A pleasant evening, the first Wednesday of the month, time for the regular schedule nay tradition of Poetry Reading at the British Council Library. It is something we poets in Chennai who are part of this religious poetry readers group look forward to every month, especially for the ones who come from afar only to read and savour poetry for what it is.
The theme for the month was Euphoria, already set by Vasanth Dev during last month’s Poetry Reading session. It is not a compulsion that one should write or read a poem on that particular theme but it makes the session more interesting when one gets to read and hear different perspectives on the same topic.
Geetha Paniker was already there when Sivakami Velliangiri and I arrived. As we got comfortable Paniker Sir also arrived. This time it seemed that many of the regulars were caught up with work but were kind enough to let us know about their forthcoming absence with regret simultaneously promising to definitely make it the next time.
I was asked to read so I started off with my poem titled, Euphoria.
between my father removing his hands
from my cycle, letting me free
and the high that I experience as I fly
like I have biked all my life!
That one insane glance
at the white shining statue
of the Lord in the temple;
from famine like eyes
The sensitive sensation
of holding a part of me
in my arms.
The emotion of ecstasy
as my child fills his stomach,
milky protein pouring
into his tiny mouth.
The literary orgasm
that I experience
as I relish a poem
from deep within.
Geetha Paniker then read her poem, Untitled which ravished the soul completely so much so that each one of us saw different meanings in it.
On the wings of a mystic retreat,
my soul flutters in an enigma,
heart erupts into a million sparks.
I am held captive in the twilight,
to the charm of the enchanting moon,
intoxicating me to a trance.
The whisper of the waves
in mystical silence of the night,
bleeding core finds its vicinity
soul seeks comfort
in sanctum of the ocean,
as a magical feeling opens within me,
releasing warmth and energy.
Being in the moonlit beach,
I breathe life for a moment,
the flawlessly shimmering waters,
reflect euphoric poetry,
from the depth of the ocean.
Sivakami Velliangiri read her sweet poem titled, Para-Gliding Over The Pattaya Sea. Only she can write such kind of poems!
I’m eager for a take-off, my husband frowns
I think, well now he is afraid of losing me.
What about my sari, what if it lifts up?” he asks,
Men, they have queer thoughts and worries.
I am not bothered, but he is conservative
so I borrow a churidar from one of the girls
wear it under my skirt. First of the women
in the team to take off; a matron hoists me up,
supple hands, then I am in midair high up
without my spectacles to see the sea. My fingers
might get the cramps, I think of my children
I hold on to dear life.
when my son sees my photo
on the coffee mug.
Back home, he said it was a photo trick.
Finally, Paniker Sir read out a poem in Malayalam written by Achutam Namboodri which he had successfully translated into English giving it the title, Within The Family.
I shall quote just a few lines since the poem is long.
“Release me from this cage
let me fly about freely in the sky.”
Is my daughter singing
what she learned in her text books
in the voice choked with sighs?
The electric flow generated
when those sweet sacred moments
touch the inner core of my heart,
lights up the whole world.
When the magnetic forces
in the milky-ways of the present
shower compassionate care on the small, small flames
rising like bud-shaped folded hands
in the ocean of tears
the infinite shades of imagination
swoon in the aroma consequently generated.
Two hours of poetry reading had passed us by leaving us with just enough time to read a few poems by other poets and fixing the theme for the next month.
What I particularly enjoy about these poetry reading sessions are that they are totally bereft of any ego hassles. We read. Other poets re-read. Improvisations are suggested. And poets are open to healthy literary criticism. What else is needed for creativity but to stretch its arms and embrace the warmth of others!
That’s all for now for this month from the Poetry Reading Circle at BC.
Will share more poetry moments with you next month.
“The goal of my presence in the world is to make it possible for everyone to write poems. And not just that.
The happiness. The answer.”
