Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar launched journalist Dinesh Raheja’s collection of 101 Haiku. Published by Om Books International, the book was launched in Mumbai on Thursday evening. On the occasion, author Raheja shared with Meghna and the audience his experience of falling in love with Haiku and putting together the book which is an exquisite collection of three-line poems in English.
Meghna said she was enthused to release 101 Haiku by Raheja. “I have a soft spot for brevity. To be able to communicate a thought in as little as possible is something after my heart. Dinesh’s haiku are light, deep, soft and yet very cruel — all at the same time. I found that so incredible that even if I were not to release the book, I would come here to take a book from you, Dinesh!,” she said.
She added, “We find poetry in the most unexpected places. Sometimes something a friend says or the answer of a child that comes from complete innocence has inherent poetry. I agree with Dinesh when he says that poetry is uplifting for the spirit. It has no single interpretation. Therefore, it gives you a feeling of empowerment when you are reading it, because you can interpret it the way you want. Poetry is like a balm. My father (the renowned virtuoso, Gulzar) has come up with a form of poetry called Triveni. It is very similar to Haiku. The only difference is it is not bound by the 5 syllables 7 syllables 5 syllables format of Haiku. The first two lines are a complete poem in themselves. But the third line turns the poem on its head. He calls the first two lines Ganga and Jamuna and the third line is Saraswati which, when it makes an appearance, turns the thing around.”
Meghna read out a haiku from Dinesh’s book which she said gives her gooseflesh:
clouds empty themselves
into seas pregnant with hope
one empties one fills
The talented filmmaker read out a few more poems from the book
the sound of sweet love
drowned by the fanatic’s cries ....
play your flute Krishna
had sake last night
memories got drunk and swayed
I have a hangover
I realised this
wasn’t where I wanted to be ...
when the road ended
my life hangs from a
slender thread ... the spider feels
two tuskers tussle
fleet of ants carry rice grains
without paying heed
Speaking on the occasion, Raheja said, “I am a pragmatic person. I don’t believe in miracles. But believe it or not, these haiku wrote themselves. The moment I got up in the morning they would come tumbling in my head one after the other. I lost some because I was in the bath or driving and there was no pen or paper around.” This is the maiden venture in the world of haiku for veteran author, Raheja, who has five books on cinema to his credit.
A popular Japanese form of poetry, haiku juxtaposes two images to provoke thought or induce a smile or fill your senses with awe and wonder at the inherent beauty in nature. It’s essentially a three-line seduction into the world of aesthetics and art.
Ajay Mago, publisher, said, “We constantly celebrate poetry through our songs and need to revisit the time when we enjoyed the wordplay, the wisdom, the wit, and above all, we enjoyed reciting poetry, with our own touch of drama. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Dinesh’s 101 Haiku.”