Poetry and Paraphernalia 

On Cultural Cocktail and Chameleon Lights. 

There are very few things in life, that poetry cannot cure. It percolates like rain in a rocky terrain, seeping, washing, leaching out through its crevices, life’s tired residues. Like drizzle in a desert, “Chameleon lights” by Ayushman Jamwal, is a metaphorical balm over life in a city wrecked by the cornucopia of camouflaging lights..

Image Courtesy: Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust

Exposed to a lifetime of witnessing the best and worst in humanity and indeed “every shade in between” like he himself was quoted saying in an interview in Author’s Corner it is little surprise that the Senior Output officer of CNN-IBN would take the final leap to liberty and eventually find love and solace in poetry. Thus “Chameleon lights” is the first book of this twenty seven year old journalist based in New Delhi and his debut into the world of literature. It is a collection of twenty poems written across a period of ten years that capture the various distinctive moments from the author’s life, right from his school days,to life as a journalist – a concoction of the myriad splendid encounters in life. “All these poems were tucked away in word files and notes,” confides the poet in his interview, who egged on by his friends then put them together. Thus, “Chameleon Lights” was born.

Image Courtesy: Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust.

His poems pan across a variety of hues: from friendship, first loves, regret and remorse to peace, revelation and moral struggle, all wrapped up in one bittersweet mix that truly replicates the transcendental, ever changing nature of a chameleon. A kaleidoscope of emotions spills forth in every line as the poet promises his readers, that somewhere at the turn of a page, we’ll find ourselves. With sentiments that everyone can relate to and an universal appeal that only attributes to it’s significance, Chameleon Lights with its emotional-potpourri is the ideal recipe for a life of blaring citylights.

The book is published by Authorspress. The aesthetic cover art takes after the succinct journey through the blur of city lights and a range of hues owing to its chameleon-effect! The book launch at Delhi was subsequently followed by the book launch at Kolkata. The launch of the book at Oxford Bookstore, Kolkata was a one time event partnered by Kolkata Bloggers and supported by the Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust which is named after the author’s grandfather, the celebrated Dogri poet and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Kunwar Viyogi, whom the book has been dedicated to.

Image Courtesy: Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust. 

It is a trust which supports art and culture and promotes them in the field of indigenous languages, especially Dogri – a mountain language of people living in Jammu. As a part of its mammoth campaign Save the Language, Cultural Cocktail (which included a wholesome spread of art, poetry, dance and drama) was initiated and curated by Ayushman Jamwal. The programme was put together by like minded young people with their cultural roots tracing back to Jammu. Sanchita Abhrol put together Ghar, a dance performance with Ayushman Jamwal as the narrator. Anmoal Jamwal perfomed a contemporary jazz performance while Ayushi Thakur Rana adapted Twelfth Night in Hindi for the event.

Kunwar Viyogi Memorial Trust has embarked on a five-city Save the Language Campaign Tour. It is about trying to revive regional languages like dogri that are dying slow deaths and are on the verge of extinction. Hindi sahitya utsav was also held to try and revive the treasure trove of this ancient language. Save the language campaign is a five city tour campaign. As part of this tour, Cultural Cocktail, was conceptualized and created by young artists with roots in Jammu and took place at the Showshaa Hall, Kingdom of Dreams, New Delhi on June 17. 

An umbrella event for a full course of cultural spread, the event is aptly named “The Cultural Cocktail”. So steal away from the heat this weekend and soak in the taste of what could be your favourite sip of summer this year. The programme in its efforts to conserve and resurrect dying languages also forms the pulse of a process of preserving indigeneity at an age that’s so crazed with going with whatever is foreign, “cool” or popular. The commendable efforts of  the trust to save the language is indeed noteworthy as it is an ultimate rescue-attempt for the dying languages and to bring them back to the cultural mainstream. Equal in significance is the ushering of the second book by Ayushman Jamwal which was much awaited and is scheduled to launch by the end of the year.


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