The collection of poems and short stories by Madhu N R, Glimpses of Life Through Cobweb, attempts to present an informed observer’s take on everyday happenings. Published by Partridge, tyhe book was recently released in the city.
The book is dedicated to the victim of the 2012 Delhi gang rape and so is the first poem, ‘Ode to a Tigress from India’. From an impassioned plea for justice, the poet moves to a scathing criticism of the apathy that plagues the Indian society when it comes to crimes against women. The enraged poet says that the country is worse off than the Nazi concentration camps. The poem ends with the hope that the young woman will acquire the status of an idol and a symbol of the insurmountable spirit of a human being.
The poet deals with an array of subjects in the collection, offering his thoughts on everything from corruption to the divinity of motherhood. The voice is often sarcastic, mocking the constructs of religion and politics. By focusing on the futility of politics as a tool to bring about positive change in the lives of human beings, the author prompts the reader to think of alternatives.
The gravity of the subject on hand is often cloaked in a deceivingly simple approach to it. As in the poem, ‘Jihad’, which is a short take on the senseless killing of people in the name of religion. The explosion of information and the lack of choice in this regard is pondered over in the poem, ‘A Day for Celebration’. The poet declares that the day after a public holiday, when the newspaper does not arrive at his doorsteps in the morning, is marked by peace and happiness. He confesses that the habit of newspaper reading gets the better of him on other days, implying that people allow themselves to be bombarded by information.
The two short stories in the collection are allegorical in nature. The stand off between Satan and God is satirised in ‘An Idle Man in the Devil’s Workshop’ and by adding on the character of ‘The Briton’, the author has weaved an allegory for the conquest made by commercialism on our sensibilities. ‘Lord Rama’s Dilemma’, a story told in five paragraphs, is a sympathetic take on Ramayana.