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World Haiku Utsav, 2019

WHR March 2019


IN HAIKU 
In collaboration with
THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE

THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
SAVITRIBAI PHULE PUNE UNIVERSITY

Celebrates

TRIVENI: World Haiku Utsav 2019

&

The Book Launch of FUGA NO MAKOTO

Comprising 10 years of the re-launch of

THE WORLD HAIKU REVIEW

 

Report on the Utsav by the participants 

Now for some grand sweeping impressions of the three-day TRIVENI: WHU 2019 — over to Madhuri Pillai:

                                   Let the story unfold . . .

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air, mountains, trees, people. I thought “This is what it is to be happy.” – Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)

And so it was. Under the canopy of ancient banyan trees, a three-day feast of haiku, tanka, and haibun, conceptualised and organised by Kala Ramesh, began to unfold. Triveni: World Haiku Utsav 2019 was held on the grounds of the International Centre in the sprawling campus of Savitribai Phule Pune University.



A minute of silence was observed in memory of Angelee Deodhar. After the lighting of the lamp, Kala Ramesh welcomed us, tracing the path of eight haiku utsavs held so far in India from 2006 to 2019.

Lighting the lamp

Susumu Takiguchi, the well-known poet and chief editor of WHR, gave a beautiful Keynote Address. 



Following this, the chief guest, Dr. N. S. Umarani, Hon'ble Pro-Vice Chancellor, and Dr. Ashok Chaskar, Head, Dept of English, SPPU, launched the much-anticipated Anthology, ‘Fuga No Makoto’, World Haiku Review’s best of 25 issues from 2008 to 2018.

Dr. N. S. Umarani, Hon'ble Pro-Vice Chancellor speaks

Launch of the Fuga No Makoto anthology as an ebook

Rohini Gupta, one of the editors of WHR, spoke of the trials and tribulations of putting an anthology together.


One of the many highlights of this Utsav was the DANCEcharades - Kala’s innovation! The dancer enacted a haiku from a set of four that had been read out and the audience guessed the relevant haiku. Padma Damodaran had us enthralled; she brilliantly captured the essence of each haiku. Her rendition of each haiku with classical dance movements and her choice of music were complementary and exquisite.

Padma Damodaran enacting a haiku

After the Forest Bathing at Alice Gardens, we were delightfully surprised by a flash-dance routine presented by the children of St Anne’s. Their youthful energy and catchy music soon had us clapping enthusiastically with some of us itching to join in.

Bruce Ross’s video recording, followed by Susumu Takiguchi’s talk on kigo, was well received, and the discussions were open and informal, as everyone got a chance to voice their query or opinion. 

During the Slam Contest on the last day of the Utsav, another brainchild of Kala’s, contestants recited haiku, tanka or haibun from memory for one minute in the first round and for two minutes in the second round. The standards set by the contestants were extremely high, and my sympathies were with the judges, Chandrakant Radican, Nandini Nair and Kala Ramesh.

Simultaneous Individual Workshops on haiku, tanka and haibun proved very popular. Along with the haiku stalwart K Ramesh, I had the pleasure of mentoring a group of young school children and university students. There is a poet lurking in every child: the alacrity with which young minds grasped the essentials of haiku was a pleasant surprise. It was a joy to read their haiku at the end of the session.

Towards the end of the final day, Susumu Takiguchi announced the results of The R. H. Blyth Award for 2019. Eufemia Griffo of Italy won the £300 prize with her haiku:

                                                              
        fallen leaves
        the lost time
        of another life 


All good things come to an end, and so it was with the Utsav. After the Vote of Thanks by Pranav Kodial, we bid farewell to our old and new friends with promises to keep in touch.

In the silent aftermath of the Utsav, a haiku by Kala’s student, Iqra Raza sums it all up.


        long journey
        pausing for water
        I drink the moon


Madhuri Pillai
Australia

 

Welcome Note

It was a poignant beginning when all of us bowed down to keep a minute’s silence in memory of Dr Angelee Deodhar.

