Poetry. This word in itself is so full of poetry . Its magical . Its sad . Its hopeful . Its sarcastic . Its humorous . Its dreamy . And most of all, its love .
It was a few years ago that I discovered the poetic world. And ever since that happened, I’ve been there , never moving away, only growing there itself, with poetry and other poetry lovers.
Its one thing to sit peacefully with a cup of tea/coffee and write poetry, lost in thought. And then it’s a totally different thing to sit in a beautiful place, surrounded by other souls who have been through every phase of their life, living it with nothing but poetry .. Magically transforming feelings into words, and looking for poetry in every place and every thing and in every person they meet .
And to meet such people in life, and to share my words and thoughts with them, thats what I call sheer contentment .
Enivrez-vous de poésie is French for – Get drunk with poetry. Trust me, it doesn’t sound as beautiful in English as it does in French. And yet, isn’t the idea absolutely beautiful? .. It’s a part of a poem by Baudelaire, a famous French poet.
It was Priyanka who introduced me to this poem. Priyanka Kandpal, a lovely Indian woman who I met in France last year, when we were here on our year abroad as teaching assistants. We come from the same city in India, but we didn’t know each other before coming to France . Quelle dommage!
But, better late than never! So I met this wonderful woman who loves poetry as much as I do . She wrote not just in English, but also in our mother tongue – Hindi. I always wanted to write in Hindi too. But nothing ever inspired me to. I always felt like its more convenient to write in English or French. Or that maybe I won’t be able to write well in Hindi, since I don’t have any rich poetic vocabulary. But then I read some of Priyanka’s poems, both in English and Hindi. And the sheer simplicity, and pure way of expression, it absolutely touched my heart!
I used to write a lot when I was doing my graduation, but then for some reason, I stopped writing for a while. I used to read , but I didn’t write for some time. And once I stopped writing, my life was never the same . Because once you’ve given yourself to poetry, and something takes you away from it, you can never feel the same way about life again. That’s exactly what happened with me.
But lucky I was, for I met this woman who inspired me to write again. I told her how I had stopped writing, and she encouraged me to write again, even if I felt I wasn’t good enough.
She read out a few of her poems to me, and I could see myself in those words. As though those words were the ones that I was longing to hear, and longing to say.
The time was right and the country where I was living was beautiful. Nothing could have stopped me then. I went into a nice French shop and bought a lovely little notebook to start writing again. And that’s how I fell in love with poetry all over again .
That’s not all. This woman is a box full of surprises and ideas. She is not afraid of initiating things and making it happen . And that’s why and how Enivrez-vous de poesie began . She started it in Nice, France, where she is currently living. She told me all about it from time to time, and I loved how she was able to plan it and make it happen.
I couldn’t go to Nice, since I live far away up in the North of France. But then Priyanka had plans of coming to Paris. And well, that was it . Paris and poetry, could it get any better?
So then the event was put up on Facebook and everyone was invited. It was supposed to be held on the 14th of March, a Saturday. I reached Paris two days before, and the day before, helped her make the poetry book marks to be given out.
And when the day arrived, sadly, the weather wasn’t too good. And neither was I feeling too well. But it was for the love of poetry, and we had to be there . Even though we had slept for just two or three hours before the event.
We reached Jardin de Tuileries at about noon . That’s where we were supposed to have it . A lovely garden in Paris . Doesn’t that sound awfully amazing? Well, yes, it was!
Soon the people started arriving, and we settled down with food and drinks. Baguettes, cheese, wine, beer, fruits, bread and crisps. And then we started off with the poetry.
Priyanka did a little introduction about the event, and explained how it started and how she was passionate about poetry. And then, she began with her poetry. Hers was an experiment infact .. In Hindi and Urdu, we have something called Ghazal . She attempted to write a ghazal in English! And that, was an amazing idea . She first read a ghazal in Hindi, and then in English, so everyone could understand how it works.
Let me tell you about the people there – It was quite a mix of nationalities. We had a French woman, a French man, a German girl, two Spanish girls, a Hungarian girl, an Italian man, one Indian man and five Indian girls, including myself .
Everyone was free to recite poetry in their own language . And that is the best part about this event . Even though we couldn’t understand most of the other languages, whenever someone was reciting in a language that we didn’t know, we were still listening so keenly. Because really, its the feeling behind the words that counts . And if you can read it with all the feeling of the words, its an absolutely perfect recitation .
And that’s what Joseph (Giuseppe), the Italian guy was successful in doing. He read out poems in Italian and sung a song in Arabic . And my God, that was beautiful! Just the way he expressed the words, it was almost as if we understood the meaning of it!
The Spanish girl – Victoria (well, she is of many different origins but I’m referring to her as Spanish since she has grown up there) – She had some amazing poetry in store for us too . She read out poems in Spanish and English, and she read out from a very pretty little poetry book that she had. How vintage that was!
She also read out lyrical poetry and the ones who didn’t know about it where absolutely amazed by the idea of it. I was too!
I loved how she told us about all her different origins and the fact that she spoke so many different languages! She was quite an inspiration for me. And I’m sure, for others too .
The French man – Nicolas, read some great works of poetry too . One of his poems was about something we had to guess! That was quite an intriguing idea, because then everyone was listening even more closely , and we asked him to repeat it three times! Haha! Apparently the poem was about a shadow, and we were thinking about all sorts of things!
After the poetry, we had a small music session . Victoria had brought her guitar and harmonica, and I had brought my bamboo flute . I’m not that good at it, but I played a little bit . Victoria played many songs and sung along too! That was beautiful.
Then, another Indian girl, Somrita, volunteered to sing in French . She sung some Edith Piaf songs, and my God, that was breathtaking! She was very confident and her voice was beautiful!
Priyanka and I sung an Indian folk song too . And by then, everyone was absolutely chilled out and in a merry mood! Mostly because by this time, the sun was coming out too, and we were smiling at it, with the Eiffel Tower standing tall in the background.
It was an absolutely magnificent day in the garden!
When everyone was finished, and some of us had left, we headed out to look for a café. Of course we needed a hot drink after that windy day in the garden! So we found a cozy little place close by, and sat down to chit chat over coffee . And thats when we gave out the poetry bookmarks and everyone was delighted to receive a souvenir of the event! It was indeed a lovely idea .. All thanks to Priyanka Kandpal! Cheers to this wonderful woman!
I really hope we organize more events like these in the future, and get to meet more and more new poetry lovers from all around the world!
And oh, I forgot to mention myself! I read out one poem in French and five poems in English. And needless to say, I was more than happy to recite to people who loved poetry!