Monday, February 14, 2011

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) and KGAF Poetry Slam

Went to Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) yesterday. Main objective was to participate in the KGAF poetry slam. (I confess I couldn't cover this festival in detail as I was busy with a project launch and hardly found the time to visit it except for the panel discussion on "Getting Published.")

The festival has changed a lot over the years. There were metal detectors and security personnel this time at the Lion's Gate end and none at the Jehangir Art Gallery end. Beats me! The checking and frisking were perfunctory. More of a routine. When I was finished with the checking I found that there wasn't any space to stand. It had become like the 8.51 local I took every morning for Belapur. Only standing space, and that too I couldn't move a limb for fear of hitting somebody.

God, where did all this people come from! Was my first frantic thought. But then the thought faded as I got swamped by the ethnic chic on display. I wanted to perhaps buy all of them if I had the money: quaint pottery work, quilted jackets and bags, furniture and articles of everyday use, handicrafts, handicrafts, handicrafts, crockery and most of all, food.

Almost everyone had a camera and some were seen posting from their camera to their Facebook and Twitter pages. Guess it shows the power of social media to spread the word virally (a form of marketing where message is passed on from friend to friend by email, Facebook, Twitter.). So I can say viral marketing was out in full force. There were people posing for pictures in front of the sculptures, children being carried on shoulders, lovers cuddling to each other. Hm. Nice way to spend an evening.

KGAF Poetry Slam

Luckily, I got an entry into the Poetry Slam organised by Caferati through a wild card entry. The quality of poetry is of a high order and in previous years there have been quite tough competition. Till now I have been an onlooker, but this year I decided to take a plunge.

Into the first round I found that the poetic sensibility of the Hindi poets were quite keen and sharper than that of the English poets. (This happened to be a mixed slam of English and Hindi poems.) I read sang my poem "Fires of the Faithless" pacing the stage as I did so. Into the second round I began to have apprehensions. Something like a kind of "this isn't going well" feeling came over me. I realise now that my poems weren't contemporary as the Hindi poems were. They were quite general. I sang another poem "Freedom," which had to be cut by a moderator because I exceeded the allotted time limit. Never mind. What was important - according to me - was competing and not winning. I had put myself on stage and performed. I had performed uniquely at that. None of the other poets paced as they performed. Also, I was the only poet who had memorised my lines.

No problem. Lesson learnt from this slam: poetry should touch the heart and there should be a distinct poetic sensibility as the Hindi poets had. There are other poetry slams to write soulful and stirring poetry about.Being busy on the novel I had neglected poetry some what. This may be a stimulus to take it more seriously.

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