Saturday, July 31, 2010

Verse case scenario

A haiku on the city’s traffic or a sonnet on its parks--Poets International keeps the ‘Bangalore poet’ alive

Mohammed Fakhruddin came to the world of words through a friendship that has dreamy adolescence written all over it. Years later, at the traffic mayhem that is central Bangalore, we meet at a coffee shop, and he looks back on the decades. A glass door shuts out the noise and chaos. We slide into our seats and absorb the vista like viewers watching a horror film with the mute button on.

“So what happened?” I ask.

“I used to have a penfriend in America while in college,” the 65-year-old says. This was in the late 1960s. “I never met her. Once she sent me her picture and I wrote a poem about it.” I want to nod my head (“Yeah, me too Saar”) in agreement. “I wrote her a poem just looking at the picture without ever having met her face-to-face,” he says. “She asked me, ‘Are you a poet?’ I wrote back saying, ‘No. But when I think of you I become one,’” he laughs.

As the years went by, Fakhruddin worked in various forms of media, from print to film. A bulk of his life was spent as a journalist for local publications in Urdu and English, but his fondest, perhaps most enduring, achievement is the institution of Poets International—a poetry group and publication in Bangalore that he launched in 1983. “The British Library which used to be just here,” he says, “is where I apprenticed in words. Read every poetry book or anthology that I could lay my hands on…that was the charm of Bangalore then. But there was no forum for me to write in,” he mutters.

Full report here Mint

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