Time had slowed down
In this new slow time, events and their import begged to be re-assessed. Breathing, eating, walking and feeling stress-free were marked as ‘successes‘, where earlier they’d been taken for granted as non-events. Small little everyday acts acquired greater significance. The absence of the ‘normal’ frenzied pace of existence opened up barely visible alternative routes.
The victories and exultant moments described here are small, tiny steps resolutely taken in difficult times, and mean a lot to us. Not earth shattering at all, but definitely worth cherishing.
WE had geared up to announce the winners of four new WE Poetry Award categories, along with the WE Kamala Das Poetry Award. The immense contribution and dedication of our panel of judges is noteworthy, battling against odds to deliver results that impacted so many. Million thanks Nishat Haider, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly. (Yours truly included most humbly).
WE Poetry Party Dec ’20
I’d found that plans could go awry, schedules disrupt and work get delayed due to the unpredictability and chaos surrounding life and death. Hoping for the best, with fingers crossed and no fixed plan save an overall picture, I tried to think of zoom launch dates in December. One way or the other December 15 presented itself and was about to be announced, when an old favourite poet scholar volunteer friend surfaced after long, requesting a Christmas poetry party online! She had a guest list ready too. I had to say yes, of course. It was one of the most beautiful poetic parties ever, that too online! What a blast, thank you Priyal.
So the WE Awards Announcement needed fresh dates. Things were a little too tight just then, in every sphere. But I decided to forge ahead and marked Dec 23 as our new launch date. All the while, I told myself not to worry too much if things fell apart/ didn’t happen/ went haywire… (You’ve to be kind to yourself at times like this).
WE Poetry Awards ’20 Announced
I still can’t believe how everything fell in place, despite the crazy tech. issues where I could NOT see my beautiful zoom co-participants after going live on YouTube, facing a dark screen, receiving messages of bands across the screen thanks to the background, and more such! The terror of speaking into a dark void.
And then I saw the recording.
It was an unforgettable, momentous and happy gathering of poets, artists, friends, judges, award winners, well wishers, anchors, cheerleaders and inspiring persons to fill a lifetime.
There had been almost no time to prepare, there were too many uncertainties, and the only thing one could do is remain open to all possibilities. I mean ALL. Including that of the show falling flat on my face.
Learning Bore Fruit
And that is exactly what the distilled essence of all the learning and insights had helped me achieve – the confidence to deal with uncertainty in absolutely chaotic environments and move ahead calmly. Without letting the pressure smother, or fear block action.
In that most difficult of years, WE had not only read and made selections for many new awards, but we actually successfully announced it online in a grand festive get-together celebrating six awards, celebrating Christmas, New Year and each other! Because we took it one step at a time. Because we had no expectations, just a steady will to keep going…
Immense gratitude to our panel of judges, all inspiring WE folk. and to mentors, teachers, coaches, to dear friends who offer all the support, encouragement and love, and to seniors who inspire. To our amazing WE literary community of awe inspiring creative individuals.
Immense gratitude to Upal Deb, our one-man poetry university, who offered us deep and wide views of world poetry and our own, for well over a decade. His passing this spring came as a shock and leaves a void that cannot be filled.