“Warrior of Change” is an initiative to inspire positive change in the minds of people and empower them to start their own journey through powerful stories of real people striving hard to make a difference.
Our next Warrior of Change is the Founder of Poet’s Collective and Maha Varta, Saumya Kulshreshtha. She is full of love, happiness, and warmth for everyone around. She fights hatred with love and darkness with light.
- I met you first time during my Book Launch and you were the most wonderful person in the whole room. You are the perfect epitome of Poetry. What does poetry mean to you?
Interestingly, poetry has meant different things to me at different points of time. As of today, it means two things – stories and solace. Stories because I personally find resonance in the kind of poems I get to hear from people who attend my gatherings. What drips through their carefully polished words are their innate sentiments and stories, and I love unraveling the person through his words. Solace because I write when it becomes impossible to contain. When nothing seems to offer any kind of comfort, your own words become powerful and meaningful. Poetry, personally, means allowing the self to become a beacon of hope and meaning.
- You have conducted hundreds of creative writing workshops on Poetry and Indian Mythology. You also serve as the Advisory Board of “Youth for Heritage Foundation.”How was your experience conducting workshops?
Indescribably gratifying! To conduct a workshop or even to do a talk is an act of tremendous responsibility. Add to it dollops of thrill, and there I am, standing in front of a crowd of eager listeners, telling them all I have learned, for that is the only way to make knowledge grow.
I have been fortunate to have been placed in front of crowds who have known me a little, and hence are welcoming and warm. They possess an eagerness to learn, and I possess an eagerness to teach, as well as learn more than them in the process. I am hungry to learn. An audience that doesn’t challenge me beyond what I know does not inspire me. For instance, my most difficult, and yet most fond workshop was in Saharanpur with school children, where I was at odds to comprehend the language (as well as the idiom) to converse with them on. But, since we all possessed a clean slate, we created some great poems collaboratively, with expressions so unique that a faint proud smile automatically appears on my face the moment I think of it.
I conduct workshops/lectures on mythology, poetry appreciation, and poetry writing, creative writing, effective communication, visualizing ideas, literature (particularly Indian writing in English) and anything else allied to these fields which present an opportunity to learn. The great thing is, these random workshops have led to a full-blown course which I conduct in IIIT Delhi, teaching mythology and poetry in alternate semesters, in addition to teaching communications in Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon, and Noida.
- Do you believe that Artists have a responsibility towards society?
Always. It is a firm belief. First, artists have a responsibility towards themselves, because the nascent expressionist within them needs to be identified, needs to be tested, needs to be given flight. However, once artists enter the public domain, where they are aware that they have influence, and they are potential catalysts to bring about positive or negative changes, they cannot eschew their larger responsibility. Art is capable of inspiring and provoking the masses into thought and action. The past is a testimony to how movements have been inspired and encouraged through songs, theater, speeches, performances, and today is no different in that regard. In fact, with the advent and spread of social media, socially responsible art is more a reality today than ever before.
- How do you manage a full-time job with social activities?
Passion and prioritization. When you are really passionate about doing something, you always find the time. On instances, even I am baffled by a number of tasks I am simultaneously involved in, but I have learned to set my priorities right. Efficiency while completing tasks helps. Admittedly, I am not the best manager of time – that is one virtue which I consistently fail at getting right, but people don’t get to know of it because my efficiency goes up as deadlines loom near. I work really well with deadlines and have devised a personal reward system for myself.
I think what really helps my work is also the fact that I give a lot of time to myself. ‘Me-time’ is necessary for creative pursuits, and I have been blessed with friends and colleagues who understand this.
- You are someone who truly believes in kindness and love despite all the hatred in the world. What is your message for your followers?
Don’t give into violence. Don’t give into hate. Don’t give into anyone who convinces you that our world is a bad place to live in.
Agreed, that the world is difficult, disappointing and devastating at times, even violent, but, my dear, we all belong here together. Strive to create islands of love and peace around you and hope fervently that your island keeps growing, that the peace and love of your heart spread out like an infection. Now, more than ever, it is important that kindness and goodness speak up to quell at least some shades of violence which are increasingly being normalized in our world.
And lastly, learn. Learn as much as you can, in as many ways as you can. Read, watch videos, talk to people, travel, and don’t give up this pursuit till you are convinced that never in life can a single narrative exist. That only perspective is real, rest is illusory.
To know more about her, log on to her Blog