Weightless, Woven Words ( Book Review ) – Umar Siddiqui

Life is nothing more than an emotional roller coaster ride. This journey is designed by the Almighty in a magical way that human beings weave in their own way and perceive according to their own terms and understanding. The writer of the book, Mr. Umar Siddiqui, has very beautifully penned this wonderful journey called life through the lens of the varied perceptions and emotions that human beings experience in every phase of life. Mr. Siddiqui reflects on the fact that to understand life, an open-ended approach is needed. It is only through an open-ended approach that the various facets of life can be known; they cannot be defined or structured in a particular form. It is just free-floating for the human mind to grasp and perceive. The term “weightless” in the title of the book might be a signifier of this.

Weightless, Woven Words

The book has been divided into seven themes, each describing human emotions, both good and bad, that each and every individual faces in life. All seven themes invoke a spirit of inspiration among the readers, as Mr. Siddiqui has appealingly professed the art of embracing life the way it is. The positive emotions ought to be appreciated, and the negative emotions ought to be analyzed and worked on. The readers are convinced that the bumpy journey of life is imminent, with achievements and failures, happiness and sorrow, being an integral part of it. The sheer optimism that this book radiates through the compilation of various poems is what keeps the readers engaged throughout.

Umar Siddiqui starts the book with the negatively connotated theme of “desperation.” However, it is noteworthy that nowhere in the poems under the theme does he complain about the feeling of despair; rather, he acknowledges this inevitable sentiment and embraces life in its presence. The poems under this theme can be very well related to the lives of people in the current times, as the poet has touched upon the areas that almost everyone has battled with. Right from the poem ‘Aimless Wanderer” to ‘Hands of Time’ and finally ‘Sinking Ship’ , the poet has beautifully portrayed the ups and downs of life. He admits his anxious and hopeless attitude, his perplexed state of mind, and his fear of being played by his known people. These are the feelings that people battle almost on a daily basis today. Those seeking answers to these questions can get a solution from the poems when the poet writes that he always smiles at the negativity around him and stands by himself to protect his sanity. Changing times is another issue people fail to cope with. The poet is too open about the void he feels when he finds everyone around him occupied with many things. The poet is well aware of the multiple masks worn by his acquaintances, who happen to be someone but pretend to be someone else. This is a major problem seen among people these days due to the fact that bonds have weakened and people have started to feel lonely. But the poet has slowly learned the art of self-adequacy, and now he stops entertaining people with tainted intentions. However, he constantly questions the incomprehensible dilemmas that life throws at him but his optimistic mindset feeds him the fact that it is just a matter of time. This can bring a great assurance to many readers who often find themselves pressed for time. Umar Siddiqui brings an interesting element of Disney to attract the attention of the readers while he pens down various life lessons like how love triumphs over hatred, how human beings do not acknowledge what they have in life, how to be brave and not fear, how to be an inspiring figure to someone by relating to the nature of Disney characters like Gaston, Belle, Ariel, Prince John, Gurgi and a few more.  The poet pens down his realization that nobody can run away from destiny, and the only way to deal with this inevitability is to accept what life has to offer with a composed mind. In the last poem under the theme of desperation, ‘Sinking Ship,” the poet touches upon the issue of a vulnerable state of mind, and the solution that he has to offer to the readers is that ‘moving on’ is the best option.

Umar Siddiqui points out how human beings are persuaded to stay in a blemished world when he unveils his second theme, which he titles “The Human Condition.” Here, the poet’s mentions about the mindsets and scenarios of people that he has observed with change in time. He talks about an unstable state of mind that human beings develop, which makes people prone to provocation. This feeling couldn’t be controlled as it is a normal human tendency. Nobody could be spared  from instability, and to conceal it from the world, one puts on the mask of pretense. Umar Siddiqui shares with the readers the mantra to lead a good life when he gives a picture of his extroverted nature as he writes, “I am your friendly open book” and contrasts his nature with that of the famous Disney villain Captain Hook, who uses vile tactics to fool people for a crystallized differentiation. He also brings in  fictional characters like Alice and Nemo, who were portrayed as adventurous characters, to make people realize that life could be understood through a multifaceted approach. The poet once again brings the idea of an unstable and inquisitive mind when he addresses the  bitter experience of regret. The poet assures us that with growing age and time, we realize what should be done and what shouldn’t, and it is just a part of life. If we are applauded for some deeds, we are also called out for others, and we should understand that life oscillates between these. Umar Siddiqui calls life an inspiring journey where inspiration can come from anywhere. For instance, he writes that he draws inspiration from the Disney character Tianna to make life achievements. The poet also reflects on the human feeling of love when he is seen anticipating the arrival of a perfect partner who would ease the difficulty of life. He also immediately brings a contradictory sentiment of materialism  after reflecting on love. He sees life as an unsolved riddle where human beings live in with both positivity and negativity. Also, Umar Siddiqui brings to light how individuals keep their sanity by following their inner voice, but at  the cost of others. This is clearly a picture of a materialistic present as well as future where human relationships has merely transformed into digital form. On this, every reader would agree that losing social touch isn’t an experience of only a handful. The poet highlights how the world has forgot to respect someone else’s point of view and gets offended when the opinion of others doesn’t fit their own box. Umar Siddiqui shows disheartenment when he realize that the world has no room for learning and the world has turned fatal due to the selfish nature of human beings.