Robert Kelly, Going To The Poem
We had already had our monthly poetry reading at British Council but Sivakami and I, over a detailed discussion felt that we needed to read other writers, poets (for now). How long were we going to write our poems, read them, look at them from our Poetry Circle’s critical angle, make creative modifications and then, idly wait for the next poetry reading session the next month?!
That is how this idea of reading other poets started. Yes, you might ask. We do read other poets at home. Why take the trouble solely for something we can do within the comfortable confines of our homes?
True, you might be reading. But, do you ever wonder as to why a poet may have written a poem in a particular manner? Would you have read a poem, loved it completely and wanted to share the joy with a fellow poet or poet lover? Well, this poetry reading was entirely for that desire, for that need to connect with friends who may think entirely differently from you about poets and poetry but, you stay connected because of that love for poetry, yours or somebody else’s.
After a successful poetry reading on the beach a week ago, we thought that slightly greener surroundings would help us in our endeavour to touch poetry a wee bit more and satiate our poetic cravings. That is how Zaitoon Cafe in the IIT campus, Chennai was decided upon. And what a splendid choice it was!
Pankajam Kottarath, published poet was already there when Sivakami and I reached the IIT premises. There was no shortage of poetry books to be read (courtesy: Sivakami Velliangiri, poet and poetry activist). We started off with the book we had left incomplete on the beach, 40 Under 40 by Nabina Das and Semeen Ali. Pankajam read Abinav Datta’s poem, Epitaph since she had written a poem on the same topic some time back. A witty poem, it in fact made a mockery of an epitaph and was a delight to read.
“While they sang
I bet on a crow
on the cross,
for it to interrupt .
No one stopped singing.
All I could think of was:
And so I made one for you;”
This was followed by Plus Sized Poem written by Chandramohan S who writes about how his poem refuses to yield to stereotype norms of poetry writing. There are pretty references to cosmetic surgery and the like and how his poem creates itself without making use of the fancy alterations that some people resort to.
“This poem has cellulite
at its rear end
this poem does not opt for
To make oneself
eligible for international prizes.”
By the time, Vasanth Dev, former Cinematographer and Director of Photography arrived with a poetry book in hand. He read out lines from Robert Kelly’s Going To The Poem from the book Cinema Lingua Conjunctions 42 and all of us were floored! And, I am not exaggerating. Just read these lines:
“A poem is to prose fiction as video to film: direct, present, dyslexic as life, noisy, sudden, easy, almost impossible to exist. What could be easier than a poem!”
“Nowadays everyone can afford a poem.”
“ A line of poetry is the shortest distance between two silences.”
In the meanwhile, Sivakami read a poem from the book, The Wife of Winter by Michael Dennis Browne.
“A measure of freedom,
messy as weed,
the delight it is
to be horizontal
by nothing but sunlight.
opens like a flower
as he floats.
He doesn’t know
he is floating
in this poem.”
Pankajam read one of Akhil Kayal’s poem, When She And I Go Together
“what is it
the sales guy
only speak to her
when we buy
the curtain for my house?
My guess is
it’s the same thing
that makes the silly broker
he can only look at me
as we try
not to see a house
for her to rent.”
And I read, Nivedita and George Everette Jr.’s poem, A Mother’s Moksha from the book Family Matters.
“My Kanna had a life force just like mine,
We treated everybody with compassion;
We never caused harm to anybody;
We believe truth is multi-faceted;
There are many ways to reach it.”
Time passed us so fast and we did not even realize that it was past our lunch time. Though our minds and hearts were full with poetic content our tummies groaned. Unwilling to permit food hunger to destroy the joy of our interactive poetry session we quickly had some food and ended the poetry reading session for the day.
Of course, we are coming back again. With more people, with more poetry and more poetry lovers. Many persons expressed interest online and will be joining us the next time. Do join us then and share the passion of words!
‘Oh! Not another book on the revenge saga’ I muttered to myself as I began reading the book, Ponytail The Love For Revenge. Pradip Chauhan proved me wrong by writing not just another tale of revenge. In fact, the protagonist in the novel, Prabuddh becomes an anti hero, you discover as you read on.
