Book Reviews

Unwinding Self by Susheel Sharma

Unwinding Self is Prof Susheel Sharma’s latest book brought out this year, 2020.The blurb makes the poet’s mission clear: “The wide ranging and life affirming poems are a contemplative meditation on what it is to be human the italics mine… The volume is a joy (!) for readers all over the world and a chant for sympathetic cross-cultural understanding. The book has36 pages of Afterword’s by distinguished poets and writers in the world.

I begin with the beginning: the first poem, Snapshots written in 15 parts;


My voice
Empty noise
Your babble
Enchanting music,
We are God’s creation.


Tsunami hits Japan
God is resting in heaven
Where is my old father?
Emails would be checked later.


Garrulous frogs in the pond
Wife in the backyard
Mangoes in the bucket
This is a good morning.


I am Uma.
I am Vishnu
I am Varanasi
Where is Bhagiratha? P.3.

The poet has grown totally distraught. He appears to be at the end of the tether. Writing poetry does not bring enlightenment many a time. It makes the thinking and the beginning of a long dark tunnel closed with a black boulder. Then there is the poem Durga Puja in 2013


My soul longs
To be with my mother
Who is yet to decide her place
Where to locate her?


The monumental pendal

The home for Ma for four days
Well-lit to compete with stars and the moon
In Kalibari summons me and others,
How could thunder, wind and water stay behind?


The serene pandal
Serene Puja
Serene nature.
The heart palpitates
Where was impurity? P.6

The reader has to read slowly, again and again, to get at the poet’s heart throb and questioning mind. Bubli Poems is a long poem of eleven sections. I give the reader only the last, XI, in full.

Bubli is looking for the great teacher
A messiah who has been promised
In the Revelation and the Gita.
Bubli has joined the choir and sings
Songs and halleluiahs in his honour
And keeps herself in readiness
To welcome him any time, any moment.
If he will be Krishna or Ram or Jesus
Or Mohomet, Bubli doesn’t care
For these are just the names
Freedom is all that she cares for,
What she has been aspiring for is Mukti
What she has been waiting for is Moksha.
Losing one’s identity and becoming one
With the ultimate is the real Liberation;
One has to synchronise with the symphony
To be a part of the harmony;
Self-consciousness hast to be lost
To be a part of the great love;
Bubli waiting for the moment
For shaktipat from the messiah
To enable her to forget herself
And lose all bonds to enable
Her to fly across the seven worlds!
Will she wait eternally
For the arrival or dwell
In the heelish fire to burn her karma?
Bubli is not able to decide;
How can she?
She is not yet ready for salvation.p.49

This is a poem describing hope and actuality – a tossing from one side to the other.

The Kerala Flood 2018 describes a weird scare when help comes from the Emirates and the Indian Govt. is bamboozled in arguments. The speaker of the poem asks:

Who should ask?
Should I take the medicine
The doctor I on leave. ,p.56 [39]

In Mock Drill, when armies on both sides have taken position
The first missile is shot:
Dust thou art, to dust returnest.
Attack, be read, unite, fire.
... ... ...
Knowledge hurts;
Brahminism hurts
Election hurts. p.57

Our poet ruminates saying that he stirs his memories stirring his cup of coffee. This is all about poetry and poetic imagination. He writes about his unborn poem too. Read this and see how he ends it while mentioning the traffic jam of emotions.

The poem remains a mirror,
A shadow, a mirage, a stain,
Irony, satire, humour jamboree
Stare at the enjambment.
The unsoiled paper
Has silver hopes.
The epitaph needs to precede
The poem. P.77

The conclusion speaks a lot of imaginative combustion.

The Fountain Square on the city square stands erect endearing songs celebrating protection. The conclusion follows after Krishna and Radha:
Mahabharata is taking shape
A dice will be thrown
To decide the date
For cutting the marble.
The palace may turn desolate
The foundation may dry up.
Is someone bothered? P.79
Indian politics and the squabbles! Can you stop shedding tears or beating your breast?!

The poetic mind moves to Connaught Place
The Georgian architecture of CP
Reminds me of the imperial glory
But I don’t wish to be pulled down
Line disputed structure in Varanasi.p.82

What mesmerizing imagination!!!

We are Bharat vasee, Mahabharat we hold on our heads and worship with our hearts and are convinced. Stories of Mahabharat we always remember and cherish:


Janmejaya decides to live
Lord Vishnu rests on Sheshnag
The yajna cannot annihilate cobras. p.84

I don’t want to call this a conclusion. Susheel has celebrated his 59th birthday a couple of days ago. God give him strength to go on using both his mind and his pen.


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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