Wednesday, 27 February 2019

A Date with Literature, Culture and Art: What We Learnt at Hyderabad Literary Festival, 2019

 All Smiles: Members of Quills Literary Club enjoy some light moments at  Hyderabad Literary Festival, 2019. 

The 9th edition of Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) took place from January 25th -27th, 2019 at Hyderabad Public School. With this year's Guest Nation being China, the festival kicked off with showcasing many stalls and exhibitions celebrating literature, poetry and art in many forms. Numerous literary and poetry sessions were held throughout the 3 day celebrations along with stage talks and cultural events. Special focus was put on Chinese literature and films and delegates from China, along with other imminent personalities, spear-headed the festival. Some of the students of RBVRR Women's College, who volunteered at HLF this year share their interesting journeys. 

Our Lovely Lecturers at HLF , Department of English, RBVRR Women's College 

Mounica:  I was fortunate enough to volunteer as a content writer in the social media team at HLF 2019. My job as a volunteer differed from others as in, I had to write summaries/reports of the Literary sessions and workshops that took place at the Festival and upload them on a website to promote the Festival. I never imagined I'd find interest in our constitutional laws or the ambiguity of religions or if Gandhi would be relevant today; but throughout the duration of HLF, I was exposed to many amazing workshops and sessions that I regret not knowing about HLF before this year. Attending sessions and rushing to write reports was a little exhausting but at the end of the day, when I'd submit my reports to the team editor; the satisfaction I felt couldn't compare to anything else. I also had the privilege to meet famous authors, speakers and poets. The way people from all walks of life came together to celebrate literature was inspiring to me; I now dream to return to HLF a few years later as a speaker too. Volunteering at HLF is

easily the richest experience of my life and I can't wait to go back next year to learn and grow a little more.

Proud Moment for QLC Members: We received certificates from the Directors of HLF, Prof. T. Vijay Kumar and
Kinnera Murthy ma'am

Anisha: I’ve never had the opportunity to volunteer at a festival, let alone one pertaining to literature. This opportunity was completely unexpected. Initially, I was quite apprehensive but now I’m quite pleased that I had made the right choice in choosing to volunteer. The entire HLF experience was new and unique. Though it was hard work, I had taken to it and that’s when I perhaps found the running around and writing summaries as fun rather than tedious. Overall, HLF has been a platform through which I have been able to work on language and communication skills; and maybe I’ve taken a step further in dealing with my  fear of challenging social situations.

Proud to be nominated as 'Best Reading Club' by India Reading Olympiad

Pranathi: I volunteered for the Hyderabad literary Festival 2019, in the social media group as a content writer. This was my first time volunteering for such an incredible festival. This experience was a journey of self-discovery. As a student of  Business Management, it's important for me to be able to interact with others and improve my skills. HLF was a platform where I met new people an enriched my knowledge further. I volunteered for all three days of the festival, and every person I met was a veteran in some or the other field. My work at HLF included attending sessions, summarizing it and uploading it on social media platforms. This little work had given me a sense of responsibility and It feels special to be recognized by people for what we were doing. This journey taught me a lot and helped me discover myself. It was stressful but fun too. I hope to be a part of HLF as long as I can.

Anooksha: HLF 2019-The cocoon breaking experience of my life. All my fellow volunteers and I were nervous and excited before the initiation of the festival; I was hesitant if I would be good enough to volunteer for such a huge event. The very first day of HLF, I had already learned so much and I realized that nobody was expecting you to be perfectionist; mistakes are okay. The whole event was inspiring with beautiful poetry, interesting stage talks and beautiful art pieces.  Standing in the middle of a crowd full of intellectuals, great writers, important personalities helped me realize where I stood in life. Being in the visual-content creator team was a wonderful experience; covering the event, interviewing people, and capturing moments felt like a special job. We had to step out of our comfort zone to do the job so as to not let down our team coordinator and make the pictures of the event look as lovely and happening as it was in reality. In a nutshell, HLF is one of those experiences one needs to experience at least once in their lifetime; an journey where we learn, explore, reconnect with art and literature and find ourselves. The art, the book stalls, messages through the beautiful installations, the dances and cultural events in the evening and everything else was such a beautiful experience.