Umar Siddiqui brought to his readers the theme of unanswered or unreciprocated love and attachment, which he titled “Human Connection and Communication’. This theme clearly points out the string of attachments between people who share a special kind of bond. Each and every one of us desires to be loved and expects that the person to whom we show our love will reciprocate it. But when we do not get back the same amount of love, we start to feel a void in our hearts. This emotion is beautifully portrayed by Umar Siddiqui when he shares his experience of the dilemma of reciprocating love as he finds it difficult to understand what the actions of the other person to whom he is so attached to signify. Bewildered by the ignorant and vile actions of his loved one, the poet expresses his despondency. The poet wishes wholeheartedly to give a name to the attachment he has with the person he loves, but his mind is engulfed with many questions as he asks,’ Are we friends ‘, ‘ Are we lovers ‘, ‘Who are we?’ These questions make him anxious and insecured as the poet believes in spreading love and living life fearlessly. The poet finds it difficult to move on as he feels that a piece of his loved one is still with him. He equates both of them to the  pieces of  a jigsaw puzzle that fits perfectly well when they both meet. The poet confesses his stressful state of mind when he pleads his loved one to stay in his life. He is in a loss of words to make his pleadings convincing enough. However, the poet is nowhere seen to dominate his wishes over the other person, as he believes in respecting the decisions of others. This is evident when he writes, ‘ But I cannot control your wishes to leave’. Umar Siddiqui very delicately touches upon the feeling of anguish when one is left alone in a hypercritical world, making one feel worthless. To vent out this feeling, the poet uses words like ‘yelling’, ‘ maniac’ and ‘frenzied.” But the poet, being an optimist, embraces this feeling maturely when he mentions how he unapologetically lives on his own terms. This presents a spark of hope to those who stick to unfortunate incidents in life and cannot get out of the trap of despair when the poet writes, “ I disembarked from your dooming ship, I have boarded my own triumphant trip.”

The poet very tactfully highlights the greedy nature of human beings, which often gets reflected in one’s life experience. We always want good and great things in life, irrespective of its access. Nobody wishes to settle for less. Umar Siddiqui brings to light this greedy nature of human beings when he questions the authenticity of our dreams. He tries not to pay attention to unfeasible dreams for the unmatchable path he chooses. Also, he mentions about the transient nature of dreams which he believes to be a mirror of the thoughts we process and feels that dreams are shaped by the society because our thinking is to a large extent moulded by societal expectations.  Besides transient dreams, the poet has made his readers aware that human relationships are equally transient. He shows how a bond we take pride in can be momentary when he writes about friends who left him with big life lessons. The toxicity that his friends spread in his life gave him a soul searching experience, and once he freed himself from such friends, he could see the negativity around him vanish. This is not an alien experience for any of us because in our life so far, we have lost friends whom we thought to be  our ‘forever’. Losing close friends is never a good experience as it comes with a lot of pain. But Umar Siddiqui has always believed in embracing life in every form and is keen on  preaching  love and justice, which bring all the good things in life unlike hate that ruins us. He inspires his readers to remain positive no matter how hard life gets and take responsibility of all the chaos that comes in life. Umar Siddiqui advices us to buckle ourselves up even at the worst circumstances as life is definitely not easy but a positive approach to life can ease a bumpy journey. He motivates people to keep fighting with the negative thoughts and advice people to stay alert to never fall prey to it. Human beings always have this tendency of giving power to negative thoughts but we should never entertain it. Despite all obstacles, we should push ourselves to stand still and work on our beliefs and try to bring it to life. Our will should be so strong that the world sees what we are capable of.

