Feelings and ideas vividly tucked in verses and rhymes. For sure, these poems won’t leave your heart and mind untouched. In his collection, Nirander Safaya addresses core aspects of human aspirations — secure and happy life, desire to love and be loved, and quest for knowledge. We are quite lucky to be able to see such splendor in his poetry.
Dr. Nirander Safaya was a physiology professor and researcher at several universities in India and the United States. Then, until his retirement, he worked as the environmental sciences administrator for land reclamation in North Dakota. He is the author of several scientific articles and has garnered numerous professional accolades. He currently resides in Leander, Texas. The poet in him sees immense beauty and privilege in being a human; for, he says, “despite all the obstacles, challenges, and tragedies we encounter in life, we keep striving and moving to a higher ground.”
Among all these poems in the collection, which one is your favorite?
I have many favorite poems in this collection; however, I will list one from each of the 3 parts that my book is divided into. From Part I (Life and Living) Poem # 4, “The Enchanted Hill”; from Part II (Love and Passion) Poem #137, “Ode to the Heart”; and from Part III (Light and Consciousness) Poem #199 “The Blissful Consciousness.”
If you could add another poem to this book, what would it be about?
It would be about how exactly Earthly Love leads to Divine Love, and acts as a ladder to self-realization, spiritual consciousness, and liberation. I would like to make it feel palpable with appropriate imagery and logical understanding of our place in the universe.
Do you have any setup while writing? Like, what type of weather are you comfortable to begin writing?
No, not really. I am prompted from within, no matter what the weather outside is like or the time of day or night. When an idea pops up in my mind, I write it down on a scrap of paper and then work on it at the computer, using feelings, logic, and imagery.
Can you name your favorite writers and describe why you like them?
I have read numerous authors around the world, including those from antiquity. But I have been most thrilled and rewarded by reading the Nobel laureate novelists and poets, for they have something very original and astounding to say. I used to recite poems of Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Pope, etc. when I was a boy. But as I grew older, I deeply enjoyed reading Shakespeare, Blake, Coleridge, Whitman, Dickinson, Tennyson, Yeats, Lawrence, Krane, and T. S Eliot. I also enjoy reading Urdu and Sufi Poetry. Among the great novelists of the world, I finally fell in love with the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in writing this book?
That each poem has a human feeling or aspiration to unravel by the weight of its thought content and the beauty of its form. Also, how to keep my poems simple and easy to understand, yet deeply meaningful.
Are you planning to write another collection? Can you share it with us?
I have not stopped writing. Therefore, I can’t rule out the possibility of publishing another collection of poems, God willing. Human nature is inexhaustible in its content as well as its creative energy.
Do you prefer tea or coffee while writing?
I like both: tea as well as coffee. So, while engaged in writing I consume these benign beverages alternately.
Have you ever thought of being a writer when you were still young?
Not really, though I have been an avid reader of literature, philosophy, and world religions right from my school days. Also, having chosen to become a scientist, I knew I would have to publish my work in scientific journals and books. But the idea of becoming a poet did not strike me until I retired from my scientific career. I wanted to share what I have understood of life with other human beings.
What inspired you to begin writing?
As a scientist and a lover of literature, philosophy, and religious lore, I always dreamed of bringing these domains a little together. Believing that we humans are made of both material and spiritual stuff, and possess a deep longing for knowing the Truth that underlies our existence, I became deeply interested in studying human behavior, which, in turn, stems from our feelings, longings, aspiration, logic, and cultural moorings. So, I began to express, in verse, my deepest appreciation of human life and its marvelous gifts of love, light, and consciousness.
What inspired you to begin writing?
I am confident that my poems will fill the readers with a deep sense of joy and freedom. They will easily see that each one of them has, in one way or another, felt the same emotions and aspirations as my poems express. Consequently, their doubt, fear, or guilt, brought about by their instincts, thoughts, or actions will melt away, for they will immediately recognize that no one is worse or better than the other; for we are all Human, with tremendous potential to rise higher and higher. And that power comes to us from Love, Conscience, and Consciousness. I hope and pray that critical-minded poetry readers will also find aesthetic beauty and charm in my simple verses.
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