Rithika: We are always so focused on either being a part of the audience or being on stage that we never pay attention to the behind-the-scenes work. This is what I felt when I volunteered for HLF. It was refreshing and wonderful to see from a different perspective; to be that person who can observe everything that is happening around and capture them, not only on camera but also in our mind's eye. This experience has fueled my thirst for literature and showed me that there is a lot more I have to learn. HLF has given me a glimpse of a world where everything is overflowing with colors rather than the monotone of black and white.

We are incomplete without crazy Selfies :)

Sunday, 24 February 2019

If Colors Had Sounds: The Winning Essays (2)

The little girl picked up a red block and examined it. She frowned and picked up a green block this time, examining both the blocks in her hands. She knew they looked different but all she could see were varying shades of grey. She knew she was different too. Mrs. Claudia, her favorite doctor, told her so. 

She had said,"Ella, you're different. There are colors you cannot see but that doesn't mean you're weird. You are a special type of different."

Ella put down the blocks and remembered how sad her Mommy and Daddy had been that she was different. They did not tell her out loud of course, but she heard her Mommy crying at her bedside that night. A sudden question flashed in her mind and she picked up as many blocks as she could in her tiny hands; and skipped over to her Mother, who was preparing dinner in the kitchen. Her Mother was humming a tune under her breath and swaying her hips. Ella loved music; maybe it was because her Mommy sang to her every night. She quietly placed all the blocks on the table and called to her Mother, "Mommy?"


"If colors had sounds, what would they sound like?"

Her Mother turned around surprised and gave her an almost pitiful smile before she turned off the stove and sat across from her. "Hmm...let's see, which color do you want to know about?"

Ella tried to pick the most interesting shade of grey she could see among the blocks. "What about this?" she asked tentatively. 

"Oh! Red! Well, that's brilliant!" her Mother gasped.

"It is?" she asked cautiously. 

"Yes, of course! If red was a sound, it would be a very loud sound! Like your Daddy's snores!" 

Ella giggled while her Mother picked up another block and held it up.

"And this is yellow! If yellow was a sound, it would be your uncontrollable laughter!"
Ella clapped gleefully. She liked how the colors sounded.

"Pink! Oh, I love Pink!" her Mother said showing her a block.

"Then it can be the sound of your singing Mommy! I love it when you sing!"

Her Mother laughed gently and kissed her forehead.

"What about this Mommy?"

"Green! Let's see, it could be the sound of leaves dancing in the wind."

Ella tried to remember everything her Mother was saying. She did not want to forget these sounds of the colors. They sounded beautiful.

"And this is blue," her Mother continued,"It has a very sad sound because it is the sound of you crying." Ella made a mental note to not cry too much in the future. She did not want to be blue.

"And what about this Mommy?"

"Oh, that's orange. It is the sound of your Daddy's car! Vroom Vroom!"

"Is Daddy's car orange Mommy?"


And so, by the time her Father came back home in his orange car, Ella had learnt all the sounds of the colors.

                                                                                               - Mounica Alamuri,
                                                                                                  B.A. 2nd Year.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Flowers and Fathers: Poems By Tahreen

Blossoming Life
They come in different colors,
And weave a charming garden for others.
They come in blue,
They come in pink.
Their petals give a clue,
Of their genetic link.
Children view them as a toy,
Youngsters take them as joy.
Lovers find them alluring,
While the old find them soothing.
Their sweet-smelling fragrances,
And their honey-sweet nectar.
Some pluck them to study,
While some pluck them as a hobby!
Red, yellow, white, purple,
Violet, indigo and mauve of lilacs.
Decorating houses, hair, clothes
And carriages drawn by horses!
The poor sell them for their living,
The rich wear them for their glamour.
Daffodils, roses, lilies,
Sunflowers, lotuses and tulips.
Jasmines, lavenders, orchids,
Blossoming life beyond limits!

