Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Hello, Dear Reader. This the second installation of what would (hopefully) be a long series of my favourite creators. If you missed the first one and would like to give it a read, allow me to redirect you to- My favorite creators and why they should be yours too- Part 1
When (Ayush) Wadhwa approached me to write for his website (I hope that's what this is), he also suggested a few topics to mull over. As a rule of thumb, when you're waking up from a writing slumber, you accept whatever is readily available to you- be it topic, content, or inspiration.
Comic by 'The Oatmeal'
In this semi-cooked, off-the-top-of-my-head list of topics, I found one that called out to me. It was simple, the topic was common. But, whoever would write it, would inadvertently make it unique. I saw my window. The topic simply said- My Favourite Creators. I have had the great fortune of knowing these creators personally, and I count them and their creations a blessing and a treasure.
When I talk about the next creator on my list of favourites, I want you to know that I have known her only for the past 10 months, but if she, along with her creations wouldn't pop up in my feed anymore, it would require more than a few trips to the therapist.
The lady who is accredited with causing that potential gaping void is @yavannaofthewoods. I met yavanna in the city of gardens and micro-breweries: Bangalore. I had just landed, returning from a weekend trip back home in Delhi. It was Sept. 16th, 2019. I remember the exact date, not because of my borderline obsession with her (lie), but because of an unrelated incident that happened the day before (truth). But, convincing you otherwise would be a task which I shall forego for the sake of brevity.
Truth be told, I was made to meet yavanna, and that day I was in no mood of meeting anyone. After catching a poor man's redeye (who am I kidding, it was just an early morning flight) the night before, and a hectic workday, I believe I had the right to be excused. But, the mutual friend in charge of this meetup was way too special to disappoint, and my long, outdrawn exodus from a social nay-sayer to a yes-man kicked me in the shin when I thought of declining the offer.
When our rendezvous came to a close, and we went to drop yavanna off to the cab that was supposed to take her to the airport, she hugged her friend of more 20 years tight, her eyes glistening with tears. As she put herself into the cab, she looked at me and said: "We will definitely talk later". Yavanna punctuated the sentence with a mystic smile, a sentence that reflected her mastery in the art of divination. Allahabad's Professor Trelawney was right. We did talk. And as we talked, her abilities and gifts started drifting ashore. One of them came to shore alike a message in a bottle. Poetry. It doesn't matter what the message in a bottle says, it's always exciting to find one.
The day I read the kind of poems she composed, I immediately removed the word "poet" from my Insta bio (confession- I might have done that way back when I realized how pretentious and depressing my poems were). This seems to be an effect no artist would like to have on its patrons, but I have to be honest, her poems were intimidating(-ly superlative). Her poems are diverse, but there is one commonality that stands out in all of them.
Some seem far off, yet unfailingly hit home.
You sometimes feel the writer is so distant from you, from where your thoughts are. But, the poem doesn't stop feeling like a personal asset to you. It's weird.
Do you remember the NZT pill from Limitless? Yavanna's poetry can have a similar effect on your mind- unlocks it wide open and tap the neurological zones you didn't even know existed.
Some of her poems have a knack of taking unexpected turns. It doesn't matter how prepared you are, it still rattles you mid-stanza and you scamper back to the beginning of the poem to read it again.
If I had a penny for every time I exclaimed: "Woah, where did that line come from", I'd still be middle-class.
Some of her poems are riddled with mysticism.
Most of her poems are in English, but here and there you would find an occasional poem written in Hindi. These are the ones I immediately record myself doing a dramatic reading of, which is my chosen mode of expressing the highest form of appreciation I have for a poem. Whenever yavanna writes something in Devanagari script, my mind reads it as Gulzar Sahb's words in Naseer Sahb's voice.
Some of her writing is so intimate, and so is the way she chooses to share it. It doesn't try to be anything, it just is. Sometimes, you'd find her uploading pictures of a handwritten poem. It's so simple- put pen to paper, click a picture, and upload. There's absolutely no bullshit involved, there's no gaudy background or weird WordArt fonts being used. It's like reading Cobain's journal (people who have not gifted me that journal for 2 years now, I'm looking at you).
The one commonality I spoke of earlier was the strong presence of imagery in all of her poems. It's transcendental, to say the least.
Look how effortlessly imagery transforms itself into an analogy.
Sometimes she'll leave you with Manto-esque questions. No impositions, no opinions, just a question that would make you wonder.
She probably doesn't admit it too often, but at heart, she's a hopeless romantic. Musicians reading this brilliant, lyrical piece- This poem deserves to find a melody.
I probably don't know how to appreciate good poetry. A couple of years back I used to consider: "Oh, wow, you write like Rupi Kaur" a compliment. Things have changed, for the better, and in part because of yavanna. So, for you all, the ones who can appreciate poetry- go ahead and follow her on the gram: @yavannaofthewoods
Apart from being a wonderful poet, yavanna doubles up as a terrific friend, providing daily doses of ego-boosts and appreciation. She makes you laugh. She doesn't allow you to bullshit her, she sees through you like open doors. She's a great listener (sometimes I feel she's a counseling psychologist doing pro-bono work).
Yavanna waits for the day when caring would be cool.
Why does she choose to call herself yavanna?
And I shall see you next time, with another favorite creator o' mine.
About the author- I graduated from BITS Pilani in 2019 and have been working with Oracle in Bangalore ever since. I like to think of myself as an artist at heart with a penchant for philosophical blabbering, and grunge.
Feel free to message me on Instagram- @fading.facades
You can follow my musings here- https://medium.com/@durjaisethi6