‘The Unbridled Romance of Love and Pain’ by Safinah Danish Elahi is a book of poetry. Safinah D Elahi tells the reader ‘how she fell in love with words at a young age’.
“An aspiring lawyer, an educator, a fitness enthusiast, a passionate traveler, a writer, and poet Safinah learns to explore the depths of emotion in the process of not just surviving but living in beauty and joy of what the universe has to offer.”
In her poetry, she talks about a young girl who has to ‘unlearn everything’ that she had learned. The world had ‘changed’. The boundaries and limits ‘altered’.
The girl is the daughter of a husband and wife, and is caught in a web of differing identities. She is responsible for disintegrating the relationship between her parents.
The poet talks of how the husband yearns to tell his wife how much he loves her. She confesses she is not beautiful like the other woman. But to him, she is perfect even with her ‘stretch marks and love handles’.
The next chapter is ‘O darling let me plunge in love’.
‘You light up the room’
‘Like a hundred-watt bulb’
‘Without even being’
‘Connected to the socket’
It reflects the beauty of the relationship between the couple and despite her ‘displeasing demeanor’, who no one paid heed to, she was only ‘human’. She wanted to look beautiful sometimes too. But the fact that her husband loves her with all her flaws is enough for her.
In the next chapter titled ‘Oh darling raise your chin, tuck your purse, and off you go to conquer the world’, the daughter is at the center. It talks of how much the mother loves her. It pains to see the daughter hurt but she ignores it. The daughter has to learn to make her own decisions. She says:
‘I search for you in frowns and creases.
You’re not here anymore it hurts. …..I long for a pat on the back…..To feel loved…
To have someone follow me when I walk away
To be in someone’s thoughts….There is no one anymore’
The mother talks of why she leaves the daughter in distress because she would never learn the art of ‘repairing a broken heart’.
She is trapped and the pure motherly love will finally set her free. She was now free of all envy and guilt.
Safinah puts forward a simple question. ‘Happy girls are the prettiest so do I have to be happy or pretty?’ Safinah through the eyes of the daughter is questioning the standard set by society. Is being pretty the only criterion for being liked? Does beauty not lie in the heart of the beholder?
The next chapter is called ‘Don’t put out the fire burning in your soul, O Darling it’s about to be a little crazy’.
It is when all the mirrors cracked, and she finally thought of widening her knowledge, visiting places, trying new expeditions, reading, and studying the globe that she felt at peace. She finally got the courage to accept failures and face the challenges of life. She became determined and focused. And this is what the poem is advocating. Love with knowledge is the criterion to success and bravery.
In the last chapter titled ‘Oh, Darling there is no such thing as a safe risk. You may have to expose, your heart to lengths unimaginable’. It talks of how the daughter makes the mistake of falling into temptation again. She says:
‘It’s dangerous I might fall again.’
However, she emerges successful.
‘I fell in love with myself when I stopped trying to fix my reflection.’
She finally learned to love herself as she stopped looking in the mirror. She reconciled all identities and became one whole.
The poem ends here. The message it conveys is beautiful. It made me cry. I would like to pay a tribute to Safinah for coming up with a heart-wrenching piece of poetry. Indeed, a true portrayal of feelings and emotions.