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.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Friendships & Reflections: Two Poems by Priyanka and Ritu

On Friendship   

Friendship is a roller coaster of highs and lows  
    Some friends can't stay apart nor wish to be torn.
Some struggle to rescue their drowned liaisons
    And some cheer on their comrades from afar:
They come in gangs of geeks and clique of jocks
    They are partners in crime and peas of a pod
    They stand firm and brave against the harsh wind
    Trusting and leaning on each other to hold tight
    They think they're invincible against all charges
    Yet, they wobble and sway against the test of time.

    Opportunities knock at their doors and hearts change
    Priorities re-arrange and promises long forgotten  
Friendships are crazy pacts and silly ties 
    So easily tossed away in the hurdles of life
    Yet some few and true friendships never fade 
    Still standing side by side against the harsh winds
                                                                   -  Priyanka Dubey,
                                                                             MZC 2nd year.


      Always wandering around in the dark,
       I've practiced to put on a deceiving mask.
Maybe it is too late to reach for the light
       And yet, till the end all I'm doing is fight.
  Every effort I put in seems to be less
       And every cry of help I scream, useless.
 Yet I stand up again and brace my soul
       For the voice in my head is too loud to ignore.

                                                                            - Ritu Sarda, 
                                                                               MZC 2nd year.                                                      

Changing Paths: A Moving Confession by Bhakti Matur

 Walk On !

Sometimes, we all make wrong decisions. We suffer as a result, and we regret them. We become unhappy and curse ourselves, because we think we cannot change them. 

Everyone in their lives must have come across such experiences. For me, my decision to join an engineering college, was the one I regretted. I had studied an electronic course for only two semesters and yet, the failures I experienced and the humiliation I faced, for not being a good student, pained me greatly. 

I realized, after a while, that my heart wasn't in this and that this was not the path I wanted to take, but I didn't give up. I tried again, I wanted to endure and get through because everyone around me somehow were capable of doing that. My last attempt at redeeming myself didn't quite work and I failed miserably than all the times before. At that point, my parents had made their frustration towards me clear and my friends taunted me. I had enough and I decided to change my course and do what I desired, which was literature. 

It was hard going against the norm, especially when everyone around you believes that your dreams are childish and will get you nowhere in life. Taking up B.A and doing what I wanted to do was perhaps the most scariest moment in my life but now, I can say that it's the best decision I've ever made. I'm really happy with what I'm learning now and I enjoy it immensely. 

Maybe it's true that you have to do what you love because the best of you shines through. My self-confidence is at an all-time high and I'm slowly coming out of my shell, trying to communicate. I'm exactly where my past self wanted to be and I couldn't be happier. But  life doesn't always go smoothly. I still have to explain to others why I supposedly made such a rash decision or why I supposedly took a path that has no future.

 My parents, although supportive of my decision, ask me the same questions sometimes because they feel like they have a reputation to uphold in society. However, I don't let such things affect me anymore. 

At the end of the day, my happiness is important. Despite what people say, your happiness is more important than your parent's or your friend's or your neighbor's. Sure, being an engineer or doctor is great but why settle for them when your options are endless?

                                                                                                            Bhakti Matur,

                                                                                                                  B.A Second Year.

Friday, 14 September 2018

A Peek Into My Soul

"Poetry is a cure to me; It crawls deeply into the darkest corners of my soul and slowly, gently, heals."   

     People change like the seasons, she learnt
     Warm like the spring breeze in one tick
     Icy, like the median of a winter in the next
     Why did they have to change? She pondered
     The short nights of summer passed
     And so did the fleeting days of winter
     Silence dragged on and she wondered
     Is it because she clings onto their branches
     Like the leaves do in the Autumn skies
     Or simply, because she bares her soul
     Like a peacock dancing in the rain;
     Watching the sky paint itself with a million stars
     She realized; maybe it's not her after all
     Rain had to come to fill what Summer had drained
     Spring had to come to revive Winter's ruin 
     And virulent people had to leave...
     All so she could learn to love herself 
     the way she truly deserved to be.

                                                                                                 Priyanka Dubey,
                                                       MZC II Year.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Suffering: A Poem by Srilekha Sagar

The word ends with a ring,
During which the resolve swings.
Two sides of the same person fight,
Victory depends on the person's might.

