Coldness had tiptoed into New York City as the winter bird had begun weaving its nest. It let out chirps in the air and I swallowed them in, my tummy tumbling. I walked through the neighborhood of New York University, my heart bustling, just like the city.
It was November 11th, 2012, and of course, I was psyched. How can someone not be, when they had traveled all the way from Mumbai to collect an award, in probably one of the best magazines for teenagers worldwide? Chills went down my spine. It broke through like thunder, but what didn’t strike me was that thunder too, is a form of light in the darkness. I had to read out my piece and the thought was spine tingling. These sorts of notions raced through my brain: “What if I don’t do well?”, “What if I fumble?”, “If people don’t like me and find flaws?”
But whether the people liked me or not, I liked the first people I met. And the cold of New York was meaningful, due to their warmth. This warmth led me to stream up the stage with the colors of my poetry. I just closed my eyes and the rainbow collided with the hearts of the audience. The real treasure was the after party, of course. But there was a party before the awards begun too and that’s where I met a lot of incredible people. Meeting the New York editorial board was enthralling. Their personalities were bubbly and they captivated me with their sensitivity. Then came the embrace of Lama Surya Das, the embrace of a new life. It still makes me wonder what lovely deeds I must have done in my past life, to meet him. And the turning point was when he told me he saw in me a divine future and hugged me. The warmth of them all, truly, was enough to put out the cold.
Meeting the incredible people was probably the biggest boon. The rich smiles, the wealth they had in their souls is worth a special mention. The response I received for my poem was thrilling. Since I wrote this poem in the seventh grade, I wasn’t quite sure how well people would appreciate it, but it was lit in peoples’ hearts and that gave me utmost satisfaction.
It suddenly came to me, between all those moments of the awards and thoughts between smiles, between the starry eyed wonders and day dreams–the power of poetry.
To be able to mould people’s lives and kiss their souls with words, to take them to a place of spirituality and depth; that is what poets and writers are meant for. We serve the world with our talent– like moonlight in the darkness of the reader’s mind. It is said that we are all made of stars but I believe poets see those stars more clearly and put up constellations to guide people home. A real poet will make you believe that pixie dust floats through your pores and that your woe will soon evaporate and never come back. This is true heroism. Poetry is a wonder of rhythm and beauty, a balance of nature and wisdom.
After visiting New York, my love for poetry has grown. I have learned to weave my own nest, like the winter bird, and find warmth. I wanted to share that warmth. I realized how blessed poets and writers truly are, to sail across the ocean of folly and make something out of it, so manifestly that it might change the tunes of other peoples’ thoughts.
It also dawned upon me how united people with similar interests could stand. It felt beautiful being born–how fortunate to be born into a world where poetry and writing exists. I felt the seeds of new plants about to take birth, ready to create new trees that would give shade– shade to all.
I ache to achieve more, to serve, to be a hero. To make sure my birth leaves an impression that can be a poem itself. I hope that happens; but there have been heroes for us to follow. Oscar Wilde and Sylvia Plath, these are the poets to look up to. Do we have the power to see the world in a flash and see shapes that carve a new path for the world to follow? If we are poets, we are a home that people have been aching to find. I thank The Big Apple and the most incredible people for helping me fathom the true light of poetry: to touch people and to understand the music beneath their skin.