Monday, 6 October 2014

Book Review: Collection Of Chaos by Tikuli


(From the foreword by Kris Saknussemm) As with all the poets I most admire, words are living things for Tikuli. But as you will come to discover, they are never deployed for their own sake. She uses them to tell stories. The images, scenes, characters and fragments of visionary empathy that you will find in this book are all rooted in her native India-and yet they reach out far beyond national and cultural boundaries. They do so because they have an interior cohesion of spirit. Her subjects are often the dispossessed, the lost...the abused. There are undercurrents of sorrow and anger. And yet love shines through, even when it seems to be fading away. Above all, there's a powerful sense of hope at work-a conviction in the redemptive strength of poetry.


The first question that came to my mind was, why the name “Collection Of Chaos”. I read and I wondered. I questioned and somewhere through the lines my questions were answered.  Tikuli’s expression is unabashed and direct. She conveys the stories, the pains, the paths, the dark and the light in various forms. The chaos is both inclusive and exclusive. It is driven by inner demons, pains and struggles and it is also an outcome of societal evils, demons running through our culture and influencing our thoughts, expressions and hence actions. 

In all this chaos we also see a line of faith, which may appear faint or may not appear at all but it is there. In between those lines, through various stories, there is a spirit of faith.

Tikuli starts with a gentle reminder of the presence of poetry everywhere, and gradually moves towards the darker side of expression. Some poems are definitely not for weak hearted. A few lines would touch your soul and some would become a part of who you are but the more you read, the more you would want to read.

One of my favourites, something that I could relate to, and something that I wish I could express in a similar manner is “Little hand prints”. It broke my heart, made me teary eyed but still it left a lingering hope that there are still few out there who are saving lives.

The poet moves from one life to another, from one pain to another, from one form to another but the expression remains beautiful. Some stories have open wounds, conveying a plethora of aches.  Some will make you shiver in disbelief but you will still read, consumed and spent in the moment.  

The poems are direct, there is no cover up. You won’t be able to hide the pain behind the lines. And then there would be some which will make you smile a little in nostalgia.

Another one of my favorite is “The Banyan Tree”.  Banyan tree is the reminiscent of memories. It lives forever, grows, moves from roots to roots but still never changes. Tikuli has expressed the memories, the stories, and the significance of the tree in those stories so well in few words. If only the tree could speak, it would share something similar.

Somewhere through the pages, I became a part of the chaos. I loved the expression. It is free flowing and yet direct. It has a soul and not effusive sentimentality. Less is more and each expression is complete in itself. The book for me is definitely a must buy.

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About the Author:


Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8, Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women's Web.

Some of her print publications include poems in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul(Westland). Her work has also been featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse. She blogs at

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