Suffering is encountered by every person,
Some have it shallow, some have it deep.
The tenure of suffering might be bitter,
But it serves as a bad thought emitter.

Suffering can be physical or mental,
But never losing hope is vital.
It may be sorrowful,
So, you need to be careful.

To end suffering you may swallow poison,
But that is a fake medication.
 You should try to cope,
For if you try, you can see the sun.

                                                                               - Srilekha Sagar.

Monday, 11 June 2018

The Way we Were: HLF 2018 by V. Neharika and Navya Verma

"One of the best experiences I've had in my life so far, is being a part of the Hyderabad Literary Festival. Initially, I was not clear about my role as a volunteer but when I attended the first day of the fest, I learned that I was a member of the Registration department. In the duration of the three days of the fest, I communicated with different people of different states and different countries. There were two events that I liked the most in the fest. First, was the exhibition called 'Good Food' where we had to eat a fruit and write down the memory we have associated with it, on a rock. I found this concept to be very creative. Second, the 'Youngisthan Ukkad' in which they introduced new elements in the form of featured acts, street gallery and Mehfil, along with an open mic. HLF has helped me greatly in improving my volunteer skills. I sincerely thank all the directors and organizers of HLF for giving me such a good opportunity. I also thank my College, the Principal and our Lecturers of Commerce department for permitting us to volunteer at HLF. I also convey my heartfelt gratitude to Grace Madam, Jhilam Madam and 'Quills literary club' for introducing us to HLF."

                                                                                   -  V. Neharika.
                                                                                   BCOM IIIC

"I recently participated as a volunteer in the Hyderabad Literary Festival, 2018. This was my second time as a volunteer for HLF, as I had already participated in HLF 2017. It was a wonderful experience last year and hence, I was excited for this year as well. HLF is an yearly, international event where writers, artists and well-known personalities gather from all over India and other countries alike. This year, Spain was the guest Nation while Kannada was the Indian language in focus. I choose to volunteer for the workshops, as I wanted to participate in them and gain knowledge, along the way. I was put in charge for the 'Tree Of Life' workshop which included Story Telling by Arati Kodali, Story Writing by Toral Shah, Creating Monsters and Other Night Creatures by Ana Cristina Herreros. With the help of these workshops, I learnt the importance of stories and different ways of describing a story. It was fun to make the monster mask and I was satisfied as I had made my own mask, well. Tree Walk, Rock Walk and Heritage Walk were also conducted at HLF, this year. Through these walks, I learnt the names and importance of trees, heritage buildings and rocks in our surroundings. I was interviewed by reporters from Sakshi TV regarding HLF and to motivate people to visit HLF. Even though I was a little nervous since it was my first time to do an interview, I felt happy watching it later with my parents. I was also delighted to meet Sanjana Kapoor, the daughter of Shashi Kapoor, as she was one of the speakers at HLF 2018. I also met the author Sudeep Nagarkar, whose notable works are 'Few Things Left Unsaid', 'It started with a friend request' etc. Overall, the environment at HLF was very friendly and peaceful. I miss the fun and good ambiance of HLF as it was a much needed break from the assignments, records and lectures in my routine."
                                                                                   -  Navya Varma.
                                                                                   BCOM IIIC

Friday, 9 March 2018

Women's Day 2018- Time For Some Celebrations

Aneesha Srivastava


In times past, women were confined to household works such as cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and raising children. They were not allowed to get involved in political, legal, economic or social affairs. Up until mid the 20th century, the society was largely patriarchal as men played the role of the breadwinner in the family while women struggled for gender equality. Over the span of decades, however, women's conditions have considerably improved. So, what brought upon this change?

During periods of war, women were drafted into the labor market to undertake work that was previously restricted only to men. While their husbands, sons, fathers and brothers were off fighting in the wars, women had to earn their own livelihood. However, following the wars, they invariably lost their jobs and had to return to the domestic scene. The changing role of women in society was a result of this work that they did during the war. Women had tasted something akin to independence during this time and they were unwilling to let go of it. Early in 1932, a young woman named Amelia Earhart was the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her inspirational story also encouraged many women to push boundaries.

