Monday, May 15, 2017

LIFE OF A POET ~ SREEJA

We have a lovely feature for you today, fellow poets. We are visiting the lovely poet, Sreeja, in Mumbai. Sreeja writes at Writing On Just To Write......., and we are very happy she has found her way to Poets United. Sreeja is a very talented artist as well as a poet, so draw your chairs in close and get ready to enjoy some  art, along with some beautiful poems.






Sherry: Sreeja, as you are fairly new at Poets United, would you paint a little picture for us of the poet at home, so we can get to know you better?
Sreeja: Hello, it’s a pleasure to have a talk with you. I really admire the way you are so close to nature. Everything about nature inspires so much in us. So I will say first I am a nature lover. Then I am a wife to a really wonderful man, mother to two ever questioning, ever active lovely kids. Four of us make my nuclear family (otherwise we have large family back in Kerala (India)) and now we are in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra (India).


This is my family

Here we are residing in a rented flat and close to us lies the Kharghar Hills that turns to a marvellous place during rainy season with all its small creeks, waterfalls and marvellous greenery.
All four of us love to walk through the hills getting drenched in rain. My husband’s cousin and family are here in Kharghar, so sometimes we go together out in rain to the hills and enjoy a lot.  Maybe that’s why I am not so home sick for my hometown back in Kerala, where I lived all through the 33 years of my life.  Only a few years back we moved to Navi Mumbai.


This is the beach nearest
to my home back in Kerala

Back in Kerala I worked as a copy editor for one and a half years, otherwise I always preferred to be at home. Did some freelance here in Mumbai, but I think I enjoy the freedom I have at home, so now I am fully into experimenting with paints and words, experimenting with how to raise two kids as responsible and sensible persons, a lot of reading and a bit of music with violin.

Sherry: It sounds like a full, happy and very meaningful life. I love that you play violin, an instrument I have always wished I could play. When did you begin writing, Sreeja?
Sreeja: I used to scribble out my mind as a child but they were all rubbish things that I never showed to anybody. A couple of times wrote stories and poems for school magazine and competitions. But they were in Hindi.  Actually as a student I never took poetry seriously and avoided reading, it kind of irritated me. I never thought I will start loving poetry or writing.
In 2011 my husband went abroad and I frantically tried to fill that gap. Those days I read daily ‘The Hindu’ like a student who has got exams. There was a feature about Nanowrimo in The Hindu and, just to keep myself busy, I got into it. Believe me, that November was marvellous, and seeing my enthusiasm, my parents took care of my kids wholly and my father even gave me almonds and chocolates at intervals, as if I am kid taking an exam. That year I got my first ever online friends. They are the friends who gave me the first lessons of writing. I wrote the novel about my childhood friend, who is still there for me at every point of my life.


This is the corner where I spend most of my time 
when I am home alone

November was over and on December morning I found myself itching to write. That’s how I started writing. I am a bit lazy person and poetry seemed a better option for me. At first I completed writing poems within ten or fifteen minutes and never read it again. I was sure I will quit writing gradually unless I make some kind of commitment, because with November the euphoria also went. I started the blog and was blank about how to proceed. That’s when I discovered all the wonderful blogs giving prompts for writing poetry. And when I started reading poetry, it seemed to be the most beautiful way to express thoughts. Thanks to all the poet bloggers out there and the Nanowrimo friends.  In a way the blogger world is my poetry school.
Sherry: I think it is that for each one of us, Sreeja. I am so enjoying this visit! What do you love about poetry now?
Sreeja: Poetry is like a romantic rendezvous with your own thoughts, life and nature and finding the apt words and combinations to put it to a physical form, and I like it more when it is short and crisp with depth in it. I am yet to learn that art, when I read some of the poets out there it just makes my brain the happiest part of my whole body. Otherwise to be so much happy I need an outing, especially a walk through some green green place.


The Kharghar Hills


Sherry: I love that description! And your green hills are beautiful!!!!!!!! What a lovely place to enjoy in all weathers. Would you like to share three of your poems with us? And tell us a little about each one?
Sreeja: I would love to share!

