Thursday, 12 March 2015

A Poet with the Classic Ability

Poetry ,over the years has taken various forms and  hues. Today we even speak of the prose poetry. Yet, one quality that can be described as classic and which removes any doubt as to whether a piece is ‘poetry’ is the rhyming in it- “identity in sound of some part, especially the end of words or lines of verse” says the dictionary definition of rhyme.
Seeing  the modern trend, this classic ability could be described as a “dying art.”However, to my mind as long as poetry exists, a trace of ‘rhyme’ will always remain in the vicinity, contributing its fragrance.

It is against this background that we can rejoice in the natural flair of poet Padmaja Iyengar or Paddy as she is known in poetic circles( muse india, boloji, Rate my literature) for her classic ability in rhyming effortlessly. What sets this poet apart from others is the sheer diversity of the subjects dealt with by her, from satire, music,  humour, movie reviews to management concepts and the little things that matter and bother “ the common man” (of the legendary RK Lakshman)  in his day to day life.

All these and more are borne out in a reading of Paddy’s  maiden poetry collection in print- P Enchants (P-En-Chants by Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy., Allahabad.
ISBN 978-81-8253-568-8 Price Rs. 300/- Pages 203). As the subject of our discussion is the classic ability of rhyming, I am focusing and sharing with readers the verses  from this angle in  the book that simply took my breath away- Let's look at some of  the lines in the poem"Helplessness" that describe the plight of one caught in a dentist's chair

"I lie with my mouth agape
with pain in my neck's nape
i stare vacantly at the ceiling
with an acutely helpless feeling.

unable to let out even a "ouch!"
Here am i on a dentist's couch
for an experience really chilling
Go,get yourself a dental filling!  "

"A poet's dilemma" traces the struggle in a poet's mind to get out the appropriate words-
" A poem is all I wish to write
but words remain out of sight
I blame the room and the light
and with my creativity I fight!

My words and ideas don't link
Lines and verses seem to kink
in anger a few things I fling
this writer's block does sting! "

"In what a life...!"the plight of the common man or aam aadmi is portrayed:-

"Electricity without power
manholes wihout cover
Taps without water
roads without side walks

Doctors without principles
politicians without scruples
leaders without a mission
a country without a vision  "

The poem "Public defecation-an Indian birth right!" puts the stark reality in our face as India aspires for a swach Bharat!

"Whenever he sees a hollow space or wall
he just cannot resist the nature's call
hedoesn't care where, why or how
it has got to be done here and now..
no matter which wall-be it a school or a mall!

The poet has dedicated a seperate section to pay tributes- to cricket and cricketers. to music and musicians ,scientists, humourists and others.Here I am sharing just a few lines from the poem "An ardent fan's tribute to P.G Wodehouse"

"Subtle humour's ultimate powerhouse
was none other than P.G.Wodehouse!

I can just go on and on
PG's humour ever a turn on
thanks Wodehouse for making me smile
and laugh in circs utterly sad and vile! "

Verses from another poem from this section that i felt  needed to be  shared is from "To my son Hemant...Ever an inspiration.."

"Life played with me all sorts of games
giving it at different times different names
challenges,problems, issues they were called
as I kept on getting more and more mauled...

Thank you son for always being there
for me, with your love concern and care
and please know that I am there for you
waiting in gratitude to return your due..."

Having read quite a bit of Paddy’s work(Rate my Literature . com & other  internet sites), I  have always been a fan of her great sense of humour. But there were parts in the collection to which I had not been exposed  (perhaps written in an earlier period). These were a revelation and provided for me  the sense of novelty I was seeking.One such  section titled "some stories" tell entire stories in verses- some dipped in humour, some in irony while others touching and shocking.  In the poem titled "Athithi devo Bhava" (Guest is like God)  the  lines that tell the tale of a 'Casanova guide'  go  like this:

"He was a tourist guide much sought after:
his wit and humour evoked much laughter
foriegn tourists were often referred to him
because of his English knowledge and vim

At last with this woman he had his way
as she lay, unable to do anything or say
sated and fulfilled,he fell asleep
to get up later with a hangover deep