The rights women enjoy today are the rights women in the past fought for diligently. Compared to the past few decades or so, women have relatively improvised their lifestyle. Now, women hold a reputable position in the society. They are present in civil, defense, judicial, business and corporate sectors and often hold higher positions than their male counterparts. While there is no doubt that modern women have it better in terms of education, employment and political involvement, they are still discriminated against.
 The constant harassment women face in their workplace or houses, whether sexual or emotional, stands as a testament to this. Females were often considered physically and emotionally weak, and this misconception had paved the way for centuries of suffering at the hands of men.

In the United States, which is now touted as the Leader of the Free World, July of 1848 saw Elizabeth Cady Stanton penned down the words “All men and women are created equal” on the “Declaration of sentiments and resolutions” - the sister equivalent of the “Declaration of Independence”- which dealt with woman's rights exclusively. One hundred and seventy years have passed since, and yet, society seems unwilling to accept this simple notion.

The Indian government has aimed for gender equality by passing the Sarda Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, among other, and has set up the Ministry of Women and Child Development. However, the Indian society still binds women to draconian gender norms and degrades her value. They often seem to forget that women are just as important to the development of society as men.

For centuries, men have taken center-stage, basking in the spotlight, while conveniently forgetting the women behind the scenes who worked hard for them to stand on it. A woman is an equal part of society and is not meant to be overshadowed by men. They are a man's companion, not their property. In the makings of a great state or country, a woman's contribution can never be overlooked.

Hence I urge every woman to stand strong. Fight for equal rights. Never feel inferior to anyone. Establish your identity in the society. Before a mother, sister, daughter or wife, you are first and foremost, a woman. A woman without whom the world is incomplete and without whom life cannot be possible.

My Inspiration: A Women's Day Special

Soma Komal

The woman who inspires me is Dr Sunitha Krishnan. I admire her because of the work  she has done to save women and children from trafficking. Dr. Sunitha Krishnan has completed her doctorate degree in psychology. To give a good life to women and children who were once sold as sex slaves she started an organization named "Prajwala,"which is a pioneering anti-trafficking organisation.
Two visionaries, brother Jose Vetticatil, and Dr Krishnan joined forces to initiate an intervention called 'Prevention through Education,"which initially consisted of a small school program run in a transition center. Prajwala, the organization was started in the year 1996 with the main mission of tackling trafficking of girls and women in the country. She faced life threatening situations a number of times, which she and her team braved through with the conviction that their cause is worth all the risks they were taking. The enormity of the situations and the vastness of the task did not stop her and her efforts from making a small change in this community. I got inspired with her courage to face any situation being a woman. She received many awards for her work, globally. Recently, she received the Padma Shri award by our former president Pranab Mukherjee for her film Naa Bangaru Thalli, which was produced by her and directed by her husband, Mr. Rajesh. The film showcased the exploitation of women through sexual slavery and prostitution. One of her show was telecast in the programme, Satyameva Jayate, which visualizes all her work and her mission to make India an anti-trafficking country and to save women and girls. 
I have been impressed by the way she speaks on the stage for any program and the way she explains her plans. She is progressing her organization with nearly 250 workers and 300 girl children who do not have a home. 
She spends lakhs of rupees for the development of the organization every month. Sunitha Krishnan has been a part of the Bharat Yatra rally headed by Kailash Satyarthi, for encouraging girl child education and stopping prostitution. The rally continued for one month, led by the Nobel laureate Mr. Sathyarthi himself, who went on foot to Delhi to pass the bill in the Parliament against women trafficking and girl child education. Her progress in life and serving the society with her reasoning abilities stood her as
inspiration to me. The way she overcame many obstacles to make her mission successful is truly uplifting. As her journey progressed, she expanded to meet the needs of victims and established a wide range of anti-trafficking initiatives, with full faith in people's participation in the process of
change. I hope India is blessed with many more brave and kind women like her.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Republic Day, 2018- A Time for Introspection

"Where one can disagree with another viewpoint without mocking a fellow citizen's dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action"
                                                President Ram Nath Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation on the eve of our 69th Republic Day contained plenty of references to what is supposed to be India's biggest issue right now- the Padmaavat controversy.
Quite apart from the fact that the protests do, in fact make a mockery of the concept of freedom of speech, they have also been blatantly hindering the so-called nationalistic sentiments and motives of the "aggrieved" parties. After all, it is appalling to attack a school bus  to protect the honour of one's community.

