DIORAMA 2022 presents

Ad Altiora Nitimur


Ad Altiora Nitimur is a book of eighty poems written in free verse, which appear under four broad themes: Partly Esoteric; Worldly Matters, Politico-legal; Social Bytes; Obiter Dicta The Latin title of the book is drawn from the motto of the coat-of-arms of the royal estate of Kurupam, and roughly translates to: We Seek A Greater Power/Authority. The titles of the poems often point toward the subject-matter, and this is sometimes fine-tuned when read in conjunction with the thematic categories. The Partly Esoteric theme, for instance, is replete with titles that have a visual as well as philosophical allure: Spring Equinox 2015: Fort Kurupam and Many Worlds (Mystical); Dasara Musings; Specimens of Synchronicity, to mention a few. In this section, there are observations made, descriptions rendered, or an idea introduced, with one or two key thoughts or narratives running through the multi-layered writing. Most of the poems of this section are set at a leisurely, other-worldly pace. In the Worldly Matters, Politico-legal section, the verses skim blithely through poetry that makes fleeting comments on elements of parliamentary and other legal activity that revolve around India and Indian politics, based on the poet’s experience. A few cutting-edge concerns, delivered from the stance of a specialist busking bard. Titles of individual poems range from Roll Out the Shutdown; (written well before the Covid shut-downs, incidentally), Network Earth and Beyond; Non-conventional Energy (2007), written fifteen years ago, to mark a decade of the poet having been a lawyer, and which uses a set of Latin legal terms which simultaneously evoke (Madonna-inspired) litanies, are exquisite lessons in legal empowerment, and harbour a tongue-in-cheek humour that does not hesitate to hold one’s self up as an occasional part-clown. The section categorized as Social Bytes treats the reader to multi-sensory experiences from the poet’s many lived avataars: A Lutyen’s Delhi dweller, a forest-dweller of the Eastern Ghaats; A traveler to places, a lover of Nature, and of People, a thinker of thoughts, and a sayer of things. This section reflects myriad moods and memories that span across the ultra-urbane and rustic-rural. Titles such as April’s Frills OR An Interlude; Once Upon a Watering-hole on World Water Day; Agog: The Week; The Village Rises; Weaver’s Street ‘08007: Odds and Ends; Cricket Today all swill galaxies of these poetic communiques. The section themed Obiter Dicta (once again, a Latin legal term), is an eclectic hamper of thought-goodies which appeal to the subconscious mind while casting tiffany-glass prisms through poems such as Heat Wave; Dappled; Off-shore; Oft’ Beaten Path; Applique; Borra Caves. While there exists an over-arching time, place and intellectual dome for the writings, each poem is a stand-alone work, and may equally be perceived beyond the categorizations that the book creates.

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Title: Ad Altiora Nitimur

Author Bio: V. Shruti Devi is an established Indian politician belonging to the Indian National Congress party, and an Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. Shruti is multi-talented, and her interests and achievements range from having authored books such as Earth Republic: Chatter from the Capital’s Cauldron (and Beyond); Deep Wood Trance; Ad Altiora Nitimur, to free-lance writing in a the popular media and journals, including having edited an official newsletter for three years, to being a voiceover artist, an actor in a docudrama, a presenter on a short tele-series, a theatre artist, to rifle shooting and table tennis. She also dabbles in art, folk dance (Dhimsa), and social media, but has not made concerted efforts to publicize her creative works or blogs and youtube channel so far. Shruti Devi’s super-specialization is in the field of Environmental Law. Her special concerns revolve around Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. Shruti holds an LL.B. degree from Delhi University, a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, a Diploma in Environmental Law from the Centre for Environmental Law, WWF-India, and was the India Visiting Environmental Law Fellow to California, USA, in 1998. Her schooling was in Mater Dei School, New Delhi. She is also a tarot reader, an ardent musician, plays the guitar, and is the Princess of Kurupam (an erstwhile royal estate on the sub-continent). Languages known: English, Hindi, Telugu, Oriya.

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