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Sonder: A must read for all poetry aficionados

Why does one read a book? To escape from reality? Maybe to feel better or simply relax. For me, reading is about therapy, to create a world beyond the constraints of our own. While reading books, I come across many authors who experiment with their works and take the readers to a different world. However, other authors stay rooted in this world – they write to hold a mirror to the world. One such author is Abhinav Motiwal. In his seminal book named ‘Sonder- Daily Epiphany’ he dwells on daily happenings of this world, often mundane but with a twist of wit and dry humour. It is available globally on Amazon and bookstores. This is reflected in the title of the book. Sonder means ‘the realization that each passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once’. An interesting aspect of the book is its noble cause. All the proceeds from the two parts of the abridged versions would be contributed to the NGO named Humanity Foundation of India.

The book is a collection of deep and insightful poems about life. Each poem showcases the deep understanding and observation of the author about daily human struggles and happenings in the lives of every single being. While some poems tell a story, others are much removed and rely on the underlying tone to let the readers fire their imaginations. In doing so, it creates a shared experience of putting connotation into the words. It also lets the reader discover their personal meanings within each poem so, quite aptly a mutual ‘sonder’ creation. What intrigued me the most is that even the most trivial details are expressed in much detail through the use of metaphors and attributed connotations. ‘Pluto’ discusses the vices of ignorance through a frog who is stuck in a well; mosquitoes are warriors in ‘Lil’ Rebels’; ‘Homecoming’ describes dejection through the medium of a forlorn soldier; ‘A Mannequin’ describes the perils of overwork and such. My personal favourite was the very last poem, ‘The Decree Of Pyorhee’. This piece talks about the failings of men who are brave but gullible to the words of a man who makes them do his bidding. The man Pyorhee, exalting his selfish motives, asks them to attack farther lands. Unlike other poems which focus on the micro-aspects of life, this one is a commentary on the whole of humanity.

The poems have a brief discussion before they start to set the tone and give a flavour of what lies ahead. In my interaction with the author he mentioned, how the book is a ‘fly on the wall commentary on life’. Abhinav mentioned “Daily experiences always hold something for you. A mistake teaches you to be better, failures teach you humility and success keeps you motivated. There is a little bit of all this in our daily lives, nothing is too trivial to not be interesting. Interestingly, the poems have been variously interpreted by all and none of them are in disagreement with the motif of the poems. The response has been that everyone will feel something new and will have their own version of emotions – emulating the ‘Sonder’ theme of the book. I am just glad with the overwhelming response by the readers”. These epiphanies gave me a deeper understanding of life and reflect more about things that we may often take for granted. I do have a qualm though. I feel that there is a use of metaphors in some of the poems which may give those who don’t read poetry regularly or who don’t understand metaphors in general a hard time understanding. However, with the help of personalised notes which the author has added, one can easily understand the idea behind the complete poem.

To put it all in a nutshell, the book is gentle but not soft, bold but not scary, true and honest but not painful, calming but evoking. For those initiating poetry as a genre, begin with this. Insightful and creative, the author has worked through a lot of observations and brought about a compilation worth one’s time. I would recommend this book to all the people who love to read poems with rich vocabulary and people who are quenching for some insightful poems. The author can be reached on Instagram @thewordyauthor or his site www.linktr.ee/abhinavmotiwal 

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