Artistes, politicians and litterateurs read poems of Nisar Ahmed to a packed audience
BANGALORE: "Sada ivaru heegeye... " (He's always like that... ), theatre person C.R. Simha had barely read out this first line and most people in the audience whispered Masti.
Of course, they knew it was from Nisar Ahmed's famous poem on the renowned Kannada writer Masti Venkatesha Iyengar, from the collection, Manassu Gandhibazaru.
The poem is a pulsating description of Masti's routine visit to the Basavanagudi Club every evening, capturing his attire the unmistakable umbrella that was perched on his shoulder in the manner of a warrior holding his mace, his deportment and the various stops he made on that main street of Gandhibazar taking on larger-than-life proportions.
With the last two lines, the poem elevates itself from being a mere indulgence in nostalgia to become a metaphor for the urban landscape itself.
In saying, "Sanda jeevanadondu reetiyante, sarala sadabhiruchiya reetiyante", Nisar is also by way of contrast, speaking of the decay in human existence and a way of life.
Rasika Kelo, a group of literature addicts, had organised, Gulmohar, a reading of Nisar Ahmed's poems.
Artistes, theatre persons, politicians and litterateurs read his poems to a packed audience a mix of youngsters trying to gain a foothold into Kannada literature, and seasoned adherents as well. Though not all of them were eloquent readings, most were involved renditions.
There were at least three poems from the Manassu Gandhibazaru collection, his seminal poem "Kurigalu saar kurigalu" from Nenedavara Manadalli, and also from Swayam Seveya Giligalu. Umashri did a fine job of the conversational "Maraatagartiya Maatukate", with her sophisticated tonal variations; though her other poem "Kannada" paled both in content and rendition.
"Vyjayanti" was a convincing read by Chintamani Kodlakere, even with reservations about the poem itself.
So was the case with "Raman Satta Suddi", read emphatically by parliamentarian Ananth Kumar.
Vasundhara Das did struggle a bit, but nevertheless made a sincere attempt. Writer S. Diwakar however, stole the show with his impassioned, spontaneous rendition of the absolutely sensual poem, "Manorama".
The poems that made a lasting impact were "Rangoli mattu maga" read by poet P. Chandrika and "Amma, achara, naanu" by short story writer Sachidananda Hegde.
The two outstanding poems bore a clear reflection of the dilemmas of urban, educated, middle-class Muslim experience.
Even when one assumes a certain kind of integration into the middle-class, Nissar painfully-pointedly exposes you, through episodes where a total assimilation is easier said than achieved.
Nisar also read poems from his Pablo Neruda translations, Bari Maryadastare, and from Nimmodaniddu, Nimmanatagade.
While artist Pa. Sa. Kumar created a work of art, Yati Siddakatte made a caricature of the poet.