Review of The Gypsy Trail...Travels and Travails of an Army Wife penned by Lily Swarn
Just close your eyes and let author Lily Swarn hold your hand and take you to the world of Mili. The protagonist of her fiction book, “The Gypsy Trail...Travels and Travails of an Army Wife”.
Lily Swarn who is a multilingual poet, author, columnist and a Reuel International Poetry Prize winner has brought forth her third book in the form of fiction this time that portrays her life journey as an Army man’s wife depicted through Mili. She has expressed the abiding love towards the olive green colour to which her heroine fell in love with from the time she was a teenager and made up her mind that she would marry an Army Officer when she is all grown up. And her heart’s desire did came true when a proposal of marriage came from a young Sikh Captain who was posted somewhere in the upper reaches of the snow-clad Himalayas.
Soon, after a short period of getting to know each other their marriage is fixed and our heroine Mili who had big dreamy eyes for an exciting and adventurous life altogether came face to face with the lows and highs of being an Army man’s wife. She has seen it all, from tiny tin made shelters which were not more than a cubicle wrapped in the lap of abundant snow where breathing becomes difficult for one, to those tea estates in the middle of which she had lived and even gave birth to her two children in the most extreme situations. But she is a brave heart and with a never say never kind of attitude towards life our dear Mili has experienced both the joyous as well as the hardships of an Army life. The pangs, the pathos, the hardship, the discipline, the incessant waits for her officer husband to return from the missions, yet among these she has an aura for which she easily got loved and liked by the wives of the other Senior Army Officers. She has that kind of élan and persona and being an educated woman she kept teaching Literature and language in myriad schools and colleges even after her marriage and small children. Later we also see her educating war widows and women and she is often associated with many good causes which makes her popular among the ‘All wives circle’ and also easily welcomed in all the places that she has gone to due to the rigorous posting tenure of her Army man.
Full of wit and candidness: The book I must say has made me smile altogether but there are some real witty and humorous episodes which will actually make you laugh and this book an enjoyable read. And I would like to share one such episode from the book that actually made me feel the same way. When our heroine Mili is posted in Alwar, one day she had a very sweet lady from Odisha visiting her. As the two of them were busy in some heart to heart sisterly talk, Mili’s household helper brings them dark cola served with ice. The lady very politely was taking small sips and every time she sipped that dark drink she was winking her eyes or contracting her facial muscles. Soon as Mili takes a sip out of that glass she realizes that it was pure vinegar but she couldn’t acquire the courage to tell her what the poor innocent lady has drank all that while. And this episode is just one to name in the queue of such witty episodes as there are few other that would give you a hearty laugh and you will come to know how an amazing writer Lily Swarn is. One moment she is expressing the places, its historical background and her struggles to adjust into a new place and suddenly a humorous episode makes the chapter an icing on the cake. The whole narration throughout the book is ardent, lucid with great imagery and attention grabbing elements at large.
Well Researched: Our heroine Mili being an Army man’s wife has visited myriad places as part of her husband’s postings. Now the most remarkable thing that I found in this book is that Lily didn’t start any chapter in a cold tone. In fact she has warmed them up by writing precisely about their historical backgrounds which has made the book not only an interesting read but also an enlightening one as I came to know many new and historical facts about the places mentioned in the book. This clearly reflects the hard work that the author has put into the making of this book but I must confess that while I had a word with her she told me that apart from her research work she has a heart and soul that absorbs the place’s vibes and for her every place, even a steep hill or a harsh desert, every tree or a flower has a tale to tell. Thus, this shows that though she has done an extensive research for presenting the correct facts about the places but truthfully she has shared her own patent experiences and memories through Mili.
A walk down the bygone lane: Nonetheless; this book will surely take you to that golden time which we have seen our parents coming from or merely have heard from them. But being a reader and writer both I have an observer’s soul and being a daughter of an Ex Air force Man, I have few memories of that 80’s era. But Lily Swarn actually held my hand and took me to that backdrop and while she was narrating her story through words, I was reading between the lines which means that she has that magical way of telling the tale that my whole mind drifted away with her and felt being there with Mili in all her life’s journey. And what more you can ask for when a writer actually teleport you into her own world. This book for me is sheer magic in all its essence.