If we attempt to look at this controversy with even a hint of perspective, we'll realize that it ought to be a non-issue. The people of India struggle daily under critical problems like unemployment, hunger, and corruption. Unfortunately, unemployment, hunger, and corruption are three among a pile of seemingly unyielding issues that have always acquired a place for themselves in speeches like these. Every year, we got through the issues we face as a nation, and the steps that we need to take in order to develop out of them. Part of the reason why we haven't fully been able to get over them is because we get so easily distracted by non-issues like the Padmaavat controversy. We take offence fast enough when someone dares to have an opinion different to ours. And if that opinion happens to be, by any awful chance, about our ancestors from the 1530s, who probably didn't even exist, and were a figment of some poet's imagination, then our rage knows no bounds- not even innocent children in a school bus. And of course, such action definitely portrays our communities in better light than all the slander a piece of art hands out.

What are we doing? Why this regression? Why this unreasonable stifling of one's basic human right of freedom of speech, expression and thought?

This Republic Day, we ought to try get to the bottom of this mindset of ours. Every year, we outline our country's problems that have shackled it to the tag of a third world nation. We come up with plausible solutions, and we attempt to do better next year. However, the progress is never satisfactory. And the reason for that is the mindset people have displayed in this current controversy. Such gross ignorance and narrow-mindedness, such basic disregard for our own constitution. The tendency to think first, and think only about our "honour", and show total disregard for rational thinking and acknowledgement of facts is what keeps pulling us down as a nation.

India has, once again, taken giant strides in various spheres this past year. But how can we celebrate this growth if our minds remain stunted?

As always, the solution lies in proper education. We need to work together to create an environment of free thought, knowledge, and intellectualism in our educational institutions. We need to teach our students history that isn't modified to suit any ideology. We need to inculcate in them respect and zeal for the arts, and sensitize them to the need for respecting the differences between each one of us.

To the people protesting Padmaavat, or, for that matter, any work of art for such baseless reasons, I'd like to say that you do not own India, and you certainly don't represent her.

No, India's pride and representation lies in the hearts of the selfless soldier protecting our sovereignty. It lies in her engineers and scientists, who work each day to make life easier for others. It lies in the hearts of her farmers- worn out, neglected, ridden with worry and debt, and yet toiling away to feed a nation. 

It lies with the student and teachers who are building a country based on free thought, expression and knowledge.
Its representation lies in the hearts of little kids who will watch and participate in all the pomp and splendour of this day, with awe and smiles on their faces, and slowly realize their love and respect for their motherland.
Let us work hard to protect those smiles.

Jai Hind.

~Transcript of Juveria Tabassum's Republic Day Speech.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Unearthing Passion: A Poetry Reading Session by Ms. Prachi Joshi Johar

Hands up if you can feel the verse!

The Quills Literary Club celebrated its 2nd anniversary on December 15, 2017. To mark this occasion, the Department of English organised a guest lecture by Ms Prachi Joshi Johar on "Contemporary Poetry" followed by a delightful poetry reading session. 

The program started with a beautiful prayer song by Krutika. After that, Ms. Grace Sudhir, Head, Department of English, Vice-Principal, Chairperson of Q.L.C, welcomed Ms. Johar and talked about the highlights of the club from the past two years. 

Grace Ma'am Welcomes
Ms. Prachi Joshi Johar to the
Second Anniversary Celebrations
of the Quills Literary Club
Juveria and GunaPriya with their presentation

Gunapriya and Juveria Tabassum presented a PPT titled, "Q.L.C.-A Montage of Memories", in which they shared some remarkable moments from the meetings and activities of the club so far, and highlighted how these events had helped us all grow as students and artists. 

Dr. Jhilam Chattaraj introducing Ms. Prachi Joshi Johar
Dr. Jhilam Chattaraj formally introduced Ms. Prachi Joshi. She talked about the various roles that she had taken up- from content creation, to being an author of critical thinking books and board games for children, to a journalist for various publications, and of course, a well published poet.