Welcome speech by Kala Ramesh

Thanking Susumu san, Dr Ashok Chaskar and Prof (Dr) Vijay Khare of the Savitribai Phule Pune University, all our INhaiku members and the many new comers to the World Haiku Utsav, with gratitude and immense satisfaction, I began with the story of TRIVENI: World Haiku Utsav 2019 and its origin, tracing the path of the various utsavs, six in total, that I was able to organise, with and without help, over the last 13 years. All through these years I searched high and low, contacting various editors of journals and kukai organisers to give me the contact information for Indians writing haiku and allied genres.

In 2006, our very first ‘Haiku Meet’ was sponsored by Pune Municipal Corporation and Friends of Japan. We had only nine participants! Then the ‘World Haiku Festival 2008’ (as part of the World Haiku Club India) took place at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji’s Ashram in Bangalore with a generous fund of Rs 5 lakhs from Sri Ratan Tata Trust, thanks to A. Thiagarajan. We had over 20 haikai poets from all over India and Susumu san joined us, along with Stanford M. Forrester and Norman Darlington. In 2010 November we had the ‘Hamara Haiku Festival’ at the beautiful spaces of Kalachhaya in Pune. Our next ‘Haiku Utsav 2013’ was at the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, and during this utsav my initiatives over the years culminated in founding ‘INhaiku’ - a group to get Indian ELH poets together under one umbrella. At each utsav new members join the family and the umbrella is getting bigger.

We next had two enjoyable haiku festivals – ‘Golkonda Stones Hyderabad 2013’ organised by Paresh Tiwari, and ‘Distilled Images Mumbai 2014’ organised by Raamesh Gowri Raghavan. At ‘TRIVENI: World Haiku Utsav 2016’ in Pune, we launched the award winning ‘Naad Anunaad: An Anthology of Contemporary World Haiku’, which Sanjuktaa Asopa and Shloka Shankar co-edited with me.

Today, we’ve gathered under this beautiful and benevolent banyan tree to celebrate ‘TRIVENI: World Haiku Utsav 2019’ and to launch the anthology ‘Fuga No Makoto’, comprising ten years of the re-launch of the World Haiku Review. Editor Rohini Gupta spoke about the making of this anthology, which brings together all the editorials and critical appreciations which Susumu san wrote in the last ten years, on haiku contributed by haijin across the world.

Our deepest respect and admiration goes to Padma Damodaran, (actor, director and writer), for carrying out to perfection the idea of imaging a haiku in DANCEcharades. Special thanks to Akila Gopalakrishnan for anchoring the inaugural function with aplomb and grace.

Akila Gopalakrishnan inaugurates the Utsav

The main focus in this utsav, right from the start of choosing haiku for DANCEcharades, to the young poets themselves reading their work and talking about haikai poetry in three one-hour sessions, and ending with Simultaneous Individual Workshops, conducted by senior poets … was to ‘Nurture the Young’. In all the haiku conferences I’ve attended so far, mainly outside India, it’s only the top renowned haikai poets who air their views. Our main aim was to step off this beaten track. 

Thanks to Raamesh Gowri Raghavan for efficiently moderating Samvaad- the open sky, the only haiku panel session in the utsav.


Samvaad, the haiku panel session

Forest Bathing, a passion for which I’ve worked for more than three years, contacting various government organisations, was at last inaugurated in Alice Gardens on 2nd February.

We thank each and every member of INhaiku for their contributions, without which this utsav wouldn’t have been possible. Our deepest thanks go to Dr Ashok Chaskar and Prof (Dr) Vijay Khare for sharing with us this most beautiful space ‘Under the Banyan’ belonging to The International Centre, and to Susumu Takiguchi for joining us from London. Special thanks to Johannes Manjrekar and K. Ramesh, “the repeaters” who have been with us from the very first meeting in 2006. Our heartfelt gratitude to the poets, new-comers, parents, and students from primary school to post-graduates (a total of 155) — who lent their voices to the utsav, enabling the realisation of this dream project. Six months in the planning, it was satisfying and heart-warming to the core.

With a deep bow,


Kala Ramesh
Pune
 
Now for a few sessions in detail, allowing you to get a feel for the utsav! In Sanskrit and in all of our regional languages, utsav means ‘Celebration’— which is different from Conferences or Festivals!


FOREST BATHING
Shinrin-Yoku
 

‘You may call a tree a standing man, and man a walking tree’

— Sri Ramana Maharshi.