Basically, the book deals with the aggressive and negative emotion of revenge. The style of writing is simple, easy to understand. The novel has been divided into three sections describing the life of the protagonist, Prabuddh. He is ambitious, successful in his profession and smart too. So, what is it more that he aspires for in his life?
A painful past, a traumatic flashback between the pages of the novel reveal to us why the protagonist is unable to love the people around him completely. Every time he comes close to falling in love, he remembers his goal for revenge and all emotions of love end up in a mere physical act of lust. What is dominant in the book is the use and manipulation of women characters to enable the author to bring out the plot of revenge.
I would have preferred it if the emotions expressed by the ‘Chanakya like hair let loose’ anti hero were more convincing. It is here that the author needs to work upon as he swiftly moves from one scene to another and the reader tends to feel a wee bit cheated for being deprived of a more detailed narration or enacting of a scene!
For a person who started writing first in his native tongue (Gujarati), the book is a good read.
Dr. Pradip Chauhan from Gujarat is a (M.B.B.S, M.S., C.R.M.) from Saurashtra University. He currently delivers lectures on Anatomy in the P.D.U. Govt. Medical College, Rajkot, Gujarat. He has many Gujarati articles to his credit.
‘On the Earth: In Light of The Sun’ was one of his first books in English followed by a collection of short stories titled ‘Love stories.’ Science fiction, romance, suspense, paranormal and thriller are his fields of interest. He has more than 15 international medical research articles to his credit too.
The book can be purchased at:
You can contact him at:
Kyon yeh log har varsh tere na hone ki yaad dilaatey hain?
Kya yeh kam hai ki tum humaare beech nahin ho?
Teri chaah, teri raah.
Tera pyar, tera dulaar –
Sab yaad aatha hai mujhe
Saal bhur, har saal.
Phir kyon ‘Ma Divas’ manaakar
Mujhe yeh duniya dukhi karthi hai?
Meri bhi ichha hothi hai Ki Ma ka aanchal thaamu.
Mujhe bhi Ma ke aseem pyar ko
Unkee gothe me sirr rakhkar
Mehsoos karne ki tummanaa hothi hai.
Ai duniya, tu Ma Divas ka jashan mana, har varsh –
Mein Ma ki bhooli bisri yaadon ko jeethi jaaongi, har pal.
Why does this world make me aware of your absence every year?
Is it not hurtful enough that you are no longer alive?
Your affection, your ways.
Your love, your caresses.
I remember them all
Then, why oh why does this world celebrate Mother’s Day
and torture me so?
I too desire to hold the cozy warmth of my mother’s saree.
I too wish to feel the undying love of my mother in her lap
Wherein I can lay down my head and forget all worries.
World, you indulge in the celebration of Mother’s Day once a year.
I shall breathe her memories, live her thoughts every day of the year.
Mei patung, tu door meri.
Jahaan udaao vahaan ud jaaon mein.
Nazar na giraana door se mere yaar,
Kahin door kati tho haath na aaoongi.
Mei diya, tu baathi.
Tujhme mei, mujhme tu.
Apni baathi ko zinda rakhna-
Uski lou mey mujhe hamesha paaoge.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION FOR MY NON HINDI SPEAKING FRIENDS
I roam around like a nomad
Borrowing divinity from the sun.
Agreed that I am not attraction personified
But the garden of my life is still fragrant with life.
I am the kite, you the string.
Wherever you pull me I fly.
One glance away from the string
Could make you lose me forever.
I am the lamp, you the wick.
I am in you, you in me.
Keep the wick burning alive.
In its bright flame you shall ever find me.
Yadon ki Barsaat
yaad aathin nahin.
bhulaai nahin bhulteen.
Chod diya tha jisko
Un haseen raahon pur
Aaj bhi pahunch jaathein hain
zahen ki fariyaadon mein.
tum zinda rahe
mere dil ke tarannum mein.
Kise yaad rakhoon,
Ab thoo hi batha.
