BOOK : A poem that painted the sky by Author Indira Babbellapati (2017) / Review by Leonard Dabydeen

BOOK : A poem that painted the sky by Author Indira Babbellapati (2017)


  • Author: Indira Babbellapati (India)
  • Book: A poem that painted the sky
  • Paperback: 73 pages ₹ 1,022.73
  • Publisher: (7 June, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: -10:9385944598X
  • ISBN: -13:978-9385945984
  • Poetry
  • Cover Design and Illustrations: by Tabitha

Out of the esoteric palette of life, of the elements that nurture our colourful dreams and imaginings, comes a poem that painted the sky.

In this book, A poem that painted the sky, illustrious author Indira Babbellapati has captured a scintillating roller coaster olio of 60 poems, within a heart-throbbing 73 pages wrapped like a bouquet in a beautiful cover design. Most poems are imaginatively inked with illustrations by Tabitha. It was Rumi, the luminary 13th century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, scholar, theologian and Sufi mystic that said, “Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” (

Author Indira is absolute in this respect!

Moreover, author Indira brings to the fore in this book, A poem that painted the sky, her life exuberances in a wealthy symbiosis of atmospherics of nature and her ambivalences and coherences of everyday life. She has contingently immersed the elements of nature – especially in Ayurveda – of bhūmi (earth), jala (water), agni ) fire, vayu or pavan (air or wind) and vyom or shunya (space or zero) or akash (aether or void) with life experiences. Then she expansively opens her mind’s imaginings in a palette of life to create poems as an artist. In the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts (SIU, Viman Nagar, Pune, India), the course outline reads:

“One of the best ways of understanding the wealth in thoughts, ideas and culture of people and places is to study poetry. In many ways poetry is the purest form of expression – it gives an insight into a mind that constantly quests for reaching beyond simple thoughts and expresses what is beneath the façade.”


Once again, author Indira is absolute in this respect!

So also in a historic overture in this book, The Poetics of Symbiosis Reading by Shingeru Ozawa, the writer says of Seamus Heaney that he “holds his pen just as they (his ancestors) held their digging implements.”

Ref: The Poetics of Symbiosis: Reading Seamus Heaney’s Major Works

Author Indira has magnificently utilized her pen to make brushstrokes (in poetry), painting the sky.

Author Indira also brings a thoughtful life experience in this book, A poem that painted the sky, with nuances reflective of Van Gogh’s painting of the Starry Night in 1889. According to Van Gogh’s gallery sources,

“One of the biggest points of interest about this painting is that it came entirely from Van Gogh’s imagination. None of the scenery matches the area surrounding Saint-Paul or the view from his window. As a man who religiously paints what he sees, it’s a remarkable break from Van Gogh’s normal work.”


But unlike Van Gogh, author Indira’s mind-set imaginings are more conducive to her everyday experiences. Her brushstrokes are veiled often in real life situations. Many of these poems have also been crested in social media a few years hence, noticeably in under her pristine postings.

Let me take you through a random selection of poems in this book, A poem that painted the sky. In poem #1. Aditya Hridayam (p 7), author Indira is delighted in harnessing the glory of the Sun God against a back-splash of winter, spreading sun all over “earth to begin/yet another game of maya.” So illusive and magical,

“On that early winter morning

the sun and I wiggled our way

cutting through the placenta

to touch the earth to begin

yet another game of maya.

In that hazy darkness

the thoughts of a life lived

rushed through the by-lanes

of unfathomable memory

Where were you?

Where are you?

I try in vain resurrecting

The faded memory.

How it eludes me on this earth…!

In my tears of joy and sorrow

I offer the sun born with me

on that early winter

a holy bath ever since.”

The title of the poem, Aditya Hridayam, reflects on the empowerment of the stotra emerging as one of the key mantras based on the 107th chapter of the great epic war – Yudha Kanda – between the army of Lord Rama and the army of Ravana, as told in the Holy Ramayana. The stotra was elicited by Sage Agasthya to Sri Ram in harnessing the sun for greatest strength to defeat all enemies. (…/aditya-hridayam-lyrics…)

In poem #2. Daughter of Dust (p.8), author Indira echoes a Tagore-like tone in a philosophic and emotional sarangi. Take a read of the second stanza,

“Life left me to dream, though

it left a heart untouched:

a heart that can still sing

a melody of immense depth;

a melody that allays

my fears

my guilt

my shame

my tears,

mingling, them all

in the dust

under my seasoned feet.

And poem #12. Obsequies to a tear (p. 21, stanza 2) brings tear-drops to a burst,

Come, pay your respects

before the pyre is lit

before another tear is shed

and placed on the pyre.

In another poem #14. Of peace and strength (p.23), author Indira reflects a breath of Gandhian ahimsa principle,

That which allows one

to stay put amidst chaos –

That’s peace.

That which makes one stand

and walk straight in pain –

That’s strength!

Where there’s peace

There lies strength!”

By general overlay and with meticulous ambulation, author Indira has netted her life experiences with rich imagery and emotional sensitivity in this beautiful bouquet of poems. Some of the poems, including #30. A wholesome mother (p.40), # 32. On a lonely monsoon night (p.43), Unfolding towards revelation (p.52), #41. A poem expecting rain (p.54), #43. A poem sliding down the glass-pane (56), #46. A poem on unexpected rain (p.59), #47. A poem that painted the sky (p.60), #51. A surreal moment (p. 64), #53. Call of desire (p.66), and # 56. Between birth and death (p. 69) have well-acclaimed postings among her 747 poems on the online blog. From her biographical exposé, she says “…to me writing poetry is strictly a business of the heart beyond the existential concerns of the here and now…”

This book’s title, A poem that painted the sky (# 47 on p.60) demonstrates the author’s “business of the heart” with her amazing life experiences,

“Under a sky

that never touch

the earth…

In that virtual space

where none others

ever breathed…

There I hear

the unique raga

my breath resonates.

Between two breaths

lurks and exclusive dream

that I dream of you, for you.

This evening,

the dream morphed

into a bird…

The colorful wings

in multitudes flapped to flight

to paint the sky.”

Back cover of this book, A poem that painted the sky, offers the reader with a vivid profile canvas of author, Indira Babbellapati. She is “a faculty in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences [Andhra Univ. Visakhapatnam, India]…is a widely published poet and translator. Her original poetry anthologies include affaire de Coeur, Vignettes of the Sea, echo, From the Biography of an Unknown Woman and Nomadic Nights. She translated all genres of literature except drama. Night of Nectar for the Sahitya Akademi, Asampoorna, the Incomplete, Into a Crowded Aloneness, in Telugu by Raama Chandramouli are some of the translated poetry anthologies. Her Own Way, a book of Akademi award winning short stories translated into English is under publication with the Sahitya Akademi. Gender Games and Other Stories, The Dusk, a novel in translation besides a few short stories have been published by the Translation Bureau of Dravidian University, Kuppam. Indira also coauthored English text books for Engineering Undergraduates. Indira’s poems are also anthologized in Roots and Wings, Suvarnarekha, Persona, Heaven 2014 and I am a Poet.

Prof Indira Babbellapati’s English poetry has been translated into Hindi, Bangla, Spanish and French. She made her presence felt at many national and international meets like Asia-Pacific Writers and Translators, SAARC Literature Festival to name a few.”

The collage of poetics and high literary acclaim resonates with excitement to rush any reader of poetry to get their hands on this book, A poem that painted the sky. Enjoy the read.


Review by Leonard Dabydeen

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