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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Glimpses of the Setting Sun

On a day when all Canada was watching the Olympic hockey final between archrivals Canada and the United States, I took my family to attend a book launch. Meena Chopra’s book Glimpses of the Setting Sun at the Mississauga Central Library.

Talk of being mixed up. Che was quite upset.

My main purpose for dragging my family along was to celebrate Holi, and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate the traditional festival than to attend this event.

It was unique in so many ways. Meena had termed the event a multilingual poetry celebration, book launch and art exhibition. It was all this and more.

Four versions of Meena’s book were released at the event – Hindi, Urdu, English and a transliteration of the Hindi version in Roman script. Meena’s sublime paintings were on display in the foyer and an adjoining room.

There was a restrained aesthetics to the manner in which the event was conducted – all the credit to Binoy Thomas, editor of Weekly Voice, who had taken charge as the compere.

Binoy made a telling observation during his unpretentious introduction that Canada needs to develop the confidence of India to shed its self-consciousness about multiculturalism.

The soft-spoken Navdeep Bains, a Sikh born and raised in Canada and now people’s representative, released the English version of Meena’s book; Dr. Colin Saldanha, famous (and erudite) medical professional, originally from Karachi, Pakistan, released the Urdu version of the book and MP Singh, diplomat from the Consulate General of India in Toronto, released the Hindi version of the book. All the speeches were brief and the audience comprised a healthy multicultural mix of poets and those interested in poetry.

Meena read a few of her poems. Reproduced below is one taken from her collection Ignited Lines.


I walk bare feet
on the ruins of time
Past crumbles underneath.
Images emerge
from the rigid stonewalls.
Cracking in front of me.

I see shadows
in the debris of

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