The Pigs and Poets Of Bangalore

I wouldn’t call myself a poet although I write words that rhyme. I’m a songwriter. I can hide behind the music.

I can emote and stretch words, I can repeat for emphasis, create drama and generally make people forget the stupidity of producing melodramatic drivel like,

Would I lie for you?
Would I cry for you?
Would I try for you?
Would I die for you?

I’m embarrassed even as I write this, lyrics for a song called, no prizes for guessing, ‘Would I lie?’

But there are brave souls in this city, who compose their thoughts and put them down on paper, often in long-hand (without the benefit of and other unfair aids), painting beautiful pictures, making harsh and jagged stabs, being plaintive once in a while and desperate sometimes. Funny, rarely and serious mostly. Thought provoking at all times. Poetry is like that.

They are a group of poets who meet very regularly at a charming, kind of put-together restaurant and wine bar overlooking Ulsoor Lake, in what looks to be a parking garage. Its owner, Perry Menzies, wanted to create an edgy yet comfortable setting for both the budding poet and the seasoned craftsman to meet, recite poems, mill about and be, well, poets, on Tuesdays.

The seating is bare bones, the ambience is delightful and the view of the lake is unbeatable. The food’s not bad either, and I’m told the wine hits the spot.
I went there one Tuesday and was delighted to find a packed house.
At least seventy-five poets, some clutching paper, some clutching thoughts and others listening attentively to writers of all age groups empty out their souls.

There was pin drop silence. Aside from the tooting horns from the street outside, no one made a sound until it was time to applaud. And then it was like a joyous explosion of firecrackers.

But I deceive you with my words.

I trick you. I’ve painted a benign picture of Urban Solace in a town once called The Garden City.

There is something very ugly and sinister happening around this valiant oasis of culture, right in front of our noses.

Some residents in the area have decided to use the entrance to Perry’s gentle, friendly restaurant as a garbage dump.

Not just a few gum-wrappers blown in by the wind and the odd cigarette butt. There are mountains of garbage dumped there every day. Some in plastic bags, most of it on an as-is-where-is basis.

Perry created a pretty white picket fence around the area, hoping to send the message out that this was a place of beauty, someone’s property, not to be used as a dump. He placed pictures of the various gods and goddesses that sometimes scare people into obedience in India, but he’s clearly speaking a foreign language. Or we’ve become godless in Bangalore. No one paid attention.
Perry tried planning beautiful blossoms outside his restaurant, in a kind of hint to the heartless. He has tried seeding grass hoping to appeal to the innate sense of beauty he believes people are born with.

But garbage triumphs over gardens every day.

No one is listening to him. But Perry persists, the poets persist, and they walk around the garbage to enter the restaurant. It’s a miracle that once the poetry begins, the smell ceases to matter.

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