  

Have you ever ‘taken in’ the forest through your senses? How does one do it? Through the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. Shinrin in Japanese means ‘forest,’ and yoku means ‘bath.’


This is not exercise, hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is a bridge that connects us to the natural world. It is to smell the fragrance of the forest and breathe in the natural aroma of phytoncides.

Trees give out chemicals called ‘phytoncides’, which, when inhaled, are said to lower blood pressure, decrease sugar levels in diabetics and be good for auto-immune diseases. The word phytoncides, which means "released by the plant", was coined in 1928 by Dr Boris P. Tokin, a Russian biochemist from Leningrad University. More than 5,000 volatile substances defend the surrounding plants from bacteria, fungi and insects. 

Phytoncides work by preventing the growth of attacking organisms and are anti-microbial in the human body. When we breathe in these chemicals, they help to increase the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cell (NK). Studies have found that the NK cells help to kill tumours and virus-infected cells in our bodies. Amazingly, the impact of the inhaled phytoncides lasts for more than 30 days in the human body. 

On 2 February at 4.30 pm, the Forest Bathing Path was inaugurated at Alice Gardens, as part of the 3-day TRIVENI: World Haiku Utsav 2019. Oil lamps were lit to symbolise the path to good health. 

At the outset, Susumu Takiguchi explained its relevance in Japan today and I spoke of the need to build awareness about the concept of Forest Bathing. We ended with ten minutes of deep breathing, inhaling all the goodness that trees give off. 

Our deepest gratitude to the various heads of the departments at the Savitribai Phule Pune University for becoming convinced that Forest Bathing is greatly needed in today’s world. Bank of Baroda was so taken up with the idea, when I presented it in their Customers’ Meet in September 2018, that they instantly agreed to sponsor the billboards for Forest Bathing if it were to happen in Pune Univ – and sure enough it did happen! Our thanks to Amit Ranjan who came from Delhi to talk about Alice Richman, who was buried in this garden, adding a different angle to this inaugural function.

It’s time every city in India wakes up to the goodness of Forest Bathing and reaps the benefits as we take the step towards a healthier tomorrow.  


Kala Ramesh
Pune


SLAM CONTEST!

— from a judge’s angle!

Judges and winners

The World Haiku Utsav held in Pune this February saw an interesting mix of poetry, discussions and competitions. One such contest was the Haiku and Haibun Slam, the first ever Slam contest in this genre of Japanese poetry. Combining the beauty of Japanese verse forms with modern-day spoken-word poetry techniques, the Slam contest required participants to perform two rounds of two minutes each. 

The contest was met with great enthusiasm and 17 participants took to the stage, reciting a mix of haiku and haibun to a very appreciative audience. The judges, Kala Ramesh, Chandrakant Redican and Nandini Nair, judged the participants for content, delivery and diction as well as adhering to the time limit. The Slam contest rules did not allow participants to read their poetry. 

All the participating poets recited their own original works and did so with great confidence. The winners were Akila G., Shreya Narang, Paresh Tiwari and Yesha Shah.  

They clearly enjoyed this little experiment with haiku and haibun and many of them felt that reciting their poems without the aid of a paper helped them to connect with the audience. It does look like the Haiku, Haibun and Tanka Slam is here to stay!


Nandini Nair
Pune

 

SLAM POETRY CONTEST

— from a participant’s angle!

 

For those who don’t know, Slam Poetry is a type of competition where people read their poems from memory without props, costumes, or music.

I didn’t register for the Haiku Slam Poetry Contest at the World Haiku Utsav 2019 because the idea of reciting poems—albeit my own—from memory scared the dickens out of me. Also, I considered haiku to be ‘page’ poetry—best experienced when read, rather than heard. Slam Poetry involves a ‘performance’ of the poetry. A concept foreign to haiku! 

However, our utsav organizer, Kala Ramesh, possessed with enthusiasm and creativity that runs on secret rocket fuel sourced from NASA, put (rather, slammed) down the event on the program schedule: HaikuSLAM | TankaSLAM | HaibunSLAM.

 Thus, on the quiet morning of Sunday, 3rd February, I watched the victim-participants pacing nervously around the banyan grove, trying to memorize their lines. I leaned back comfortably in my audience chair and smiled, thanking my stars I hadn’t signed up. 

