A Poet’s Paradise- Pune Literary Festival 2017

Soaked in some words at the Pune Literary Festival. The theme this year was Women. I went on Saturday and Sunday. Glad that there were great poetry sessions in many languages, on both days.

Day 1

As I walked in, there was a street play going on about women. I heard 3 English poets back to back at Book Nook, all of whom were great.

Menka Shivdasani

First up was Menka Shivdasani. I liked a poem she read on boiling milk, which talked of how the person watching the milk simmered too.

Menka Shivdasani

I found this poem of hers online- Why Rabbits Never Sleep, which I loved. It’s ostensibly about cutting a salad, but actually about dowry death.

Sudeep Sen

Next up was Sudeep Sen, who talked about how his poem came to be before he began reading it. I liked the way he challenged himself, writing a poem in the Bharatnatyam dance rhythm (ta dhin dhin da…) for instance. His poem Bharatnatyam Dancer, is from a lightboy’s perspective. He finally shared it with his muse five years later!

Sudeep Sen

Mani Rao

The best however, was last. Mani Rao. Lilting poems which she recited flooded our ears. Here’s one on Sisyphus. I picked up Bhagvad Gita in verse by her and got it autographed. She has also translated Kalidasa’s work.

Mani Rao

I asked all three poets about what inspires them and how important sound is for them.

Menka talked about how her decade in journalism have inspired some poems. Sudeep suggested to ‘give a poem a workout’ so that you finetune your first draft. Mani talked about she strives for an aerial architecture in her poems, as sound is very important to her.

Publisher Panel Discussion

I peeped in a publishers’ panel discussion later. Trisha Bora of Juggernaut was one of the panelists. She spoke about how Juggernaut had 400,000 downloads and 80,000 active users in just a year. The youth are mainly reading on that app and they prefer non fiction.

Jane Austen exhibition

British Council did not put up an exhibition this year. It was done by the organizers and there were some typos. Still, it was fun looking at Jane Austen’s quotes.

Jane Austen quote

Day 2

On Sunday, I attended a poetry session where poets who wrote in Urdu, Hindi and Marathi read their work. Even though I could only understand bits and pieces, it was fun revising my rusty Hindi and Urdu.

Damodar Khadse

Damador Khadse’s poem talked about a river in rain being young.  When asked what he thought about Instagram poets, he pointed out, there’s no control on social media poets. When they get some likes, they’re encouraged to sit down that very night and write ten more poems!


A countdown in the auditiorium flashed when five minutes were left. Sadly, the later and greater poets got less time to recite.


Haiku & Limericks workshop

I attended a workshop on Haiku and Limericks by Mona Verma. Although it was for kids, I liked it too.

She talked about perception and imagination make a poem. What we perceive with our senses is raw material for our imagination.

She then showed different ways of writing haiku-

1. What when where technique

Here’s my attempt-

Snow falls

The cold

Enters my heart.

2. Juxtaposition

Here’s what I wrote after the image she shared to explain this technique-

A flying elephant

Dances like a butterfly

Cooling me.

3. Unfolding

The third technique- Unfolding or telling a story. My haiku-

Still water

A gnat dives in

Making a ripple.

4. Zooming in or zooming out

These are other techniques. Here’s an example she shared-

A meadow

A cow’s lips

Chewing on grass.

Just read it in reverse to zoom out!

Kala Ramesh had done a Haiku workshop at PILF 2015 that I had attended. It was awesome.

How to write a limerick

I liked the how to write a limerick part too.

  1. Pick a name as many limericks have a name in the end of the first line.
  2. Next, you think of a story and write the second line, rhyming with the first.
  3. Continue the story in the 3rd and 4th line, with a different rhyme.
  4. End with a twist, preferably funny and rhyme it with your first line.

Here’s mine-

There was a man called Dan

Whose wife hit him with a pan

The dents in his head

Made him put spikes in their bed

That’s why we have the marriage ban.

Ekta Kapoor session

I also attended the Ekta Kapoor session. In a red dress, she was merging with the red sofa. I like her spunk. In relation to her film LSD, she spoke about how sex is a given for the youth today So, they now want to exploit it for power. They use the camera to do that, so the camera is the third person in the relationship.

Pune Literary Festival Ekta Kapoor

On being asked whether she faces more performance pressure as a woman producer, she disagreed, saying even someone who is from the third gender would be accepted, provided their film did well. She talked about how you need to be aggressive in the industry, otherwise distibutors, from North India particularly, won’t listen to you.


Like minded people, lights, lawn- looking forward to next year already.


I want to take my Alexa rank to the next level with My Friend Alexa.


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