Children Shine in SAPNE Spring Event
Amandeep Singh IMAGES
“I cannot remember my mother
only when from my bedroom window I send
my eyes into the blue of the distant sky,
I feel that the stillness of
my mother's gaze on my face
has spread all over the sky.” - Rabindranatah Tagore in “Shishu Bholanath”
On a sunny early spring day, the South Asian Poets of New England (SAPNE) opened its new venture to hear the voices of mothers and children in the community. It was a recitation event held at Burlington Public Library on March 5, 2016. Twenty two reciters joined in an intimate sharing of emotion, joy, fun and pleasure. The children shone brightly with their candor and expressions. There were heart-felt renderings from many mothers and tributes to mothers from the seasoned SAPNE poets.
Bijoy Misra, the Convener of SAPNE, welcomed the gathering. He invited Maya De, an esteemed poet and a mother, to open the meeting. She began by reciting the homage to mother in Sanskrit language traditionally presented in Indian festivals celebrating mother. She proceeded to recite her own composed poem “Ma” in Bengali. The poem remembered the mother far away, who can be busy in nurturing a child, while another child might be anxiously waiting. The mother has a busy life to cater to all, but she loves all.
Sunayana Kachroo, an organizer of the event, started with few couplets from a Ghazal about Mother by famous Urdu Poet Munawwar Rana. She then recited her own poem “Ma Main Bhi Tuhj Jaisi Hee” about her own mother. She understood her mother even more when she herself became a mother. She realized that she was slowly becoming like her mother gradually! Her second poem was a satirical portrayal of the common man and his contradictions.
Harman Deep Singh (10 Year old) paid tribute to Shaheed Bhagat Singh by singing “Main Fan Bhagat Singh da”. The poem celebrated the anti-slavery stand of the late martyr. After that he recited a Punjabi poem titled “Aao Baraf Vich Khaydiye/Let’s play in the snow”, written by his father Amandeep Singh. It is fun to play in the white cotton balls like snow!
Rachna Pandit, a visiting poet from India, read her Hindi poem about the mothers who send their children to the border in the burning deserts or cold Siachen Glacier. She commented that she received inspiration from the great Urdu Poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz. She also recited few lines from Faiz’s poem “In Leningrad”.
Neena Wahi, a Hindi poet, described dreams of a girl child who wanted to fly in the deep blue sky and be free. She followed up a poem describing Krishna and Radha celebrating colorful Holi Raas/dance, to mark the upcoming Festival of Holi.
Anay Mehta (14 Years old), enriched by his experiences while living in India, reflected upon water crisis in his own composed poem. Only a person who lives through water shortage can understand the water crisis in the world. He also recited another poem dreaming life in future.
Abha Chaudhary (11 Years old), recited her original poem “Start of the Weekend” written in frolic to describe the excitement of a child on the close of the week on Fridays. A young kid looks forward to the home and the freedom! The pleasantly delivered poem carried the candor and sentiment of the young pupil.
Srabonti Bandyopadhyay, who writes in English, recited her poem “Little Elf and Pixie.” It was about her two children, who brought magic into her life. She also recited another poem “A Blessing to Give” that described the fleeting nature of mother’s protection. A permanent protection is a blessing to make the children strong and independent!
Swati Dave presented a Marathi poem written by her Kaki Mala Hastak titled “Swayamsidha/ Empowerment”. The protagonist has been leading a safe, secure and contented life since her birth. But her heart aches to be accepted and recognized by the society as a human and not as a woman. She seeks answers to her existence and yearns to become more than a mother, daughter, and a wife.
Harneet Kaur(14 Years old ), beautifully rendered a Punjabi poem “Bulla ki jana main kaun” by a renowned sufi poet Bulleh Shah. Poet doesn’t know who he is, but he knows that he is not a Hindu, Muslim, Arab, Moses or Pharaoh.