At that time, I hadn’t considered what happens in Africa. In the African savanna, wild beasts rush into a river filled with crocodiles purely from herd mentality, just because the first few jumped in it. With a shake of my head, I too kicked up some dust with my hooves and jumped into the river.

Judges Kala Ramesh, Nandini Nair and Chandrakant Redican assumed their seats, and so did the rest of the audience. Then by public demand, Chandrakant Redican gave us a demonstration of his slam poetry. I have not seen a more electrifying performance in my life and found my hands sore from clapping. 

Quietude and stillness reigned once more in the banyan grove. The judges and audience were rapt with attention at what the SLAM participants would do. Perhaps inspired by Chandrakant, each poet came up and performed his or her piece, emoting in a way hitherto unseen in any haiku gathering. Gasps and prolonged ‘wows’ filled the air during and after each performance. If banyan trees could clap and speak, they too would have added to the applause and cheers that followed each piece. 

One after another, they came, performed and went, leaving everyone in a tizzy. The humble stage in the backyard of the International Centre at Savitribai Phule Pune University had just been cast in the role of a laboratory, for a most wonderful kind of experimental poetry. A first of its kind in haiku history—slam haiku poetry! And with resounding success!


Pranav Kodial
Dahanu

 

SIMULTANEOUS INDIVIDUAL WORKSHOPS


The stunning open space in front of the International Centre of the PSSU was the venue for Triveni World Haiku Utsav, 2019. Dotted with glorious banyan trees it was the ideal place for poetry lovers.

On the last day of the utsav, we had simultaneous workshops in haiku, haibun and tanka under the canopy of the inspiring sage-like trees, with the pleasant accompaniment of bird calls.

The haiku mentors K. Ramesh & Madhuri Pillai had about 31 participants divided in two groups. Outside of the INhaiku participants there were some girls of Stds. 8 and 9 from the local St. Anne’s Convent plus five post-graduate students from the university keenly interested in learning this form.



The Haiku workshop with K Ramesh and Madhuri Pillai

The tanka group of twenty participants was also divided into two, one group was mentored by Kala Ramesh and the other jointly by Gautam Nadkarni and Shernaz Wadia. This group also had four post-graduate students from Pune University.


The Tanka workshop with Kala Ramesh, Shernaz Wadia and Gautam Nadkarni

The mentors for the haibun workshop – Johannes Manjrekar, Paresh Tiwari and Yesha Shah — had divided 19 participants into three groups. This workshop also counted four university students among the participants.

The Haibun workshop with Johannes Manjrekar, Paresh Tiwari and Yesha Shah

Spread out in the open space, under the banyan trees, these seven groups, working simultaneously with their mentors, had very effective and interesting interactions. Both participants and mentors enjoyed and benefited immensely from them. 
 
Shernaz Wadia
Pune


Two Tales of a Tunnel

— Utsav Ginko Walk


 

Not quite whitewashing its colonial past is the spruced up tunnel at the University of Pune, which Mr. Abhijit Ghorpade (in charge of Heritage Walks at the University) was kind enough to make accessible for TRIVENI: World Haiku Utsav participants, even on a holiday. This underground tunnel leads from the erstwhile kitchens of the Governor’s residence to the residence itself, now the Main Building of the University. 300m long, it has hot and cold water pipes and was the path which the waiters and butlers traversed thrice daily. 

The ‘native’ cooks, well versed now in the gastronomic preferences of their rulers, quietly prepared the delicacies that were then wheeled out on trolleys by numerous khansamas. A dumb waiter, still extant, at the end of the corridor conveyed the victuals to the massive dining room above. Enroute, a heavily guarded pantry that housed the wines and the silver was accessed by the butler. Ironically the custodian of the silverware slept under the stairs right next to the pantry, to guard his ‘treasure’.

The more romantic version of the tunnel story claims that the Governor’s daughter, Alice, confined because she’d fallen in love with a native, took her evening constitutional in a garden which she reached by means of this tunnel.


Madhuri Maitra
Pune


INhaiku NCR (Delhi)

 

If someone had said that a haiku workshop would touch your heart, transform you into a keen observer and a lover of nature, connect you to people of diverse backgrounds and age-groups, and that you would be able to publish ku within a few weeks, I would have not believed them. 

