Poetry Recitals and Art Exhibitions

During our reunion, Aakriti had informed me of an art exhibition. It was no ordinary exhibition. It was combining two very different creative styles. Poetry would be recited about art that would be displayed. Aakriti was one of the few chosen to recite and I couldn’t be prouder. The concept was intriguing and it had been way too long since I had allowed myself to indulge in two of my favourite interests – art and poetry. So, excited and eager, I arrived at Dhanraj Mahal where the exhibition was taking place.

The team behind TARQ were presenting Parag Tandel’s third solo exhibition titled, ‘Chronicle’.  Focusing on ecology and migration, Tadel creates sculptures cast in resin that represent memories from childhood.

The poets invited for the exhibition were all members of The Poetry Club which is why, besides a recital of poetry influenced by the art, there were poets reciting some of their creative work unrelated to the exhibition as well. The poets had been allowed to go through the sculptures well in advance and were given the liberty to choose which display they wanted to base their poetry on.

Before reciting, each poet not only introduced themselves but also spoke of how and why they got into poetry in the first place.

Aakriti wrote her poem based on Trap I


Image taken from the official webpage.

I can picture it all too clearly
When someone asks me where I came from
It looks like a cocoon
That houses and nurtures the butterfly
But when you come from a sheltered existence
Even the fibres wrapped tight
Around your once feeble wings
Feel like a trap.
These walls were my rose tinted glasses
Stained with blood and doubt, I was told,
Perhaps to have me believe that the outside world
Can never be as safe or untouched
As the claustrophobia that surrounds me.
If only underexposure 
was the true measure of being free
Of trouble and pain
Because my wings hurt
They're overgrown and yet
Trained to feel the strain
Of this sinewy home
I want to fly out of. 
There's light above and light below
And I long to be illuminated
By anything other than a refraction of that light.
But I know that when that pod opens
And the reins curl away from my skin
And my wings find room to stretch out
I'll have nothing more than a day
To take in more than the hues of red
Before I create my own cocoon
To house another cloistered soul like me. 
Maybe the circle of life
Is a perpetuated series of growing pains.

Devendra wrote his poem based on Extinct Form III


Image taken from the official webpage


How strange is living,
stranger yet to die
Not knowing the who
Never pondering the why
Cursed be each moment
Spent only to deny
The prophet of my soul
My truth it decries
In whispers and persuasive
Signs, in the desperation
Of denial and screams
I never let escape
Hear them yet choose
Comfort in mediocrity
Call it fair compromise
Alas a blatant excuse.
For I fear that
Which is at stake
It is my conscience
For it shall take
My soul; if ever
Pure ambition shall fall
And become empty premise
What shall I become?
But an empty shell
Resounding sameness and banality
It is not weakness
But emptiness, I dread
Choose to know mine
Yet consciously deny, I
Keep ambition at bay
The perfect fail-safe
For a dismal day
To gloat in the knowledge
Never intend to comply
(I) Choose complacence over pride
Familiarity; over the sublime
Instruction of my will
Instead of the paragon
I choose, a lie.
How strange to choose
To live not a day
Forever myself I deny
For I always knew the who
Knew always the why.

Here are some more of the art pieces that were on display.


Extinct Form I – Image taken from official webpage


Memory – image taken from official webpage


Extinct Form V – image taken from official webpage

While Kejal did not write based on the pieces displayed, she recited a few poems that she had written previously for gatherings at The Poetry Club.


 He smiled an unfaltering welcome smile 
He knew five words in english 
"Please come in madam, good day." 
Yellow teeth were frequented by red spots 
The smile a crescent moon on his face 
The position never changed
Full moons were not for the uneducated. 
On good days, he smiled. 
On bad days, his smile was broader. 
On frustrating days, it stuck to his face 
Like a brightly painted tattoo. 
His trade depended on it. 
She wore her smile upside down. 
Frowning, they called it. 
It meant you were sad. 
It was the price you had to pay
To buy pity. 
On good days, her tears came easily. 
Snot dripped about her unclean nose 
A prop in her daily dress up act. 
On bad days
she had to suppress her happiness. 
"Look sad", they said. 
"No, look sadder." 
On frustrating days
she had to be slapped, kicked, threatened. 
"We want your tears", they said. 
"We want to buy pity." 
So she frowned. 
Her trade depended on it.

Listening to the poetry stirred something inside me. I had stopped writing poetry myself and had disconnected myself from the art of listening, reciting and writing poetry. Witnessing this exhibition brought back that dormant part of me to some extent.

It was fascinating to see people from different spheres of life, come together for a few hours, all sharing a mutual love for poetry and a certain cynicism towards life. Also, existential crisis. It was selfishly, very comforting.

It was a wonderful experience and I am so glad Aakriti invited me. I hope I can witness and participate in these more frequently, as time passes by.

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