“Our Pain and Grief Only Define Our Joy”

Geet Chaturvedi speaks to Shraddha Murdia

Geet Chaturvedi speaks to Shraddha Murdia

The poet, lyricist and screenwriter Geet Chaturvedi spoke to Prabha Khaitan Foundation about Mumbai, Bhopal and the inspirations behind his writing

Geet Chaturvedi needs no introduction; the Hindi poet, short story writer, lyricist, screenwriter and novelist is often recognised for his avant garde literary style. Chaturvedi was awarded the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Award for poetry in 2007 and Krishna Pratap Award for Fiction in 2014. Prabha Khaitan Foundation organised a session of Kalam in Udaipur with the poet-author, who was in conversation with Shraddha Murdia, Ehsaas Woman of Udaipur, about his recently-launched book, Simsim.

Chaturvedi grew up in Mumbai, a city of opportunities, so why did he later relocate to Bhopal? “Both Mumbai and Bhopal are cities of water,” replied Chaturvedi. “There is a possibility that the water in Bhopal recognised the water of Mumbai inside of me, and that’s where I came from!” The poet also surmised that he perhaps came to Udaipur since it is also a city of water.

When Chaturvedi was asked about his writing journey, he said that his whole childhood was surrounded with literature and music. “My father was a writer and also had a great knowledge of music,” said Chaturvedi. “He used to play both the tabla and the flute. He was a great artist. My first literary work was published in the children’s magazine Tinkle. At this time, I was just 13 years old. After this, I developed a feeling of becoming a writer. I felt that I have a deep connection with languages and expressions.” The poet also spoke about his close relationship with his elder sister, who was a great inspiration for him. “She died at the age of 22, when the riots were happening in Mumbai,” recalled Chaturvedi. “She gave me a pencil just before she passed away, and told me to use it for all my future writings. That marked the pivotal moment in my life.”

“Although we write in our solitude, all our writings are about society itself.”

Are pain, tension or resentment essential to writing? “As human beings, our pain and grief only define our joy,” replied Chaturvedi. “We are made up of our sufferings. Poets and artists are very close to the heart, so they can connect with these pains effortlessly. Picasso once remarked that all art is the result of suffering.” When asked about his experience of people sharing his writings and poems on social media, Chaturvedi said that the poet-writer-artist is neither made by anyone nor spoiled by anyone. What about the impact that society has had on his writing? “We cannot write apart from society,” he responded. “Although we write in our solitude, all our writings are about society itself.” Chaturvedi also read out an excerpt from Simsim, along with a few of his poems. The Q&A round with the audience made the event even more vibrant.

Kalam Udaipur was supported by Shree Cement Limited as their CSR initiative in association with Radisson Blu Udaipur Palace Resort & Spa and with the support of Ehsaas Women of Udaipur.