However, this is exactly what happened to the eleven participants of the workshop Long & Short of Haiku and Haibun conducted in New Delhi in June, 2017. This motley group comprised teenagers and senior citizens; students, academics and corporate executives; those ‘just curious’ to others with a keen appreciation of haiku. 

Sharing our first set of haiku during the workshop helped shed inhibitions and stirred the desire to experiment and create. Soon after, we formed a Whatsapp group - INHaiku NCR, comprising the participants and our teacher, Kala Ramesh. Under her mentorship, we have stayed connected, shared information, encouraged each other, critiqued our ku, and published in journals such as The Heron’s Nest, Frogpond Journal, Under the Basho, Haibun Today and Failed Haiku. 

The emotional bonding is strong, the camaraderie and support apparent, and the thoughts penned in haiku and haibun provide the daily melody for contemplation and meditation. It goes without saying that the publication of each ku turns into a joyous occasion for all.    
     

        spring bouquets -
        notes from each hole
        of Krishna’s flute


Nandita Jain Mahajan
Delhi


INhaiku CHENNAI

 

 . . . is a group of like-minded minded people who come together to enjoy haiku and allied forms of poetry. The members include K. Ramesh, Geetanjali Rajan, Sreelatha Nair, Shobhana Kumar, Vadivelrajan B., Dhaatri Rajan and Vidya S. Venkatramani. Geetanjali, a Japanese language scholar and academician, has been conducting workshops on haiku at IIT Madras, Japan Foundation and the Chennai Mathematical Institute. Last year the group had a renku session with Kala Ramesh. The group also collaborated with INhaiku MUMBAI to bring out a haiku anthology on the theme of travel, titled Pins on a Map. INhaiku CHENNAI is open to all forms of art and would love to meet up with haijin who are in town.


Vidya S. Venkatramani,
Chennai


INhaiku MUMBAI

 

The Mumbai chapter of INhaiku was formed in November 2013. The first meeting was at the residence of Rohini Gupta and was a big success. We decided brightly to call ourselves INhaiku Mumbai. That's imagination for you!! 

Bound together by our common love for all things haiku we are open to experimentation and innovation in our writings and are not unduly disturbed if we are told that our haiku stinks. Among our successes over the past five years of existence are three haikai anthologies which have been well received worldwide. 

We have since been meeting once a month almost without exception. Ably steered by our captain Rohini Gupta, we have never a dull moment at the coffee shops we patronize. Oddly enough, however, we have noticed a disturbing tendency on the part of these cafes to shut down after a few months of our appearances. We certainly hope this is no way a reflection on our calibre as haiku poets. Amen.

Gautam Nadkarni
Mumbai

 

INhaiku PUNE— the pond! 

 

Created in 2015 with over a dozen members, our group is vibrant, expressive, curious and in perennial search of moments worth capturing through the haiku lens. Bringing to the table a variety of approaches and perspectives—ranging from design, cinema, poetry, dance, painting and music — we are always in search of what we love to call the 'haiku-ness' in things!

 Noteworthy events include our Buddha Poornima Trek (to view the full moon from the mountains), organised by Ajaya Mahala on Matgoan on 4th May, 2015 (ironically we waited until 7.30 pm on the hilltop but the moon refused to show up!)  and the recent ginko walk in the Osho Teertha Park.

Montage is a technique in film editing in which a series of short shots are edited into a sequence to condense space, time, and information. An idea mooted by Kala Ramesh and carried most beautifully to fruition by filmmaker Ishan Sadwelkar, haikuMONTAGE is a coolaboration making haiku writing a fun group activity! 

 Coming up next is a series of brainstorming sessions on the Art of Haikai Recitation over cups of home-made freshly brewed Arabica Coffee and an over-night ginko-cum-renku trip to the nearby hills during the monsoons. We love to interact with members of all the other INhaiku groups, so do join us if you happen to be in Pune.  

 

Ishan Sadwelkar
Pune

 



KUKAI LIVE! – LIVING AN EXPERIENCE 


The second day of Triveni- the World Haiku Utsav, 2019 was as vibrant as it could get– Kukai LIVE!

We are familiar with Kukai – a theme-based online haiku contest judged by an email voting system. The Indian Kukai as we know it in India is conducted and coordinated by Kashinath Kamarkar.

