The other day, it turned to be unique experience for the commuters in Gurgaon’s Rapid Metro. Instead of the usual silence and some muted conversations, they got a chance to enjoy verses by members of Poets’ Collective. The motion of the train and the sing-song intonation of the renderings synchronised to produce an atmosphere of joy instead of the usual monotony of the journey. The train designated as the Poetry Express had a coach reserved for a poetry session open to poets and listeners alike was the result of an initiative taken by the Metro and the Collective.
The poet-duo of Puneet and Shiva gave a romantic start to the proceedings with their rendition “Kabhi aankhon se likh do kuch, meri aankhon par; ki haya ki har jhuki nazar ka, gunahgaar tumhara zikr ho.” Others who followed included Ambikesh Sharma, Prateek Pandey, Nimisha Srivastava, Anurag Vats, Aniket Basu, Shibani Das, Trisha and Saagorika. It was interesting to note that though the participants hailed from diverse backgrounds and professions, what brought them together was their love for words and their passion to use them to bring joy, smile and happiness among the listeners.
Talking about his inspiration Puneet, who came in contact with the Collective through the Facebook, said, “Everything. You need to have a different vision, and you will find; nature and our vicinity are full of poetic stimulus. I am also passionate of reading cantos. There are a number of good writers at present.” When asked who his favourite was, he promptly said, “Harivansh Rai Bachchan.”
On one hand there was fire brand Pawan pouring his anguish against discrimination in the society. His lines, “Kahin aansu ke tapakne se aate hain zalzale; kahin khun kee barish mein patta bhi nahi hilta,” stunned the listeners for a brief moment but sent them into raptures after that. Another poet who garnered much accolades and applause was Tausif, who got the attention of the mehfil with “Ishq aisa kiya hai ki khud bikhre pade hai; tammna ye hai ki dum unka nikle.” The poet answering a query from a commuter observed that poetry has no boundaries and give unlimited joy to all. Dhruv a student of IIT, Delhi mesmerised everyone when he sang Ameer Minai’s famous lines, “Sarakti jaaye hai rukh se naqab aahista, aathista” made popular by legendary Kishore Kumar and ghazal singer Jagjit Singh.
The bunch of poets led by Saumya Kulshrestha, founder of the Collective, a writer by passion and profession embarked on the poetic journey at Sikanderpur Rapid Metro Station.
Speaking about the forum she said: “Poetry is our oldest heritage and we are striving to preserve and popularise it.” Started in 2014, the collective has gained wide acceptance. Vikramjit Singh Rooprai, president of Youth for Heritage Foundation, said the foundation supported this initiative as it fits well with their objective of connecting past with the present in order to improve the future. “Everyone is so engrossed in their daily chores and fight for survival that they do not get chance to celebrate life. Celebrations like Poetry Express help and encourage enjoy life by going beyond the mundane.”
The Poetry Express, Saumya feels, will help in the forum’s endeavour to create listeners and help in connecting the disconnected with rhythm and rhyme. Highlighting that poetry transcends frontiers and goes beyond reason is bound to touch the chord with listeners.
Saumya was right as every station saw more and more commuters being drawn to the proceedings in the compartment. So engrossing it was that some got off at the destination station despite their heart suggesting otherwise while others following Oscar Wilde’s advice decided to overcome the temptation by yielding to it.