Book: One Palace, a Thousand Doorways
Author: Vipul Rikhi with Shabnam Virmanai
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
Price: Rs 499
Couple of months back, my husband, and me had embarked upon an adventure trail to Himachal Pradesh. During one of our trekking days, we came across a couple, dressed in their traditional attire sitting on one side of the pathway singing native folklore playing handmade instruments. At that moment, for us it meant a great photo opportunity and nothing more.
Today, after reading One Palace, a Thousand Doorways I realise that it had much more to it. Usually when you talk or mention of anything that is traditional and deep rooted to one’s culture, it also brings along the history attached to it. For many, history seems to be a boring read. Vipul Rikhi with Shabnam Virmanai through simple and clear usage of words, with through research and minute observations, have made otherwise complex area of Bhakti, Sufi and Baul oral traditions an interesting read.
Many of these poets only spoke or sang. They did not in the proper sense, write. No wonder the author refers to these practices over the years as oral traditions. One can related to the dedication and hard work put in by the authors once you realise that the poems mentioned in this book have survived as songs, sayings, or quotations purely by force of being sung or repeated.
As a reader of present era, you are beautifully connected with your past through the poems accompanied by well-written backgrounder elaborating its significance on one’s life until date. These songs speak of knowledge in the body, which is communicated through song. Therefore, the authors opine that the singing and hearing of these songs constitute embodied knowledge.
As a reader, you are bound to enjoy the flow of poetry turning into a song, which later transforms into a bundle of offerings towards enhancing ones connect to the soul. As the title of the book suggests, every chapter is a doorway towards understanding one among the various elements of human life. Be it love, sacrifice, attachment, suffering or plethora of emotions. There are few books which helps you calm your mind as you read, One Palace, a Thousand Doorways, certainly counts on the list. Go for it, as you never know which doorway among the thousand could connect with your soul.
Also Read: Book Review: ‘Uddhav Raj’ in Maharashtra