At the Utsav, our beloved friend, Susumu Takiguchi, took us through Kukai as conducted in Japan - a monthly social gathering of those engaged in writing haiku. The evening was pleasant and the Banyan tree was a perfect hotspot where he gathered us in a circle and set the ball rolling with a brief introduction. So here we were, about twenty-five haijins ready to read, revel and reveal without IP addresses.

We were all asked to write our verse neatly on a piece of paper without our names. Susumu San had allowed us to bring an unpublished haiku for our maiden Kukai Live. A few volunteers collected all the slips and rewrote all the haiku on sheets of paper; these were circulated among us to read and pick one haiku to be voted as our individual choice. Aboli, Praniti and Sandra were kind enough to volunteer and they collated the chits in four sheets.

The process of reading and selecting one was as terse as writing. There were no deviations or deadlines or phone calls to distract. Here we were drawing instant connections with an anonymous haijin’s mind by engaging only with haiku – syllables floating with the Banyan breeze.

Soon we all had a shortlist of four haiku of which one had to be chosen. We were then asked to stand up, one by one, to read out loud the haiku of our choice from the shortlist. Points were tabulated according to the number of times each haiku was chosen. The exciting part of the Live Kukai was about to begin, that of painting a face for the haiku! After each one of us read out our pick, Susumu san asked the poet of the verse to stand up, thereby completing the circle from anonymity to discovery.

The haiku that gathered the maximum number of points were:


        flying bird
        the last piece of puzzle
        completes the sky


Aboli Kadam’s verse, fresh as a child’s innocence.


        forest bathing—
        I look around
        for the pond



Kashinath Kamarkar’s take after our session ‘Forest bathing’ – a walk through the University’s wooded paths.


The ones close behind were:

        farsight-
        my eyes meet the sky
        meeting the sea


Rohan Kevin Broach’s telescopic image


        godhuli
        cowbells punctuating
        the sound of flute


Paresh Tiwari sprinkles an Indian flavour


        on and off
        fireflies-
        mood swing

Akila G. 


The winners of the Live Kukai with the judges

. . . and under the Banyan tree, the mood could not be anything but upbeat as we bonded for the love of haiku — an experience that we would cherish and hope to indulge in again!


Akila G.
Hyderabad


Musical Haibun and other Delicacies

 

DANCEcharades and the Haiku & Haibun Slam Contest, ladies and gentlemen, were not the only successful experiments. Saturday evening. Thirty minutes to go before dinner with nothing to do. A few of our haiku poets who doubled as amateur singers took the stage and burst into song.

After a few songs, Paresh Tiwari stood up and mumbled something to Akila Gopalakrishnan and her eyes lit up like two 1000-watt bulbs. She began, as usual, to sing a popular Hindi song. And after the first verse, it was the audience’s eyes doing the 1000 W-bulb gig.

Paresh had just joined in the song seamlessly, reading a part of a haibun from his book, in a lyrical style reminiscent of the poets in the darbars of ancient Indian Kings. Akila picked up from where Paresh left off, and this continued, part-song and part-haibun, until this amazing combination ended in a thunderous round of applause. We had just witnessed the birth of a ‘musical haibun’—a term that will definitely need refining in future but will serve our purpose for now. 

Good things always come in pairs. So Paresh and yours truly did an encore with another haibun and Hindi film song, respectively, leaving both us and the audience totally fulfilled.

And now onto the other delicacies served to us at the TRIVENI: World Haiku Utsav 2019. 

As you know, haiku poets have (or develop) specialized neurons. Sensitive, discriminative, observant brain cells that succumb to the immediacy of the moment and emotions. They also succumb to the immediacy of hunger—the need for nutrition befitting their special, sensitive needs.

Mr. Ravi, the caterer of SET Guest House rose to the occasion, pampering our taste buds with an array of delicacies … my favourite was the Marathi delicacy Pooran Polis.



Another highlight of the Utsav was the eco-friendliness. The cloth (and not plastic/flex) banners, the leaf plates and water not served in plastic bottles were in a sense a poetical tribute to Mother Earth.  