Returning to Rivers


Some days I shut myself up
Windows and doors closed
And pour a river song to my ears, uncut


We are like pollen and gale
We tumble a lot and gather piles
Of dead and tender leaves of life, infinite


 Some days I shut myself up
Drink in rivers of thoughts
And soak upside down, inside out


Sieves out dead leaves and thorns
Gathers tender leaves and golden stones
And that needs rivers to dip and rise


Next morning when the sun rises, I will forget
If love was the bird that knocked at the window
I will forget to contemplate so
I have got a river inside me
Now for days I will be rich as a tree
Deep as an ocean and will regret nothing



Sherry: I so adore "if love was the bird that knocked at the window".

Sreeja: This one came straight from heart. I am a sensitive person; anything around me, even from small talks with loved ones to news from all around us leaves deep impacts on me.  And through my experience and the twin heart meditation that I practice, I have learned that we have to refresh our consciousness, thoughts and feelings on a daily basis, taking every bit of weed out and keeping only goodness and wisdom that we acquired on the go. This poem is all about those thoughts.


This painting is dear to me, even though I couldn’t capture
all the euphoria I felt about rain and ocean.


Sherry: I so agree about refreshing our consciousness, especially during times when we are bombarded with so much that is negative. Sreeja, your painting is very joyful! I love the idea of whales cavorting in the rain!
Let's enjoy your next poem:


Putting Some Unorganized Musings…
Morning dew’s freshness drips in here
Dreams and flowers missed are weaved here
All those lonely moments are treasured here
Agonies and fears shared, it’s so secure here
Wisdom shared in lyrics, its only sunrise here.


      And so


Poetry for me is a feeling of growth
Like a tiny tree spreading its roots
To everywhere, where there is water for thirst
To absorb the very essence of truth
To be in the garden of wisdom
Like a tiny tree spreading its roots
In the mud and soil of life
To spread its shade and beauty across
For generations to rejoice.


        And  yes


It is words uttered in silence
Thoughts poured in essence
Like the old vine that is precious.
                      
     And


I am here putting my first steps
learning my alphabets..............


This is all about what I feel when poetry is the subject. I wrote it back in 2012, I think I still have the same feelings….

Sherry: Very lovely. I so enjoy that little tree, spreading its roots through your poem.


Rain, Rain Just Rain…
Yesterday, night tossed with me in strayed lines
Of grey, black and flashing silver screams
Without reason or any purplish wound of worries
And rain tossed with wind high and low, rushing
Like many thoughts that keep on building
Like termite mounds crippling everything, nibbling
On identities, dreams and the veil of doubt spreading
                      greyish


This morning we made a trip up the hill
In the beating rain to see the waterfall
That took birth with monsoon dreams, which till
Then was musing in cloudy fantasies up the hill


And then, the time crept into those rich green leaves
And those washed out spiky grass and tree trunks with moss
And got lost, there little streams were flowing endless
As rain danced upon them mellowing into the wild beats


And then, last night’s grey rain vanished
And so was the ME in me cleansed
And got lost with the time that eloped
To all that was wild and true and vivid
And delusions of past and future washed


And now the rain flowing like blood in the veins sings euphoric melodies


This poem I love because it brings back all the memories of a wonderful rainy day spent up the hills.


Up in The Kharghar Hills

Sherry: Your hills are so very beautiful, as are your poems. I discovered on your ART CORNER blog, that you are also a very talented artist. (Kids, check it out. Sreeja has some amazing paintings.) When did you begin painting? Did you love art as a child?


Sreeja: Thank you for that compliment; I just love painting, the paint, the brush strokes and all about it. But I haven’t yet experimented and explored enough because I took it seriously only lately. I used to do pencil sketches and water colour paintings as a child. I don’t remember if I loved doing it or not but I definitely loved to have papers and colours; I loved to own different types of colours and pencils. My class mates were the first people in my life who called me an artist, and I really didn’t know the power of that word. I just enjoyed the love and attention I got that way. Otherwise I was a silent kid who avoided being noticed.