For My Friends – a Close Translation of the Above Poem in English
Rain of Memories
Some lanes, try as I might
I just don’t remember.
Some thoughts, no matter how hard
I attempt to forget, I still remember.
That someone, who I left stranded
on those beautiful paths
even today, manages
to creep into the pleas of my thoughts.
Despite a thousand endeavors
in the melody of my heart.
Who do I remember
Who do I forget
You better tell me now!
Kuchh Tuchh Ishaare
Rishte Ki Kareebee
ho gayee hai dil kee gareebee.
Mukh kee muskaan
bun gayee hai ehsaason ka kabaristaan.
Rooh se tho hum thhey jaane.
Samay ne bana diya unjaane.
Mushkil see bhee baath jo ho jaati hul
aaj ki khushi chund lumhon mein ho gayee hai gul.
Mere bezoobaan ishaare
dikha deinge tujhko din mein taare.
Oopar vaale par chod diya ab sab kuchh.
Yeh berookhi lagthi hai ab tuchh.
English Translation of the Above Poem
A Few Unwarranted Signs
The closeness of a relationship
transformed into poverty of the heart.
The smile of the face
turned into a graveyard of emotions.
United we seemed to be with our souls,
time turned us into strangers.
The problems that got solved in a jiffy until yesterday,
today’s joy vanishes in a moment.
My mute emotional signs
could show you stars in the day.
Leaving all to the Almighty
even this indifference appears naught.
Yeh Maaloom Hi Na Hua
ghar basaane ke liye
nikal pade they hum.
Kab zindagi guzar gayee
yeh maaloom hi na hua.
koshishen kaayum zaroor theen,
iraada bhi bulund tha.
kab apnoney saath chod thiya
yeh maaloom hi na hua.
Nayee munzeelen, nayee umeetheyn
saath lekar nikley tho they.
kab kaarvaan choot gaya
yeh maaloom hi na hua.
Ummeed bhari zindagi mein naya josh bharkar
seeney mein chupaakar raah par chal chukey hein hum.
Daayaron se gherey ab bhi hein hum,
Kab aapki gustaakh nazron nein besharmi sey humaara saath diya,
yeh maaloom hi na hua!
MMT Challenge. Pray, tell me what this may be.
Well, it is an unique venture, a Poetry Challenge actually, wherein one gets to write a poem a day for the whole month of May.
That’s fine. But, don’t we have a similar one in April, the NaPoWriMo?
Well, yes, it is modeled on that but there is a difference.
What is that?
You get to write a poem every day of the month but not in English.
Not in English?
Yeah, you write it in your mother tongue, whichever language that may be. Lovely, isn’t it?
Well, yeah! I haven’t heard of this before.
MMT stands for MAY FOR MOTHER TONGUE!
A lovely initiative started by Sagar Mehta.
And, to be part of this unique challenge submit your name and blog details at :
I am taking part. Why don’t you?
Blogging Challenge – Letter B
Banaras. Varanasi. Or, simply Kashi.
Now, why am I talking about these names?
Well, all the names mentioned above refer to one place and I belong to that unique place. Although my parents have lived there more than I have, there is this invisible link that I share with it that just cannot be described in words. I suppose this stands true for all people who have this connection with places that go far to their roots so to say.
The little hidden lanes, the colorful shops, the cheerful people collide with the serenity of the banks of the Ganges River, the Ghats and the flowing river of renunciation, dirt and faith.
My Mum and Dad met in the well known campus of the BHU (Banaras Hindu University) while they were studying and decided to give their hearts away (to each other) apart from giving their minds away to academics that bloomed in the beautiful territory of the University.
The evergreen language of Bhojpuri that overpowers the senses is alive all over the city. Today, it is fun to hear songs and movies made in the language – a great source of enjoyment.
I can go on and on about the place except for the fact that it tends to find a mention in my vocabulary quite often and I do not want to bore you to death. Just in case, you want to know more about the place through the eyes of a traveler, you can have a read here: Kashi Ketchup