(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Ishika Bansal. My Diary and Other Poems. New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books Pvt. Ltd, 2019. Pp.85. Price: Rs.150/-. ISBN: 978-93-5296-783-4
Reviewed by Dakshta Arora
My Diary and Other Poems, which contains 47 poems, is the second poetry collection of Ishika Bansal, who is a budding poetess, studying in the 9th class at G.D. Goenka Public School, Agra. This poetry collection has become Ishika’s poetic diary in which she has shared her joys, sorrows and all kinds of experiences. Besides ‘Preface’ and two ‘Forewords’, it has observations and comments of well-known figures like Anil Sharma, Bhupinder Aziz Parihar, Rajiv Khandelwal and R. S. Tewari ‘Shikhresh.’ The poet has dedicated My Diary and Other Poems to the senior poet Mr. Rajiv Khandelwal who guided her in her poetic journey.
Anil Sharma while writing the ‘Foreword’ rightly observes: “She has successfully made an attempt to be abreast of her times, particularly of her age, education and experience. She has miles to go in her journey of life...” (viii). Further, he adds saying: “She has spurned mundane thought, introspected herself, looked within, contemplated to conceive noble ideas, added freshness to the literature and its foliage. The diction is good with its natural flow but editing is conspicuous with its absence” (ix).
Shabd is Brahama. What counts in life is the use of words at the right time and at the right place. The words, the poet in Ishika feels, are “spontaneous, / hilarious, miraculous” and so can be “harsh and discourteous, / inspiring, surprising / life changing, sporadically depressing / sometimes shattering, at time daring.” Hence, she advises to “work with them wisely” (37) as their right use can bring a change in life. Words reveal character. “Our words reveal us inside out” (76).
Ishika finds herself “a little mature” in her poems though she admits that she is “childish at home” (44). She talks of the rich and the poor. She feels that mankind has gone to hell due to narrow outlook regarding caste, religion and race. She believes in creation and so thinks that “the best way to predict future / is to create it” (62). She feels that it is foolishness to be lost in the web of the past. She cares for the present and the future. Here are the lines which reveal the didactic attitude soothingly:
The past is gone, the present is going
And the future is still in our hands
Stand up for winning one day
The odds of life will forever end. (62)
She is so optimistic that she does not care for what the people will say. If she feels the flow of positive vibes within for an activity, she performs it without caring for the hardships. She takes hardships “as another chance to excel.” She is ready to do any mundane routine smilingly.
She respects her mother who is not simply a mother for her or just a caretaker but “the one and the only one / a multitasker / a perfect homemaker” (60). It is she who turns a house into home. The poet loves her friends whether they are good or not. If they are not good, she gets realization from them that she lacks somewhere and thus gets the chance of improving herself. Though she is younger, she advises like the elder to “be in low profile always / always be sober, sincere and plain” (81). She talks of keeping balance in life. “What we need is to keep / Fluttering excitement aside / And reason, passion to balance” (81). What is important is to “research thoroughly” all the pros and cons of a situation for making the mind calm and compose.
It is good that she wants to learn and for this she sets every goal by herself. She longs for creating a piece of art which is not less than a dream for her. Hence, she will not smile and sit aimlessly but will do her best without knowing whether the task will be fruitful or not. She is experimenting with herself in order to know her ‘Self’ better. She wants to play with the words as she finds them her true companions. She puts them in her diary and thus turns “loneliness into a creative day” (65) to experience her real self. Diary for her becomes “better than teddies and toys” as she can share with it her joys and sorrows. This is the diary that contains her “secrets, lies and truths” (39). What she writes, is the reflection of her personality. She herself admits that “My Diary And Other Poems carries a sharp reflexion of my personality and day-to-day life and it is magnificently turned out” (xxiii). Diary becomes the medium for her purgation. Diary is not a thing but a friend with whom she talks and shares her real ‘self’. She has learnt “more about love, laughter and gratification” (xxiv).
Ishika Bansal is in the process of learning the art of poetry. She is a student with poetic curiosity. She has yet to learn the poetic art. Her English language teacher Ms Nevidita Lal is her well-wisher who advises her honestly saying:
Make sure that you never start writing for the public but for your own heart...As you grow, poetry will ripen within you without effort. Remember, poetry is alive, it breathes, it grows, it matures on its own...I can see some unearthed potential still in you. Give time to bloom. (v)
Nevidita finds some poems which are really real gems but they need proper pruning. Regarding the technical and thematic aspects of poetry, she sincerely advises Ishika to “pay careful attention to syntax and try to write from someone else’s standpoint, be someone else’s voice or create a socially conscious poetic persona” (vi). Surely she is going to follow all the pieces of advice in her future journey of poetry. She will learn the art of fusing thoughts with emotions creating the unification of sensibility. May the Muse shower on her images and figures! What she says about her handwriting will be true to her poetic journey as is clear from her promise: “I’ll write better than before” when she is asked “why can’t you write elegantly” (58).
The poet in My Diary and Other Poems is in the formation period. She has shown the poetic potential in her teens. While exploring her ‘self’, she will continue her poetic journey with her firm determination and confidence. This poetic collection is a good reading for the poetry lovers, particularly the school going students.
About the Reviewer:
Dakshta Arora is a Gold Medalist Postgraduate in English from M.J.P. Rohilkhand University, Bareilly. After graduating with Honours in Electronics and Communication Engineering, she has switched over to Humanities because of her keen interest in literature. The areas of her interest are Personality Development, Indian English Literature, Comparative Literature, American Literature, World Literature and Literary Theories. She resides at B-72, Deendayal Nagar, Phase II, Near Sai Temple, Moradabad, U.P. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.