Deconstructing Pyar Aur Poetry
I remember the day I sent the synopsis of Pyar aur Poetry to Naheed Hassan, the publisher of Indireads.
It was a scorching day in July and the birds that hopped on the lawn outside my flat looked drunk with heat. I had locked myself away in the bedroom and parked myself on my writing desk pretending to write a synopsis.. I had given myself an entire week to come up with a synopsis of a non-existent romance story, and it had not arrived like I thought it would.
The so called Muse had turned out to be the ultimate Con.
Finally I forced myself to sit back and think of all the college romances that I had seen, watched and heard. I couldn’t remember any but for one. Old Love, one of Jeffrey Archer’s love stories. It is a story about two carping super bright English Literature students who go on from being arch rivals to being so deeply in love that they cannot live apart . It is my all-time favourite college love story that focuses on the less melodramatic aspect of love. A love where electricity and passion is kindled by like-mindedness. A love that is not ‘coyly unveiled by flowing dupattas or thumping background score.’ The kind of love that I can relate to it.
And so I came up with a draft. It was a long, lugubrious love story which I read out to my mother, an ardent romance novel reader. She snoozed halfway through the plot. I had my answer.
I was about to type a mail to Naheed saying that I would be unable to provide any synopsis when suddenly an image of an arrogant, stuck up girl blossomed in my head. She was throwing a tantrum because she had lost out on the prestigious poetry contest to an unknown poet D G Beckett.
Later on having written Pyar aur Poetry, read and discussed it with my friends I realized how much of me was in it. D. G Beckett was inspired from my email id in college. The secret identity idea was a throwback to my teenage days where a shy me resorted to role playing gimmicks just to be heard. On the first read, Pyar and Poetry, in its truest sense, is fun and frisky. It is all about mistaken identities, youthful arrogance, vulnerability, young, subtext free love, cool grandmas, opulent houses and of course poetry and literature. But delve a little deeper, and it is also a dig at the post-colonial hangover very many Indian Indians like me have faced and struggled with for most of my adolescence. Being able to look beyond a stiff upper lip childhood filled with Enid Blyton, Alistair McLean, and P. G. Wodehouse. To be able to recondition myself out of the relatable reality that midnight feasts with potted meat, fruit cakes and chasing adventures in a Whitsun drenched English countryside seemed to provide so effortlessly and to re-discover one’s own culture, experiences and imaginations.
Overall writing Pyar Aur Poetry was a very cathartic experience for me- it really helped me to laugh at my own stupid mistakes, my impudence and vulnerability – all of which I experienced as a collegian born and raised in India.
For all those who believe in Pyar Aur Poetry, this book is for you. And for all those who don’t believe in Pyar aur Poetry, this book is for you too!