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Life is But , A Poetic Dream

  • Your book discusses many human emotions, and a few of the poems do so by highlighting the members of the British Royal Family and dedicating the poems to them. What prompted you to do so?

There are only 2 poems about the royal family- The Queen of Hearts and God save the Queen. The first was written in 1997 when Princess Diana died. I have always greatly admired her ability to connect personally with people from all kinds of different backgrounds on a human level. I think that’s a rare gift. As a doctor and student of psychology, I believe that empathy and the ability to relate to another person no matter how different they are from you is crucially important in people especially now when the internet is so full of anger and hateful toxicity. Princess Diana’s death was a huge loss to the world.

The second poem was written in 2021 when Prince Philip died. It was heartbreaking to see the Queen sitting all alone at his funeral during the pandemic. She always said that he was her strength and stay. They had been married for 74 years and raised 4 children together. They had a blessed life and saw their grandchildren and great grandchildren. As a proud Indo- Canadian, I have always had a great love and respect for the late Queen and Prince Philip and I have always admired his constancy and loyalty for her. That came out in this poem.

  • You wrote "The voyage goes on" on the last page of your book. What do you expect from this ongoing journey? Can readers expect another book as the journey continues?

I would love to write another collection of poetry. Right now my sister and I are working on a children’s poetry book. I wrote the poem when I was 15 years old and my sister has illustrated it. It is called ‘The Fairy Wedding’ and it will be available on Amazon soon.

  • Themes of introspection, loss, and resilience are all explored in your poems. Why are these topics appealing to you, and why do you think your book has to address them?

I think introspection and self awareness of one’s own emotions is vital if one is to be an emotionally intelligent person and maintain control over one’s emotions. Emotional intelligence is a sign of a self Actualized person and it is important for personal growth. Loss of love, relationships, work, dreams etc is an inevitable part of life and yet, resilience and the ability to grieve and move on from that loss is a God given gift to help us go on in this short life that is filled with suffering. Personally, my introspective resilience and the grace of God has helped me ride over many personal tragedies and come out stronger.

  • As a reader, my perspective on emotions and the world around me has undoubtedly altered as I read the book. Are you experiencing any changes as an author as a result of publishing this book?

I always knew that readers would be able to connect with the book but when I get messages from readers who say that this book has made them cry and laugh and feel again, it truly moves me and I feel validated for all the effort and hours of work that went into creating this book.

  • You have written about not only positive emotions like love, hope, and faith, but also negative ones like grief, loss, and fear. How did you balance hope and the darker aspects of human life without one overpowering the other?

I believe in God. I’m a committed Christian and have been from a very early age. I believe that Jesus’ great love for all mankind, his death to save us from our sins and his resurrection proving his conquest over death is the greatest source of hope for all. All the negative darkness in the world boils down to three things- sin (evil acts and hurting one another), sickness and death. Christians believe that Jesus has defeated all three by dying and rising again. We live in a fallen world and experience the darkness but we can continue to hope in the one that defeated it. This life is temporary. The life to come in heaven with God will be eternal and free of sin, sickness and death. So it is my faith in Christ that gives me hope everyday.

  • You dedicated the poem The Merry-go-Round Man to India's child labourers. Is the poem inspired by a personal occurrence, and what do you want readers to take away from it?

Yes, as a child I used to love going to Marina Beach in Madras. We would always find the mechanical merry-go- round there and it would be worked and spun around by young boys. The workers were children and they used to work the ride so the richer children could have fun. Yet, I have never seen these child workers ride the carousel horses and have fun themselves. They always appeared too old for their age, like they had lost their childhood in the ocean and the sands on the beach.

  • Your poems are accompanied by personal images that capture the powerful feelings of the verses. What inspired you to use your personal artwork into your poetry? Was it a difficult experience, or did the visuals inspire much of your writing?

Actually the poetry came first. I have been writing since I was 13 or 14 years old. I started creating digital art only during the pandemic. I had no plans of creating art for my poetry. When I decided to put the book together, I was surprised to realize that many of my paintings matched the poetry. Happy coincidence or fate or a divine plan. I don’t know.

  • There is a poem about Mona Lisa under the introspective part. How did you relate introspection to the renowned painting?

We had a copy of the painting in my childhood home. It was a very well made copy. My grandmother and mother had told me about Da Vinci and the history of the painting. As a child, I was always fascinated my Monalisa’s enigmatic smile. Was she happy or was she sad? What secrets did her smile hide? I have always wondered that. This was one of my early poems. I must have written that when I was 14 or 15. I felt I could relate to that mysterious woman because I felt that there were aspects of myself that I could never share with anybody, even those who are closest to me. People think I’m an open book and to a large extent I am but there are certain parts of my mind that are hidden from everyone except God. We all present various masks to the outside world and smile like everything is ok and yet, only God truly knows every corner of our souls. I think that’s what the Monalisa represents to me.

  • "Life is but a poetic dream"—this is a verse from the poem "The poetry of life" What does 'poetic dream' mean to you, and what caused you to view life as a poetic dream?

I wrote this poem for world poetry day a few years ago. This life is so transient and fleeting and it is like a dream. Often we forget that and we work so hard and focus so much on achievement not realizing that life will soon be over and even the world that we inhabit will soon be gone. In the poem, I have written that this transient dream like life and world is just a twinkle in the eye of God who created it.

Life is but a poetic dream

Written on the parchment of the universe

We are but sojourners of said dream

A mere eye twinkle of the creator of the universe.

God is uncreated, eternal and outside time and space so, to him, our lives are just grains of sand blown about in the wind. And yet, although we are insignificant, God gives us the free will and opportunity to make the best of this life, to do good for others and build something worthwhile through the choices we make. If we choose to live good lives, that goodness will live on long after we are gone.

Insignificant tho’ we may be, yet we are the weavers of the dream

As we thread the needles of our lives and embroider the patterns of our universe.

We may be just sojourners of said dream

Yet, the poetry of our lives live on long after the eye twinkle of the creator of the universe.

  • You've created a variety of poetry that express distinct feelings that readers can relate to. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I think my hope has been that this book will help readers take some time off from their phones and all the noises around them to simply introspect and meditate on life, love, grief and hope. I want people to be able to take a moment to ask themselves some existential questions through this book.

Questions like ‘Does God exist?’ and ‘if he does exist, does he love me?’, ‘What happens when we die?’, ‘Are the people we love truly gone forever when they die?’, ‘What is the answer for all this innocent suffering in the world?’, ‘Is love truly the most powerful force in the world?’, ‘Can we always hope for a better tomorrow and eternal life after death with God?’

These are big philosophical and theological questions and often people shy away from asking them because the answers might be disturbing. Yet, these are the human questions that we all encounter and ask at some point in life. If you never have, you will when you lose someone you love to cancer, when you go through an abusive relationship or when you are old and on your deathbed.

We cannot get away from these questions. I hope this book will help readers relax, tune out the noisy world and contemplate on themselves, on God and the world because it is only through contemplation and introspection that we can find ourselves.

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