It is not really a book. It is a collection of articles written by Sathya Saran, ex-editor of Femina who wrote the eponymous column over a period of a decade. The tagline says, "Writings on love, life and learning" and the collection stays true to this promise. Divided into sections named Encounters, Musings, Cityscapes, Tangents and perspectives and Reflections on nature, we get a glimpse into Sathya's mind as she wrestles with several issues. Most of her inspirations are taken from her daily life. As a resident of Mumbai, there is mention of encounters in the ubiquitous local trains, musings on human nature when it comes to destroying mother nature's bounty, common people who trigger uncommon musings in this thoughtful woman.
Sathya Saran comes across as one among that rare species of famous woman who has a heart and is not afraid to wear it on her sleeve. Her penchant for saving trees lined up for ruthless cutting, or her fanaticism about not encouraging the use of plastic bags make her a lovable activist since she also allows us to glimpse into her fallacies as the time she has to face the reality that she needs reading glasses, or when she discovers that she has turned into someone she does not recognize and wants to find herself. I identified with so many of her articles, it was almost like hearing a close friend narrate an incident from yesterday until you come across her writing about meeting Gloria Steinem or Maharani Gayatri Devi and you realize that Sathya Saran hobnobs with the beautiful and famous. Which makes her wonderful writing all the more precious. To move among the rich and royal, in a world focused on outer beauty and show, to keep alive the flame of a spirit that cares, for nature, for regular people and turn an ordinary daily event into one that is memorable is indeed a formidable accomplishment.
Sathya Saran's writing is extremely poetic, each word chosen precisely and lovingly, considering that the column must have had a word limit. I wished some of the topics had been dwelt upon longer. The other possible improvement could have been the quality of the paper and printing, by Westland. But this slim book is a treat, both to read and to treasure for reading over and over again, whenever you feel jaded with the monotony of life.
Gulzar says in the blurb on the back cover that "Sathya Saran could have been a poet..... should have been a poet", I could not agree more.