The entire Utsav will always remain with me as delectable images and memories: The open-air, banyan tree-laden garden venue. Flower-beds. Birdsong. Beloved friends. Camaraderie. Banter. Jokes. Laughter. Warm, warm hugs and embraces. And Poetry. Prose. Lots and lots of lyrical, soul-melting poetry-prose. Recitation. Discussion. Gasps of appreciation. Cheering. Applause. Aha moments... And Song. And Dance. And Theatre. And Paintings. And EMOTIONS. Inspiration. And awe. And love. And missing friends who couldn't be with us. And...and...sigh!

From here on, my eyes will remain affixed on the calendar. When do we celebrate our next Haiku Utsav? 


Pranav Kodial
Dahanu


Impressions:

Under the Banyan

 

Each moment of Triveni: World Haiku Utsav 2019 was an amazing experience. We took part in six-minute readings of our haiku, which was a learning curve for me … to be able to face people and read. We participated in a Live Kukai and judged all the haiku poems written. Haiku and Haibun Slam was conducted for the first time in India, and was an amazing experience for all participants. The tanka workshop was conducted under the banyan tree, which was nothing less than enlightenment.


Gurpreet Dutt
Kashmir 

 

Triveni: World Haiku Utsav 2019 was a special event for me for various reasons. I was introduced to Haiku in 2014 during a creative writing workshop for school students, under the mentorship of Kala Ramesh. Since then, I had been eager to attend Triveni but was unable to because I was a school student and travelling wasn't possible for me. I am a college student now and after five years of patience, I finally had the opportunity to attend Triveni for the first time.

It was a more personal experience than I had expected it to be because I also participated as a volunteer and helped design all the posters for the utsav. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the venue had to be changed from an indoor environment to outdoors. What initially seemed like a hiccup ended up being a highlight of the event!

All of the sessions were conducted under a grand Banyan tree, with a gentle breeze and falling leaves. The atmosphere and vibes were perfect for reading and writing haiku. We were in the lap of nature, surrounded by chirping birds and really wonderful poets. The soul of an event like this is the people and all the participants were warm, intelligent and creative. Interacting with everyone was an experience in itself. I met many talented and experienced writers. All the sessions were enjoyable. The Slam competition, Live Kukai and Forest Bathing were my favourites. Another thing which took me by surprise was how much I enjoyed the food. At an event like this, many people just consider the poetry and learning aspects, but I was delighted with the management of the event — food, guest houses and help from the volunteers were all very well planned and executed. 

It was an experience I'll cherish my entire life.


Rohan Kevin Broach
Delhi \


World Haiku Utsav '19 was a surreal experience for me. Haijin from across the country flocked to Pune for the love of haiku and its associated forms of Japanese poetry.

The cool shade of the majestic banyan tree and the chirps of robins formed the perfect setting (read kigo) for us to assemble and share our love for poetry. Words fall short to express my gratitude to Kala Ramesh for conjuring up such a meet, for her efforts, for her meticulous planning, and most importantly for the love she has for all of us, which made this event a grand success. It was a real pleasure to meet the founder of the World Haiku Club, Susumu Takiguchi, and to get his insights on certain core concepts in haiku, such as kigo and karumi. I personally got to hang out with him after the event and discuss a lot of things, besides haiku and Japanese aesthetics, ranging from his personal experiences in India to World Politics to Haruki Murakami. Any event that facilitates bonding with fellow poets, sharing our experiences and feeling oneness with nature, away from our drab desk jobs amidst concrete walls, shouldn't be missed.
 


Kausik Ksk
Hyderabad



The Utsav....
I cannot endure "Thursdays" now...
That's because... before the Utsav, on 31st Jan… I was so excited, so happy... But now, that has evaporated into nothingness... I literally have nothing to look forward to...

Walking into the Utsav was pure magic... It was like walking into a dream...

I know that this isn't my last utsav, and I mustn't act so pessimistic about life, but then, the next utsav (if any) won't be my first either... and that's sad...

Praniti Gulyani
Delhi


 Reading hour


Triveni: World Haiku Utsav 2019 was a festival where we INhaiku poets came under one roof to live and celebrate haiku to the fullest. Discussing our haiku, publication, experiences that inspired us to write, sitting in the shade of that alluring banyan tree, was like heaven blessing us. Kukai Live emerged as one of the most entertaining and fairest means of appreciating haiku by every participant. The two-hour Simultaneous Individual Workshops were a great chance to learn from our mentors many new nuances about these beautiful Japanese short forms of poetry. The first experiment of a slam contest in haiku and haibun turned out to be an absolute success which everyone enjoyed a lot. Thanks to Kala ma’am. She brought us together to an amazing venue, took care of our comforts, and came up with brilliant ideas. She made sure our every moment was captured forever.