My Father
The one who taught me to live,
And the one who taught me to love God.
The one who helped me when I was down,
The one who always knew the reason behind my frown.
He always held me up,
And never let me down.
The only one after my mom,
The only one with me in a storm.
The one who never cared for his needs,
The one who taught me about good deeds .
Oh Daddy!
I'm happy to have you,
'Cause in my book of love,
You're chapter one!
- Tahreen Fatima.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

If Colors Had Sounds: The Winning Essays (1)

An idle brain is a devil’s workshop; but is it really? I would say, an idle brain is a budding industry; firing your thoughts, swirling and mixing them like a potion in a bubbling cauldron.
The world is defined by our senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Oh! The sensations they cause, setting our nerve endings on fire with electricity.
What if two senses could merge? Would it give birth to a better feeling? The feeling of nirvana?
“What if colors had sounds?”
The world, so colorful and bright, ready to overwhelm our senses.
The red in the beautiful sunset sky; rings your ears in a high pitched sound; soothing yet exciting like that of the E string on the violin.
The yellow hue of the canary; fills you with happiness as you sit back in a paroxysm of joy, the beautiful jumpy rhythm of drums and the strum of guitars.
The bright blue sky, harbinger of thoughtfulness with the sound that relaxes your nerves like the contemporary rhythms and blues.
The pink of childish playfulness; gives the sensation of a happy child’s laughter, rising your spirits up to the heavens.
The white of the floating clouds, to wipe your fears away like the monotone of a flute.
But wait, all these will not sound like themselves if it weren’t for the one color that counteracts them. Alas, they are feelings, but what makes them joyous is the blackness of space; like something waiting to be painted, waiting for someone to fill the silence with the song of colors.
The majestic color black, signifies silence and the hopeful wait; patiently trying not to drift away into utter, dejected darkness.
- Anisha Bodapati
BSc BtCFs 1st year.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Darkness And Pretence

                                                Empty Wishes

Wish I had cold that
Would remove the traces of fleeting warmth
Wish I had agony that
Would numb me from these illusions of joy
Wish I had darkness that 
Would shield me from this blinding light
Wish I had death that 
Would free me from this traitorous life

                                                Musings Before Dawn

Laying in my bed wide awake,
Tossing and turning in my sheets,
Never have I felt so lifeless;
Staring into the hole of emptiness,
That is nowhere close to the void in my chest,
I know my heart is pounding;
But with each beat, all I feel is agony.
Wallowing in the darkness of my mind,
That left me drowning in loneliness,
I wish for dawn to come soon.

                                             Society's Workings

Everything is alluring and perfect on the surface,
For mirages are often bewitching,
But do not look too close into the mirror,
For if you do, there is nothing,
Except for ash and smoke.
A careful smile plastered on the face,
No one wonders who that smile is for, 
The smile that masks doubt and envy;
So carefully put and practiced that, 
No one knows how shallow it is.

                                                                                         -  Rithika Varam,
                                                                                             MZC 2nd year.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

"When She Spoke", a Spoken Word Poem by Asfiya Khanam

"When She Spoke"  was first performed by Asfiya, at the Slam Poetry Evening by the US Consulate, Hyderabad, August 24, 2018

She was fire, she was light
Her writings were her might 
No,no,no she was not blessed with mythical eyes
But an ordinary girl, plump with metaphors and smiles

She had her heart flowing from a deep blue cup

She also fell but always stood up
She desired to express but was scared of being judged
She wrote and wrote, it was smudged

But remember she was bent not broken,

Her fingers crafted little boats and like Noah's arch
They sailed the deluge,
Of sorrow, pain and more pain

In a brief brightening moment, she stood tall

On the shoulders of women, who balanced on hips
And hands of many, many other women...

What smoldering acrobats of thoughts!

Darting across time, cultures, latitudes

Frida, Slyvia, Virginia, Talisma, Malala
She was one among them, her words wetting soils
Harvested hearts and embalmed ruptured eyes
Picked stars from the skies to illumine the night of despair

Our dear girl,

Rose beyond the rain-fragrant pines
Soared through unknown galaxies
But it was too much, oh so much 
For smaller souls to bear

Could she dare, really dare to disturb the universe?

