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The colours of poetry


EXPRESSIONS OF VERSE: `Seethamaareecham Kilippaattu' was staged by members of Sopanam. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar .

It has been a labour of love for Rati Saxena. And it showed in the novel event put together to launch the bilingual web journal dedicated to poetry -, the first of its kind, the poet-researcher turned academic avers.

Rich fare

`Dr. Ayyappa Panicker will talk poetry, Kavalam will act poetry, B.D. Dethan will paint poetry,' said the intriguing invitation card, which whetted one's curiosity. There were more offerings on the platter: Rabindra Sangeet, budding writer Kalyani's sensitive poetry reading, a Punjabi play, a high-decibel rendition of his own poem by D. Vinayachandran, recitation of the passionately committed poem of Punjabi poet Paash, to name a few.

Dr. Ayyappa Panicker quickly proceeded to read the poem `Hymn of the Slippers' by Dr. Saxena who edits `Kritya,' the web journal. By the time the last line was read, the lily-white canvas on the stage was a riot of colours, brought to life by Dethan's brush.

The artist continued, as Kavalam read `Seethamaareecham Kilippaattu' by Dr. Ayyappa Panicker, based on the famous Ramayanam episode. Modelled on the lines of the traditional Kilippaattu by Thunchan, complete with Phalashruthi, this set the tone for the play on the same subject staged by the Sopanam troupe. Imbued with the distinct flavour that is characteristic of Kavalam's productions, it captivated the audience. Particular mention needs to be made of the Ravana by Gireeshan.

The short stories of Amrita Preetam have an earthy tang and several of them feature the travails of the woman subjugated by the patriarchal society.

This issue came alive in Neeta Mohindra's solo performance, an adaptation of one of these stories. The protagonist, a seller of pots, observes that the life of a woman, irrespective of the strata of society she belongs to, is much the same, one of exploitation. The array of emotions that flashed on her face and the freedom from restraints were proof enough that the Spartan props on the stage did not fetter the accomplished artiste.

Typical of an exposition of creative talents, the content of the evening's programme did not conform to the order that was initially fixed; a few unscheduled items were added. The strident recital by D. Vinayachandran of his symbolic poem about the village blacksmith who woke up early in the dawn and hammered away at the hot metal as the hamlet slept, literally and figuratively shook the audience. Neeta Mohindra returned to the stage to recite a fiery poem in Hindi by Punjab's revolutionary poet Paash. `Ham Ladenge Saathi' with its simple but powerful words exhorting the comrade to surge ahead.

In stark contrast was Kalyani's poem, `My Dream in Search of Light' with the young mind on a deep search. `Patang' by Dr. Saxena, deftly wove the images of the colourful but flimsy paper kite, precariously hanging on to a weak string and the hapless woman, which was entrancing by itself, was made even more appealing when Neeta breathed life into lines like, Bhale ghar ki ladkiyaan patange nahi udaya karti, (`Girls from good homes do not fly kites').

Another facet of the Mohiniyattom dancer Pallavi Krishnan was unveiled as she rendered in Rabindrasangeet, `Anandadhara bohiche bhubane' and `Aamar mallika boney'. Although not formally trained, she carried herself off eminently well.

Hindi poetry on the Net

This maiden effort, according to Dr, Saxena is meant to be a window for the poetry lover. She tells you that Hindi poetry, now available on the Net, is usually the contribution of the non-resident Indian who is unable to keep in touch with the new poets, styles and trends.

Translations in Hindi and English will knit poetry lovers from all corners of the globe. The Indology scholar adds, every corner of the country will be represented in Kritya and true to her words, the next issue will focus on poetry from the North Eastern region.

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