Upon picking up Ayushman Jamwal’s book Chameleon Lights, the first thing which attracted me a lot was the unique book cover. What seem to be great body tattoos and blue neon light waves are more than just aesthetically appealing and simplistic; rather it is symbolic. Symbolic, of the various themes that I would find inside the pages of the book. Ayushman dedicates the book to his grandfather Late Group Captain Randhir Singh, also known as Kunwar Viyogi, a man of many virtues and a well-known writer in the Dogri language.
Let me perish draped in the banner of my making,
Let my ashes ride winds across the world,
Let my memory hoist a new sun for tomorrow,
Let me breathe beyond existence, forevermore.
-Prayer to the God of Rebellion.
Chameleon Lights in an anthology of twenty poems written by the poet during a span of around ten years. Interestingly, during the author’s meet we got to know him better learning intricate facts about his life which have been well-reflected through the poems. For instance, his enjoyments with his friends while he was studying finds a mention in the poem ‘ Party of the Magi’ ; or the ‘Love Letter’ which was written for his girl friend; his love for his dog is portrayed through the poem ‘Canine Love’ ; these poems bring the reader closer to the poet and gives a peek into his life. Ayushman has dealt with subjects like romance, love, war, rebel, wisdom and many others in his long -versed poems. An assemblage of numerous themes break the monotony of mono-thematic poems and gives a fresh flavor to the book.
You infused life in us wanderers,
Showed us joy we’ve yearned for,
A happiness we can hold onto,
To melt away life’s recurring blues.
-The Artist of the Soul
Personally, I have a few favorite lines and poems from the book. The first poem which left an impact on me is ‘The Honest Soliloquy’. It describes the feelings of the powerful and the mighty who are often worshiped by the people,but who think of themselves as nothing more than being ‘made of baser things’. The hollow vacancy in the heart of the most powerful is well accounted through this poem. The Second poem which touched me is ‘The Artist of the Soul’. It recounts very beautifully the scenario of a set stage, a singer with a melodious voice and the ambiance all around. ‘A Beautiful Mind’, on the other hand gives the powerful message to ‘Identify your mind’; which is very crucial for any individual to do. The power of the mind is often not recognized, blinded by the emotions of the heart. But, it is indeed necessary to acknowledge it. Last but not the least, ‘Canine Love’, for I too share the poets love for dogs.
A yearning grips me as I see her,
A fiery maiden on the restaurant’s wall,
In a distant world I may hold her close and be absolute,
But I may even ruin it all by blurting my heart out,
We humans are such cowards.
-The Unlikely Pilgrimage
In fact, to conclude, I would reiterate what Mrs Poonam Jamwal had said during the book launch “Such wisdom at such young age is lovely.” Thus, Chameleon Lights is a book which I would recommend everyone to read and contemplate on the poems written in it. If you have still not purchased the book, you can do so by visiting Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lYFWSD