Book Review: no urgency to be home
Film Review: Avatar 2
Book Review: no urgency to be home
K Ramesh reviews poetry collection by Neha R. Krishna
One of the factors that makes a haiku successful is the presence of negative space or white space: the Japanese term for white space is 'MA'. It is a technique which you come across in any Japanese art form, be it in painting, flower arrangement, architecture etc. In haiku, it is the images that offer the reader scope for multiple interpretations. A haiku poet does not offer everything on the platter. The ‘unsaid’ in a haiku is more important than the ‘said’. It is delightful to see negative spaces in many of the haiku in Neha’s book, titled, no ‘urgency to be home’.
city of another language
i feel no urgency
to be home
how was your day?
he didn’t ask
i didn’t tell
The open-endedness in these haiku is intriguing indeed. The haiku masters used other techniques in their works. One of them is wabi-sabi, which highlights the acceptance of transience and impermanence. There are haiku in the book which are filled with this poetic element:
these escaping waves
in the crack of its lips
walking the same path
my shadow and i
These haiku are evocative, and we connect to the moments immediately.
Going through the poems in this book, one does not fail to notice the references to family, grandmother and grandfather. These haiku speak about a rich tradition and culture which modern technology and lifestyle have robbed from our lives.
my grandmother’s rocking chair
and her bedtime stories too
What a loss it is! This haiku immediately takes me to the past, to my hometown. I vividly remember listening to my grandfather narrating stories, sitting on the porch, in the late evening with crickets chirping around.
Neha has effortlessly used a technique called ‘Shashei’, which means ‘Sketch from Real Life,’ a poetic element used by the Japanese Masters, in her haiku:
little boats becoming
in the pond
even on the graves
with no flowers
To write about the passage of time in a haiku or Tanka is challenging indeed. One can become sentimental in doing so. It is heartening to see how Neha has effectively used the movement of time in her poems without turning them maudlin.
this circle of
the ink on postage stamp
is incomplete –
things i couldn’t tell him
all these years
more grey in my hair
reading the book
Neha seems to be a poet who observes keenly and who sees beauty in small and ordinary things, and her haiku are aesthetically composed:
carpet of gulmohar petals
on the road
this scent of mangoes
on Mother’s palms
There are some haiku in the collection which make you feel that she has a good sense of humor, and you gather that the child in her heart is still a child.
grandma puts another paan
into her mouth
The gossip becomes even more interesting!
Another important theme in her haiku is centered on relationships. It is about the pain and joy they bring:
loose thread of his sweater
takes all my attention
our incomplete conversation
and all other misunderstandings
he asked me
to trust him
The last haiku, even though it begins with zero visibility, is stunningly visual. We can see the wipers moving on the glass pane and hear the rhythmic sound. It is a cinematic moment yet real. The silence is palpable, and the eyes speak volumes.
One can see the essence of life in this haiku. It is needless to say more:
and her laughter
The contrast in this haiku is so deep:
pine tree bark
years of experiences
on grandfather’s skin
This haiku which makes the reader empathize with the poet:
long summer day
i shut my eyes
and it is dark
There are haiku which make you question and wonder:
i wish to go
However, we have experienced this feeling. One gets tired of journeys both physical and emotional. There is a certain sense of ennui. Maybe it is good to stay with that feeling. There is no need to run away from the discontent. As J Krishnamurti puts it, to keep the flame of discontent alive.
Haiku poets tend to connect the far and the near. Here is a haiku in which it is done beautifully:
a flock of starlings
drawing patterns in the sky
Neha’s haiku are rich. They do not allow you to go past them easily. They make you linger and reflect on life. When you read her haiku, you immediately get connected to her experience! This indeed is the success of every good haiku!
One is grateful to Neha for offering us these experiences. I strongly recommend ‘no urgency to be home’ to anyone who enjoys reading haiku and tanka. I am sure they too will cherish the moments!
About the Poet
Neha R Krishna
Neha R. Krishna is the author of 'No Urgency To Be Home' (Lab Academia). Her poems have been published in Under the Basho, Presence, Frogpond, Haiku Masters – Japan, Failed Haiku, Human/Kind Journal, Frameless Sky, Haiku Foundation, Bones Journal, Prune Juice Journal, Moonbathing Journal, Wild Plum Journal, Golden Haiku Competition, Asahi Haiku Network – Japan, Contemporary Haibun Online and elsewhere. She is the winner of Weighing Raindrops Haiku Contest by Narrow Road and Glass House Festival 2020.
