Poet Onkar Sharma
Title: Inspiring Reflections: Songs of Suicide Leaves a Lasting Impact
A Poetry Book Review by Rita Arora
As a student sitting amidst the captivated audience at the Vivekanand Institute of Professional Studies in Delhi during their literature festival on 18 May, I had the privilege of experiencing the profound poetry of Onkar Sharma first-hand. His reading from the poetry collection “Songs of Suicide” left an indelible mark on my soul, inspiring me with its poignant messages and thought-provoking themes.
Among the poems that Onkar Sharma recited, “The Last Cigarette” resonated deeply with me. The poem tells the story of a man on the verge of ending his own life by jumping into the sea, yet his desire for one last cigarette leads him down a reflective path. In that moment of introspection, memories of his family, his wife, his child, and the love he receives from those around him flood his mind. This realization awakens a flicker of hope, causing him to reconsider his decision and choose to give life another chance.
“The Last Cigarette” touched the depths of my heart and sparked a sense of introspection within me. Through Sharma’s powerful and vivid imagery, I could envision the man standing at the precipice of despair, torn between his inner demons and the love that surrounds him. The poem beautifully conveyed the significance of human connections and the transformative power of moments of reflection, even in the darkest of times.
Onkar Sharma’s poetry reading evoked a range of emotions among the audience. The raw honesty and emotional intensity of his words were palpable, drawing us into the depths of each verse. Through his expressive delivery and skillful use of rhythm and cadence, Sharma’s performance breathed life into his poetry, allowing us to feel the weight of the emotions he conveyed.
After the reading session, I picked up a copy of ‘Songs of Suicide’ published by Hawakal Publishers and got the chance to read through the entire collection. The opening poem, “Panchatatva – The Five Elements,” truly sets the stage for the collection with its biting satire on modern-day life. Sharma masterfully portrays how the burdens of contemporary existence weigh heavily on human minds, often pushing individuals to the brink of ending their lives. Through clever and thought-provoking imagery, he highlights the profound impact that societal pressures, work overload, and the relentless pursuit of success have on our mental well-being. This satirical piece serves as a wake-up call, urging readers to reflect on the consequences of a society that neglects mental health.
Throughout the collection, several poems such as “Woman In the Metro,” “Before I Met You,” and “The Last Words” beautifully intertwine themes of hope and the dire need for assistance among those battling inner turmoil. These poems illuminate the author’s focus on mental health and serve as beacons of light amidst the darkness. These poems remind us that there is always a glimmer of hope even in the darkest moments, and reaching out for support can make a profound difference in one’s journey towards healing and recovery.
Beyond the individual poems, “Songs of Suicide” as a collection left a lasting impact on me. It shed light on the often-overlooked issue of mental health, urging us to confront the complexities of the human psyche and the challenges faced by individuals in distress. Through his words, Sharma emphasized the importance of empathy, understanding, and reaching out to those who may be struggling silently. His poetry served as a reminder of the profound impact we can have on one another’s lives through compassion and support.
As a student attending the literature festival, I am left with a renewed appreciation for the power of poetry and its ability to touch hearts, spark conversations, and inspire change. Onkar Sharma’s poetry reading was a transformative experience, reminding me of the significance of mental health awareness and the importance of cultivating a supportive community.
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