The way we perceive life is a crucial element that shapes our journey in this world. Perception is nothing more than a matter of time. For instance, as children, our idea of life was different, and as we grow up, our demands and expectations from life change. This will continue till our deaths. We are puppets of time as we live with it, wait for it, run for it, Our mindsets change with it and even our destiny depends on it. Time constantly reminds us of who we are and what our purpose is. Some times it makes us feel good, and some times it makes us feel miserable. The poet highlights these feelings in human beings by equating it with colours. Umar Siddiqui brings in the idea of colour in an abstract way. We often hear people say, “Add colours to your life” which means: do things that make you happy. Like vibrant colour excites our eyes, pastel colours soothes our soul, We need to identify what makes us happy, what makes us feel calm.  Our worth is another aspect of our perception of life. When we realize our own worth, our idea of life changes. It is extremely necessary to place ourselves in a high place in our own eyes to make our lives worthy. The poet admits that life is never rosy and that it is accompanied by negative emotions. Fear is a common emotion everyone faces. Umar Siddiqui writes how scared he gets sometimes over unknown and unseen things that make his body numb. But he confronts his fear bravely with a smile and inspires his readers to do the same. The poet has turned all his negative experiences into so much positivity that now he only focuses on happiness and reaches out to joyful things. Umar Siddiqui further brings attention to the current trends in fashion and how people who thrive on them define life. Some people live on brands and consider that being able to afford luxury is the ultimate goal of life. This is undoubtedly an important area to have a discussion about. We can see luxury stores being flooded with people, and they are paying hefty prices for commodities without giving it a second thought. This is the lifestyle people have created, and luxury is their perception of life. He highlights the fact that we shape ourselves as per the demands of society. People have become so engulfed in this trap that they believe that not being able to afford such a lifestyle is a disgrace to life.

Umar Siddiqui brings to light the notion of identity. He introspects to get an idea of himself. He wants to peep through himself to see what he knows, what he fears, where he stands in his own life. He fears the element of uncertainty in life that constantly makes him question where he stands, making him anxious. He confess that he might act in a carefree manner to the situations life throws but in reality it tears him apart. However, the poet is so in love with himself that he cannot afford to lose himself in the journey of life, which is why he only looks for self-efficacy. Umar Siddiqui accepts all the emotions that come his way, be it rejection, vulnerability, insecurity, or anxiety, because he believes that embracing life the way it is, is an art of living. This is a very important life lesson we get from him because, in the era we live in, life has become quite unsteady. The road to our goal is not easy, and  on the way we come across multiple obstacles, and without proper motivation, there is a high possibility of us giving up. Umar Siddiqui believes that we cannot hold something for a long time if it is not meant for us. “Go with the flow” is what he believes him. The poet also normalizes tempting for superlative things or being materialistic as a normal human tendency, but as soon as one realize the limits, ways should be mended. Further, the poet beautifully depicts a debate that goes on between one’s head and heart, where the head goes with reason and the heart with emotion. This is almost a daily experience when we fall in a dilemma of taking a decision or choosing an option. We visualize consequences of our decisions and listen to either our head or heart. The poet expresses exhaust at the constant debate and is aware that he cannot let this take over his peace of mind. He makes himself accustomed to the idea of letting it go as there’s no gain crying for the past. Everything in the world is temporary and so is time. No matter what, there is always a hope for a better tomorrow, and this is how we have to move forward. Umar Siddiqui also makes it clear that self appreciation is needed in life to boost ourselves and recognize that we have come a long way but at the same time we need to keep our ego in control. Taking pride in oneself isn’t harmful, but pride shouldn’t be so great that it becomes the sole reason for our doom. The poet appreciates authenticity and asks people to be a little considerate when dealing with people. We do not own the world, we just live in it. What we do to the world, it gives it back to us in several ways just like a boomerang. The world is a witness to our deeds, and we will face consequences for our doings.

The poet towards the end of the book deals with the question of unknown thoughts our mind bears posing questions about its validation. He reflects upon the uncertainties in life but at the same time believes that life is beyond this – beyond all difficulties, instability, insecurity. We cannot let our insecurities overpower us and if we let it do so, life will be difficult. The world is a big place and to survive here, only we need to fight for ourselves and we cannot burden this expectation on someone else. To make our life worthy, we need to work on ourselves sincerely and must inculcate self worth. In our life, we meet many people and each of them has their own story. We might find solace in some and distress in others, but Umar Siddiqui states that we have a string attached to everyone we come across in life. We cannot lead a perfect life because “To err is human”. We will make mistakes, take wrong decisions, have faulty beliefs, pick up a wrong life approach, have a blurred life goal, have confused means to meet ends but our life need not be perfect, it has to be meaningful. We can only give meaning to our life when we stay focussed on our life goal and keep our mindsets open without paying heed to shallow thoughts.

This magnificent book titled ‘Weightless, Woven Words’ written by Umar Siddiqui, is a mirror to the soul. This book can be an eye-opener to those struggling with life and lacking inspiration. Umar Siddiqui in a fascinating way teach us how to look at life – at its beauties and complexities. He convinces his readers that a simpler life is better. To maintain our sanity, we must carry the lessons of our lives with us. Umar Siddiqui reflects on the fact that, at the end of the day, it is always us. We confront ourselves every day, and there are no ways we can lie to ourselves. Life is beautiful when we understand it and embrace it with appreciation.

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I am Monsoon Rupam. I did my post graduation in Sociology from Dibrugarh University. I have a curious mind and it always excites me to find 'sociology' in everything around me. I am a keen observer and take interest in research work and analysis. Gender Studies, Social Stratification, Health are a few areas that holds my attention to work upon. Besides, I find solace in music, moon gazing, sunsets, rain and flowers.