Dr. Kiriti Sengupta
Author, and Consultant Dental Surgeon -cum- Demonstrator, Government of West Bengal.
Chords of Life, by Angad Singh Saluja
ISBN: 9788182533547 (Second Edition, 2013)
Page count: 76
Book Price: INR 200 // $15.
Chords of Life is a small volume poetry book by the promising Indian English poet Angad Singh Saluja. The biography of the poet reveals that he enjoys his professional background having passed from one of the distinguished Business schools in India. It also reveals that Angad is serious about promoting his works, and that he is clearly ‘aggressive’ about it. Such a hint may generate fine creases out of irritation on the foreheads of the critics! Many of them find it irrational as the author promotes his/her own books. Honestly speaking, I don’t really mind if it happens. It is high time we broaden our outlook! I personally got introduced to Angad a few backs back on a social networking site. He was, perhaps, on his way to happily announce the release of the second edition of his poetry book, Chords of Life. His declaration was indeed stunning. Poets, worldwide, often complain of the generalized decrease in the number of prospective poetry readers. Aspiring poets are not enough motivated to bring out their works published. In such a serious backdrop, release of the second edition of a poetry book (within a span of a year from its first publication) appeared immensely thought provoking! Yes, Angad was so kind to send in a copy of the paperback straight to my address, although I never promised to write a review of the book.
Let me share my first impression: As I opened the envelope I found a sleek volume book, stunningly red, and bright. It was certainly a catchy cover that made me fall in love with the overall presentation. The cover has its shares of black and grey, although the element of red is enough, I think, to get into the basic psyche of the concerned poet. Angad is evidently vibrant, to say the least! A small suggestion here: All across the globe book covers are now produced with mat finish for a classy look. I wonder why the publisher preferred to retain the gloss! The first page of Chords of Life carried a small note from the author. It says, “Have loads to learn from you…” This was particularly written for the recipient, which was I. Interesting, isn’t it? Angad was not aware of my profile as he wrote those words, I believe, neither I am that kind of a person who could be referred to as well known. Did Angad strategically position me as his teacher? Was this simply a marketing strategy? I was practically in a fix! The mystery unveiled itself as I quickly read the ‘acknowledgment’ part. Angad wrote, “…At times, when I felt alone and gloomy, I have literally talked to god with some long chatting sessions. He has always been a constant guiding force showing me the direction to sail through the turmoil. The biggest thank to the Divinity for always welcoming me without any questions, expectations and complaints…” Ah! Did I find ‘God’ as god, and ‘divinity’ as Divinity? Any wild guesses, readers? Yes, that is Angad Singh Saluja…quite clearly, simply, distinctly, and remarkably! I can well assume, Angad is truly a spiritual guy, if not religious.
Before commenting on the poems included in this book, I would very much like to raise a few relevant points to the concerned publisher. Kind attention, Cyberwit: Chords of Life aptly deserves a ‘foreword’ written by some known guest author. Since this is the second edition (and not a reprint of the first one), why didn’t you manage to include a well-written foreword? I hope that you won’t point your fingers at the concerned poet, Angad Singh Saluja. Again, I could not find the name of the editor(s) associated with this anthology. If you have your in-house editors, please, try to include their names, otherwise the anthology, I believe, appears to be an unprofessional production. Some of the poems included in this book bear punctuation errors, which could have been avoided. Having worked with a fine set of international editors, I am well aware of the importance in appointing/ commissioning a professional editor. At all events, the pivotal roles played by the ‘foreword,’ and efficient poetry editors are to be considered with great care!
Chords of Life includes fifty one thoughtfully composed poems by the poet, Angad Singh Saluja. Here again ‘fifty one’ seems to be the poet’s offering to the almighty Lord with reference to India’s vast lineage of spirituality! Angad has purposefully categorized his renditions under three major chapters: Life and Me, Life and Relations, and Life and Survival. He has tactfully delivered, “…Chords of Life is here to break the myth of people regarding poetry and offer everyone an experience of their life time. The ease of vocabulary, real situations from heart and simplicity in its own sense would make every person witness some chapters of his or her own life through this book….” Angad seemed to be honest with these lines, although I would have preferred if these were written by a guest author in the ‘foreword’ section.
Chords of Life begins with the poem, ‘Addicted To Fame.’ Dear readers, see how Angad has united the first person singular with the prevailing souls of population…
“Reaching back home and seeing the happy family in the frame,
I enjoy the dinner with Movies, Celebrities and Fame.
Lying down on bed and thinking to make some name,
I promise to myself that I would also achieve Happiness, Money and Fame.”
As a steady marketing professional Angad may well advance with his promotional plans, yet he has no pretensions at all! He, in fact, hates to feel trapped within mundane urbanity! ‘Do I Pretend’ is not all about the ‘I’ Angad, the poem subtly substantiates our civilization as a whole.
“Yes, I do pretend because it is survival.
I feel happy but people scare me
I dream of success but failure bothers me
I try to forgive but old acts irritate me
If this is called an act of pretending
I am really not guilty of any mending.
I move with caution with a futuristic view
To prevent disappointing anyone and bidding adieu”
The stout poet Angad shares tons of his dreams. ‘A Day Would Come’ structurally delivers our dreams; dreams of the youth of our Nation.
“A day would come!!
When time would favor me
And all the dreams would come true
When my parents would be proud of me
Not doubting my capabilities anymore
When I will have an identity
That will command respect everywhere
A day would come!!”
As a general human, poet Angad has his share of insecurities. This is evident is the short poem ‘The Question.’ I, as an author, can’t resist myself from quoting the whole of the poem here:
“What is written in store for me?
Will time ever change making me glee?
How will I survive life and its harsh realities?
When would people stop acting fake and believing in formalities?
Where can I find someone with whom I will rhyme?
Why does god challenge your ability from time to time?”
Dear readers, aren’t these questions we frequently ask to ourselves? Could we plan of constructing a poem out of these questions? Did we ever consider each of the questions was by itself a long poetry? And here lies the crystal success of the poet, Angad Singh Saluja!
We often comment, ‘Promises are made to be broken.’ Angad is no exception here. See how the poet has poured down his heartfelt words, although these are quietly murmured by generations after generations. ‘The Promise’ is indeed a soul-stirring material!
“You talked about my friends who came and left
Cursing them for cheating me
Hating all for hurting me
Questioning some for the injustice done to me
Finally here you are-
What happened to ‘The Promise’ my sweetheart?”
As an integral component of this society Angad projects his concern through the poem ‘World Peace.’ He says,
“Terror is a sign of weak and cannot be justified by any reason,
So, it’s our duty to spread the joy of love irrespective of the season.
The journey would be tough and full of challenges beyond control,
Still, we have to fly like a dove spreading peace as our only goal.
And thus, an appeal to all my fellow mates, every young and old
Let’s mark a new beginning of non-violence and peace, still never heard or told.”
I am not here to discuss on every poem that has been included in this anthology. I have mentioned only a few, for these, I think, are capable of eliciting the salient tone of Angad Singh Saluja, the poet. His presentations are extremely lucid, and can be understood by the general readers as well. And here lies his success in constructing poetry the way the poet has conceived! Chords of Life is indeed a remarkable anthology of selected poems written by the promising poet Angad Singh Saluja, who has shown an excellent view of his humanly existence!