An empowering session of poetry and shared thoughts presented by the 100TPC and US Consulate Mumbai at Kitabkhana
In all its power and beauty, poetry spoke out this evening for women; yearning to empower, urging for oppression to end. And the death-knell, it said, is in the words spoken out aloud by women - those who raise their voices against oppression make sure that it'll end.
This evening the US Consulate Office, Kitabkhana, Radiocity & NSPA partnered with the 100 Thousand Poets for Change, on the theme of empowerment.
The evening began with Arundhati Subramanian's beautifully articulated thoughts on themes close to the heart - from the 5:30 Andheri local poem every Mumbaiya will relate to, to the anguish at doors behind closed rooms.... softly surging towards reflections of a mother....and held us spellbound at the deft power of poetry to say that which cannot be easily said....
Harnidh Kaur, a young poet, fiercely demanded to be heard, to be counted and to stand up for oneself in no uncertain terms. We love her confidence, her chutzpah, her elan...
Maya Sharma Sriram, Elle Fiction Award Winner 2010, and author of Bitch Goddess for Dummies, urged all to break the age old chakravyuha.... those old habits handed down through generations without a single word being uttered!
Ramya Pandya held us in her thrall with her fiesty, fiery, fabulous words 'I am a the only woman in an interview....
I am the face that gets slapped for being better....i am the kanjivaram draped hastily, in a mutiplex bathroom, minutes before the wedding...i am the reigning superwoman!
Her feminism is... please dont call me chic.....
Labels fade off, names wash off...She loves the mirror, and her vanity....My feminism is not hard...she cries....i love children...shes shameless, not nameless....made for sex, not a sex object....'.
Oh, we love you Ramya!
Smita Sahay, co-editor of Veils, Halos & Shackles, read her powerful poem 'Coronation of Shilavati'. Every time i hear that poem, a new nuance comes forth...and this time it was the quiet anguish of the last lines, rebuking Shilavati's silence.
Smita read Jane Bhandari's poem Widows and the beautifully perceptive Fertility Clinic....where the power remains with women and they wear their men like handbags!
Kamlakar Bhat read his translations from Kannada...he is an Associate Professor of English Literature at Ahmednagar college.
Menka Shivdasani read Sampurna Chatterji's works...All the Goddesses Gathered at my Door stood out with its intense emotion and imagery.
Pervin Saket, author of Urmila, recited a poem from Veils Halos & Shackles, by Heena Pandya, called Gallery. She said she selected it because of its magical play with structure & form, an experiment she herself was doing at present by borrowing architectural ideas of inner/outer spaces, for poetry. Gallery gave us three perspectives of the same incident by speaking in the first person, second person & third person to some striking effect!
Sharon Irani, surprised to find herself announced on stage by Menka, read a short poem ' Benediction....a double edged weapon against the world. Eloquent, efficient use of words to great effect.
All in all, a beautiful, inspiring evening, full of empowering thoughts...and some really great music by Natural Streets for Performing Arts.