We've all been moved by Sarah Kay's beautiful "If I should have a daughter". If ever we need to explain how poetry can be performed, this is the one video that says it all. Art, culture and theatre events are slowly seeing a rise in urban India which is a healthy trend but we're far away from a point where we can take pride in it. Two young girls, Trupthi Shetty and Ankita Shah, have started a pleasant new wave promoting poetry- The Poetry Club, Mumbai.
The two of them met while in college, studying commerce and pursuing their course in CA. Both of them had an interest in the written word- Akita was Joint Secretary of the Debating and Literary Society while Trupthi was the Editor at the Rotaract Club. In June 2013, they decided to come together and start "The Poetry Club, Mumbai" with the idea to have a group of poets who could share, grow and become better together. "There were events happening in the city but they were mostly competitions which have little or no room for under confident, shy poets something that poets are). We had also discovered spoken word and wanted to popularize poetry through that medium," says Trupthi. They tell their story best via this video:
The duo did not allow audiences or hold slams since they did not want to start out as a competitive event but more like a community. "We are a community that wishes to grow together. Hence the sessions involve feedback. Anyone who writes in any language can attend. There is only one rule - only people with a poem can attend. Feedback is always a little easier to take when everyone has shared a part of them," the duo believes. The Poetry Club also hasn't had an entry fee till date and doesn't want to in the future since they want to make art accessible to all (inspired a lot again by Amanda Palmer's - The art of asking).
The growth has been completely organic and places like The Pint Room Bandra have been kind enough to hold their monthly sessions (for free! No entry fee, no cover charge, no compulsion to buy booze). Sharing how this happened, Trupthi says, "Incidentally, the marketing person Ekta Gulechha was searching literary groups in Mumbai and found us. Before that, we used to have sessions in Kaifi Azmi Park in Juhu and a friend's house with a huge lawn in Andheri." They have gained good traction now and The Poetry Club is getting invitations from venues to hold their sessions.
The founders have been spreading the word mainly via social media (Facebook Page and YouTube Channel) and also run a mailing list. "In the future, we want to start having non competitive events open to audience (free, of course) which will feature some poets from TPC. We also plan to do workshops with schools or colleges with the large arsenal of poets that we have access to," says Trupthi. These two girls have started out following their passion and this might snowball into something bigger for poetry in India. TPC is also a good example of building a community that is strongly knit that stands for the purpose together.
If you're around Mumbai and want to let out the poet from within you, TPC might be a nice place to stop by.