A wanderer’s soul: Lily in her novel has told everything that a wanderer’s soul needs to know. She herself is an acute observer with a great zeal towards knowing about places, their specialities like in food, culture and even handicrafts. To many people’s wonder, apart from being a novel in itself this book can actually serve as a travel guide for myriad people who love to travel and explore places. She has precisely mentioned the bazaars, the famous food joints for which the cities are famous for including the folklore and legends associated with them, their heritage, handicrafts and popular garments that one can fetch. In short, besides being an intriguing novel this book has loads of information as well about the places mentioned in it.
A brave heart and an intelligent heroine: Lastly what touched my soul was the bravery that our protagonist has shown in this book. Right after her marriage she has seen the most extreme conditions of living. From the tiny shelters surrounded by heavy snow to tea estates where there was even the fear of wild animals, to the extreme hot weather of deserts of Rajasthan where she had to lay on the terrace at night-time to escape from the harshness of heat. But Mili is an intelligent woman and makes the most of every place by adapting well to the situations. She also enjoys gardening and it is clear from the many flowers name and varieties those are recorded in the book. In fact I would say it shows her love for flora and fauna both. And of course she is a brave woman as when in some places her Army Officer husband had to go for prolong urgent duty calls she had taken care of the children single-handed apart from the other million things a house runs on.
And the most heart wrenching truth of Mili’s life that unfolds in the end will make you see how a woman is stronger than a man and still her faith upon god is not shaken. She is the bravest heroine I have ever seen or come across so far in a fiction book.
Plethora’s Verdict: As the Chief Editor of Plethora Magazine my verdict about this book is, that it’s a must read for all the civilians of all age groups. It gives the most elegant peek not only into an Army man’s wife’s life but also reveals how this whole fraternity is in itself a home that refuges and safeguards not only the inmates of it but also our lives in general. Their disciplined lifestyle, their moments of enjoyments, their women and their heart to heart talks including their struggles this book is the most enjoyable and intriguing read I have read in so many days. It’s a book where you will feel that the author Lily Swarn has merge into the protagonist Mili and they both are one and the same person whereas Mili would stir your soul with her utmost honesty yet mesmerizing persona. In the end I would like to grace this book with a five star rating.
Lily Swarn is a multilingual Poet , author and Columnist , who has three books to her credit .Her first book
A Trellis of Ecstasy , which is a compilation of poetry was launched in Delhi in 2017 and was very well received. It was highly appreciated by the Chief Minister of Punjab ,Capt Amarinder Singh .
Lilies of the valley , her second book is a collection of essays . It was launched in India International Centre , New Delhi in 2018 and was received with love and rave reviews . Both these books got wide coverage by the print media .
The Gypsy Trail ,a novel about the life of an Army Wife was launched by His Excellency ,Governor of Punjab. Mr V P Singh Badnore in the Punjab Raj Bhawan on 10 th October ,2018.It has generated much interest .
1.Lily Swarn won the Reuel International Prize for Poetry 2016
2.She was recognised by the World Union Of Poets as Global Poet Encomium Of Peace and Universal Love.
3.World Institute Of Peace conferred the title of Global Icon of Peace on her in Nigeria .
4.Lily has been awarded the Virtuoso Award by Philosophique Poetica
5. She was conferred with the Elizabeth Barrett Browning International Award at India World Poetry Festival in recognition of her contribution for World Literature and Promotion of World Peace and for her Legendary contributions in the field of Literature and Poetry in 2017
6.Lily has been honoured with" An Icon "award by the city administration during the celebrations of 51 years of establishment of Chandigarh
7.International Diploma by Temirqazyq, the best writer of the world 2017.
8.Poetic Galaxy 2018 award by Literary Cosmos Society.
9.Sarojini Naidu Award for excellence in Poetic composition and recitation
10.Awarded Gold Double Cross award for the book ,Complexion Based Discriminations .
11.Lily was awarded the trophy for being Woman Of Substance
12.Title of Meritorious Poet and Author 2017 by Different Truths
13.The coveted "Frang Bardhi "International Poetry Contest awarded Lily with A Special Award for her exceptional work
14. Awarded Certificate OF Honour for delivering a disquisition on Metalanguage.
15. World Directory of Literature , History, Art and Culture presented a Certificate that endorses the inclusion of the illustrious Lily Swarn for her recognised merits in the literary and cultural field
16.World Icon ofLiterature , certificate of excellence
17.International Icon of Literature. Mewadev Laurel Award
Certificate of Appreciation by International Humanity Conference, GhanaInternational Forum for Creativity and Humanity ,Morocco,honoured Lily Swarn with a Certificate Of Thanks and Appreciation on International Women’s Day, for her constructive efforts in the revival of human cultural thought in all societies
1. She is member of various International organisations like the Hafrikan Prince Art World Ghana and Pentasi B World Friendship poetry . She is an administrator of the Regal World of Scribes and of Pentasi B world friendship poetry . Lily is Ambassador of Gurgaon Poetry Club .
