For the first time

Nischal on stage!

Anyone who has ever talked to me for five minutes can attest to the fact that I am terrible at it. Combined with my fear of public speaking, the last day of the Intensive Workshop was nerve-wracking.

At the end of the first Word Warriors poetry workshop back in January, we were told to apply for the intensive workshop if we were so inclined. That was at the end of (Kick and) Push. I had submitted a poem whipped up in three hours at three in the morning. From then to April, I had almost forgotten about the intensive workshop – until I got a call informing me that I had been selected for it.

There were quite a few familiar faces at the intensive workshop, and many new. There were five of us, oldest of the bunch, firmly in our 20s, while the rest of the workshop participants were in their mid-teens. There were even kids who were 11 years old!

Word Treasures collected during the Name Game exercise

Word Treasures collected during the Name Game exercise

On the first day of the three-day workshop, we started with Name Game, where we had to go around the room collecting words that start with the same letter or syllable as your name. I managed to get nine. Then we had to write an About Myself using those words. Here’s mine (two of the words were repeated, I didn’t know how to use one of them):

नरिवलको जस्तो कपाल छ मेरो

निराशाहरुदेखि निराश भइसकेको

मेरा नयन निर्मल छन्

मेरो मन निश्छल, शायद

नविन क्षितिजतर्फ सधैं आँखा ताकेको

नराम्रो कसैको नगरुँ राखेको छु मनमा

We did an exercise to come up with new and interesting metaphors, analysed Samip dai’s “Chura ko Geet” and as an assignment were asked to write a poem to a family member telling them something you wanted them to know. I chose our dog because she is the safest option but I didn’t complete the assignment.

The next day we did descriptions. We were divided into three groups. One group was made to describe themselves, the other to describe the person besides them and the third to describe what you see in a photograph. I got a picture of a dark-skinned older male standing under a carved stone arch in Mangalbazaar, Patan, wearing clothes so white he could be a Tide advertisement. Later we talked about our future, 10 years down the lane. And that was our prompt for our poems for the third day, which we would also be PERFORMING(!!!).

We started the third day with Trust Fall. The game was a trust building exercise but as I say, the only person you can trust is yourself. Then the poetry readings started. I was lucky number 13. One might think your turn coming at thirteenth would mean you’d have to wait quite a while, but then you’d be wrong.  One poem after another, such stellar performances, and before too long, it was my turn. I stumbled through my piece somehow. That was, no lie, my first time speaking on a stage. I got kind reviews and I am very glad for that.

There are two main things I learned from the workshop: use lots of similes and metaphors (for me, similes more so since they are easier to understand than metaphors)and use even more details, especially details you are familiar to.  I learned a great deal from attending this workshop (and had a great time, too). I would like to thank Word Warriors for granting me the privilege of being a part of this programme.

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