A poetry collection may be long or short, it is the poems actually that decide the appeal and potential of an author. The same holds true for Manuja’s collection of poetry, “मन इक पंछी” which is a collection of 15 poems. The poems may be less but they are appropriate to demonstrate the potential of the poet clearly.
The cover of the poetry collection shows abstract art with ink smeared all over. That is pretty much how an artist’s mind works. This is clearly visible on observing the diverse range of subjects the poet explores in her poetry. The poet seems to be pouring out her heart in every poem she writes. She writes from her heart and the collection is all about the things she sees, feels and observes. Every poem in its own way is distinct and different and also in terms of content makes the collection more diverse and colourful. This altogether adds to the appropriateness of the cover picture.
She does not write about human beings in general. Rather about their emotions and does not restrict herself to the love angle. The poems may be short but her thought is clear and the reader enjoys every poem despite their subjects being abstract, inanimate and intangible. After reading all poems, the reader can conclude that the poet has the ability to give words to every situation, every emotion and every little or big thing. This is apparent on reading poems like, “ज़मीर”, “महक”, “उम्मीद”, “व्रत”. In all these poems, the things she writes about are abstract and generally no one gives attention to them. There may be poems on soul but not on conscience. Smell may have been described but not in a personified form. There are poems on hope but in an inspiring manner. But not as a direct address to hope as if it were a living thing and describing its power too. Likewise, fasting is not something that has received much attention in poetry. But Manuja not only writes about fasting but also describes the experience while fasting beautifully. The poet not only describes these subjects but also treats them like actually existing. Writing on such abstract subjects is not easy but the poet does it almost single- handedly.
Some poems are written in such a manner that they seem like the poet is addressing herself or the reader would address himself/herself while reading them. Poems like “वेदना” and “तू है” the feature is visible.
The poet puts life into everyday routine things like in “स्वेटर” where she talks about a simple sweater but since it is knitted by a mother so it also carries the love the mother has knitted while knitting the wool. In a poem like “मिट्टी” the fact is clear that it’s about soil. But the real beauty is in reading the poem and finding how the poet connects it to the existence of human beings and the fact that they are all made of the same soil, irrespective of religion. Another poem, “बैंच” is about a simple bench but the perspective of a bench is presented to the reader. One can only guess how fertile the imagination of the poet is.
Perhaps the most beautiful poem in the collection is the title poem, “मन का पंछी” wherein the poet talks about the freedom of a heart. It does not have any boundaries, borders or restrictions and is as free as a bird to fly off anywhere and come back when it wants.
The poems can be read by all age groups but due to the abstract nature of poems, they are likely to appeal more to the adult age group.