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aCFh6YNFs40/WBdL6Uv9ShI/AAAAAAAANzk/u-tA4CmVSkE/s640/IMG-20161028-WA0024.jpg
This painting is dear to me; with this I started painting after a big gap. It is the first big canvas I did, a canvas almost my size.

Sherry: Sreeja, this painting is magnificent.



D:\Photos\Paintings\B.jpg


I think I could express a bit of what I feel about Buddha in this one, so this one is also close to my heart.

Sherry: I love this one, as well. You are very talented. Is there someone, looking back, that you feel played a significant role in encouraging your creativity, your art and poetry?
Sreeja: My mother is a very talented person but she abandoned everything without seriously trying her best. So I owe it to her, it’s her gene. She gave me the first lessons. My father always brought me art materials and was happy whenever I did paintings. One of my mother’s cousins, who is a well-known artist based in Kerala, encouraged me to start with oil on canvas. It was fun to do paintings on canvas. But we took all these things as just another part of life and didn’t give much attention. By the time I reached college I, too, left my passions behind without much thought. Reading was the only thing I didn’t give up.
Things changed when my husband’s cousin challenged me to paint Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the chariot (Bhagavath Geetha). That was the time when I started writing. He encouraged me a lot to do paintings and to write more. The Geetha painting really gave me that most wanted push to continue with my passions. I must say it is my husband and his family who really motivated me to keep going, with their love and encouragement. I am grateful to my school and college friends who believed in me. They are the people who put all the likes whenever I post my poems and paintings on FB. I love the way my kids look at my works and give their own comments which are valuable at times. So I am really thankful to a lot of people in my life to help me find and keep alive the reason and way for my soul to be happy.
Sherry: Sreeja, I am happy you are so well supported and appreciated. Your work is wonderful. It is wonderful that your kids  see their mother pursuing her art. It will inspire them to follow their own dreams. Is there anything you’d like to say to Poets United?


Sreeja: I visit Poets United to read about poets. It’s a great platform out there. I love to read such interviews and I do it when I have got plenty of time.  It is great to know the thoughts and life of real poets out there. It really encourages me to keep going and someday I hope I too will write something great that will bring a happy wise smile on others’ faces, and will get my share of love from everybody I touch through poetry. Who won’t love to be loved the way we love people who can weave magic with words and colours.


Sherry: Well, I suspect that today you have received many of those wise smiles already. We look forward to enjoying your work in the months and years to come. Thank you, Sreeja, for allowing us to get to know you better.

Wasn't this a treat, my friends? I love the interesting lives poets lead and how often they are talented in many areas. We hope you enjoyed this. And do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


41 comments:

  1. Isn't Sreeja talented, kids? Sreeja wanted you to know that she is on holiday, with intermittent and limited internet access. But she promises to check in as often as she is able to, and thanks you for your visit.

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  2. Interestingly it comes in a package, a poet and an artist. Sreeja is blessed to be accorded these natural talents. Sreeja's penchant here for modern art and figure drawing with a touch of mythology opens a wide field to explore - more so within the rich cultural heritage of Mother India! How very lucky! Thanks Sherry and Sreeja for a wonderful interview!

    Hank

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    1. Oh thank you so much for this support...I am really excited to do many more paintings and may god be with me to improve on my writing.....

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  3. Another fascinating interview, Sherry. Sreeja is an incredible artist ... so talented and so brilliant at capturing movement, joyfully. And what a wonderful poet! I especially enjoyed 'Putting Some Unorganized Musings…'.

    "Poetry for me is a feeling of growth
    Like a tiny tree spreading its roots"

    that really speaks to me. Thanks for this Sherry and Sreeja.

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    1. Thank you so much. It's really a blessing to have this appreciation.
      I try to live those lines in all its truth....and it makes life a bit more simple and easy...thank you so much....

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  4. A lovely, lively interview! Sreeja, I love the verve and freshness of your style, in paintings and in poetry. I enjoy the language of your poetry, both in literal descriptions and metaphors. Of these poems, 'Retuning to Rivers' especially delights me (being a lover of rivers myself).

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    1. Oh thank you so much....you made my day...♥

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  5. Thank you for opening up another world.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your constant support....it matters so much...

