Beginning 22 June, Firstpost embarks on a 10 week-long journey of poetry. Featuring poets who write in English and Hindi, this project is meant to both showcase their art as well as their individual creative processes. These poets write for the page and for the stage, and the themes of their works range from love and friendships to how power-hungry human society can be. Their verses, expressed in the 'spoken word' format, are brought to life by visuals and supported by music.

Presenting — The Firstpost Poetry Project.

This is the third poet featured in this series.

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"When you have a passion for something, you don't really ask yourself the question 'Why am I doing this?' You just continue pursuing it. It's like falling in love; you don't question why you are in love, you just feel that way."

Poetry means many different things to Ramneek Singh. When he had just begun writing, he did not measure the value that this art form held in his life. After some time, it became the only thing he actively participated in as a child, apart from academics. Over the years, it has helped him to understand his own opinions on matters of society and politics. It has prompted him to probe his own mind and think about his experiences.

"It is akin to an alarm that the poet rings when they see something wrong happening in society," he says. He believes that both the written and spoken word can be effectively used as weapons.

The audience is integral to the art form, he opines. "Having an audience accentuates the performance and the experience of the poet themselves. Before the advent of the performance poetry scene and before it boomed, I didn't quite know what could be achieved," he says.

The merit of spoken word as an art form lies in both its urgency as well as its direct nature, Singh says. "There are certain things happening in the world about which we must speak urgently. If I write a poem to be published in a book, it will take longer to reach people and its relevance may be lost. Sometimes, one wants to react to something happening in the present, so that people may understand what is happening and take action. For this, performance poetry is necessary."

But he is quick to note that poems should not lack flow and rhythm just because they are being performed. "The poem has to be lyrical," he asserts.

He also appreciates page poetry and says that the goal of both forms is the same — to be understood. "Page poetry is a craft unto itself. You can experiment to a great extent when it comes to the physical space on the page; you can leave a lot unsaid even if there are many thoughts swirling around in your head. You want your reader to figure it out — that is where the poet's satisfaction lies. It is like a riddle."

He doesn't have a definitive answer to the question, 'What draws you to poetry?' "I don't think there is any answer for me, except poetry. I don't think I can excel at anything else the way I do at poetry."

Cheetiyaan

Toilet ke darwaaze ki

nichli chaukhat wali patti

paar karke

cheetiyon ki ek rel aati hai

Jisse dekhte dekhte

achanak

zordar taakat ka ehsaas hota hai

aur main, chetna se mukt

paani ka magga bharke

sab ko ek saath bahaa deta hoon

zehen mein ik goonj uthti hai – ‘narsanghaar’

tajjub mein?

khushi mein?

anubhooti ke roop mein?

yaa fir upkaar ke roop mein –

ke cheenti ke jeevan se inhe mukti dilaa di?

tabhi

jaan bachaane ki afra tafri mein vyast

do survivor cheetiyon par dhyan jaata hai

sambhaal kar dheere se

donon ke chaaron ore

paani ka ek gheraa bana letaa hoon

dugna mazaa aata hai

maut dene ka asli sukh

uska tamasha dekhne mein hai

dheere dheere gheraa bandh ho jaataa hai

unki jaati mein giraavat aa jaati hai

aur tabhi khatm ho jaataa hai

mera karyakaal

aur sambhaavbna, mere khilaaf

kisi mukaddme ki

main uthte uthte dekhta hoon ek aur rel

aur kashmakash ke aakhri chhor par khada hokar

uddaar hone ka faisla karta hoon

aur jeevit chhod aata hoon unhein

mere baad aane waale ke liye

jinpar woh karega

apni ucchataa ka prayog,

zor-aazmaaish,

aur apna karyakaal kharch

kamaal hai

kitna karibi rishta hota hai

ek aam aadmi ke toilet

aur raja ke singhasan mein

donon par baithkar dimaag

ek sa hi chalta hai!

Shehar Matrix

 

Bahut nazdeek se

Bahut saaf nahi dikhta

Thodi unchaayi se dekhne par

Subah subah chote chote cut-piece park mein

Umar lambi karne aaye log

Haath hawaa mein latka ke

Jab thahaake lagaate hain

Toh shehar hass deta hai shaitaani hasi

Usse hadbadaayi bheed ko dekhne mein mazaa aata hai

Shaayad usse kabootaron ke uss jhund ki yaad aa jaati hai

Jo shikaari se bachne ke liye sabak yaad karta hai

Aur din bhar ratta lagaata rehta hai

Shikaari aayega, daana daalega, daana nahi chugna

Aur daana dalte hi uss par kood padta hai, par sabak jaari rahta hai ki

Shikaari aayega daana daalega daana nahi chugna

 

Kandhe par latke shikaari ke jaal mein faskar bhi

Shikaari aayega daana daalega daana nahi chugna

 

Naak ki disha mein chale jaa rahe hain sab

Shehar matrix mein badal gaya hai

Jungle bache nahi

Na jaane kis ke darr se humne shehar ko CCTV ke shaamiyaane se dhak diya hai

 

Shehar neend mein hone ka bahaana karta hai

Jab raaton raat jhuggiyon ke beecho beech

Township waale beej bo diye jaate hain

Aur subah hote hote ugg aate hain eent aur concrete ke daanav

Jinki naak ke neeche se nikalte hain fly-over

Aur flyover ki surakhsha mein tainaat

Hoarding

Jahaan se utarte hain sapne neeche

Aur utpaat machaate hain

Dimaag mein uske

Jiski naukri abhi lagi hi hai

Jisse ghar khareedna hai

Sapno ka ghar

Rustomjee waala – poora 555 square foot

Jisse voh khareed sakta hai sirf teen crore bayalis lakh rupaye mein

Ya bees hazaar ki aasaan 120 kishton mein

Usse yakeen hai

Itne acche builder usse kahaan milenge

Jo banaakar denge usse ek ghar

Ek cute ka bageecha

Aur 20 saal ki guarantee vaala badaa sa EMI ka pinjra

Jisme se voh dekhega duniya

Window-sill par baithkar ginega bachi hui kishte

Aur apne khareede hue bakse mein

Sikha dega khush rehna apne saath apne bacchon ko bhi

Bacche, jinke liye suraj ab A-Wing ke peeche se nikalta hai

Aur C-Wing waali building ke peeche chhup jaata hai

Jo aasmaan mein jahaaz ki light ko

Tootataa sitaara samajh kar mannatein maangte hain

Jinhe iss baat ka andaaza tak nahi ki

Unke hisse mein kya kya nahi aaya

 

Jaayaz bhi hai

Paida hote hi parinde ki pinjre mein rakh diya jaaye

Toh usse aasmaan ko dekhkar bechaini nahin hoti

Usse apni gulaami ka ehsaas nahin hota

 

Vaham ki ek parat dhak ke rakhti hai vaham ki kayi parton ko

Apni pareshaani chhupa ke muskuraane waale sab ek se dikhte hain

Shehar apni sahuliyat ke liye

Sab ke chehre ek jaise kar deta hai

Jinki shinaakth ke liye bheed se doori ka hona bahut zaroori hai

Kyunki

Bahut nazdeek se

Bahut saaf nahi dikhta

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Read about the first and second poet featured in this series

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