I chanced upon this book – “The life tree” by the Indian President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It was a collection of poems. Like 99% of those people who become interested in it for one reason – KALAM, i too began reading it out of interest. On completion, I understood, other than that reason, the book cannot have any other reason to be read.
Well, speaking of the ideas, it is undeniable that they are good. But, I didn’t get the feel of reading a poetry book. Except at one or two places. I can’t explicitly state – “this is the problem with the book” but something is wrong with it. May be this lack of any poetic usage in the so called book of POEMS was responsible for this thought.
The book began with “Song of youth” which for me appeared fully as a piece of prose. Then came the title poem – “life tree” this too was deto as far as the style is concerned. The third one was Dr Kalam’s feelings when he went to the Central Institute of Mental Retardation – “O Almighty, light the lamp of knowledge”.
“transform the yearning tears of my mother
Into glittering reflection of my ambition”
I am not fully accepting this statement.Does it mean praying that they should be inspired from the cries of their mother ? But, that is just not a nice proposition I believe.
“Sunrays, like your blessings played on our heart
Brought beauty of spring and took away the autumn”
This was indeed a touching line. This was a tonic for continuing the book which I would otherwise have left at that very page.
“Like clouds fill the water cups of river
You have kissed our life with music”
This is again, a good comparision I feel.
There was this poem – “harmony”, discussing about communalism.
“Suddenly a storm arrived unannounced
Turbaned and tweedy, known as new teacher”
I couldn’t resist a brief smile. This was truly a child’s mind! Dr Kalam … don’t know how old was he when he wrote this, but, this poem aptly suited the age of the narrator. I felt he used words well while reading the line –
“ramanathan and I, weaving words together.. “
“sunbeams saw through the sorrowful mood,
Silently lighting our tears in to gems”
– another pleasant reading experience.
Then, there came and went several poems – pursuit of happiness, gratitude, anguish on various topics.
“big or small, death never left” – guess he tried to convey the unpredictability of death.
“ Nature” was the most routine poem in the lot I believe. There is “God” on Hyderabad communal riots. It made a good reading.
“the days were silent as if afraid of night”
“some of them searching for allah
Some of them searching for bhagawan”
– the lines let us feel the pulse of the times.
“Message” – It is about motivating people to do something…. “let it be we” follows the que.
“if not me – who?
And better still, let it be – we”
– the poem emphasises on collective efforts.
“I am on the move, glancing at these clouds
Some times in planes, otherwise in thoughts”
He has a certain philosophical bent of mind I guess. The poems like –Tumult, unseen hands,Tears etc are examples. “hunger and sleep submerged in mission” – says he talking about their team in AGNI launch.
Well, to conclude, it is an ordinary book to the core. But, honesty and childish heart – are prominently seen and easily understood from these poems. Perhaps the most atrocious thing is that this book, with less than 100 pages, and certainly no masterpiece kinda poetry, no illustrated pics is charged at a whopping 250 Rs!!!! Imagine, 250 bucks and for an ordinary book – just because the Prez wrote it! This is the most painful thing for me to hear. Ofcourse, I read it in the library though🙂