1. ‘A Versatile Genius ‘ is the title she got in her school Carmel Convent, Chandigarh.
A post graduate in English from Panjab University she has taught in the prestigious Sacred Heart College , Dalhousie
2.A gold medalist for Best All Around Student from the Government College for Girls Chandigarh,
3.Lily has two University Colours from Panjab University -
One for Dramatics as 'Best actress ' and the other for excellence in Histrionics.
She was the editor of the college magazine and also wrote middles for newspapers!
She won accolades for recitation of self composed poetry too.
Poetry as passion blossomed after her young son's sudden demise in 2013. Her FB page in the memory of her late son Gobind Shahbaaz Singh has tremendous following
She writes with a poignant touch in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu .
Lily's poems can be read in numerous national and International anthologies .
Her poems have recently been translated into 13 languages like Italian , Spanish , Indonesian, Greek , German ,Urdu, Arabic , Tamil ,Bisayan Philippines and Kazakh language too. . Lily’s English poems were translated into by famous TV producer Ayub Khawar and were published in Lahore .
She is widely read in the internationally famous Atunispoetry.com ,Poem Kubili and The Garden of Poetry and Prose magazine .
Our Poetry Archive , monthly web journal included her work in the contemporary Poets of Asia edition .Her work has been recognised as explosive, outstanding and powerful by different poetry groups and they often turn their spotlight on it .
A featured poet in Pentasi B Friendship poetry ,she has been invited to attend their International poetry meets .Her poetry has also found a place in the e zine ,Incredible Women of India and in the Learning and Creativity Magazine .Lily's prose makes an appearance in the Australia based EZine ,The Mind Creative .Lily Swarn's column "History mystery of Food "was published each Wednesday in the international web magazine Different Truths .com. Her series "Cantonment Calling" in the same magazine won her exceptional readership world wide .
Lily has been a radio show host in North Carolina USA and anchored prominent stage shows both in the civil and army arenas due to her proficiency in English , Urdu ,Hindi and Punjabi .Frequently invited as a guest for her views on the 24hour multilingual radio broadcaster ,Sher e Punjab radio aired from Vancouver, Lily was recently interviewed by the Red River Radio "Tales from the pages "show in the United.States .
Married to an army veteran , she lives in Chandigarh,
You can find her writings in these
1.Contemporary major women poets of India
2.The Virtual Reality
3.Colours Of Refuge
A multilingual book whose proceeds go to refugees
4.Bouquet of verse
6.Roses and Rhymes
7..Revista Letrare ATUNIS
Poems translated into Italian
8.A Galaxy of Distinguished Poets and Emerging Contemporary Voices
9.Regular column for web magazine Different Truths read
all over the world
10.A Trellis of Ecstasy applauded by India Today and the Chief Minister Punjab
11.Lilies of the Valley , a book of essays highly appreciated by President of Writers International Network Canada
12.Symphony of Peace
14.Atunis Galaxy Anthology 2018. An anthology of contemporary world poetry
15.Complexion based discriminations
17.Pictorial poetry , Coffee table book
Palestine International anthologyAtunis Anthology 2019Muffled Moans
17. Lily was co host of the international Malay Artistic poetry and cultural festival in Singapore and was awarded for it .
.18.Invited to conference against Racial Discrimination in Mathura by Literati Council as speaker and was awarded Poetic Galaxy 2018 award .
19.Invited to Ghana for a peace conference in September as speaker and an awardee.
20. Invited as Guest of Honour at Indian Poetic Confluence ,Hyderabad . She was offered the Most Outstanding Poet of the World award .
21. Poet of the month for October 2018 in the international web journal , Our Poetry Archive.
22.Invited by Asian Literary Society as Guest of Honour.
23. The Gypsy Trail , Travels and Travails of an Army wife is a Novel recently released by the Governor of Punjab in the Raj Bhawan
24.Lily was invited to speak in the Clarion Call of the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh which was preceded by an audio visual of her writings .
25.She was moderator of a session with eminent writer Gurcharan Das in the Literati festival organised by the Chandigarh Literature Society .
26.Lily is invited to recite her Punjabi Nazms by the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi and by the Sahitya vigyan kendra ,
27. PUNJAB Kesari ran an interview with her on their channel recently.