How poetry helped me rediscover myself

Devanshi Shah, a poetess by choice

By Devanshi Shah

A poem is the shortest form of expressing our feelings and emotions. In the olden days, way before technology took over, people used to meet in gatherings which known as ‘kavi sammelan’ to recite their poems as a means of entertainment and communication.

At that time, people would take out from their lives to meet up for a sammelan, but nowadays in our fast paced lives, we people meet only when we are free.

One day, while I was casually surfing on the Internet, I spotted an advertisement of a poem recitation gathering in my city. This advertisement was posted by Imli Jhmli, a poet group hailing from Ahmedabad. As I am personally fond of poetry and writing my own, I did the needful and registered for the the gathering.

This event was in Coffee Culture Party Hall, Adajan Pal in Surat. As I stepped into the party hall, it was filled the sound of light murmuring. That murmuring wasn’t disturbing or interrupting; in fact, that murmur sounded like excitement and nervousness of other 30 participants like me and around 20-25 people audience. Not all were new to this, but yes most of them were. Just like everyone I was also reading my lines and trying to make it more perfect. I was a bit nervous because I wanted to perform better than other participants though there were no prizes or ranking, it was just a gathering to share thoughts and poems but had to give my best.

For the love of poetry

Suddenly, Himanshu Nainani, Founder of Imli Jhimli, came in and broke the silence and informed everyone to get ready and calm down. He asked all the participants if they would like to go online on YouTube can come first. I was willing to go first but due to my nervousness, but I decided to keep quiet. Another rule he told us about the event was that during the poem recitation if someone likes any of the lines of the orator, has to pinch play (or snap the figures) because clapping can break the mood in ambience and can also disturb the poet.

In that gathering, there were more English poets than Hindi ones which I found strange. Strange because I am concerned that importance of our language is decreasing and I could see its extinction gradually. The weirder thing was that among all of us was, there was only one Gujarati speaker and that was me. I was concerned because of mainly two reasons, first of all, I could see the same thing happening with the mother tongue as it is happening with the Hindi Language. The other thing, I was feeling a bit inferior but on second thoughts, I was feeling proud of my language and was feeling the confidence coming back to my soul.

Lines that come straight from the heart

People’s poem spoke about women, body shaming, education system, studies and more. Some of the topics were lame too but that was also a good part. Poems were spiritual, sentimental, romantic and humorous. The participants came and recited and the programme went on. I was last as per the registration process, and suddenly a thought came to my mind that no one is going to wait for my turn, but I was wrong.

I went to the centre to speak and started with a disclaimer that my poem is in Gujarati so it going to be something different for them all. I was going to break the monotony and recite my poems, one was about love and other was in the honour of my city Surat. As I started reciting my poems, there was an unexpected reaction; everyone applauded by pinch playing and clapping. That day I decided not leave my mother tongue and national language just because other languages appear fancier. I am not against English, I am just supporting my country and its tradition.

Earlier I used to feel a little conscious before going onto the stage but now I am thoroughly confident. This event changed me quite a bit. It has changed my thinking and improved my enthusiasm towards this kind of events and gatherings.

The day when my eyes got hooked up on yours since that day I love you

An excerpt from Devanshi’s Poetry:

HU KOI PAN KAVYA KARU
A PEHELA TAMNE EK NANAKDI VARTA KARU

AJU PREM CHE?
AVA TE KEWA SAWAL KARE CHE, AA RADAY TANE AJU ATLU J WAHAL KARE CHE.
KETLU?
PANI HOY MAHASAGAR MA JETLU, TU AMA DUBI NE NA DHARAY ATLU.
KYAR THI?
APDA NAYAN ATAKYA JYAARTHI, MARI LAGNI JAGI TYAAR THI.
PAN KEM?
WAN MA DUKAAD PADE JEM. JEEWAN MA PREM VARSHE EM.

KYA SUDHI THE SANGINI?
TU SHU VAAT KRE SANGATH NI, SAM CHE MANE AAPDA AA SAMVAAD NI.

Translation:

Whatever poem I’ll recite,
Before that, I’ll tell you a short story
The girl asks these questions to her beau and he answers
do you love me still?
what question are you asking, of course, I love you
how much?
my love for you is as much as the amount of water in the ocean
since when?
the day when my eyes got hooked up on yours, since that day I love you
but why?
just like the forest needs rain at the time of drought just like that I need your presence in my life
how much long we will stay together?
I swear on our conversation, we will stay together forever

Written by: Devanshi Shah, 1st Year Student at MA in Media & Communication, Department of Extension Education, SNDT Women’s University.

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