Jayent Dave recited his Gujarati poem “Dialog with Mother”, where he asked a question to her mother – “who reads poems?” Poetry is a shortest form of literature but very few read it, intellectuals, capitalist, politicians or poor don’t read them! “A poem is like a fresh water flowing through the mountains, which is not to read but to enjoy,” replied the mother. Poet’s use of Imagery and metaphors to describe the beauty of poetry was elegant.
Ipsita Nanda in her English poem “My Child, My Teacher” reflected that motherhood is the richest experience of her lifetime. Her new born child taught her many life lessons through his naughty but winsome ways. She acquired many gems of wisdom through love and patience.
Manya Sankaran(16 Years old) recited the poem “Joy of Youth” by English poet Samuel Coleridge. Youth is like a spring that doesn’t last very long. The philosophical thoughts in the poem were very well rendered by the High School senior.
Chandu Shah read Gujarati translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Shishu Bholanath” about the poet’s mother. Tagore who lost her mother early in the childhood, couldn’t remember and recall her face, but he could recall the tune of a song that she used to sing, her shiuli flower like aroma, and warmth of her love. He also read a poem titled “Dear Baby” by Meenal Pandya, a SAPNE poet who couldn’t attend the meeting. Poet mother describes that she was also born the day her baby was born, and along with her baby, she also learned new things!
Rosie Kamal, who has been with SAPNE from the beginning, recited a poem written by Sufia Kamal, an award winning Bangladeshi Poet and her mother-in-law - “To the New Born Children” or “Nabajatoker Tore”, translated by Sajed Kamal, the Poet’s son. A true feelings of a mother, who dreams for a day when life will blossom on our Earth, freely, purely and without any malice. A dream that there would be no more divisions and discriminations. The poet hopes for such a joyous world where we all can welcome the newborns with joy and inclusiveness.
Preetpal Singh read a Punjabi poem. With a great sense of humor, he portrayed a domestic scene with pun and jest. A wife asks her husband what to cook in the dinner. After not agreeing on any dish, he tells his wife that he already finished his dinner at a restaurant!
Aunnesha Bhaumick(14 Years old), recited her lovely poem “Paper Flower”- a paper flower she made for her mother on the occasion of Mother’s Day when she was seven. Young poet remembers that during her work she thought and looked around but couldn’t find a perfect word or rhyme to describe her mother’s kindness and love!
Sanjeev Tripathi, a Hindi poet, recited two short poems dedicated to his wife and son. In the first poem dedicated to his wife on the wedding anniversary, the poet longs to express his ardent love to his beloved. The poem expressed that the spring was the best season to express love! In the second poem, the poet offered a prayer to God to fill his child’s birthday with love and light!
Arun Chaudhary presented his Hindi poem “Mukti”. Poet saw an individual as an embodiment of energy and strength. If one could concentrate and stay focused in the life, success and happiness can be attained certainly.
Amandeep Singh, from his newly published book “Kankar Pathar/Pebbles and Stones”, recited his Punjabi poem about Guru Nanak’s message that no one is Hindu or Muslim, we all are children of one God!
Subhash Sehgal, a passionate Hindi poet, recited his poem “Srishti Ki Drishiti”. A mother is born out of fire and in the end everybody merges with the fire, echoed the poet.
Promod Thaker (pen name Krishnaditya), the well-known Gujarati poet concluded the program with his heart-touching emotional poem “An Elderly Mother’s Last Will and Testament”. Elderly mother is taking a trip down the memory lane, and recalling each and every detail of the old town, remembering the stone-grinder used to grind the grains which makes her heart heavy with nostalgia. She is leaving all that treasure, filled with memories for her children, and is ready for her transition to the next world!
The afternoon of poetry was enriched with love for mothers, children and humanity, different yet similar, collectively flowed together, to create a serene and harmonious conflux. With children shining, and mothers smiling, everybody else was proud and happy. All assembled for a “Sapne” group photo. Refreshments were coordinated by Krishna Gazula and photos were taken by Janmejay Shishupal.
The next SAPNE meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Harvard University. Interested poets may contact Bijoy Misra or Chandu Shah