THE STROKES OF SOLITUDE
A Collection of Middles and Essays by
Dr. Ritu Kamra Kumar
Publishers :Authorspress, New Delhi
THE STROKES OF SOLITUDE is a second Collection of Middles and Essays by Dr. Ritu Kumra Kumar. Earlier a Collection of Middles and Essays titled ‘The Priceless Petals’ , was well received. Her first book was a Literary critique on the novels of Shashi Deshpande. She is an academic working as an Associate Professor in Post Graduate Department of English , Mukand Lal National College, Yamunanagar , Haryana.
A frequent and prolific contributor of Middles to prominent National Dailies , she has a knack of writing on varied subjects. I have gone through quite a few of the Middles that figure in this collection, which she has been graciously putting on Facebook .
The title is an appropriate one and the picture of a landscape painted on the Canvas on the cover complements it. These Middles and Essays are the word pictures painted so beautifully by the writer.
There are Eighty One beautiful pieces of writing divided into five sections which are titled Kith & Kin, Myriad Musings, Woman’s Word, Academia Aesthetic , & Resonant Realities , aptly and conveniently represent the central theme of the Middles/ Essays.
The Collection is rightly dedicated by the writer to her husband and son , who occupy centre stage in a happily married woman’s life. The first section Kith & Kin covers, the less talked about role of a father, gift of motherhood, the essence of a place called home,nicknames, friends & friendship and fond remembrance of a departed relation and of a colleague.
The second section Myriad Musings, that happens to be the biggest one contains thirty one beautiful pieces about drawing sketches on the note book in the class, mangoes, scooter rides, New Year, Chrismas Cheers, Karva Chauth etc. etc.
The third section Woman’s Word , or is it Woman’s World discusses topics like Jewellery, Agony Aunt’s Advice, Women’s Day, Female Sisterhood and Solidarity . Unnnao Rape etc.etc.
The section Academia Aesthetic is about the writer’s experiences as a teacher in the Classroom and otherwise with a beautiful write up on the late V.S.Naipaul, the Nobel Laureate.
Lastly in the section Resonant Realities , the writer keeps a tab on the times , discussing social issues, Pandemic- both blues and disguised blessings-, parental understanding of teenaged daughters, Fashion, Fusion Food etc. etc.
A foreword by Lily Swarn, an internationally acclaimed poet and author, with views from some other known personalities from the field of Journalism , Police Service & Administration and Authors as also the Acknowledgements form an integral part of the Book. The writer has been generous enough to add views from some of her admiring readers.
The Middles/ Essays have been written during a period of roughly three calendar years with entries as late as November, 2020. The Pandemic period has been beautifully covered bringing out various aspects. A Court Judgement on an important issue also finds mention in one of the write-ups .
The writer has impeccable command of language and idiom, with not a word superfluous or falling out of place . She is well read as being able to quote from a host of authors.
All the Eighty One pieces are a pure delight . Unlike fiction , it is not a one time indulgence as one would like to read the nuggets again and again .
Wish more power to her pen to come up with many more such ventures !!