3 reasons to read Private Promises by Janek De Silva

By Kayla Collett

Private Promises is an anthology of poems written over the span of two years, detailing passionate and intense thoughts and emotions that cover a wide range of topics from marine pollution to societal inequality.

Written by Janek de Silva, under the guidance of his English teacher Mahum Kidwai and edited by Prof. Arjuna Parakrama, this book is not only a motivational read, but also serves as a mature reflection of the world we live in today.

Here are three reasons why you should read Private Promises.

1. All proceeds go to charity

Founder of Ocean Intact, an organisation dedicated to raising awareness about ocean pollution, Janek de Silva also intends on donating all profits earned from this book to a wildlife conservation fund “both to fulfil a promise (he) made to (himself) and to support the protection of nature – (his) passion”.

Not only is this book an insightful read, but you’d also be donating towards supporting a worthy cause!

2. To support local artists

Often times, we take for granted the pure talent and creativity displayed by our local artists.

Private Promises sheds light on the harshness of the country we live in, depicting its flawed beauty.

While de Silva’s poetry anthology can be interpreted to have universal meaning, his poems are also a reflection of his personal experiences in Sri Lanka.

“For the poem Struggle, I took inspiration from a project I conducted in Maha Wilachchiya, a small town north of Anuradhapura.

They have almost no water and the breadwinners walk kilometres in the sun to fetch water.

It really pained me to see such suffering while Colombo is so privileged,” he said.

3. It is relatable and inspirational – no matter how old you are

De Silva says: “This book is not meant to force a change in your opinions in any way. It is meant to help you understand what you’re experiencing in your day-to-day life and perhaps give a little clarity to your thoughts.

It’s a little book of thoughts…Both universal and unique.”

A perfect example to encapsulate this book’s relatability lies within the last two lines of Blue Barnacles:

“Let the ocean within you guide your actions, the good tides are on their way”

All in all, this book is an amazing, inspirational read. Only 18 years old, de Silva has managed to create a beautiful anthology of vivid descriptions and thoughts while maintaining his consistent contribution to society by raising awareness about prevalent issues within our country.

The book can be purchased at Chapters book store (47, Joseph Lane, Colombo 4) for Rs. 1,200 only.

Trust me when I say – you won’t regret this purchase in the slightest!