Book Review on Sangeeta Gupta’s ‘Ends Are Beginnings’ by Hema Ravi

“Ends are Beginnings” – an intriguing title for the slim anthology of poems with about fifty poems; it has its own mystic appeal, which is distinct in Sangeeta Gupta’s writings.

The bold phrase in the opening pages – “For All caterpillars who dare to transform into butterflies” is both intimidating and encouraging. “Life holds special magic for those who dare to dream. (Anon)” Sangeeta’s dreams certainly have a purpose, mission, vision and the ability to be the agent of change:

dares to take the path less travelled
unknown, uncertain
It’s her love for life….. (page 1 Ends are Beginnings I)
one and only reference point
is your connect
with the universe
the only eternal truth…… (page 2, Ends are Beginnings 2)

An acclaimed artist, the anthology has verses that bring out her aesthetic and artistic appreciation in “An Ode to Van Gogh,” “Artists Think,” “A Blank Paper or Canvas,” among a few others. If ‘colour chooses the artist’ in ‘Artists Think,’ (page 4) ‘Poetry for Me’ (in Sangeeta Gupta’s words) is a ‘narrative of/ sustained pain/of not being loved/or understood….’ (page 7).

Further, she pronounces that poetry should prove to be ‘a shelter for lonesome/tired souls/devoid of love and light…’ (‘Let a Poem Be’ page 11). ‘Love and Light’ is a simple prayer to infuse positive energy in another; Sangeeta believes in the power of ‘positive energy’ to empower fellow beings.

“If light and darkness are interpreted as alternate stages relieving one another, they are viewed as complementary rather than oppositional….” They constitute the ‘harmonious totality.’ This is what Sangeeta attempts to bring out in “Learn to Love the Darkness

You suddenly see
after a while you can
actually see in the dark
your whole being
engulfed in love
never expressed……(page 13)

And in the same verse, “you realize how worthless all your pursuits/have been/wordly success is so futile….” brings out the incompleteness or limitations of the rational mind.

These lines instantly remind us of the parting words of Alexander the Great: “Bury my body, do not build any monument, keep my hands outside so that the world knows the person who won the world had nothing in his hands when dying.”

Use of phrases such as “surrendered myself to life,” “let it happen to me,” “come back to the present moment,’ “a mere silent spectator,’ “I belong to life,” “one can heal,” among others, bring out the poet’s detachment and receptivity to permit the ‘inner working’ in letting the “true self shine unapologetically.”

For every earnest seeker, it is that introspection and realization, which helps to understand the true purpose of existence in this materialistically chaotic, disease-afflicted, narcissistic world of I, me and mine! In Sangeeta’s verses (voyage), such transformation and perception is possible, as revealed in these daring titles – “Let Go Of the Past,” “Every Death Reminds Us,” and “Man Himself,” to name a few.

Likewise, the poet reminds: “love is the only way/to reach Him/your purpose.” (Love is the Only Way: page 41) The hidden message here: Is there any other way out? As any ‘sadhak’ would agree, the path to truth is not uncomplicated; the individual is faced with doubts all through the way. ‘Surrender’ is the key, which is revealed by the poet in the following lines:

All my life
I was restless
searching for the unknown
undefined, abstract existence
suddenly I feel so fulfilled
so complete
I surrender myself to life… (page 44)

As Eckhart Tolle says “Say ‘yes” to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

Sangeeta Gupta’s concluding verse “Ends are Beginnings 3” sums up the journey of life and delineates the path of purposeful existence brilliantly:

Why rejoice the beginning
or lament the end
an incessant process
from dust to dust
from nothing to nothing ends are
beginnings.” (page 51)

This anthology leaves something to introspect; it is certain to enthuse earnest seekers to ‘rediscover’ themselves, more so, when they are riddled with self-doubts in this chaotic, gadget-smitten world.