City Times and other poems is an impressive collection of heartfelt poems by Vihang A. Naik. This delightful book is divided into six parts- Love Song Of A Journeyman, Mirrored Men, The Path Of Wisdom, At The Shore, City Times and Self Portrait. I love how distinctions are made by the author and the kind of poems the author has introduced over various life experiences is amazing. The poems are very short, around 10-15 verses but these short verses pack such immensely powerful and emotional personal experiences. My favorite poem is “Eye” which talks about perceptions and resolve.
What is love about Vihang is not just another contemporary author who just aims to get his book published, no matter the content. Instead, he has quite laurels and contributions to his name and that makes this book an instant choice for me, and for any reader who’s looking for an insightful, intellectual and entertaining read at the same time. Vihang has qualifications in English Literature, Indian Literature and Philosophy, and his academic background reflects in the themes for his poems and the approach he has used to craft them. Despite the intensity of his beautiful pieces, they are not hard to connect with as he introduces topics that everyone has experienced and observed in their daily lives.
What I feel about his poems are, these are not just one time read. These are short, yes. You can finish a poem in 5 seconds. But they are so thought provoking, each poem will make you think what all interpretations could be made out of it. But since all the poems are based on common nature scenarios, interpreting them if at all is only going to be interesting, never hard like the classic poets.
The poems in this collection are philosophical, expressive and have an emotional flavor. The 1st part, “Love Song Of A Journeyman” is about the choices we make, especially when we have to choose between things we love, and the betrayals we cause or face in life. The journeyman goes through many heartbreaks on his path, and that is evident in the poems in this section.
The 2nd part, “Mirrored Men” is all about man and the material world. Or in other terms, the illusionary world. How humans react and think in the world of illusions and limited perceptions.
The 3rd part, “Self Portrait” talks about what we are and how we project ourselves in the world. But most importantly, our strengths in reserve and real qualities that we realize when we face tough situations. It talks about the faith that we keep over others only to realize that we were our own saviors all along.
The 4th part, “At The Shore” is about the myriad emotions that a person faces over his lifetime. The sea shore witnesses all our poignant experiences- whether they be of love and togetherness, or loneliness and desolation. It knows our most guarded selves and the most shining selves. The light and the dark.
The 5th part, “City Times” reflects the busyness and activity of the cities. The vibrancy, the challenges and also a new angle is brought down by author for cities- that is connection to nature even while in cities by the city people.
The 6th part, “Path of Wisdom” has little nuggets and pearls of wisdom on life et all. This is the most intriguing section as it makes us aware of the consequences of our thoughts, actions in society.
I would rate this book 4/5. The title could have been better, atleast better in encapsulating the essence of the thought that went behind this book.