To be always cherished . . . these three days 


Shreya Narang
Punjab





The Utsav gave me an opportunity to not only meet old friends who are interested in haiku but also many young people who are keen on learning about the genre. The banyan tree as the backdrop for the festival was an ideal setup for a haiku meet!

There was a lot of learning, laughter and fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Utsav.


K. Ramesh 
Chennai


Reading hour


Meetings of the (still rather small but steadily growing) Indian haiku community have never been less than exuberant, and the latest INhaiku meeting was no exception. Special credit, needless to say, to the energetic moving spirit Kala Ramesh who, with her combination of organisational, coaxing and unabashed bullying talents, organised another wonderful confluence of Indian haikai aficionados in Pune. This meeting was special in having Susumu Takiguchi, the founder of World Haiku Club and a prominent figure on the international haikai scene, as a participant after a gap of 10 years. His insightful talks and discussions were, of course, among the highlights of the meeting. Another heartening feature was the participation of a number of new members, including some young budding talents (may their tribe increase) who enthusiastically came from distant parts of the country. There were many heart-warming and sometimes even heart-wrenching moments, such as the narrations of a poet from strife-torn Kashmir who found solace in haiku, or that of an old-time practitioner of Indian origin from Mauritius. The meeting also included visitors coming all the way from Australia and Bangladesh, who seemed to feel very much at home with their Indian friends. Overall, there was much bonding and bonhomie, as well as a great deal of learning through discussions and workshops. It was an energising interaction of the grey or greying “eminences” of the Indian haiku scene and enthusiastic young neophytes. May we continue to have many more such meetings!


Johannes Manjrekar
Baroda



Where do the days go? The month before the Utsav passed like a hurricane in a frenzy of editing, proofreading, uploading and finally, publishing Fuga No Makoto. Only the ebook version. The print version and the second volume, ten years of editorials and prose,is still to come.

Because its an ebook, we released posters at the Utsav. There was not enough time to print out copies to keep under the banyan tree with the rest of the books for sale.

Somehow, who knows how, it got done in time. Then, I had the deep pleasure of hosting Susumu Takiguchi in Mumbai and driving down the long highway to Pune, chatting all the way.

I think that is what I treasure the most about the World Haiku Utsav – the warm interactions, the conversations, the time spent in getting to know people I rarely meet except online. The one thing missing was the hug and bright smile of Angelee Deodhar, who was always the first person I looked for at one of these occasions. I only regret that I will never see what she is writing now, wherever she is – though perhaps she was there in spirit. She would have surely approved of all the eager youngsters writing lovely haiku.

The other delight were the banyan trees, arching all over the courtyard, causing the audience to keep shifting chairs in and out of the all too quickly changing sunspots. Three days in the vast and richly forested campus of the university, walking to the venue and back, passing earnest students, determined cyclists and charging morning walkers, was another delight I miss in the big city.

I brought back a few of the banyan leaves which littered the courtyard each day. They sit by my computer now and I will be drawing them for a long time, filling page after page of my sketchbook, in memory of banyan trees, warmth, smiles and a deep, enthusiastic, shared love of poetry.


Rohini Gupta
Mumbai


It (Triveni: World Haiku Utsav 2019) was a runaway success and one of the most attractive and heart-warming haiku meetings I have ever attended! I was especially impressed to witness what great fun such an event could be, a wonderful source of love, warmth and friendship, in addition to cultural, intellectual and artistic pursuit.


Susumu Takiguchi
England

 

Farewell my friends … until we meet again!


Triveni: World Haiku Utsav, 1-3 February,was funded by members of INhaiku and the Bank of Baroda with Shut-Up & Read as work partners

Our special thanks to Rohan Kevin Broach for designing the posters,
Aboli Kadam for the Forest Bathing Chart-hangers & Madhuri Maitra for the Triveni: World Haiku Utsav 2019 cloth banner.


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