Gods’ Puppets

– Shana Susan Ninan

Review of A Sinner Says; Sanjiv Bhatla; Crabwise Press 2010; Rs 150; pp 71

Poet, editor and freelance writer Sanjiv Bhatla’s A Sinner Says is a gripping and insightful, three-part ‘long poem’. With the difficulty that comes with deciphering poems, I had to read it twice to get anywhere near the meaning. I found the ideas of the poem disconnected and far flung from each other, creating in my mind a sense of ‘I’m-sure-the-author-thought-something-else!’ The second read brought out the links and the meaning. Various parts I thought wouldn’t fit into the whole poem as such suddenly began to turn up in my mind as concrete ideas and thoughts. A reflection of the original ideas.

A Sinner Says is a conversation – mostly one-way and in the form of questions and grumblings – from a man to mankind, a man to his Self and, sometimes, rhetorical questions, too. The speaker addresses his thoughts and pleas to, and shares his wisdom with a ‘bhikshu’. The speaker does not actually treat God with the usual air of a religious or devout person, but with the near hate and anger of a man fooled by God.

The Real God willed Man to Plan to Possess, which led to him fighting with his fellow beings, even before there was a language or a handshake to show compassion among themselves. Bhatla says that the Real God showers Man and his life with fear, tact and hunger and just about everything else miserable. And in the process of trying to live through it all, Man ‘creates’ the Benign God as a sanctuary.

Ego and Desires run the society, but different helpings of Self, Mind and the World Around create, change and move the concept of Harmony in society. One needs to accept the ego without suppressing it. The acceptance leads to peace and liberation. Even Nirvana is a ‘new ostrich syndrome’ that only merely takes Man’s fear and focus away from Death.

Bhatla writes with a flair that makes you wanna go back to a certain page or paragraph and re-read something for its beauty. The ideas are expressed in terse, compressed lines, packed with emotion. You’ll find that there are words in the middle of the line in caps that we usually do not capitalise. But the author achieves success here by making the reader focus on them.

What I thoroughly enjoyed is that there are no repetitions of words. Contrasting words and scenarios leave us aptly pondering. Ideas are corrugated with examples and real life anecdotes we might find everyday around us.

The poem ends thus:

Two rogues share the booty

Down a long, Sunday corridor.

It’s mockery, all the way.

I feel that the author makes his final thought pointed and precise: the rogues – the Real God and the Benign God – find pleasure in the games they play with Man. It’s certainly mockery, all the bloody way.

-> Crabwise Press is a new publishing venture, and A Sinner Says is their first book. You can contact them at info@crabwisepress.in.

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Rating: 7.0/10 (4 votes cast)
Gods’ Puppets, 7.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 2:33 pm and is filed under Poetry, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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