Why I chose to write poetry.

sari

“Why did you decide to publish a book of your poems? Why not go in for a novel? Do people really read poetry?” These have been some of the questions I have been asked ever since I have been talking about getting my book of poems, “Who shall I be today?” published.

The reason I decided to publish a book of poems instead of writing a novel is simple. I love poetry. I started writing poetry much before I started writing stories. And in fact, the first thing I remember being read out to me were poems. There is something so magical about poetry. It captures thought, images, and stories in a minimum of words; creates scenes of love, of war, of nature, of magic with just a few strokes of the pencil or today with just a few clicks of the keys.

And yes, people read poetry and they write poetry. There is a whole world out there of poets and lovers of poetry, who keep the craft alive. Poetry is making a comeback like never before! Poets old and young touch our hearts and thrill us. Whether you are reading Maya Angelou or listening to Sarah and Phil Kaye as they perform, you are transported to a different world.

And this is not just in the west. Closer home, we have poetry clubs and poetry meetings happening almost every week. You just need to search Google or Facebook for poetry groups and you’re overwhelmed with the number.

In fact as I write this, two of my friends Anish Vyavahare and Swamini Despande are performing at PoShaK at Vakola in Mumbai.

If you haven’t yet, you must watch “The Poetry Affair of India”. It’s a treat to see these poets perform their poetry in different Indian languages. The awesome talent is breathtaking!

My own most looked forward date each month is the one I have with my Poetry Tuesday group where we meet to read out and share the poems we have written during the month.

Even Hindustan Times has a Haiku contest running currently. And that’s why my first book is a book of poems which I hope you’ll enjoy reading!

 

Feeling Blessed!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! All of you! I am so overwhelmed by the response to my last blog post ‘When’ Dreams Come True’ that I am still a little teary eyed. So many of you responded on Facebook itself, where I had shared the post, and so many more sent me personal messages and even called me up to congratulate me and ask me for signed copies of my book. And my book isn’t even out yet!

This outpouring of love and genuine happiness on the part of all of you my friends actually had the effect of making me cry. I sat down and wept. I wept out of gratitude. I wept because I felt so humble, that so many people loved me enough to feel happy for my success; to take the trouble to tell me so! I wept because I felt so blessed! So blessed!

And in that moment when I was crying my heart out, I realised that it doesn’t matter if my book does well or not (Of course I know it will :P), but at that moment the fact that so many people were cheering my achievement of a goal, was the greatest OMG moment since the birth of my daughters!

It’s like reaching the finishing line and realising that the crowd is cheering for me. For ‘ME’! And as I look at the crowd, I see lines of my poems in the faces of the people there. And I realise every one of my friends and family has been part of this journey of mine helping me become who I am today, helping me know myself better, helping me write better, grow into myself, till I had the courage to put together these poems to show the world.

When I read my poem ‘Painting over memories’ I see my house in Vashi, with its walls covered in childish scribbles and the friends who shared my life then as a young mother, many of them young mothers themselves.

‘My first day in school’ brings to mind my students and all the teachers I worked with, so many of them who are still in touch with me and from whom I learnt so much.

My family, both the one I was born in and the one I married into is part of almost every poem; supporting me, wiping my tears, helping me get up again, celebrating life with me.

And I realise that this book, ‘Who Shall I Be Today?’ is not mine. It can never be mine. It belongs to everybody who has been part of my life. Everybody has in some way been woven into the poems, bits of my heart and soul.

When dreams come true

Book-Cover-1How many of you have had one of your deepest dreams come true? Isn’t it one of the headiest feelings in the world? Something that makes you want to dance and sing and yell and cry with happiness at the same time?

In a previous post, ‘Being Awesome in 2016’ I had written about this year being my year of awesomeness and guess what! It’s got AWESOMER!

My book, my first book, is going to be published! Yes! My book, “Who shall I be today?” is going to be out in March! I am so super thrilled about it; I just had to share it with all of you!