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  6. So lovely to learn more about Sreeja. The paintings are breathtaking. You are talented in so many ways. I am so glad I made it to this interview. Thank you Sherry for another wonderful insight into another poet's world. :-)

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  7. "Poetry is like a romantic rendezvous with your own thoughts, life and nature" I feel this in your verses and in your art. I'm so delighted that Sherry features you as I have long wanted to know more about you--such a unique writer! Continue to trust your vision and inspire us all.

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    1. Oh thank you so much...you have always inspired me and I am most happy to read your comment.....♥

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  8. An uplifting feature - I really loved the photo of your little one in the rain in their poncho too...oh to be young enough to enjoy such simple pleasures :-)

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    1. Thanks a lot Jae...yeah rain is something that we all love!

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  9. I, too, love that photo, everyone out enjoying the green, green hills. Reminds me of hiking in the hills with my children when they were young. Sreeja, your art is breathtaking. I am amazed and impressed that your first big canvas is so brilliantly accomplished. I hope you and your family are having the loveliest of holidays.

    Thank you for allowing us to know you better. It was such a pleasure to have this visit with you.

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    1. Thank you so much for all your kind words and for this great opportunity to reach out....I really enjoyed answering you....♥♥

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    2. Sreeja, we are very proud and happy to say that you are family. You are so loving and talented - a rare combination. Kudos to Hari for all his support to you. I have shown proudly (boasting that you are my cousin's daughter-in-law) your Geetha painting (thru the show thattiyum muttiyum) to so many of our friends. I have two beautiful paintings of yours to boast also. I feel that Hari is lucky to have you as his wife and it is due to my cousin Jalajachechi's good heart and blessings (May be this is a little selfishness on my part to think this). All the best to you to achieve anything you try in life.

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    3. Oh thank you so much chitta.....love you so much. ...♥♥♥

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  10. Our cute sister.....all the very very best

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  11. Our cute sister.....all the very very best

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  12. The Buddha painting with all the joy exploding out of it is stunning and inspiring. Lovely poems as well.

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  13. I really enjoyed the poetry. Sreeja writes with her heart. The green of those hills is stunning and how wonderful to meld into them with the rain. I love the paintings too and find them inspirational. I'm learning to paint, and so appreciate them even more.
    Loved this interview and look forward to more of Sreeja's thoughtful, wise poetry.

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    1. Thank you....all the best to your new endeavour. ...!!

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  14. It is always such a pleasure to present these features, learn more about the poets in our community,strengthen our connections. It is a privilege and I have the best job in the world! Thank you, friends, for your kind words, and thank you, Sreeja, for a very lovely interview. We are so happy you found your way to Poets United.

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    1. Oh yes ...it is a wonderful job...and it takes patience and a great mind to do that...thank you so much!

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  15. Wonderful work! I love poetry about nature and how it makes us feel. Yours does just that. I like your creative corner it's lovely!

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    1. Thank you for this appreciation...it matters a lot!

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  16. How lovely to read more about you Sreeja ~ You are indeed talented and blessed ~ Thanks Sherry for the amazing write up ~

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    1. Thank you Grace for your constant support and appreciation....♥

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  17. It is such a delight to have read this interview and your beautiful, observant and meaningful poetry Sreeja. What a great family you have to be able to get their support in this interest. I so look forward to reading more of your work.

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    1. Thank you so much...made my day....it's God's grace....keep blessing!

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  18. Incredible talent... good to know more about you Sreeja... the Gitopadesham is very nicely done. Enjoy the moonsoon... thanks for a great interview Sherry!

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    1. Thank you so much....I love monsoon so much!

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  19. Its always so nice to come in and read a poet and say to myself Oh I know such and such; having read their poems, and comments to my blog. Today, there's that, and the plus of Sreeja's awesome art.
    Thanks Sherry, thanks Sreeja for the up close and personal

    much love...

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    1. Thank you....yeah it was a different experience to open up a little....!

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  20. I liked the picture of the Buddha and those birds I've seen on your site, Sreeja. I didn't know you did it yourself. It's very nice.

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    1. Thank you...happy to know that you liked it....!

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