May 12, 2022

Firstpost Poetry Project: Ankita Shah presents A (f) fair Warning and Vulture

From June 22, Firstpost embarks on an 8-week poetic journey. Featuring poets who write in English and Hindi, this project aims to showcase both their art as well as their individual creative processes. These poets write for the page and for the stage, and the themes of their works range from love and friendships to the lust for power of human society. Their verses, expressed in “lyrics” format, are animated by visuals and supported by music.

Presentation – The Firstpost poetry project.

He is the fourth poet presented in this series.


Ankita Shah | 25

“What do you think is the mark of a good poem?

“Absolute, absolute honesty.”

Ankita Shah is one of the most important young voices in the Mumbai poetry scene. She co-founded The Poetry Club in 2013 with Trupthi Shetty, but began to take an interest in poetry many years before. “My school teacher, who instilled in me empathy for people and the environment, encouraged us to express ourselves through art. She had me write my very first poem about olive ridley turtles in endangered when I was 12. “

Ankita and Trupthi started the Poetry Club while they were studying to become chartered accountants. They realized that they were both writing poetry and wanted to find other people who shared their interests. “So there could be an exchange of ideas and stories, and we could develop a sense of community and belonging, while making sure to create space for more direct and honest criticism and learning,” explains Ankita.

The creation and management of the club allowed him to interact with people who wrote in multiple languages, to discover stories, narratives and styles different from his own, and to have conversations that shaped both his thinking. and its art. “Everyone who’s ever been to our sessions led us into a wild, untouched forest, where creatures we had never seen before existed. Of course, I mean poems when I say ‘creatures’. write, read better, allow yourself to wander in this wild forest. “

Ankita says the collective is made up of so many distinct people and works, that ultimately the conversations transcended the collective into something more. “I would say that communities like The Poetry Club are initiators of new ideas. But they also have an important role to play in creating a safe space. Because of the power they wield, it is their responsibility to also represent the voices of the individuals who make them, in every way possible, ”she said.

Ankita thinks that interpreting a poem adds a different dimension to it. “As a craft, poetry has so much to do with sound – the sounds of the words you choose to write or be part of your poem, the tape measure, the rhythm your poem carries, and of course, the whole tone of your poem … The very act of writing the poem is a very personal exercise the poet engages in. Taking this whole process and showing it to an audience as it was meant to be is extremely crucial . a lot of value to the way poetry is valued and experienced. “

With each poem, Ankita hopes that she can make the reader feel what she felt when she put her pen on the paper. “If someone reads or hears my poems, I want them to like the process of duplication. What the writing process evokes in me is what I want it to evoke in the reader. I cannot say exactly what these emotions are; it’s a quiver, that’s all I can say.

A (f) fair Warning


A moonlit summer evening under the blue sky

from Delhi,

in a warm and multicolored shop

on the road to Paharganj,

I set my sights on a peacock-colored shawl.

I haggled too little

and radiated too much,

I was sold a pashmina

This was not the case.


You are Daryaganj,

in camaraderie,

with Wilde and Manto,

Kafka and Premchand.

You are Ghalib’s last bet

to Ballimaran – which he has since won

every time Urdu slips into verses of another language.

You are from Agrasen baoli

burning naked and empty

quench his thirst

apart from lovers’ conversations

he knows he will leave.

You, the plebeian Indian coffee

atop the princely expanse of Connaught Place

that makes delicious omelet toast

and policy debates.

You are the pashmina and the momos

by Paharganj firangi galli

too expensive and not true to their promise,

yet warm in familiarity.

You are the Dilli

weekend disappearance acts

winter literature festivals

and summer internship

The Dilli, I have been warned

I won’t like so much

if i started

to live there.


Do you remember the poem

where the house was a metaphor to mean you

and I was determined to burn it?

This poem, when he left, was a sunbird,

yellow belly, purple rump,

upside down on a flower, hanging

with a mouth that yearned to swallow the sky.

But on the page, when he perched he attacked himself

for a cold and bitter July.

He wanted clear words

down to the last layer of their skin, holding inside

a fermented sense of putrid perfection.

Do you remember this poem?

The anatomy of our past,

dismembered by a bird

with a taste for rot?

This poem is not finished.

This vulture always appears on the page.

When I started to draw spring

I’m overflowing with circles and shapes

who we are

in what we have been.

The words I know always become

and the poems,

they come from history.

The sunbird is not yet installed on the page.

I heard,

we learn words long after

we felt what they mean.


Discover the first, second and third poets featured in this series

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