He talks to her garlanded photograph everyday and listens to sad songs of Indian playback singers like Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar as a form of catharsis. People might think that Dr. Venkatesh Govindarajan has lost the love of his life, his beloved wife, Varshita. Little do they know that she is still very much alive in his heart and soul. She is alive in his words that come profoundly from the bottom of his heart. Varshita, who died earlier in January this year still remains to dwell in the loving heart of her husband. Not much later, he wrote a book of 25 poems, all of them as a heartfelt tribute to her. Dr. Venkatesh hasn’t only titled the book after his wife, but has modestly called all of the poems his children. His book “Varshita - A Tribute to My Soulmate” must have been written as a loving tribute to his wife but it is surely teaching all the readers what an eternal love must look like. Varshita might not have dwelled on this earth for a long time but she will surely reside in the hearts and minds, the thoughts and actions of her loved ones till the end of time. This work of mine is not only a review of Dr. Venkatesh’s book of tribute to his wife, but also a humble condolence to him and everyone who is affected by Varshita’s sad demise.
Dr. Venkatesh starts off his poetry book with a very thoughtful verse by Anton Chekhov from his famous work ‘The Cherry Orchard’:
“Perhaps man has a hundred senses, and when he dies only the five senses
that we know perish with him, and the other ninety-five remain alive.”
Dr Venkatesh mentions that Chekhov was Varshita’s favourite writer. I personally feel that the use of these lines of Chekhov to begin a tribute for his wife, was not only a wise choice but also extremely thoughtful. This little act of thoughtfulness makes us aware of how considerate Venkatesh must have been of Varshita. Varshita must have been the sword while battling the metastatic breast cancer while her husband was her shield throughout the time, protecting her from all the possible calamities. Even though she isn’t physically present to comfort and care for Venkatesh, he believes that they will always be present in each other’s hearts. His first poem, “I am always with you”, is proof to this belief. While the first poem is a belief, the second poem in the book is a wish. Venkatesh wishes and hopes that his wife is watching him from her heavenly abode. Most of his poems are hopes that have beautifully been moulded into poems. Hope is what makes a person survive the cruelty and injustice of this world. Although Dr Venkatesh questions and challenges the divine dispensation, his inner self hopes that he would reunite with his loving wife someday. Their love story might have been left incomplete but their love is what completed them both. And just as Ralph Waldo Emerson aptly says, “It is not the length of life, but the depth of life”. Varshita and Venkatesh gave more meaning to the writer’s thoughts. The length of their love life might not have been enough, but Venkatesh’s poetry tribute to his wife is a living proof of how deep their love is.
Friends and well-wishers have paid their respect and condolences for Dr. Venkatesh’s loss through their words, most of which have been highlighted in this book. This book by Dr. Venkatesh is not merely a work of art. He has made Varshita live through this book.
Banksy had rightly asserted, “they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time”. Through this book, the poet has made his wife immortal. He has captured all her liveliness, zeal and enthusiasm that she had towards life. He has captured most of the loving moments that they both had cherished together. In this book, Venkatesh has poured his love for his dear wife. This work of art is not merely a book. It is an honour that the writer has given to his wife. It is a prayer. It is a hope. It is a wish. It is love. A love so pure that every being desires it.
I might have not known Varshita personally but after reading this book, I feel so close to her. I regretted not knowing her while she lived on this earth. According to what Venkatesh describes her in his book, she must have been a fun-loving, cheerful and a loving human. Even though they both did not have any children of their own, Varshita was a mother to many. Motherhood does not arrive just by giving birth to children. Motherhood is a way of life. Caring for a child and loving them like they are your own is also motherhood. Being or not being a mother can sometimes be a choice, but motherhood comes naturally to some people. Varshita was a natural mother. She has supported many little girls with many kinds of endowments which still exist in Sweden, Norway and India. ‘Varshita Venkatesh Girls’ Education Fund’ is one such source through which Varshita has tried to embrace and secure the lives and careers of many young girls.
This poetry book is a must read for everyone who is either in love or desires to fall in love someday. The verses of most of the poems in this book will make you relate. Some of them also have the potential to well up your eyes and fill your heart with hope and longing.
Title: Varshita: A Tribute to My Soulmate
Author: G Venkatesh
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services