Just like “मन इक पंछी”, Manuja’s “मुस्कराया करो” is a refreshing, light-hearted collection of 24 poems. Due to the diversity of her poems, it is difficult to place her in any particular category of poets. Her poems are sometimes dedicated to everyday life events or sometimes themed on regular ordinary people or sometimes she goes to nature and gives it humanistic traits and qualities thus using the poetic device of personification or sometimes she directly addresses nature as a living person. This reminds the reader of William Wordsworth and his poems like “Tintern Abbey”.
The collection may comprise of 24 poems but the aspects the poet explores are very wide and diverse. In this routine busy life, the poet beautifully manages to draw the attention of the reader to the things he/she consciously or unconsciously ignores and does not pay attention to.
The cover it the poetry collection is of flowers blossoming which implies being happy all the times which stands in exact support of the title “You should smile”. Her poems are all focused on making the reader smile and at times she even manages to make him/her laugh. One such poem of this kind which perhaps most readers will enjoy is “त्यौहार”. The poem may sound like simple string of words written in the form of poetry dedicated to one Indian festival or perhaps many, but very cleverly the poet connects the fact of salary day being the real festival in any person’s life who works and earns and tries to make everyone at his home happy by getting things and gifts for them. This fat is something which generally no one pays attention to. But it is the truth actually. A few of her poems like “मिटती”, “पत्थर”, “मन की पंछी” appear in her other poetry collection, “मन इक पंछी”. Including them in this collection is due to the universality of the themes of these poems.
“छोटू” is a remarkable poem which is likely to appeal to all age groups. The subject being about child labour brings out the sensitive side of the poet and the poetic style here is remarkable. Herein, the poet narrates all the things छोटू has to go through in his services as the breadwinner of his family which is the crux of the poem. This poem highlights the potential of the poet because of her closely observant eye and will at using her pen. Her poems like “कुछ पल” and “नानी” appear in the same volume of poetry and that brings two different sides of childhood together in contrast. The reader can himself differentiate and see how different destinies are for everyone.
The poet has written poems like “मिटती”, “धुल”, “बराबर” and “मन की पंछी” which are drawn directly from nature but she puts in efforts to show how nature is equal for all irrespective of caste, religion, nationality, gender or geography. She treats nature as a living being and tries to portray nature like a parent and everyone it’s children and just like for parents all children are equal, so is the case with nature.
A few other interesting poems include “खुशी” where she directly addresses and defines the temporary nature of happiness, “काल चक्र” wherein she talks about the nature of time and it’s changing on its own in an unstoppable manner. The title poem, “मुस्कराया करो” is one beautiful piece of writing where the poet tries poetically convey to the reader the importance of smile and how important it is to keep smiling. Some other poems include रंग”, “ख्वाब”, “पत्थर”,”मन” etc which may seem simple on reading the title but on reading the content one gets to explore a more deeper meaning.
The collection overall is an interesting read of subjects of different types. Since she explores both nature and human beings, the audience of the poems can not be limited to any particular age group. It’s worth reading for all who want some light-hearted content and want to keep smiling.