Being the daughter of Punjabi satirist Gurnam Singh Tir, Harmohan Brar— better known as Bubbu Tir in literary circles —has a way with words. As she puts it, “poetry comes naturally to me.”
Bubbu is out with her second book of poetry Guache Vark (Lost Pages) that was released by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh, on Saturday. This is her third book — the other two being Surmai Shaam (Pleasant Evening), her first book of poetry that was published in 2001, and Ik Baat Main Paavaan (I Shall Tell a Story), a book of short stories that was out in 2009.
Her latest work deals with human relationships providing cushion to people’s constant quest for seeking emotional support. For Bubbu, poetry is catharsis for the human mind. No wonder her poems touch the sublimation of pain, delving into socio-economic problems of Punjab. “I make an attempt to be honest with kalam,” she writes in the preface. Ask her to describe herself, and she turns to, what else, poetry. “Kinne hi registaan aapni hond ch jazab kar, eh samundar jehi shakhshiyat, duniya di nazar kiti hai.” (After absorbing the harshness of many deserts, I present to the world my ocean-deep personality.)
Her relationship with kalam is not new. Her first poem was published in 1982. That was in English, but as it is said, that you can take a Punjabi out of Punjab, but not Punjab out of a Punjabi. Bubbu was no different. Though she was born and brought up in Chandigarh, studied in a convent school and, hence, never pursued Punjabi language academically, Bubbu was rooted in her culture and took to writing in Punjabi. “Fate has ordained every individual’s field of work. Mine has been poetry; actually it’s been my true calling,” she says.
It so happened that her father brought a diary for her to make notes from newspapers to prepare for IAS examination. But her father’s dream made way for Bubbu’s creative skill. She wrote poems in the diary, and when her father saw them, he remarked that Bubbu was infected with ‘germs of poetry’ and was ‘beyond treatment’. There has been no looking since.