Discover the sound and power of words with Deesh Mariwala
THIS Friday, experience the magic of spoken words at Indian Institute of Human Settlements with Dead Poets Society. No, we aren’t talking about the film, but the initiative by Deesh Mariwala to revive the old and true tradition of enjoying poems — by listening to them.
The Mumbai-based theatre practitioner (rather a person “who mucks around with theatre”) strongly believes that spoken words have a power of their own. And they don’t necessarily need the embellishment of a performance, a prop or an open mic night to move any body.
So, at the gathering, Mariwala will simply read out the lesser known but equally beautiful poems by men such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ogden Nash, TS Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Federico Garcia Lorca, and William Shakespeare among others. Expect Fire and Ice and Birches from Robert Frost, or There Was A Naughty Boy from John Keats. The poems will be by great men and about men, as the session will be held a day after the International Men’s Day. “November 19 is also the World’s Toilet Day. So we’ll have some fun,” he says.
Poems in the print
The 43-year-old, who’s criss-crossed the worlds of film and media in his career, explains: “Poetry has essentially been oral. It was never meant to be in written form. That’s why you find rhythm in them. Poetry was constructed by human beings to excite our brains and remember it.”
At this point, he takes us back in history, and tells us how silent reading of the written word is a fairly modern phenomenon. “With the arrival of mass printing about 120 years ago, words started getting confined to pages, in books. Before that, people like Charles Dickens used to go around the countryside reading out his stories for 30-40 hours. The public didn’t read his works on a page silently, but heard them. That’s why the writing of that period has a very strong sense of rhythm, and poetry in it. That’s not the case with modern writers, because they are not exposed to the sound of words,” says Mariwala, who grew up reading a lot, especially stories about science and history.
Dead Poets Society (DPS) is the first in the series of gatherings which he plans to hold in the city under his performing arts brand, Wordman. “I have been building this project for a year-and-a-half to bring oral literature back to the world. It will involve DPS nights, book readings, theatre and storytelling sessions,” he adds.
Mariwala moved back to Bengaluru recently, and had tried organising poetry get-togethers in the city in the past but hopes to sustain it this time around.
November 20. Entry free. At Sadashiv Nagar. 7 pm.
— Barkha Kumari