Somehow, surprisingly enough, Dr Kalam never ceases to disturb my nomal life Today, as I was browsing through the various books in IIIT library, i chanced upon this book – ” The Luminous Sparks” by him. The caption underneath was – “A biography in verse and colors”. Though this is not the first time I am reading a book from IIIT library, this is the first time I myself am browsing the books and putting my hand on one. My stomach was raring to get something in to it…. which means I was about to feel terribly hungry. So, I chose this book, which as usual had around 60 pages, half of which were full of paintings so that I can complete it on one go. As I went past page by page, I couldn’t resist this feeling of shock and dismay. Reasons – This is all in all a collection of 10 poems, all again not exceptional, typical Kalam style poetry and the book price at Rs345/- !!!!! That was not enough. There was one more shock in store which became obvious as I read the name of the first poem – Harmony. There was an intro to all the poems in this book, just like those for his previous book- “life tree”,which I wrote about in this very blog, around 1 week back. If the comparision remained till this point, everything would have been fine. But, this was the same poem with the same title-”Harmony” in “The life tree’!!!Ofcourse, not the exact replica. Here and there, certain words changed…….may be because of mild forgetfulness…..but overall, the poem is the same. Surprisingly enough, Ramanathan in “Life tree” became Ramaswamy in “Luminous sparks”.
The second one- “The National prayer”. It was about the Aug:15-16 1947 period. Again, there was a poem with some of the lines of this poem in “life tree”. The present one was a bit longer than the one in “life tree”. However, I can’t recollect exact words of this poem right at the moment though the essence is the same. Well, writing several poems on the same topic is not a crime. but, keeping the same poem in 2 books without mentioning anywhere in the book about it certainly is. Next came-”my journey” this is the equivalent of the poem on the day before AGNI launch in “life tree”. Next poem “Pursuit of happiness” was also there in “life tree”. However, this made a better reading than that. A better usage of words perhaps made the difference. Even then, it is not so well written. Ideas are good, but expression is not. There was this poem on his Padma Vibhushan experience. It was again there in both the books. Half the book passed and I began wondering – if this is a seperate book at all!
Next was “Gratitude”. This was OK. It was not a complete copy as others though ideas were simiilar to those in Life tree. “Whispers of Jasmine” is the best in the lot, though this too appeared routine at some places. “I am the child of bihar” – is not like a poem at all. That lyrical sense is completely missing in this “Poem”. Next … here came the poem- “life tree”. This was the same one as the “life tree” in life tree(the title poem…i mean). The last one is- “children of god”. Passable. And thats all…. the book ended! I can’t help but wonder – ” well, is english poetry really like this anywhere or is this typically Kalam’s style ??” Frankly speaking, I was deceived today and I want to criticize more. But, unable to do so as I do like Dr Kalam as an author pretty much. The way he maintained the tempo in “Wings of fire” or “Ignited minds” or “guided souls” was simply superb. after those 3 and these 2 poetry book, i began feeling more and more that he his style is better suited for that kind rather than poetry.
“the poems have a spontaneity,innocence and simplicity that one does not find else where” – said someone about the book. True …. but only that I didn’t get the feel of reading poetry at all!! There were good pictures, I do agree. But, I seriously dont understand the motive in publishing a collection, short listed from a previously published collection without mentioning it anywhere, that too with a price 100 rupees more!!! One more thing which I didn’t understand was the name. What are those “Luminous sparks” ? O God, this is my prayer for u. Let me be re-born either as a publisher who publishes all these costly books or as an author who writes them!! Please, please …. I don’t want to be born as an anguished, deceived reader again!!!