Poetry happened to me when I was perhaps 3 years old….Initially it was clanging , just the sound of few words strung together like a band of flowers…I remember being so pleased saying the synonym of Topsy turvy a popular song in my mother tongue to indicate the first flush of Love ! I must have been a sight , taking twirls singing ” Love is topsy turvy like the big ocean….topsy turvy ….( x 10 times !) Later I was extremely fond of words that made a good sound together , there was always an impulse to find a word pair…..hunky dory ….slip shod…..It was boring to write one word answer. Then I got hurt. Hurt enough to cry and suddenly felt words were not enough. I was feeling more than what I could ever say in words…..I drew a sketch of a girl with tears rolling down and did write a thank you letter to ” Tears”  ….I recall the first few words as ” You kiss my cheeks when I am sad and hug my eyes like a blanket….Did not know you were mine nor that you were inside me….You knew to come when I could find no words….You knew voice was not enough…..thank you for being mine and rescuing me from useless words…….”It won a prize in some poetry contest held in the school , I remember a sense of self -betrayal even as my name was announced , I had entered the contest because of my English teacher , who according to me had over estimated my writing . I felt some day she would call and tell me that I was wasting words. And I felt a bit ashamed of a poem that seemed to sob from a notice board , oddly carrying a Bow !  It was not easy being a poet when I was 13. Everything else about me was awkward except may be the poem ?!  I probably fell in love with Maths around the same time and realized that there was a way to put words together that could make it bigger than the biggest word in the dictionary. There was always a tune that could defeat the words and at times a mere swing in the step …..

Finally poetry as a phenomenon , a coping strategy , a link to sanity , a memory of self buried in passing calendars …occurred like a forgotten pang , anger outburst…. And does not seem to go away…..because of its sheer capacity to capture all experiences in one small scrap of paper….and two words…..sometimes just one word……Poem.

A dry corn in a hot oven….. is the angry flower…..My poem.

Bold and brown
Sulphur ointment
Over an ugly pimple
Flushed
Conquering the first prize
Of the debate contest
Unexpected
Surprised out of all modesty
Even as success smiled
on my lips
Corners of my mouth
drooped in dismay
A boy in the third row
winked
I heard his lewd remark
In all that thunder of applause….

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