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Exploring Depth and Duality in Bhawna Vij Arora’s ‘Dreams in My Lap’

By Onkar Sharma

Poetry holds varying interpretations for diverse individuals and within different contexts. Nevertheless, a fundamental aspect that distinguished poetry should never overlook is its dual responsibility of both captivating the reader and stimulating contemplation. Bhawna Vij Arora’s poetry collection Dreams in My Lap shoulders this responsibility quite well. Her poetry emerges as an opulent array of human experiences, sentiments and reflections. Divided into four meticulously curated sections, this collection drives the reader to embark on a journey that will not only be joyous but evocative.

A Deconstruction of ‘Hans’: Unveiling the Soul-Stirring Quandaries

In the initial segment of ‘Dreams in My Lap’, titled ‘Hans’, Bhawna ventures into the labyrinth of societal constructs, peeling away layers to expose the intricate web of biases and expectations that envelop the female experience.

“Gynoids in Making” emerges as a searing critique of the imposed standards on women’s bodies. Arora deftly intertwines metaphors, shedding light on the ways in which patriarchal norms dictate every facet of existence, from appearances to behaviour. The poem reads like a manifesto of rebellion against the oppression that seeks to mould women into socially acceptable forms.

‘Our bodies are conditioned for the agony,
the rituals are perpetually etched,
to hang our pep and moxie in a
mortar mix of guilt and shame.

-page 13, “Gynoids in Making”

In “Comrades in Pink“, the poet shifts focus to the global sisterhood, a conglomerate of struggles and triumphs. The poem pays homage to the resilience of women across cultures who have risen against discrimination and prejudice. “Red-Tape Jamboree: An Audit” thrusts readers into the cacophony of bureaucracy, where the clamour of paperwork masks the stifled aspirations and potential. “Sable Whiskers of a Mud-Dauber” talks about the realm of nature, using the symbolism of wasps to mirror human existence. Bhawna explores the complex balance between life and death, creation and destruction, and unveils the cycle that governs the world.

Mono no Aware’: An Odyssey through Life’s Bittersweet Currents

In the second segment of ‘Dreams in My Lap’, eloquently titled ‘Mono no Aware’, the verses oscillate between the poignant and the contemplative, evoking the ephemeral nature of existence. For instance, “Mandala” and “Her Ethereal Presence: Mother” exemplify her prowess in distilling sentiments into poetic expressions that linger on in the reader’s conscience. These poems are an ephemeral glimpse into the complex weft of existence, urging us to savour each fleeting moment.

Memory fades but its trauma remains
 like broken, pixelated images. Creeping in, like the snake,
 whispers into Eve. Memories revive, the whole cycle repeats
 revenge becomes a sweet pain and shrieks a sweet sadness.’

-page 43, “Mandala”

In “And you Brutus?” Bhawna juxtaposes the academic delineation of diaspora with a heartfelt portrayal of leaving one’s comfort zones, emphasizing that dislocation takes various forms. With a touch of irony, she illustrates the paradox of seeking new horizons while carrying a piece of one’s origin. The Latin phrase “Festina Lente,” meaning “make haste slowly,” adds a philosophical layer to the narrative, underscoring the delicate balance between journey and reflection.

A ladder beyond the sky
the suffocating air of your ambition
climb but
Festina Lente

-page 46, “And you Brutus?”

In this segment, Bhawna takes readers through the myriad facets of existence. Her verses, like ephemeral wisps, capture the fleeting moments that define our journey through life. With a painter’s palette of emotions and a philosopher’s contemplation, Bhawna weaves a tapestry that mirrors the subtle dance of being, leaving readers with an indelible impression of life’s transient beauty.

‘Sehnsucht’: An Odyssey of Yearning and Unveiling

With ‘Sehnsucht’, the collection takes an audacious turn into the abyss of yearning and desires. Bhawna’s metaphoric finesse shines in verses like “Quests” and “Fulguration”, delving into the interplay of light and shadow within the human psyche.

“Betrayal” emerges as a poignant meditation on the fragility of trust and the devastating aftermath of deceit. With poignant imagery, she paints a vivid picture of the profound rupture caused by betrayal, likening it to a gunshot that leaves a permanent wound.

was the day you ripped
us apart, like the gun-shot
once it leaves the barrel
there is no going back

-page 63, “Betrayal”

While “Apollo” seems to trace the interplay between desire and power, “Fulguration” captures the essence of a transformative moment, where the collision of elements reshapes the fabric of existence. “Quests” navigates deeper into the realm of aspiration, a force that beckons and demands transformation. “The Prostrated Soul” presents a powerful meditation on the unraveling of identity and the yearning for release from burdens.

‘The Sanative: haiku poems’: A Cascade of distilled emotions

The final symphony in this poetic orchestra is the section titled ‘The Sanative: haiku poems’, a cascade of distilled emotions rendered with exquisite brevity. In these concise yet evocative poetic expressions, Bhawna encapsulates moments of serenity and introspection. It is as though she has harnessed the power of language to summon images that ripple across the mind’s eye, leaving a trail of rapture in their wake.

In essence, Dreams in My Lap is a robust collection of poetic expressions that prefer to remain outside of the preconceived poetic perimeter and dare to nudge you, provoke you and make you mind those subtle, insignificant instances on which depends the fate of fellow beings.

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