Haiku, With a Twist

Review of Haiku. My Friend; Sanjiv Bhatla; Crabwise Press; Rs 150 pp 99

– Shana Susan Ninan

Conforming is not a word that describes Sanjiv Bhatla’s works. We have seen in his books, A Sinner Says, Injustice and Mr. J Has Left Us how he portrays out-of-the-ordinary events and characters, often very different from mainstream ones. It’s always a pleasure to read his books. And, this particular one, Haiku, My Friend keeps us entertained. Although a short read, i found myself going back to certain haikus, days after I finished the book.

This 99-page book contains 133 haikus, chaptered under six parts. Sanjiv’s insight into everyday things and his ability to make the mundane seem extraordinary is delightfully notable. He has deviated from the original purpose of the haiku – one of the earliest forms of poetry, written in praise of nature, god, etc. – and created a wonderful set of poems, taking from life around him.

His words are visual and thought-provoking. Something as plain as a street lamp in a rain, Sanjiv evokes the feel and nature of rain in this one:

Rain falling gently.

Street lamp embedded in wet

leaves: morbid beauty.


Sanjiv captures the feeling of helplessness in his words:

Like a paper-boat

mid-stream, man with crutches felt

lonely on the stairs.


Three powerful lines to evoke memories:

You don’t really

grow old until you visit

old, childhood places.


And some to prod the reader to think deeper about daily images:

Knitting by the lamp,

a lizard’s feet remind her

of aborted foetus.


One that humourises the urge to write a poem:

Poem and a burp

are quite like masturbation.

You must, when you must!


The author uses imageries, metaphors, association, paradox and many other techniques to provide a light but intriguing read.

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Rating: 9.8/10 (5 votes cast)
Haiku, With a Twist, 9.8 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 19th, 2013 at 4:13 pm and is filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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