Woman Scream 2015 India, New Delhi

Slam Jam! Kartoos – Spoken Word Poetry and Rap

Delhi has been finding reasons to rhyme lately as the written and spoken word knows no bounds. The fever of Slam Poetry has caught many of us and is gradually increasing. Slam poets bring their words to life using voices, gestures and expressions.  “Clay Taurus Collective” hosts ‘The Cri De Femme Festival’, an Indo-French Collaboration, which is a worldwide cultural non-profit chain of events coordinated by the Movimiento Mujeres Poetas Internacional (MPI/ Women Poet’s International Movement), based in the Dominican Republic. It presents a chain of open mic poetry events, exhibitions and workshops that aim to bring forth the art of Spoken Words and express the ideas and reality through verses. The festival started on 14th and will continue till 18th March’ 15 at Akshara Theatre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg.

March 18th program- Low Chai/ Lowcha hai: A networking meet for independent businesses and startups run by women.

In the commencing event, KARTOOS, the poets standing under the sky in open space, recited poems about something that is still discussed within the confined walls. Something which is not readily accepted by the society, by the men of our nation. Something which the public is deeply skeptical about and hence it is quelled. They talked about ‘female desires’. This week will not celebrate female sexuality but female desires, focusing the image of women who unclasps her wants. KARTOOS was a stage for expressing frustration, anger, joy, longing, revolution, protest through undoing the boredom of the written word, by bringing on stage the faces and voices and bodies of female poets, through their poetry, spoken and sung. We should see a woman’s desire as showing and following her passion, not showcasing her body in public. We should see a woman’s desire as her freedom to do what she likes, not what she is forced to do.

These are the ending lines from Yukta Bajracharya and Ujjwala Maharjan’s poem, ‘You do me no harm’-
“So I am done being the victim, I am done with this chase,                                                     
I am no longer running and stand up to your face,
And maybe I have got this insanity of yours,
 coz I now know for sure you will harm me no more.
Lay down your fucking arms, you do me no harm.
Run and ring your alarm, you do me no harm.
I said you do me no harm,
Coz that’s all you have done
And you’ve done just enough. “
Their passionate poem stunned the audience and it became my favorite too.

Angina Chakrabarti and Riya Ghosh Ray were a few from the Bring Back the Poets – Delhi and Emily Weitzman and Melizarani T Selva were among the spoken word poets. Fortunately, I also got a chance to interview the lady who invited some wonderful poets from across the world and made this event happen. Aditi Angiras, the founder of The Clay Taurus Collective and Bring Back the Poet, answering my questions told us more about herself and this festival-

Kavya: How long have you been writing poetry and have you recited poetry like this before also?
Aditi: Yeah! We have started this spoken poetry for almost a year ago. So now I have been into this for more than a year and I have been writing poetry for more than a decade.
Kavya: What do you do apart from writing and reciting poems?
Aditi: I am trying to come to that place where I don’t have to do anything else (laughs). But I am doing my M.PHIL from Jamia in Latin American studies and I have done my masters in English literature from Delhi University. So I am hoping to start teaching soon. But yes, the dream is to be a poet, nothing else.
Kavya: (wishing her good luck for the same). What is the topic of your poem for today’s festival?
Aditi: The theme of this Cri De Femme International Poetry and Art festival as decided by our collaborator in France is ‘female desire’. It is being organized in forty countries at the moment with over 150 events. So this is a part of the bigger movement that is happening. This festival is organized by Women Poets International Movement and the poem I am doing is on desiring another woman because we thought there is no space to talk about queer desire. We wanted to talk about everything- what is wrong and what is right.
Kavya: What is your genre of writing, if there is any? What interests you the most?
Aditi: I write more about my own politics which is queer feminist politics. Most of my poems are love poems, not the cheesy ones. They are more about desires and so my topic is modern love. I write about anything which is feminist and I also like to once in a while comment on the political situation that is there in India. Her poem was indeed praiseworthy. 
While talking about women, Gopal Sharman, a playwright, a poet and a musician, said that “A woman is not made, she happens. Just like the rainbow, she happens.”  Melizarani T Selva expressed her strong feeling by saying that “Before I am a goddess, queen, daughter in law, common wife, or the raft that saved the drowning Pandavas, I am what you refuse of knowledge- A Woman. But a woman is not a woman until something happens to her.”

The unfathomed deepness in the lines of Gopal Sharman and Melizarani T Selva moved me to the core and made me question myself that how long will it take to traverse to shape a vivid picture of women?

Here is a short conversation with one of the performers:

Do take time to attend this gripping five-day festival and enjoy the company of many celebrated poets. Go on. Let the thoughts inside you engrave on stones in the form of poems. Enjoy listening to them and discover the poet in you.

Event Coverage by Kavya Wahi