We have always had that one poetry in our school times, that is classified as the most difficult to learn. The words confuse us, the alliterations don't make any sense, the metaphors so meaningless; We read the read the poetry for the heck of it, purely for the marks it could score us in the examinations; but as we grow, we realize that it is the only poem that stuck.
Those lines that we struggled with are the ones that would relate life to us in all its glorious rawness. Somehow, all the words would make sense, all the alliterations would amaze us, all the metaphors absolutely mesmerize us. We realize, the poem has slowly grown on us, doing its part of moulding us into a better version.
For me, that poem is Kavipriya Moorthy.
Though we have never met in person, she paints a picturesque memory of defined curls, glowing skin and a misshaped tattoo (for all the joy, it's shaped like a coffin, go ask her!) whenever I think of her. Also comes, the memory of the words she wields, the thoughts she pours and the poise and confidence that she carries herself with. She is a fervent traveller, commendable writer, spectacular speaker, erudite mentor and a no non-sense feminist.
She has two books to her name, I don't wear sunscreen and Dirty Martini; and countless more FB posts and poetry that explores different aspects of people and relationships.
"When did this journey towards writing start?" I asked her,
"There was a phase when my friends said, "do something to keep yourself busy and keep your mind off," and warn that "an idle mind is the devil's workshop," - I had to pull myself, put together and do something. I tried baking, but my cupcakes were burnt. I did some crafts, but the icecream sticks wouldn't stick together. I cooked, and it was just about edible. But, when I started writing - it gave me peace. Solitude. As much as I don't want to romanticize "writing" - it's the only thing that gave me what I wanted. Or rather, it was something I tried, and it felt "Ah! This is what I always wanted!" I could pretty much envision the spark bulb going on above her head.
She is a fantastic author, and of course, I asked her about her books, since she is still trying to secretly bury "I don't wear sunscreen" deep down the Kindle book list, we spoke about her favourite baby Dirty Martini. Every author has that one book that changes their course of life. For her DM was that book. "Dirty Martini has impacted and touched many people across the spectrum, how did it touch you? What changed in you when you wrote it?" I asked
"Everything changed when I did Dirty Martini. I've had times when I would finish a chapter and cry. "Dirty martini" is super raw and I just wanted it to hit people at their weakest. Ask them vulnerable questions. I've improved as a person. Even when I slightly judge someone, my insides would say "C'on author of DM, judging someone?"
Dirty Martini healed me from all the pain I contained. It was an answer to all the questions I ever had. DM is the end line of my past that affected my days" her words rung clear, and I had to smile. Seriously, the women give a lot of things to laugh about, her tattoo, her hashtags, and her very many quirks.
There is one such quirk of her that I admire the most. While many who just have a vague manuscript in mind call themselves, the woman takes pride in calling herself a poet; so much in fact that she's built a unique, passionate business out of it. The concept behind "Poertarita" is to create customized poems for her customers, who open their hearts, seeking her help to convey the emotions that are bubbling into them, into soulful verses. Poems gifted this way are as personalized as it can get, and they are also sent in cute little packages, which makes the gesture more touching.
"How did this amazing idea come about?" I questioned
"So, I was traveling to Bangalore after a trip from Sakleshpur, and I was looking at a friend sitting right opposite who's a photographer. She's a friend of a friend. The one who connected us is a miniature artist. I kept thinking, "It's amazing how people can turn passion to a profession, and wondered how writing is held tight under "art" umbrella that wouldn't pay for your breakfast,"
It used to hurt me when I look at people who are great writers, but they don't have the time to put their thoughts in black and white because they're running to win bread. I wanted to tear that satin screen. I don't want people to beat me with don't ask money for art. I wanted to try, and I did. I wondered what's to lose? Maybe, they'll call me selfish. Maybe, they'll ask how I could put a price tag on my art. But not something I've not heard before. I had nothing to lose when I started, but I've gained a lot now. A lot of happy tears. So much trust. Personal stories that one's afraid to share. Being a confidant. I love Poetarita for what it has done and, it also pays for my lunch."
Travel does give people a chance to self-explore and bring in the sense of freedom and often sows the seeds of inspiration and Kavipriya is ever the travel bug and take up a lot of lone travels as well, and that was my next question to her. "You are a nomad, taking up a lot of adventurous trips, are you not scared, do you face any challenges?" I asked her
"Frankly, traveling comes first. My writing feeds off from traveling. I'm an introvert, I am not quick to make friends, I wouldn't even ask for directions, so traveling forces that out of me. It puts me on the hot seat. I experience anxiety, and I've even cancelled a few trips, but I think I've grown a lot. I learned people. It helps me to be non-judgmental. Have no opinions. To just go with the flow!"
I applauded after this. I just had to. Here is a woman who had suffered pain, downfalls and many failures but dared to get back up every time and so with unabashed spirit, seeking and infusing strength through her words and her very many travels. Here is a woman who never shied away from writing her heart, rising above the vile comments and disgusting insults that fill her inbox. Here is a Cactus flower, thriving among many thorns that surround her.
"What message do you have for the women out there?" I ask her because I needed to hear it from this woman and take it to as many women I can.
"It is essential to understand the battles and pain that other women had to fight for where we are now. If you're joining college at ease, remember many women struggled to complete their school and not get married. You're privileged. Stand up for you even if others wouldn't. Stand up for the women around you. Support and hold each other because none else will.
"It's easy to hold a board that reads "equality," but the battled that umpteen women went through so you can hold that board is so important.
Don't judge, be there for others, pay it forward - if someone does something nice for you, it's not necessary to return it to them. Give it to someone else and ask them to pay forward. Never let someone tell you what you can do just because you have a vagina. Never let your gender be a reason for any decision that you have to take!"
As she said this, I could see the firmness her eyes, the belief in her voice and the passion in her tone. She is raw, magnificent and sensational in all her glory – she is unbridled poetry!