry in human life. With the weakening of the family, rise
of individualism, cut-throat economic com-petition, strengthening of
materialism, enforced loneliness, gaining of chemically stimulated euphoria,
inhuman pace of living, unbridled commercialism, and the spread of nihilism,
human life has been rendered desolate and barren, with a lot of creature
comforts, but stuffed with hollowness and reeking with selfish cynicism. Man has
gained the political and economic bill of rights (though not in every country)
but has lost his soul's inner bill of rights. (The two do not have to be
But poetry of human heart can not remain
frozen too long. It is the necessary ingredient for the survival of mind, as
breath is for body. An age is known for the quality of poetry it has created.
Beyond the problems of food, disease, and oil, mankind is dependent on the
quality of mental life its members live. Poetry is the invisible compass of
These poems are an excerpt from a longer,
unfinished, and an unfinishable poem called Life. Please take them as a crude
distillation of a long, hard, and pained life; a life-long quest for the essence
of life; an attempt to break through insane barriers and bypass vulgarities of
worldly life; to touch the shores of freedom and truth.
A poem is an attempt to reach the essence
of the object of its attention; to grasp reality and feel the pulse of eternity.
As a young boy roaming the streets of
Srinagar (Kashmir, India), I had dreamt of learning the mystery of universe. I
grew up to realize that that quest is unfinishable, but in the process I have
learnt the power of dreams and poetry, the nature of human nature, and the
meditation on nature.
Suffern, New York