I must admit right at the beginning that reading a quality poetry collection by a relatively young author does delight me more than anything else! Being an ardent reader of Indian English poetry for more than a decade (academic and otherwise) has equipped me with intellect and discerning prowess that helps me distinguish relevant and irrelevant literature within a few minutes into the content of the book. And this poetry collection I will review, Melodies of Society by Arav Rajesh, does have qualities and relevance that would hammer the nails of realistic emotions right into the hearts of the readers!
Before I get into the contents of this poetry collection by Arav Rajesh, let’s make it clear that emotions are an important tool for poets to make their poetry vivid (and deep). Just to add perspectives, emotions play a crucial role in poetry as they add depth and meaning to the words. It’s not that intellect and wisdom are secondary. It is emotion, nevertheless, that connects readers to the thoughts that the poet hints at. To convey a message, evoke a response from the reader, and generate a visually appealing picture in the reader’s mind, clever and able poets use emotions in many ways. Love, sorrow, joy, anger, fear, and hope are some examples of such emotions. And Arav Rajesh has used many of these emotions in his poems in a very engaging and fitting manner.
His poem Spirited Oppression creates many powerful, connecting and communicating images that many may relate to (almost instantly). For example, democracy does allow us to gather and protest when we feel the need to do so. However, many times, it may be suppressed and suspended by the state using many tools – police for example.
We begged them to listen, help us and understand our strife.
Instead of helping us, they stole our speech and made the police
beat those who spoke out,
Their wounds fuelled our desire for freedom, made us march,
synchronised in our shouts
One such powerful and emotionally charged image that this young poet has managed to create with his words (and also with the help of aiding illustrations on the pages with the verse) is in the poem Child Labour. Arav Rajesh paints the moment when a father sells his child for some money and the child is put in a still cage (probably in a van with others). Such images are there in plenty in the poetry collection as it paints a grim image of our society and all the contemporary horrors that we have been going through for a while.
My fingertips graze the soft blade of grass as I converse with my
But the melodies of the air are vanquished by the fleeting
whispers of my father,
A wad of banknotes is thrust in(sic) his hands by a masked man; the
The man turns his attention towards me, my minuscule presence
gathering it all,
As his sequestered face draws near, he grabs me from behind
and throws me in a metal cage.
Melodies of Society may also be seen as a negative title – these are melodies but rather sad, realistic and eye-opening ones that we need to hear and contemplate. Well, if it takes one young poet to awaken readers and audience in general about the day-to-day atrocities on humanity at large, so be it. The poetry collection at hand is an amazing one in this sense and it must reach readers so that they become aware (with a little bit of poetic beauty and lyrical verse). Arav Rajesh has written amazingly. And it is commendable that he picks serious themes for his poetry.
Anyone who is concerned with Indian English poetry and wants to read Indian English poets of the contemporary time, Melodies of Society will make a good read! Get a copy from Amazon India today and enjoy reading it. All the best!
Review by Alka for The Last Critic
Melodies of Society by Arav Rajesh – Book Review
- The Last Critic's Poetry Score
Melodies of Society by Arav Rajesh is a wonderful collection of rebellious young poets’ contemplations about social issues that need immediate attention!