NEW DELHI: On April six, Laxmana Dalmia stood in a crowd of people—all well wishers—who had come to partake in the launch of her first book of poetry titled, One Soul Many Lives. So to say, she seemed to have many who she could call loving family, loyal friends, inspiring fellow authors and supportive acquaintances, but that wasn’t the complete truth. The only thing she implicitly and constantly found the ultimate refuge in, were her words.
Words and the arts, form a synergy in her new book. Every thought has been complimented with contemporary renderings by masters like Anjolie Ela Menon, Jaishri Burman, George Martin, Iranna and others. “The artists have woven their works according to their interpretations to suit my thoughts. Some have especially given new visuals according to how they related to the poem, while others have chosen existing ones. Therefore, each reader and viewer will interpret and match my impressions to the artwork according to their sensibility, and for me that is the beauty of putting this book together,” says Dalmia.
An emotional being, the poet has poured each of her strongly felt sentiments onto paper, interlacing desire, anger, revenge, despair, fear, insecurity, frustration, jealousy, hatred, anger, love, comprehension, compassion, balance and spirituality together.
Justifying the title, the author feels she’s lived many lives in a single lifetime through this book. Each emotion depicts one lifetime, she says. “When I am in the throes of a given emotion, it’s like swimming in an ocean. As I cross that ocean and reach the shore and understand why I felt what I felt, the emotion gets qualified as a whole life. My emotions perforce, find pen and paper for the same, as it’s my only way of venting seething emotions that were too scared to see the light of day,” she says.
Dalmia was introduced to literature by her mother who was a writer in Hindi. That her writing wasn’t exactly legible, worked in Dalmia’s favour as her mother would ask her to read whatever she had written and then write it neatly on a piece of paper. The first serious attempt at writing came when she edited her mother’s biographical novels. In fact, it was her mother who encouraged her to start writing when Dalmia was 13.
Besides being a poet, Dalmia is also a screenwriter, producer and director for TV, radio, documentary cinema and theatre and has produced over five hundred half hour films. She is also the Treasurer of the Indian People’s Theatre Association. However, she doesn’t feel encouraged by the way poetry has taken a backseat in today’s world of, what she calls, superficial and instant gratification. “I wanted to make poetry more easily approached, understood, and judged if it were introduced through a natural coupling with a visual or auditory mode of expression. I understand today is the time for e-books, and there isn’t anything wrong with them, but still, nothing can beat the feeling of holding a book in your hands and reading it,” says the author, who is also a passionate student of the occult sciences.
With One Soul Many Lives, that comes as a coffee table book, she wants to help people realise that everything in this world doesn’t have to be cut-throat competition and it’s alright to let softer emotions surface. “Socially and culturally it will make the world a better place,” she believes.
Priced `4,000, it’s available at Academicfoundation.org