They handed him a large sized envelope
that had some cash, a note and a rope
he pocketed the cash and opened the letter
and what he read there gave him a  jitter

"Welcome to the world of aids" it read
"Use the rope to hang yourself"she said

Now a few lines from the poem "Communication" in the  section "Some management Mumbo Jumbo"-

"The way we communicate
tends to often indicate
how well we can express
how well we can impress

Another novelty in the book is a section devoted to movie reviews in verses! some lines of the review on the film "Barfi"read as follows-

"His handling of the film- sensitive
with a story line that is moving and positive!
This film presents you a slice of life
with lessons to laugh amidst strife

"Barfi"leaves you with a huge smile
that stays with you for quite a while!
my rating for the movie is a 5 star
for direction and acting above par!

Finally I am sharing  verses from the last section of the book which is titled the same as that of the book-P Enchants:-

Giving us a glimpse of  her banking career, she writes

I, Me, Myself

Allured by the luscious lucre’s call
I entered the buzzing banking hall
For quite a while, I had a ball
Robbing peter and paying Paul!
Then I heard a higher call
And decided to chuck it all!

The poet confesses to her soft corner for books in this poem...

My Books

My books are my treasure
My love for them has no measure
I hold them close to my heart
In my life they play a key part

Books give me silent companionship
They promise me lifelong friendship
They are there for me in times of need
Ever ready to provide me an enjoyable read!

Then some insights into life in general, looked at from a banking perspective and the poet's take on the obsession of Indians to be fair and lovely-

P& L Analysis

I often ask my mind to refrain
From thoughts of loss and gain
In life, we win some, lose some
To rave and rant would be dumb


Let’s get over the silly obsession
For beauty and a fair complexion
To get a fair and lovely face
Here are some simple ways

The goodness of mind and heart
Plays a very important part
In making one fair and lovely
And giving a demeanour lively

So throw away all those creams
That sell unreal fairness dreams
Let positive thoughts and feelings flow
To give the face a calm and serene glow

If Bapu was amidst us today,what would he have said? Interesting thoughts!

An impassioned plea from Bapu

So  folks, just leave me alone!
Don’t wear my dhothi, topi and clone
At the Rajghat please don’t gather to mourn
Let not my grave flowers or wreaths adorn!

My statues, pictures and birthday celebration
Have all now become caricatured aberration
I refuse to be the father of this corrupt nation
Where the reality and my ideals have no relation!

In the poem”  School life” the poet brings out the typical school day experiences that we have all had at some time or other:-

Mom was often my morning alarm
Woke me up with a milk cup warm
But getting up from bed was tough
Unless warned by dad’s office rough!

The most tragic moments in school were
Being caught with surprise tests unawares!
And the best news always a Godsend
Was of the PT teacher being absent!

Friends made during those days of childhood
Remain ours lifelong  for times bad and good
For we were partners in all sorts of “crimes”
That were innocent pranks of good old times!

The travails and tribulations of a new joinee on her first day is recorded  in the poet’s trade mark style:-

First day at work

When this rank new comer
Encountered an irate customer
On the very first day at the bank
Her spirits to the lowest ebb sank
And the ‘bank job’ lost its glamour

Customer queries had her ruffled
Complex accounts had her baffled
She realized banking was no cake walk
And client servicing , not just sweet talk

We all give and receive gifts. But what does it mean to this poet?


For me gifts are sacred and special
Not anything artificial or superficial
When I gift something to someone
With it, a bit of my heart too is given

The purposelessness of continuing a relationship that has no future is articulated in the poem “Future Imperfect”

A relationship without a future
Cab be a terrible mental torture
as it meanders meaninglessly
and prolongs quite senselessly

Although P Enchants as a book  is predominantly about light hearted stuff laced with a lot of humour, there are some lines which articulate an underlying pain that makes  a deep impact on the reader.This is evident in the verses of the next two poems :-


My life has crossed expiry date
For a Higher call I eagerly wait
This waiting is something I  hate
My name awaits the prefix “Late”

How does one get relief from the physical and mental/emotional pains in life? Poet has given suggestion for patiently healing oneself-

Patient(ly) Heal Thyself

My aches with painkillers did I alleviate
From a daily routine did I hardly deviate
I never gobbled up everything on a plate
My hunger pangs with nutrients did I sate

For loneliness there is no cure
Worry is another disease pure
Both, one has to simply endure
Or distract them with some allure

At last I have found my panacea
I write and that gives me euphoria
My mind is now a lovely playground
Thoughts and words frolic around

We , Indians have heard many times , over and over again of the deep and eternal love of Krishna and Radha. No one knows whether these characters  are a myth or reality..