Soon after, Ms. Prachi began the session by sharing with us her love for poetry and why she chose it as her career. She also talked about her interest in interacting with the youth of today, and mentioned what a significant role age and experience play in defining our viewpoints on life.
About her book, Of Desires, Dilemmas and Divinity, Ms. Prachi was especially engaging, as she discussed issues like self-identity, discovery and introduced us to a few themes that she explored in the book.
Ms. Prachi reads The Wind and the Leaf
The first poem she read was The Wind and the Leaf, a tale about the whirlwind romance between the two characters mentioned in the title, that the students took to be a representation of our own wild encounters with things like outlandish dreams and forbidden love. 
The fact that the poem doesn't follow a set plot, and that we never get to know the fate of the leaf, caught the attention of the students. The theme of celebrating the present without any definitive view of the future was evident in a few more of the poems that Ms. Prachi proceeded to read. In If and Them versus I, we got a glimpse of the chaos that resided in her mind; the chaos that she said arose from her need to find and accept her own quirky personality, and break away from the stifling rules, pretensions and opulence of the world around her.
The session enthused the members of Q.L.C., who very actively shared their opinions on her poems and put forward various interesting interpretations of the verses. The discussions somehow led to them sharing their own experiences, and also the problems they face, not only because of the society, but also due to their own inner turmoils. 

Prof. K. Muthyam Reddy Sir speaks at the anniversary session of QLC

We were glad to have the delightful and inspiring company of our college Correspondent/ Secretary Prof. K. Muthyam Reddy. Sir addressed the students, outlining the importance of reading, appreciating and sharing literature in a student's life. Sir also lauded Q.L.C.'s efforts in providing this platform to the students of the college. 

Then we had a few Q.L.C. members reading their own poetry. 

Anjali reciting Joy or Pain
First, Anjali shared her poem Joy or Pain, which was inspired by her anguish against the practice of exploding fire crackers during festivals. The poem was written and expressed in a tone of nuanced innocence that not only brought forward concerns for the environment but also made us appreciate her sense of imagination. She said that instead of protecting our environment, we should create one which doesn't need protection. 

Mirror, presented by Asfiya
 Asfiya Khanam talked about how a poet is someone who can bend the mountains, bind the souls and can ignite all six senses at once.  Her poem Mirror was inspired by Orhan Pamuk's The Black Book. In the poem, she talks  about the importance of being ourselves, and not trying to fit the definitions of our identities that are often set by others. 

Next up was Juveria's Spills to Remember You By, a poem describing a woman's journey of surviving domestic violence, rising above the wounds, and finding herself again. Her recitation made us want to peep out of our sheltered windows and encouraged us to speak out against domestic violence. 
Deeksha asks us to Try, try and be Brave

Deeksha followed that up with her poem Try, Try and be Brave which motivated us not to lose hope and keep on trying till we achieve our goals. 

Megha(left) interacting with Ms. Prachi

Ms. Prachi then returned with a touch of divinity with her last poem for the day, Fire. As much a commentary on the fleeting nature of human life, the poem also brought to light the changes that people go through in terms of their behaviours and relationships with the passage of age and experiences. It made us sense that we are somehow, in a vaguely ethereal way, still in control of our lives, even though we may sometimes sense the hand of Providence in the way our days play themselves out. The fire that blazes in the furnace gives light to our activities, and watches over us. But in many ways, we are the ones who keep it burning; the ones in control of our destinies.

Mahveen Sana presenting the Vote of Thanks
Mahveen Sana proposed a formal Vote of Thanks to wrap up the session. Ms. Prachi's smooth, eloquent reading certainly kept the room, and our hearts warm. It was a session where we felt and realized varying emotions, and got a chance to speak our minds about the things that we sometimes stop ourselves from feeling- the emotions that only poetry can unearth. 

To borrow from one of Ms. Prachi's phrases, Q.L.C is only two years young. As more days and moments get added to this engrossing journey of ours, we hope to be able to add the light of literature into the lives of more students.

Ms. Prachi with the Department of English!

Report by 
Asfiya Khanam 
Juveria Tabassum