Creative push

Alisha Shinde
Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Be it singing, drawing, writing or playing an instrument, people of all ages are now coming together informally to discuss what they love doing

The excellence in any art form can only be achieved through dedication and consistency. And, when you have friends and like-minded people around you, the process gets a lot more smooth and fun. No wonder then that budding talents and established names come together to gain something out of their common passion. Many artists in the city these days meet up outside of their work places and homes, to converse on art and even learn it. 

Poet K C Vlaine says that the informal meets are really necessary as they give people the power not to adhere and limit themselves to any culture and structure. “In India, we follow a certain style and structure and as a result the artists are often stuck in a template of events,” says Vlaine, adding, “These meets help artists to think out of the box. At such events, artists enjoy and express more which is beneficial for all.” 

Vlaine, who has written a poem called Trees, says that the informal meetings can take place at any location which acts as an added variety to the art forms. “There is a pressure to entertain and perform at open mic and slam events and since beginners are not really confident enough, you see performances by established artists. The informal meet-ups help diffuse this narrative,” he adds. 

Luv Mahtani, ukulele player and teacher, has been organising ukele meets for his friends and students alike. “Anyone who loves the ukele or knows how to play it are welcome. Our meet is like a fun jamming session, but we try to play easy songs so that everyone can join in without feeling left out,” says Mahtani. He points out that he believes in keeping the meets simple so that everyone can have fun and the amateurs can learn from the pros, but in a very informal environment. 

Citing an example from his personal experience, the musician-teacher says, “When I was asked to play the guitar in front of a small gathering it really freaked me out. I started questioning myself if I could play at all. I did not want to let down my mother who had paid for my guitar lessons, and that made me less confident.” 

With these artist meetings he wants to make sure that his students gain confidence of performing in front of a crowd. “They will be confident if they are first comfortable playing the ukulele in front of friends, or someone they trust and relate to. It’s a good idea to find motivation from others. It is a great way to connect with like minded people and have fun without thinking and worrying too much,” says Mahtani. The group had a blast last Christmas, when all ukulele players got together and played carols with both professionals and amateurs.

Writing is a lonely job, but if you have fellow writers egging you on, you can also learn how to spin a bestseller. “As a youngster, I used to write in Bengali, but once I started interacting with like minded people, it gave me a chance to reflect on my own writing and understand how I could improve,” says Arun Paria of Pune Writers’ Group. 

The group meets every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and with more and more people showing interest, it has grown in number. 

“It all comes down to what are we taking away with us once a meet comes to an end. Have we outdone ourselves? Have we learnt?” he says, adding, “We discuss world literature, write fiction pieces, meet an author or a poet and discuss about what we have written.” 

Talking about the impact that these meetings have had on members, Paria says that it has given the members accountability, made them more ambitious and, most importantly, have helped people to learn from criticism. 

“We want our meet-ups to be an intellectual space, a platform to express and learn and, more importantly, aim to write more and serve the cause,” he concludes.

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