Monday, October 31, 2011

LBC se Mashvira se Qarvan se jaane kahan tak

The story goes back to the days when I had recently moved to Ahmedabad and was nostalgic about everything related to Lucknow. In those heydays of homesickness, I discovered a group on Orkut, which had some four members and called itself Lucknow Book Club (LBC). Since I love Lucknow and I love books, I love any derivation of the two as well. So I joined the group and for two years, members kept on increasing and we kept on blabbering all the while. I deleted my account on Orkut many times and reincarnated because of LBC only.

And then, some of us decided that it is the time to meet up. Out of many promises, four of us turned up - DokSaab, Sid Basu, Masto, and me. Eventually, more meets took place and then we began talking of bringing LBC from virtual to physical world. That was when nine of us became a signatory to the society of LBC - Shinjini Singh (the culprit of establishing the club in first place), DokSaab Dr. Manoj Singh (who was perhaps the only sane member and hence, was forced to become the president of LBC), Nitin Prakash (who has a printing press business and hence, we exploit him for all our posters and pamphlets), Rajat Mukherjee (a lawyer, for we hoped of doing some book scam sooner or later), Prashant Soni (who reads books and has fathered a child), Nabila Zaidi (a social worker, journalist, and student), Siddhartha Basu (the youngest in the lot with the most serious face), Gaurav 'Masto' Srivastava (the usual engineer, who does everything excellently except engineering), and yours truly (who was away in Ahmedabad and could fake intelligence primarily due to distance).

Now since we had registered a club and had collected some money from some others also (apart from the nine wise ones listed above), we had to do something also. So we kept on meeting and inviting and talking and participating and doing things, which we would have done absolutely in the same manner had we not registered a society. Eventually, we organized some sincere events also, including a five day long 'Hablar'. But all that was primarily due to few dedicated ones who chose to be in Lucknow - DokSaab, Masto, and Nitin. Rest of us mostly kept on with our online wise advices only.

However, thanks to LBC, I achieved  some biggest feats of my life. That was when I was (not) studying in IIM Ahmedabad. One fine weekend, Masto called me to inform that Sheen Kaaf Nizam, Gulzar, and Nand Kishore Acharya will take a poetry workshop in Jaipur under the banner of 'Aabshar' (meaning waterfall). I 'adjusted' some of my work and decided to jump in.I had a wonderful time in Jaipur and have boasted a lot about it with pictures, so let that take a backseat for a while. But what happened there inspired me to take a leap of faith back in Ahmedabad. IIMA Chaos, the annual cultural festival, was on when I returned. I offered a Hindustani poetry workshop there, which had a small number of twelve participants. But two of my professors there encouraged me to make it a regular forum. That is how 'Mashvira' was born. Prof. Rajeev Sharma, a communication professor with deep interest in poetry, became a mentor for the forum.

I chose the name Mashvira because in one of our conversations, Sheen Kaaf Nizam sahab told me that there are three parts of understanding poetry - Mutalia (study or contemplation), Mashq (practice), and Mashvira (consultation). And consultation was what we intended to do in that forum. We had some meetings and, thanks to the good words spread by Prof. Rajeev Sharma, I even got to take some workshops outside IIMA campus also. Mashvira ran successfully for about one and a half years before the time to graduate fell upon me. After that, a very capable friend, Manohar Singh Chaaran pursued the club for a while before it came to a complete halt.

Since I had shifted to IIM Indore as an Assistant Professor by then, I started a poetry forum here as well. The title 'Mashvira' was frowned upon then, I chose the name 'Qarvan', suggested by our initial signee - Jaipal Charan. Since our first meet, Qarvan has gathered many budding learners and writers.Since I am the mentor of the club now, I have started learning Urdu script and exploring beyond the written poetic words - the history and critical evaluation of works. As always, I have been fortunate here also to get some wonderful support from various corners. Prof. Pawan Kumar Singh brought in various facets of the eras of Urdu poetry; Akhtar Parwez, the librarian, assured of any help in Urdu learning; Nishant Uppal, the FPM student, pushed me to keep the effort alive despite initial setbacks; Alok Singh brought Hindi Poetry to the forum; Hussain Haidry shared beautiful Urdu Ghazal writings of his own and collections; Bishakha Majumdar brought Bengali literature with her; Himadri Basumatary and Tejaswini Mantha shared English poetry; and many others shared, listened, contributed, participated, and boosted our collective morale. This time, it is proving to be a real 'Qarvan' of people, genres, and languages.

And some six years later, on a night of meteor shower, a beautiful budding poet - Himadri Basumatary- dedicated this to me during a Qarvan meet:

Everything around him inspires him to write
be it a grave or just a tiny ray of light
he writes of love, he writes of loathe
with equal sincerity; he's loyal to both.

Even silence finds her voice in his lines
and in despair, from his words, hope shines.
and tonight again, to listen to him, as we sit,
let alone stars, even meteors've come to be a part of it.

I am glad for all that came my way - one of the founders of LBC, shared parts of Aabshar, Gulzar Fans, Lovers of Literature, Josh, and Jaipur Literature Festival; and initiator of Mashvira and Qarvan. I hope to attend many more meets, to write many more poems, and to share many more lives :)


deep said...

KUDOS...its so often Hats off..speechless kind reaction after reading you!!!
Btw are you planning to publish.. anything..??

Sid said...

hahaha... that is so nice of you Deep!! But there is a long long way to go... I was reading my old poems few days back and I felt so idiotic of myself :D


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