Prince Patron & Patriarch: Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala
In collaboration with the French Embassy in India
Event Misc 3: Poetry Cafe
Venue: Writers Savoy Bar
Panelists: Sandeep Chopra, Sunil Bhandari, Divya Murugesan
Moderator: Ganesh Saili
Date : 20th Nov, 2020
Words have power
Quoting Carl Sandburg from The Atlantic, "Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on
land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the
unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and
why they go away.”
These may be complex definitions to all our emotional responses that evoke us to try writing
poems. If anyone is in their twenties, they would relate when I say that all of us have tried
writing a poem at some point in our mid-teens, not with the feeling of becoming a poet or a
poetess one day, but just because at that moment, they thought, that it was the best way to
express themselves in front of others or to oneself.
After a hectic and tiring day, attending this session was like giving a treat to your ears.
Expression is an art and so is having a way with words. All the panelists in this session had
such wonderful perspectives that it could make people think and realize the importance of
mundane little things that are never talked about in daily life.
The session began with Mr. Sanjeev Chopra reciting an untitled poem from Mr. Robin Gupta,
that talks about longing and detachment. Few lines of the poem were powerful enough to
evoke vivid imagery in all the listener's minds. He also narrated some lines from Mr. Robin
Gupta's Zafar, which is one of his most appreciated works. Towards the end of his part, Mr.
Sanjeev narrated one of his most bold, intricate, and beautiful poems which he wrote after
having a conversation with his daughter in context with the Asifa rape case. The poem was
powerful and emotional enough to make all the panelists numb for a while. It stirred an
emotion that is common to almost every Indian and it lies in closed shelves in our hearts.
Most of the time, it gets ignited by powerful speeches and poems like these but what good
words doth, without actions?
Words might have power but if you have the right voice modulation and tonality, poems can
create magic when you know exactly how to recite them in front of people. Our next panelist,
Mr. Sunil Bhandari who is already an established poet shared a poetic version of a beautiful
memoir of his boyhood days in his hometown, Calcutta.
There is a strange thing about the place that you grow up in, you might leave the place, but it
never leaves you. Mr. Sunil crafted a beautiful poem grieving about the abandonment of his
old city from him which also consequently became the 'epitaph to his irreparably broken
heart'. The last poem by Mr. Sunil reflected upon his relationship with his eighty-six year old
Dad whose Amnesia made him realize the fragility of time and death and about unwanted
goodbyes that we never think of when we have time. To quote my favorite line from his
poem "Time is flexible when you are not at its behest".
How often, do we think about giving life to inanimate objects? How often, do we think about
giving life to places that we visit in the form of words? Our last panelist, Ms. Divya
Murusegan helped everyone in understanding a very different perspective related to life and
traveling in general. She considers people, poetry, and places to be her three P's of life, and
based on that, she articulated a wonderful piece of poetry by personifying places that she
"Delhi is a melting pot of culprits old and new and she will make you run around in
Connaught place" is what she says in her poem.
Poetry is not turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion". It's pretty amazing how
simple words put together properly could make so much sense and make us smile at the
subtlety and awkwardness of life at the same time.