I want to wipe depression off the face of earth’ — you would think someone who has existed on the planet for four or five decades would say something like this. But here’s the pleasant surprise. Sameer Khan, all of 23, not just says this, but believes in it, and constantly works to achieve this “ambitious” dream through his beautiful words. ‘Depression is like a dictator. It catches hold of and rules the mind, with a nip of the dagger placed over your heart’s throat’, he writes.
Khan, who dropped out of medical college in 2016, was always fond of writing. “My mother used to tell me a lot of stories in my childhood and I began to create my imaginary friends through them. I would write letters to these friends and throw them randomly from my home’s backyard, assuming they reach my imaginary friends,” he reminisces.
“I was a crazy kid and would write a lot. But I never thought that this could become my passion and my full-time work,” adds the youngster. Khan now writes poetry to fight depression and recites it to heal people.
Khan had lost a dear friend while he was away pursuing his MBBS and that left a major vacuum in his life, leading to much emotional trauma. “I was writing on depression then. Around the same time, my mother was fighting a critical illness in hospital and I would sit in the waiting room and write. That’s when I completed my book Eerie Edges — The End You Were Scared Of in 40 days. I described the faces in the hospital through my poetry,” says the ‘warrior of art’ — a name he has chosen for himself on social media.
While at the hospital, Khan happened to recite one such poem to a patient and she showed much appreciation for it. “I realised that words had the power to heal and a friend asked me to visit such critically ill patients and recite my poetry to them. That’s where my journey began. I soon began to visit hospitals in Lucknow, then orphanages and even old-age homes,” says the optimist, adding, “I had begun to realise the flaws in our education system and hence started conducting storytelling sessions in orphanages. I teach them basic life lessons through these fun activities.”
Meanwhile, he also did an online series on the Nirbhaya incident of December 2012, called ‘Her’. ‘She was an ocean, calm, soothing and serene. Her wishes stretched beyond, to a land afar, unseen’, he writes in one of his work. “I was deeply disturbed and disgusted with the incident and had to do something about it. Once again, I took to words,” says the author of two more such series — one on the LGBTQ community and another about the challenges of relationships.
“By now, my work had got a social edge and hence I decided to completely dedicate myself to it. I am not a big supporter of charity. I call this my responsibility and not charity,” insists Khan.
Speaking about the funding, Khan says that what he initiated through his own savings, soon became a joint effort of all the people who appreciated his work and provided willing help. “I just aim to fight this bug of depression in whatever way I can,” he asserts. Khan’s work can be read at www.awarriorofart.com as also on his social media pages.