K Ramesh writes haiku, tanka, and free verse. His poems have appeared in Indian and International journals that cater to free verse and Japanese forms of poetry. Some of his works have been featured in magazines such as Presence, The Heron’s Nest, Mainichi, Mayfly, Acorn, Wednesday Haiku (Lilliput Review), Modern Haiku, bottle rockets, Frogpond, Wales Haiku Journal, among others. His works have also been featured in various anthologies such as muttering thunder - an annual of fine haiku and art vol 1 edited by Allan Burns, photographs by Ron Moss, muttering thunder – an annual of fine haiku and art vol 2 edited by Allan Burns, photographs by Ron Moss, montage a haiku gallery edited by Allan Burns and The Wonder Code: Discover the Way of Haiku and See the World with New Eyes edited by Scott Mason.
Film Review: Avatar 2
This movie takes you to another world. The one thought that would actually strike the audience while sitting in an I MAX theatre would be, ‘thank you James Cameron (Titanic, True Lies, Avatar) for thinking about us.’ One would actually dream of being a part of this world. If there was any movie more deserving and demanding of a sequel, it would be Avatar (2009). The first hour establishes the plot and the graphics are reminiscent of the previous film, but it is well-balanced with quick pacing and decent growth. Various characters are presented, and their motivations are revealed. Once Cameron has completed this exercise, the true magic begins, taking the viewer on a stunning underwater journey.
The bad Americans, looking for a mineral Unobtanium, were chased out of Pandora, we were told in the prequel. Well, one can safely assume that the bad guys will return from the dead, and sure enough after ten years, the Americans are back with a team headed by Colonel Miles Qauritch (Stephan Lang) resurrected as a Na’vi. His memories are embedded in him via a chip. Meanwhile Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) has embedded himself completely in Pandora and has a wife, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). They have raised a family of their own with five children, two biological sons, one biological daughter and one adopted daughter and one human son Spider. In a lengthy exposition prologue we are told how resources have developed an administration RDA. One has to watch Avatar again in order to connect the threads of the previous story with this brand-new sequel. In the previous story, Jake Sully was a bitter ex soldier who had lost the use of his legs. By becoming a Na’vi, he receives a superhuman physical body and an understanding of the folly of his ways as a foot soldier of a greedy corporation. There was a brother he had lost, and he has to take his place, denounce imperialism and find acceptance. Jake Sully quickly recounts his past for the benefit of his present viewers, and this puts the present story in quick perspective.
The dialogues are strong enough to hold the audience I need you with me and I need you to be strong. However what changes is the narrative, we don’t get to stay with Jake all the time. Major chunks of the screenplay are the subplots dedicated to the children, mostly to the second son Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and the adopted daughter Kiri (Sigourney Weaver playing the daughter of her previous character Grace). Sorry to say this, but this makes the movie a bit disjointed and sitcom like. As the action moves to the water from the trees, we follow the exploration of this new world with childlike wonder especially while following the Sully children. The Way of the Water presents a montage of beautiful, bright and vivid underwater shots with a beautiful use of blues and greens and mystical creatures floating around. These scenes are this movie’s biggest attraction.
There are of course certain scenes that are thrillingly exciting, as in the prequel. These are easily identified since the actors on television exclaim "Woohoo!". Well! here you meet the Metkayna reef people with Cliff Curtis as Tonowari and Kate Winslet as Ronal. They agree to give refuge to the Sully family and shelter them at their own risk. But somehow these characters don’t have much to offer. Ronal is more like Neytiri from the first film. Now what I really liked in the film is the climactic scene, that reminds the audience of James Cameron’s global epic movie Titanic, where the characters are stuck in a sinking vessel and in these adverse circumstances forge strong human bonds with each other. A similar emotional atmosphere is created through Edie Falco as General Frances Ardmore, the human commander of the bad guys or ‘the sky people’. There is an interesting scene with her having coffee with a robotic hand (Cameron can go way beyond his imagination). But what strikes the viewer the most while watching the film is the manner in which Cameron creates the feeling of oneness, harmony, anti- imperialism and anti-capitalism and ensures that the audience is one with it.
Watching Avatar: The Way of Water will make you think. Themes, such as discovery, exploitation, and the pointlessness of war, are developed throughout the film. The visual tone differs from the previous Avatar and delivers a completely distinct experience, one that the viewer or cinephile has yet to see, imagine, or express. The breathtaking panorama of Pandora will captivate you as will the background score leaving the viewer mesmerized and swallowing down an almost childlike awe. That is Avatar: The Way of Water's strength. I would rate this movie 8.5 out of 10 based on James Cameron’s beautiful picturization of the underwater sequences and vistas.
Dr. Ramandeep Mahal is currently working as an Assistant Professor of English at Guru Nanak Khalsa College Yamunanagar. She received her Doctorate degree from Maharishi Markandeshwar Mullana Ambala in 2018. Her research interests include Anglo-American Literature, Indian Writing in English, African Literature. She is the author of more than twenty research papers.