When I decided that it was time to put my fears aside and put my writings out for the world to read, I had to take a call on what kind of book I wanted my first book to be. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I wanted to write a book of poems.

Why? Well because I have always loved poetry. I love stories and essays too, but poetry tugs at my heart that little bit more.

I can’t remember when I fell in love with poetry. Maybe it was as a baby, when Mummy read to me out of that fascinating book with all those animals and fairies in it and I would listen to her voice lilting as she read, “Here comes the pony, his work is all done, down through the meadow he takes a good run, up goes his heels and down goes his head; it’s time little people were going to bed”

Through the poems I heard from her, I learnt of fairies and witches and magic and naughty kids and good kids. Stories came alive and created a wonderful world of rhyme and rhythm.

As I grew older, I read and fell in love with the brave Lochinvar, and cried over Bess and her Highway man. I realised how one mistake in a war can cause so many to lose their lives in ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. And I guess it was inevitable that this passion would make me want to write my own poems.

“Who shall I be today?” is a collection of poems that I have written as I have travelled along life’s paths, experiencing the different roles of a woman. Somewhere in the book you will find a woman in love, somewhere you will find a mother, somewhere you will find a housewife going about her daily chores.

A human being feels so many emotions and you will share some of these as you turn the pages of “Who shall I be today?” Love, Fear, Loneliness, Despair, Hope, Anticipation, Longing, Nostalgia… It’s all there.

If today this dream of getting my book published is coming true, it’s to a large extent due to the likes and shares I’ve got from all of you on Facebook and on my blog. Everytime you told me you liked something I wrote, it made it a little easier to share a part of my soul with you and that is how “Who Shall I Be today ?” was born.  I am so glad that you are a part of this dream of mine! And I really can’t celebrate it without you! So THANK YOU everyone! From the bottom of my heart!

P.S. If you want to see a jhalak of my book please send me a mail at [email protected] and you can let me know what you think of it.

Aata Majhi Satakli

Sometimes I wish I could leave well alone. I wish I could be indifferent to things and the actions of people and just walk away! I tell myself that my life would be so much less complicated, if I could do just that, if I could just ignore stuff instead of letting it get to me till something inside me yells, “Aata majhi satakli!”

A couple of months ago, I had gone to the bank for some work. By the time I came out, the entrance to the bank had been totally blocked by bikes. There was absolutely no way to get out. An old man stood there on the steps looking utterly confused and bewildered.

I took one look at the bikes and went back into the bank. “Can some of you please move your bikes?” I requested, “There is no way for people to go out.”

One of the customers leered at me and said in a hearty voice, “Then you will just have to wait till we finish our work, won’t you?” This was said in Marathi, in that typical condescending tone that males reserve when they are think they are dealing with helpless females and it evoked a round of smug laughter. I don’t what it was , but something inside me snapped.

I looked around with narrowed eyes and without a word, calmly walked out.  I went to the line of bikes and gave the one nearest to me a hefty shove to the right. It toppled on to the bike next to it, creating a domino effect. I turned to the left and repeated the action with the bike there too. Oh it was so satisfying to see all the bikes go down!

Feeling terribly pleased with myself, I dusted off my hands dramatically as I ignored the yells of “Oh Madam, tumhi kay karta ahat?”, as people rushed out of the bank.

I held out my hand to the bemused old man, gave him a cheeky smile and helped him out on to the main road. “Thank you madam!” he said with a chuckle, “Oh, the look on their faces!”

Two days later when I visited the bank again, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had created a pathway to the entrance lined with potted plants on either side, with a big ‘No Parking’ sign prominently displayed. When I commented on it to the Manager, he said, “What to do, Madam? If we have customers like you, we have to do things like this no?”

So I guess it was worth losing my cool after all.

Have you ever lost your cool? I’d love to hear what it takes for you to feel, “Aata majhi satakli”. Do tell us about it in the comments on the website.