Of poetry readings, invited talks, and adding another feather to my hat

How I got the hang of public performance — and so can you

Of poetry readings, invited talks, and adding another feather to my hat
The official invitation for the event

How I got the hang of public performance — and so can you

A few days back, I was invited to be November 2019’s writer-of-the-month for “Voices of North East India”. This is a monthly event organised by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts — North Eastern Region (IGNCA-NER), an initiative by the Government of India to recognise and promote writers from the North-Eastern part of the country.

The event was supposed to be chaired by the famous poetess of Assam, multiple award winner, and the 2016 recipient of the “Woman of the Year” award by International Human Rights Council, Assam Chapter, Dr Srutimala Duwarah.

However as the morning of Monday, 11th of November 2019, dawned, Dr Duwarah caught a bout of flu and couldn’t make it. So, the event was ultimately chaired by Dr Richa Negi, the regional director of IGNCA-NER.

The IGNCA-NER regional director presenting me with a Gamocha- a traditional Assamese garment used to welcome guests.

As I’m writing this blog post, my head is still buzzing with excitement.

An audience of around 20–25 people turned up. I read some 9–10 poems from my book Stolen Reflections and everyone was so encouraging, they clapped after each performance.

It was an AMAZING experience and I can’t wait to do another one soon! I suppose I am finally getting the hang of why famous performers say public appearances can be addictive. A year back, if you had asked me to perform poetry in front of a crowd, I would have been terrified at the prospect. But today, I was only nervous for the first five minutes or so, if not less. After that, the words and the performance came to me as if in a flow. I was lost in the words, feeling the poetry in every fibre of my body, using all my limbs, my eyes, and my lips to convey the stories to the audience.

I kept on performing, they kept on applauding, and the evening passed by in the blink of an eye.

I suppose I make weird faces while reading poetry

(If you had known how shy I was as a teenager, you would appreciate the full depth of how big an achievement this unabashed public performance is for me)

I guess that is what life is all about.

We make mistakes, we stumble, we pick ourselves up, and we keep walking on.

Every new day is a lesson in disguise, every engagement a chance to make ourselves better. It is up to us to pounce at them and make the most of the lemons life throws at us.

I am slowly starting to explore the possibilities this world has to offer. Of course, I have come a long way from where I was a year back. But then again, there’s a long way to go before I reach where I want to be.

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