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Book Reviews

The Taste of Words – my review

My father bought this book last year and I took it along as a light read on a recent trip. And boy, was I glad I did!

I must start though, by stating that if you’re into Urdu shayari deeply, this book does not have much to offer you. You would already know the life and times of most Urdu poets and would be well versed in their celebrated works. At most, you might come across a few, lesser known poets and maybe enjoy their works.

As an introduction to Urdu poetry however, this book is invaluable. It is not dense, nor technical,  nor hard to understand. The language is accessible, the translations lucid, the style of writing engaging and personable. Every poet in the book gets a short introduction, with maybe a delightful little anecdote thrown in. The ghazals are chosen with care, and while they might not always be the most famous or best known creations of the authors, do serve to highlight the poet’s style and method of expression.

The Taste of Words is written entirely in English, even the original verse is presented in the English script.  The book is oriented to a reader with little to no understanding of the genre and maybe even the language, and the choice of script emphasizes this.

The Taste of Words is a wonderful entryway into the glorious world of Urdu shayari. If you are intrigued by this art and have always felt overawed by the difficult language, the convoluted idioms, the ornate phraseology, and the even more obscure translations you have come across in other books, this is the book for you. And if after reading this book, you are still not fascinated with Urdu shayari, you can safely conclude that Urdu shayari and you aren’t meant to be. 🙂

 

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About hbhatnagar

I need to fill this up with much better content than I had populated it with earlier. Why I write a blog maybe? I started blogging in 2009 or thereabouts. I was a newly turned atheist and wanted to converse with others of the same persuasion. We're not exactly a big population group in India! It didn't go very well and I sort of lost interest, posting a few things now and then. I got a lot more regular over the last few months and have been posting almost daily since February '15. I was, and am suffering from depression and things had gotten out of control. I had chronicled it in my posts, but I have removed them. Not because I wanted to hide that facet of my life; if that were the case, I wouldn't be writing this. But I was lucky to come across many, many wonderful people out here who helped me. Even if it was just to post and tell me I wasn't alone. I can't tell you how thankful I am for all of you. I've tried since, to tell my own story as an attempt at catharsis (didn't work) and as a means of telling others that they weren't alone either, not in their depression, nor in their cutting or burning, nor in their thoughts of and attempts at suicide. So this blog has taken shape, being at different points in time my showcase, my comedy club, my art gallery, my book club, my therapist, my close friend, my innermost dark self....but always my little corner of the world. You are all welcome to visit and I hope you stay awhile! A few points about me because I don't want to lead anyone on. I'm Indian, the brown-skinned variety; if race, ethnicity or skin colour is an issue, you don't have to get to know me any more than what you see on my blog. I'm 40, so if age is an issue, please be informed accordingly. I was a doctor, an ophthalmic surgeon for 10 years before I quit practice. I am a depressive, have been for some time, so some things do trigger me for no rhyme or reason; I don't expect anyone to understand that this happens, just maybe accept that it does. If not, I am sorry.

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