( A review on the book composed by N. Lahari)

– V.Vijaya Kumar


          Gone are those days of adornment words, embellished verses and the voluminous works. The readers are grown, demanding crispy, spicy recipes like junk food to relish on not wasting time in search of meaning with much effort. No reference, no dictionaries, no insight into things for a while, straight away the dish. A dish to relish at once!

          The genesis of brevity in poetry is a tale of inspiration which indirectly twined with the birth of a new form Nani in the field of modern poetry.


          The sight of above broken words etched on an old rusted iron sheet in front of a petty vendor shop stirred the soul of Sri Sri to pen his seminal poem, “Nenu saitham!” This brevity in thought echoed in countless poets and enthusiasts in the later period. Ravi Ranga Rao, one of the prominent figures in modern Telugu poetry carrying forward its spirit by shaping a new genre Mini Kavita, marked a tremendous success through his extraordinary efforts.

          In the same breath of thought and spirit Nani stands as a testament to the ingenuity of Telugu literary expression, a concise yet profound form birthed by the unwavering efforts of Prof. N.Gopi. Over two and a half decades ago, he sculpted a genre that encapsulates great truths within the confines of 20 to 25 words, a feat that resonates with the simplicity and depth of chiseling a lifeless stone to unveil the living idol concealed within.

          Lahari, embarked on a journey into the realm of Nani, guided by the footprints of Prof. Gopi on the shores of literary innovation. Her Nanis, like miniature masterpieces, blend spiritual, philosophical, and mundane themes into a harmonious symphony of words. Each Nani is meticulously crafted, embodying Coleridge’s notion of poetry as the “best words in the best order,” leaving an indelible mark on the reader’s minds.

          These following Nanis are well matured in thought and insight and mark for her greatness in composition and reveal how and why Lahari ventured into a new realm of poetry.

A weapon in the hands of poet
It’s the base
Either for a change or to compose
My letter
Is a wit of scimitar
That shutters
The darkness of ignorance
When the sea churned
The ambrosia was made
When thoughts conflict
Poetry sprang out
Why diamonds?
I need best words
To grace
The verse

          One of Lahari’s most striking Nanis delves into the notion of value, juxtaposing the desire for material wealth with the intrinsic worth of emotional richness. Through vivid imagery and splendid language, Lahari underscores the power of words to convey meaning and emotion, transcending the allure of material possessions.

The owners
Are in unity
The split laborers
On the bed of arrows

          In another poignant Nani, Lahari explores the theme of societal inequality, depicting the stark contrast between unity and division among the Classes. With just a few words, Lahari paints a vivid picture of class consciousness and social disparity, inviting readers to confront uncomfortable truths about the world around them.

Does the Shadow
Scare You?
May the err be found

          It’s sheer hypocrisy to deny that our consciousness knows what’s wrong and what’s right. This is how Chalam lashes out the hypocrisy of the society. We do commit mistakes, though we can’t admit that we did it. Err is human but defying it is more common. Lahari nestled it in such a beautiful way that the reader shivers with delight.

She’s Sheethala Mata
Who blesses hygiene
The Town goes unclean
In her absence

          In her best of all, Lahari defies the sweeper of the streets, giving the status of a goddess.

          Lahari’s anthology encapsulated extensively from themes of love, friendship, journey, pleasures and sorrows of life and the ephemeral nature of fame, the lonesome villages, bountiful townships, the fading shades of humanity, plastic smiles, artificial life, books that bring light in the dark, the vanishing bonds, the fainted relationships. All these offer readers a profound meditation on the human condition. A compilation that invites contemplation, a treasure of wisdom offering insights into the myriad facets of existence.

          Prof. N. Gopi warmly blessed in his foreword, saying fame shouldn’t come like the scorching sun, but the warmth of the rays at sunrise, recognizing her contribution to the legacy of Nani genre.

          Dr. S. Raghu wrote heart-felt words in his forword acknowledging the profound emotional depth of her work that he was surprised to see in Lahari the sense of empathy, longing for human relationships and the touch of the roots of life.

(Congratulations to Lahari on her great achievement and successful journey.)


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