Being a single child has its pros and cons like everything else in life. I remember the odd instances of loneliness that crept in, in the absence of siblings or neighbourhood friends (owing to staying in an industrial area). However, adversity is the mother of innovation, and innovate I did. I designed ways and means of keeping the mind busy (studies would soon take over most of it), ‘kill time’, and allow the creative impulses to flow unharboured. That was the time I discovered poetry or rather it found me. The expression of abundant emotions that seemed to find hardly any outlet (owing to a rather withdrawn nature as a child) found a non- judgemental channel in this medium.
The play of communicating what I felt the most about through carefully selected words that would rhyme, intertwining emerging paragraphs to develop a flow, ensuring that more is communicated through less was a challenge that I loved to take up whenever I found the time. Yes, with the passage of time, time had become a constraint. I longed for the moments with the self and the words that would flow through me from the universe using me as a medium. After a long break, spanning over almost 18 years, I sought poetry, once again, to express the voids life had left. It worked wonders.
In today’s world, poetry has sadly lost its value, with just a few takers – a bitter truth I realized when I set out to find a publisher for my first poetry book. After having self-published three poetry books by now, I feel a sense of satisfaction, not from the business viewpoint, definitely not, but from the creative standpoint. Holding your own creation in your hands is, perhaps, much like giving birth. It is such a long journey of determination and struggle, all worth it.
During one of my workshops with young children, aged 13-14 years of age, I was taken aback by how more and more youngsters are taking to this medium to express. Of course, the process is slow, but steady. Besides this, the exercise of the brain with suitable vocabulary; the amalgamation of words, expressions and emotions to make an impact; the use of the voice to strike a chord while narrating; and the introduction of powerful non-verbal gestures to add volume to the written matter is an exciting journey not only for youngsters but for all those who embark on this journey, each and every time.
People often ask: “I simply can’t write. How can I attempt poetry?” There is always a beginning, not with a “I can’t’ but a “I can!” That’s what makes the difference. Poetry is not stereotyped (thank God!). It is endowed with so many styles and formats. One does fit in somewhere. There is acceptance for sure. All that is needed is the will to explore this wonderful medium of expression in a highly technology driven, rather impersonal world of communication that we see more and more of in today’s times.
Sarah Berry, the Indian School of Public Policy