Lonely Man, Surely

Review of Ninmah’s Lonely Man; Sanjiv Bhatla; Crabwise Press 2013; Rs 150; pp 81

– Shana Susan Ninan

The musings in the long poem, Ninmah’s Lonely Man are those of a man who’s seen, felt and personally experienced the city of Mumbai. Down to its very core. And no one better than Sanjiv Bhatla to do the same. The narrator talks about old friends, colleagues, fond memories, delving into the lives of the other person, as well. He notices life around – from workers at a construction site to prostitutes lining the streets at night.

In this four-part long poem, sandwiched between the personal ramblings on the soul are his thoughts on the existence of God, or rather His non-existence, at times. But I noticed that in the initial pages of the book, the presence of the Father is very much there, with even rhetorical questions addressed to Him. A master of literary imagery and tools, in ‘Dry Sea’, Sanjiv uses the jigsaw puzzle as a metaphor for the Earth, a puzzle that the Father gives his Son to play with and figure out. In a few lines, we see the question (in a different tone) that the biblical Christ had asked God, on the cross: “Where have you gone… why have you left me alone, Father…?”

Parts of the poem came across as an ode to the creator, also gently reminding the reader that men are but specks of matter in his vast creation called the Universe. A lot information from the author’s Engineering background have found its way into the flow of the poem – adding to substantiate the Creation vs Creator queries.

If at the beginning of the poem the narrator was an old and lonely man, by the end of it he is older and lonelier, by several shades. Lonely in death, too, after much pacing and ranting, he willingly follows the Father into the heavenly abode. Of all Ninmah’s creations, the Lonely Man is probably the saddest, as all the others found a purpose in life, whether as servant to king or a part of the harem.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (7 votes cast)
Lonely Man, Surely, 8.0 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2013 at 7:02 pm and is filed under Non-Fiction, Poetry, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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