The hushed silence in the class was intriguing. They were lost in her mesmerising voice. Mrinalini madam’s otherwise booming voice, had dropped and was almost like a whisper; the intensity of the poem was apparent in her voice.
Then, the silence broke with each student breathing heavily as though they had just been woken from deep slumber. She went around the class observing their expressions. Hope? Wish? Wonder? Anguish? Distress? A vague smile spread across her calm countenance.
“Wilfred Owen’s ‘Insensibility’ and James Kirkup’s ‘No more Hiroshimas’ both are war poems with some common elements. Can you mention the similarities?”
“Madam, both have a positive meaning to convey and…”
“Madam, both the poems show the ugly side of war.”
“Is there a beautiful side to it?” A comment loaded with sarcasm.
“Madam, both the poems bring out the destructive nature of war.”
“Good, go on.”
“Madam, is it greed, power…” a hesitant answer.
“Quite interesting. It is like a theorem, the given, and to prove. Think deeply, interpret….”
She continued, “How I wish you could fathom the inner beauty of the words.!”
“Madam, could you please read the poem once again? We are sure the intonation will give us a clue.”
Each word conveyed a different meaning this time.
“Madam, it is at the tip of my tongue, but… not getting the words to express.”
“Beware, my dear, it is war, not a chocolate, don’t swallow it.”
The class roared with laughter.
“If you were asked to write a review what elements would you focus on?”
Silence prevailed in the class.
“Madam, both express a wish. A wish that may or may not be fulfilled. It is not wishful thinking, but a genuine wish to
“Amazing! Go on. Anyone else?”
“Madam, both the poems begin with a negative expression, but convey hope. A wish filled with optimism. It may look like a distant dream but the destruction and despair associated with war does teach us the futility of war.”
“Very well expressed. ‘Insensibility’ talks about lack of something that makes us numb and irresponsive, whereas ‘No more Hiroshimas’ delves deep into human desire to live harmoniously despite ideological differences. A wish to unite human race, a wish to resolve the conflicts.”
“Madam, isn’t a wish farfetched? What we wish for and what we actually experience are poles apart, so is wish only an aspiration? Will it ever become a reality?”
“Wish is like a silver lining amidst the dark clouds. We all wish to live a safe, peaceful, healthy, and successful life, don’t we? A wish becomes a reality when you are passionate about it.”
“Let your wish be strong enough to urge you to realise it. No obstacles should deter you.”
How inspiring! They felt blessed.
Mrinalini looked at the name plate with a sense of pride, Capt. Rohan Sharma. She had fulfilled Rahul’s last wish.
A soldier too wishes for ‘No more Hiroshimas’, and hopes to rekindle finer sensibilities for a peaceful future.
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