A few months ago, I ordered a book entitled ‘The Peerless Pearls’. It is a collection of poems composed by Dr Ritu Kamra Kumar, a well-known figure among the literary circles in India and abroad as well. Her articles covering a wide range of day to day topics continue to adorn the leading dailies and magazines.She has also four books to her credit till date and we expect many more from her. Besides being an excellent prose writer, she has proved her prowess in the realm of poetry too. One would really be in a dilemma to say with conviction whether she is a better prose writer or a better poet because her command over both the genres of literature is simply amazing.
The present book ‘The Peerless Pearls ‘ is probably the first collection of her poems. She has dedicated this book to her son and daughter-in-law.
The book has been divided into six segments or sections namely- Rejuvenating Relationships, Nature’s Notes, Pragmatic Perspectives, Womans World, Resplendent Reflections, and Love Longings. There are 92 poems in all.
Dr Kumar’s prose writings revolve around simple incidents of day to day life. But with her literary finesse, she converts them into literary masterpieces which not only enthral, captivate and entertain the readers but also compels them to discern the profound meaning, philosophical thought and a sign of human touch hidden in her writings.
Her poems also reflect her nostalgic thoughts, her deep love for nature and its creatures, her vision about life and relations, her views about Feminism- which is her chief area of interest-, her philosophical reflections and her expressions about love.
Being an accomplished writer and having a vast experience in teaching English , Dr Kumar is , no doubt, well versed in all the nuances of poetry and its techniques. Her poetry contains all the essentials of poetry such as structure, form, imagery, imagination, symbolism, rhyme, figurative language, sound devices, theme and tone. Apart from structural beauty, her poems reflect aesthetic beauty , captivating imagery, profound imagination, philosophical wisdom and powerful message as well.
In this short review, all the poems cannot be encompassed. I shall, therefore, restrict myself to only a few of them which I liked most.
The very first poem ‘ Because of You’ epitomises the beauty, kindness and compassion of a mother. In this 15 stanza poem, she has excellently described how a mother nourishes, comforts and shapes the life of her child.
Mark the beauty of the following lines:
How she encircled
Me in her arms,
Jocund joy, soothing lullaby
Made me cosy and warm.
The above four lines summarise the ‘mamta’ of a mother.
Another poem ‘Trees and Humans’ draws an analogy between the life of humans and trees. It is an allegorical poem.
The last stanza of the poem says it all :
Trees are us,
Their leaves rise and fall
Our lives are same after all
Eventually we fall in serenity.
Some other poems – Starry Nights, and Moon Light, create amazing imagery.
Under the segment ‘Pragmatic Perspectives ‘, the poem ‘Time Destroys All Earthly Greatness’ is very remarkable. Its theme is perhaps inspired by the poem Ozymandias written P.B. Shelley.
It demonstrates that all earthly glory, pride, and hubris are ephemeral. Times spares none.
Note the theme of the poem in the following beautiful lines:
All the kings and mighty go riding by changing leaves and boughs
All the lives on earth full of trees are bound to sleep in a humble heap.
A couple of other poems that I liked in this segment are Life Goes on, and Swings of Life.
The segment of Woman’s World contains a very thought-provoking poem’ Woman and the Life she Leads’. Dr Kumar champions the cause of women. In her writings, she has always stood for the liberty, rights and emancipation of women through education. This poem describes the different phases in the life of a woman- when she is unwed, when she without a child, when chooses to be a single mother. The poetess gives a powerful message and advice to the world in the following lines:
Let her be imperfectly perfect,
With her flaws and foibles
Let her be her destiny’s architect
Let her live life she chooses to be
Because you don’t know what it takes a woman to be.
Under ‘Resplendent Reflections’, I found the poem Push Cart Vendors very appealing. (Maybe it is inspired by Coromandel Fishers by Sarojini Naidu.)
This poem presents a real and true picture of Indian streets. Enjoy the following lines:
Variety of items do they bring to sell
Some announce their arrival with a bell
Other day I listened to the call of a bangle seller
Jingle of bangles was like sonorous bells
Excitement of womenfolk giggles supremely stellar.
The poems, Hope, and Power of Pen are brimming with powerful imagery. ‘Fear’ is also a very thought-provoking poem.
Now we come to the last segment of this book and that is Love Longings. It contains beautiful poems describing pure and unadulterated love. The poetess longs to transport her love beyond this terrestrial life to the celestial one. As in the poem ‘Because I Love You’, she says:
Because I love you
Your embraces are not enough
To be entwined in you
My soul and spirit
Yearns for communion beyond this earthly love.
I am sure, the readers will find this poetic collection very enriching and catering to their sublime literary taste.
The book is modestly priced at Rs 295/.
It has been published by Authors Press, New Delhi. The title page of the book matches with the serenity and sobriety of the themes reflected in the poems.