When one’s deep-seated emotions skim to the surface and find a voice, the result is a soul-stirring anthology of poems called Myriad of Dreams! The poet, Nisha Tandon, has delved deep into her heart and brought forth an assortment of feelings, experiences and sensibilities. They have all been formatted into a distinct structure, thanks to Nisha’s matchless creativity and innate poetic instincts. Myriad of Dreams boasts of seventy-five poems, each different from the other in theme, structure, metre and length.
As a reader, what appealed to me the most was the sheer variety of subject matter. The element of storytelling is evident in most of the compositions. The imminence of the seasonal cycle and the abundant natural beauty we witness in each season, form the pivot for poems like Autumn Musings, A Wintry Night, Spring is Here and Summer Spell. As we “enjoy the last warmth of flaming sun”, we prepare ourselves to shiver with “the ivory snow flake kissing the tips of the frozen grass”. After a period of hibernation, it’s “finally time to bid goodbye to winter blues” and welcome “Spring, the season of birth” with its “soft, fragrant breeze”, “dazzling flowers” and “new beginnings”. Before long, we find ourselves transported to God’s Own Country, Kerala, where we experience an “invincible summer” when “parched souls arise from quiescence amidst sprinkles of rain”.
From the world of nature, we wander into the land of humans. Here, Nisha explores the seamless repository of emotions and expressions, and authors pieces that deal with loss, grief, and coping. Broken Dreams, Final Adieu and Remembering You especially tug at the reader’s heart and we unknowingly concur with the poet when she sighs, “My yearning soul entangled in life’s labyrinthine schemes”.
The anthology gets infused with a robust dose of nationalism as we read about our men in the Armed Forces, a subject after my own heart. “He had happily laid down his life/ And on his chest some medals were embellished” – lines that brilliantly capture the supreme sacrifice done by our soldiers every day. Our hearts swell with patriotic fervour when the poet says “Every soul is stirred as Vande Mataram echoes in the air/ Carried through generations, a legacy that is so rare.” The recent surgical strike carried out on a neighbouring country has been faithfully recreated in Pulwama to Balakot where “Operation Bandar by Indian Air Force was the mysterious code.”
The stark tonal shift to the philosophical is evident in poems like Victory of Good Over Evil, When I am Gone, The Arched Bow and Search Your Soul. In these pieces, the mood is one of deep deliberation, self-realisation, and of accepting the inevitable. We are made aware of the intense power of hope, courage and undying faith which help us sail through the trials and tribulations of life.
When we fall in love, we rise in so many unexpected ways. The world looks beautiful and our happiness, infinite. However, losing the love of our lives can plummet us into the depths of despair where life becomes dismal and burdensome. It is these conflicting emotions that find articulation in verses like Can Never Say Goodbye, The Last Letter (the final stanza here is a killer!), Timeless Love and Unfulfilled Desires – “Thought of a morrow without her hurt him/ And for him the loss was irreparable.”
Nisha celebrates the limitless power and indomitable mettle of the human soul in pieces like Unafraid to Fly, Undaunted Spirit of Mumbai, I am not Ashamed and Two Strands of Grey. Liberation from one’s own misgivings, the spirit of determination and resilience, and the courage to accept one’s flawed, imperfect but beautiful self, mark this set of poems. “I brave every impending storm/ My wings may flutter but they do not break” – lines that wonderfully delineate the fire that glows bright within all of us. Another remarkable offering, somewhat along the same lines, is A Woman So Divine – an ode to every woman and her inner beauty and radiance. “She is perfectly imperfect/ And every man’s dream” – words to cherish, indeed! Living in Fear is a hard-hitting number that questions the validity of marital rape – a subject we often choose to ignore.
However, the ones that really stole my heart are World’s Greatest Treasure, You are Special, and You Know You are in Love When…. These poems are high on emotion and revolve around the poet’s family. The accompanying family photographs stand testimony to the loving, sacred bond they share and invite the reader to soak in the spirit of their bonhomie.
The seventy-five poems are structured mostly as quatrains where the alternate lines rhyme. A few are made into rhyming couplets. In the midst of these tightly organised verses, Sonorous Anklets comes across as a whiff of fresh air with its unrhymed single-stanza narration. The carefully selected quote and image headlining each poem prepares us for what is to follow.
If I were to look for an area of modification, it would firstly be that of inserting punctuation. While poetry does not come with a straitjacketed punctuation manual, it does need a smattering of it for the sake of clarity, closure, and to indicate a break or shift in thought. Also, I spotted a few places where the verb did not agree with the subject (singular-plural woes!) ‘Tiresome eyes’ (in Autumn Musings) may be replaced with tired or exhausted or fatigued eyes. These are minor issues that do not, in any way, take away the charm of the compositions.
Myriad of Dreams is Nisha Tandon’s labour of love done right. Her motley assemblage of themes, messages and rich vocabulary, form a rich warp and weft which, when put together, create a beautiful poetic tapestry which is bound to excite, elate and inspire the readers.
Buy the book here-