Myth..? Reality..?

Her tongue moistened lips
He savours them in sips
As her eyes meet his
Their looks caress and kiss

As he plays a tune on his flute
She stands transfixed and mute
Yet the music makes her sway
In enjoyment and abandon gay

In the lines that I have quoted from the poem “Don’t Wait!” the concern of safety of women, the problem of  stalking and unwelcome attention is discussed:-

As she walked home everyday
She sensed being stalked all the way

She had a pepper spray
That she carried everyday
All prepared and set
To let it out like a jet
On his salivating face
And put him in his place!

We all know the Indian judiciary is ill famous for its  inordinate delay (Justice delayed is justice denied).The problem when it comes out in the words of the poet reads thus:-

Justice Delayed…

Civil cases languish in courts for years
Leaving the hapless petitioners in tears
Advocates merrily thrive
On loopholes that deprive

We all have moments which we can describe as “ Pure Bliss”. Let us see what this is for the poet :-

Newspapers and sips from a coffee mug
Make me feel snug like a bug in a rug
With my heels on the cool floor well dug

And the world news before my eyes chug

How does one handle the fear of death?-read on...

Fear, Affirmation

When one’s born
One’s sure to die
This is a truth
None can deny

Then why fear death?
Why fear the unknown?
Life here is God’s loan
To be repaid all alone!

In the lines taken from the poem mentioned below Paddy fiercely defends the right to write the poetry she wants without being apologetic about it... She then in the next poem quoted below exhorts us all to write 

I too write poems. So what…?

To write about social issues , I  consider my duty
Because of this, some say, my poems lack “Beauty”
Poets to their surroundings are sensitive and aware
Should they not therefore, their views on issues air?

Finally I have this to say to those
That advise me to stick to prose
You adorn poetry with love and grace
But I will continue in my rebellious ways.

Write Away!

Without writing I cannot live
This I wholeheartedly believe
Writing pleasure
Has no measure

My dear writers out there
Write away without a care
On anything
And everything
That you desire to share

That Paddy  gives  feedback to each and every writer is well known to all who have visited her site "Rate my" Hence it is not surprising  that she conveys exasperation over those who simply do not give feedback..

On Feedback

I wonder why folks tend to be slack
When it comes to posting a feedback
On the pieces they read with such relish
not knowing, it’s their feedback I cherish

A feedback helps in knowing
The direction in which I am going-
Whether the reader is able to connect
With what my mind is trying to reflect

The lines below have been taken from the poem written by the poet about her granddaughter and the lost tooth-

Ria’s two Front Tooth Gone…!

Despite two front teeth gone
Riya not a bit forlorn
The missing teeth took their toll
Left her gums with a gaping hole.

When Ria woke up in the morning
Lo and behold a surprise was waiting
Under her bed she found
A gift wrapped box round

I have chosen to include and quote  the following lines from the poetry collection as it depicts the noble intention of the poet to serve people while here on this earth and also after  leaving this abode-

One Last Wish

I do not know my worth
As a human on this earth

But it is my burning desire
Before I am consigned to fire
That my organs help those in dearth

      In conclusion, I  would like to state  that the book " Paddys Enchants is a testimony to the fact that the classic ability of rhyming is very much ‘alive and kicking’. Reading the lines of this talented poet who forayed in to poetry quite late , after a distinguished banking career removes any doubts in the minds of the reader as to the future of rhyming. I am sure the younger generation would be inspired to follow in her footsteps and enhance their ability in this aspect of poetry

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