Of Love, Loss and Loneliness
Shamayita Sen
AN AFTERNOON IN MY MIND by Sonnet Mondal Copper Coin, Delhi, 2022, 78 pp., 499.00
July 2022, volume 46, No 7

Sonnet Mondal’s fifth collection of poetry, An Afternoon in My Mind, is a compelling portrayal of contemporary times, when personal grief merges with pandemic loss and loneliness. The book consumes readers and makes them believe that Mondal’s sorrow is their own. It is evident that the poems in this collection are written as a cathartic release, and hence they become an exercise for readers in collective healing. Sonnet Mondal writes about intimate spaces, sometimes calling natural surroundings his own. It is all the above that make his writing relatable.

Mondal’s poem ‘Timeworn’ that I cite below exemplifies how personal grief is political, and that over the last couple of years in India, grief has become an everyday news article. But even as we visualize collective grief and mourning as news items, we belittle them, and easily move past them. The poem is a critique of this social practice that has been normalized in post-globalization era. Mondal’s writing, when put in context, indicates what Judith Butler or Zygmunt Bauman say,1 that is, precarious human lives and collective grief are often discarded, ‘tossed’ aside, and certain human lives are viewed as ‘waste’, and forgotten as ‘rubble’.

Our maid

tossed yesterday’s waste

into the waste pit.

From it

a paper flew out.

On it

the headlines

of last month’s



like people buried

under the rubble.

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