ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
In recent times I have been reading and reviewing a lot of poetry books. Reading poetry frequently has surely brought me closer to it.
For one, I have realized that words in a poem yield much more power than words in a prose. Given the comparatively smaller number of words, a poem always manages to convey and express much more than a story can.
Few poetry books that I read and enjoyed this year include Making a Poem by Vihang A. Naik and Giran: Priceless Memories by Sahil Migliani. Ae Zindagi: Safarnama by Sweta Mandal is yet another poetry book that I got a chance to read recently. Read on to know more about my thoughts on this book.
What to expect?
Ae Zindagi: Safarnama is a collection of short poems which are written in a combination of Urdu and Hindi. The book, however, is published in English thus making it more appealing to the current generation’s taste.
The poems or shayaris, as it is more appropriate to call them, speak about a young woman’s struggle in today’s world.
The author lost her father at a very young age and through the medium of poetry found an outlet for her anger and grief. Most of the poems reflect this rage and angst against fate and destiny.
The Central Theme
It would not be fair to categorize this book into one theme. The shayaris compiled in Ae Zindagi: Safarnama can be interpreted in multiple ways depending upon the understanding of the reader.
Some of the themes explored in this book are the loss of loved ones (death), separation, the apathy of society, perseverance, hope and despair, love etc.
The book sends out a strong message for those who have lost all hope and are falling apart under societal pressure. It tells you that no one but yourself will fight for you and change is the only constant in life. It tells you that people will come and go but life must go on.
I love how Sweta makes use of a beautiful combination of Urdu and Hindi while penning down her thoughts. Her language is quite refined and her words eloquent.
The themes that she has explored are also quite relatable making her shayaris more appealing for a large number of readers.
There were a few places where the writing lacks a polished touch but the author is so young and just starting out. With time, every author and every poet become more mature in her work. I am sure Sweta’s poetry will also undergo the same process.
Some of the shayaris are definitely quote-worthy and awe-inspiring. One such shayari that I absolutely loved is given below.
“Ae zindagi.. teri bhi ajeeb paribhasa…
Savar gayi to Jannat, tabah hui to tamasha.”
What did I not like?
There are two things that could have been better. Firstly, I am not a big fan of reading Hindi or Urdu in the Latin script. The Devanagari script is the only one that works for me when reading such works.
Thus, my issue regarding the script used for publishing the shayaris. Another thing that I did not like was the use of SMS type language while transcribing the shayaris. For example, Hindi words such as “hai” are written as “h”, “gayi” is written as “gyi”, “rahi” as “rhi” and so on.
It all boils down to entertainment
In the end, the only thing that matters is the entertainment quotient and Ae Zindagi: Safarnama has a good amount of it.
The book surely gave me a lot of good points to ponder over. Some of the shayaris were so profound that I would love to go back to them again and again.
The book was a perfect companion for a lazy afternoon and I enjoyed reading every bit of it.
Pick-up the book if
The book will be a perfect option for people who just want to start reading poetry. For more experienced readers, reading a book printed in the Devanagari script will definitely make more sense.
Skip the book if
Skip the book if poetry and specifically Urdu shayaris don’t appeal to you.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Ae Zindagi: Safarnama from the link below.