Sunday, August 09, 2015

The Poetry Club.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, August 09, 2015

I have to tell you this.

My colony is filled with cats that are pretty frisky. They play, run along the trees and bikes, hide under the cars and broken brick walls making faces at each other, or simply occupy a cozy corner in our balconies for a pleasant afternoon siesta. But there is one kitten -- almost white in colour with two brown spots on it, that is perpetually isolated. It plays on its own, and often pushes itself to seek company of not just its fellow cats but humans too. It leaves after a while though, you’ll never find it spending more than a scheduled amount of time with anyone. Much to my chagrin, it barges into our kitchen to drink the milk I set aside for making coffee.

Funnily, it reminded me of my poetry club at school where I was like the solitary kitten writing poems on the most mundane things right from civics to squirrels. Mostly, on squirrels because they were my favourite subject. No one would visit my club though. With cool things like science club (Of course, it is quite cool) displaying models of solar system and fancy rockets, which child would pay attention to literature? And that too to a club which had just one member.

I wasn’t the one to give up though. I really wanted the kids to appreciate the beauty of poetry and look at the world with an entirely different perspective -- I wanted them to understand the beauty of stars, and love the sight of a pond full of ducks without getting into the details of science behind stars. I was a romantic and I desperately wanted them to experience the profundity of my mighty squirrel talking about its woes to the ruler of the kingdom. To lure more kids into the club, I decided to create and draw attractive posters and sketches with my poems carefully scribbled on them with crayons and sketch pens I adored. I put them in the classroom, and requested a few of my friends who I traveled along with to put a two of them in their classes too. Needless to mention, they were always dominated with the posters of Parts of Speech, and Global Warming. I remember my science teacher telling me how these things matter, and that I was simply wasting my time on literature. Nothing would come out of it, she claimed. I remember how much I hated her when she would urge children not to read stories like Nancy Drew or Malory Towers in the library, instead forced us all to read Britannica encyclopedias only. She probably never understood a right balance had to be created between literature and science. For the longest time, I was distracted in her class owing to her haughty nature of brushing aside everything that wasn’t science.

Before I digress, let me tell you more.

I joined way too many clubs to talk about mine. I joined the Karate club too, and ended up resenting myself. I quit them all mid-way, mostly because no one really cared about poetry as much as I did. Sniff.

Irrespective of all this, my club did manage to get featured in the annual exhibition where I displayed a few of my poems, including a series on the mighty squirrel with a pride.

Sooner or later, I came to terms with the fact that you cannot force poetry on someone. You cannot make people fall head over heels for it. Poetry too is just like love. When people get a dose of it, it would be the most enriching feeling that will last for ages.

P.S. Don’t ask me about the little kitten in my colony though.



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