A piece of her poetry:
“ .. so instead I tell you
that I have only known people
like research papers with
justified text and conclusive findings
but your voice
is a borrowed love poem
scribbled on a
– Excerpt from ‘Dada’, a spoken word piece
A poet is one who discerns the on-goings within one’s mind perfectly, and in a manner so astute that the most trivial thoughts seem extremely relevant. Their beautifully constructed thoughts wade through mental walls, and introduce one to the worlds hidden within plain sight.
But what does one call a person who sings, acts, dances and weaves words, all with the same level of proficiency, in addition to being an engineer?
The Alliance interviewed one such wanderer, Ragini Lalit, a student of the ICE branch (batch of 2015). Ragini Lalit, along with her Slam Poetry Collective, Mildly Offensive Content, has been taking the city by storm (quite literally, with her words). Mildly Offensive Content is Delhi’s first Slam Poetry group and has performed in places like the Indian Habitat Center, IIT Roorkee, and LSR amongst many others.
Q1. What does poetry mean to you?
A1. I never know what to say when anyone asks me that question, because to me, trying to write poetry is as natural as breathing. I can’t imagine not doing it. I write to make sense of what’s happening around me. The idea is to streamline the befuddled mind or attempt to.
Q2. How does it feel to be behind the mic?
A2. It’s a nerve-wracking experience every time. Words are powerful; they sway opinions like the wind. So spoken word poetry is a huge responsibility, because it’s someone’s story that you’re narrating. Sometimes, people walk up to us after a poetry session, and there is not much said because there are not enough words in that moment. That is when we realize that, silence is more powerful.
Q3. Why the name ‘Mildly Offensive Content’?
A3. Our poems are political, but not always politically correct. The name is a disclaimer of sorts, for the content that follows. We talk on a plethora of subjects, from something as inhumane as the Godhra riots or the Peshawar incident to something personal like an artist’s struggle to something as far away as blank postcards or the distance of friendships.
Q4. Why did you choose Slam Poetry over the traditional path of published poetry?
A4. Some poems are meant to be read while some are created to be spoken, this is the main chasm between written and spoken word poetry. The voice, the pauses and the silences have a character of their own.
Q5. Musings on life, so far?
A5. I spent some time in villages for a project some time ago, and I realized that whatever I’ve done so far has taught me nothing about surviving in the wild. Nature is something I am close to, but only because I’ve read books. There is nothing I do, that engages me with nature directly. So something, I would really want to do in the near future, is to have a mud house, to go back to square one and start over once again.
Q6. How has your college experience been?
A6. College has been an interesting time. There has been a lot of time to explore things both within and outside of it and for that, I am very grateful. College has been a run, for marks and then subsequently, a job. Education was lost somewhere in the middle. Also, it’s interesting how companies, who assess for 15-20 minutes personally, from algorithms, inferences that they draw out and create, hire most of the students. I find it strange, for lack of a better word.
Q7. What are your plans for the future?
A7. I’d like to work in the development sector and more specifically in the education realm. When viewed in one shade, we’re growing richer as a country, but the inequality between classes is also increasing. India has the highest number of young people in the world, and it’s about time we use this much talked of ‘youth power’ for the things that need our attention, within the country.
Q8. What would be a piece of advice that you’d like to give yourself?
A8. If I were to give a piece of advice to myself, it would be to ‘Remember to Dream’. There are thoughts and dreams that we keep in the corners of our mind’s cupboards that we refuse to mold into reality. I would tell myself, that no dream is too big, or too unreal to be followed through.
One word to describe the following:
- NSIT : Disjoint
- Theatre : Mirror
- Placements : Rulebook
- Honey Singh : no
- Music : within
- Colloquium : A family