As If

21st September 2018 0 By Nandini

What will happen in the still of night?

There will still be light

When voices are out of sight

The song is sung and the sitar strung

Isn’t even present any more

The images on the walls – ‘Surface Tension’ – Sujata Majumdar’s – herself as scientist, herself as artist -have stayed in the gallery.

All the rest of us, as I said, have left.

Earlier today, I needed to run out while I was viewing Sujata’s works of photography presently at display at the Amsterdam Medical Centre. The one of a mountainside that has a velvety texture in apparent three dimension alongside a sandy texture has caught my eye. Surface Tension. A curious emotion that I can barely recognize at first overcomes me as I gaze at the images, and the temperature (cold) and the smell (spirit) and the sound (clogs) make me want to flee.

But I have been invited here to tell a story on the theme of ‘resonance’ in the gallery exhibiting Sujata’s images, and so I stay. Storyteller Krishna of Fifth Friday Sisterhood sent me the invitation: “RESONANCE can mean a number of things to different people…like the echo of sounds or musical instrument…or reverberation of sounds from surfaces…or the memory of a distant voice in the minds of a person…

Or the stories from the inner thoughts and emotions of an artist as they explore their practise, and then expose those explorations, and share that RESONANCE with others. So think on the theme…it can mean anything to each individual…”

When the ‘audience’ arrives and assembles, and it’s my turn to ‘tell a story’, they get from me a poem in the making. To be completed by us. Handwritten on recycled paper and called ‘As If’.

Each verse, incomplete, ends with ‘as if………….as if………………….’ After every ‘as if’ in the poem, they are invited to add words and write them down.







But first I read the incomplete poem.

Then ask for volunteers to write. There are more than the verses on paper.

I tell them not to think too much. To just write based on what resonates with them.

After 5 minutes, I ask who would like to read a verse. Enough volunteers again. They read aloud – taking turns with each verse in chronological order, and ending each verse with their words after ‘as if’. Accents from here there and everywhere. Voices that resonate.

While they read, the rest of us fill in our incomplete poem.

Then we all read the all the verses with the words added by the volunteers. A collaborative poem.





And here it is:

As If

Won’t step on snail

Stop, go, stop and go

Say hello

Wag of a tail

As if, as if I have a dog


Lead me on

Don’t got a clue

Depends on me, depends on you

Winding ways

As if, as if I followed the yellow brick road


Feathers fluffed

Tongue stuck out, white, white bird

Don’t say a word

Just fill up space

As if, as if the music will take you home


Pink cloud all dressed

Says it wants to flow

And with the water go

And I …ripple along?

As if, as if the pick up plays my song


Flash of light

In plastic flies

Silver wings, it tries, it tries

Now to chase

As if, as if it had a choice


Ah so little

So full, so sweet

Twitter, twitter, tweet

Eyes and thoughts, thumbs

As if I wasn’t here

As if I never speak

Video on Fifth Friday Sisterhood’s FB site