They broke her again!
"She was no hero!" they said
Just another of many privileged voices

"Oh she talks about love! "

"Where's the war? Where's the politics?"
So they dragged her out of hopeful bubble
And flashed at her threats, threw words at her 
Like pots and pans; made sure she bled, wept and vanished!

But little did they know 

She was a soldier, a warrior, a poet
Who many times like her sisters, salvaged humanity
No bullet could wipe her imprints in the sands of time
She inked her legacy onto every life she touched

Like a thunderstorm in a desert,

She will stun parched fields 
For the next time she speaks
It will not be 'me' and 'I', but 'we' and 'them'
And she has dreamed of being wrapped in the night sky

Of a country beyond the borders of scarves and veils

Of a land with no curfews, where women like her
Brown and black and yellow and white
Rich, poor, Hindu, Muslim, christian, Jew and Buddhist 
Would hold a pen and brandish it in the air 

And drown in their passionate ink

All fears, censors and perils of the world
I tell you again, in a simple oracle,
That she had no cape or mysterious cloak
But she left behind a trail of fire and smoke,
When she spoke 
 every time she spoke

                                                                        - Asfia Khanam 

Friday, 19 October 2018

Au Rythme des Relations: An Evening of Interactive Poetry Reading

“Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash” 
                                  Leonard Cohen  
                                           Poets (from Right): Mona, Rebecca, Paresh, Srividya, Jhilam

 To brighten up the remains of the day, poetry lovers of 
Hyderabad gathered at Alliance Française, on the 28 th of 
September, 6.30 pm, to attend Au Rythme des Relations: An 
Evening of Interactive Poetry Reading.
The event was organized jointly, by the institute and Ms Jhilam Chattaraj, poet, author, Assistant Professor, RBVRR Women’s College. 
The Key-note
The aim of the evening was to diffuse the usual distance between the audience and poets and comprehend the various rhythms of human relationships through poetry.  

Aude Emeline Loriot N, Director, Alliance Française inaugurated the program and felicitated the poets.
Poet, Srividya, being felicitated by the Director
Mini Nayani, Cultural co-coordinator, introduced the artists. 
Jhilam announced the objectives of the event and moderated the session. The new and experimental format created a space for instant and live feedback to every poem that was read out.  

Extreme left: Ms Mini Nayani, Cultural Co-ordinator along with audience 

Poets were requested to read their poems even twice and 

explain their craft to the audience. The participant poets

were, Elizabeth Kurian Mona who read ghazals in English

and Urdu, Rebecca Vedavathy, read the French translations 

of Mona’s poems and also a few of her own, Srividya 

Sivakumar read poems from her book, The Heart is an Attic

Paresh Tiwari read from his book Raindrops Chasing 

Raindrops  and Jhilam Chattaraj read from her newly 

launched book, When Lovers Leave and Poetry Stays.  

The session is on!

In the first round, the poets read verses on love, longing and loss;it set the pace of the event. The second round was led by the audience. 

Our Lovely Audience 

They selected a poet of their choice and a theme and relevant poems were read out.  The high-octane tempo of the evening reached its peak when a la mushaira atmosphere was created by the English ghazals of poet, Mona:  the audience wah-wahed along with her couplets, displaying an inspiring mélange of eastern and western cultures; something that late, Indian-American-Kashmiri poet and popular English ghazal writer, Agha Shahid Ali had once envisioned.

Students, HR Executives, painters, influencers, academicians among the audience shared the auditory, psychological and aesthetic effects of the poems on them. 

Eminent guests: Mr Vijay Marur and Mr Sanjay Gadhalay 

They explained how poetry reading sessions like the present one enabled the poem to be free of the torturous interpretations they were taught to infer due to the influence of complicated pedagogical methods often used in schools.

Poets among Audience 
The novel approach to the Reading was the first of its kind in the city. It demystified the processes of writing and offered the audience a peek into the craft of poetry. The event set a new benchmark for poetry readings in the city- audience is no more the passive listener but an active participant. The audience was also treated with elegant book marks with quotations from each poet’s work. 

Poets guided the audience cross the bridge of poetry and meet them and thus marking the beginning of a beautiful and lasting friendship.