Poetry on the spot

Poetry on the spot

Blr Busking, a group of poets in the city, writes a poem for you after a 10-minute conversation

A user experience designer by profession, he is the founder, or like he says, the initiator of Blr Busking. (DH Photo)

Poetry is an intimidating art form, getting the right words to convey what you want to say and weaving them with rhythm is a difficult task. Some people take days to write a perfect poem, but Rahul Kondi writes one in five minutes.

A user experience designer by profession, he is the founder, or like he says, the initiator of Blr Busking. Traditional busking is a street performance, usually musical. Passersby who enjoy the music often reward the performers with money. 

Blr busking although, is a little different. Armed with typewriters and pieces of colourful paper, the buskers invite conversations with strangers and write poetry for them based on it; and there’s no charge for this personalised piece of art. 

Rahul’s fascination with typing up something on the spot began when he met someone at an event who was writing up a story on a typewriter. “He let me use the device and it was an instant connection. I went out and bought one of my own soon after,” he says. 

It was a year after that interaction, in December 2017, when he started to busk seriously. They began in front of the old Blossoms store on Church Street, every Saturday from 6 pm to 8 pm.  They also set up stalls in events around the city, such as the Bengaluru Lit Fest and the Under 25 Summit.

Another member of the group Trupthi Shetty, began busking in June of last year. “I found out about them from Rahul’s Instagram but never had the courage to go up and join them. By chance I bumped into another busker at an event and my journey began from there,” she says. The open group has grown organically with over 35 buskers, with around eight people busking at a time. 

Trupthi used to write and perform but had stopped two years prior to joining Blr busking. “It felt like there was a lack of inspiration and time and busking was a way to get over that. Apart from that it’s a great way to connect with people and bring them joy,” she says. 

“Since we sit on the streets, anyone can approach us. But events are where we get our largest crowds,” says Rahul.

Trupthi says this is because those who attend events where they busk are literary minded people who come are more receptive to the idea. “It’s always more difficult to go up and have a conversation with a stranger on the street,” she says.  

On a normal day, each busker writes three to four poems, and around 20 in total. When they are at events, that number goes upto 30 poems per person. Rahul explains that each poet has their own style of writing, “I write very short poems of around five to six lines that don’t always rhyme,” he says. On the other hand, Trupthi’s poems are twice that size. She types them up on one of Rahul’s eight typewriters. “I don’t like to write about surface level interactions. I talk to the person for around 10 minutes or until I find something I can relate to,” she says. After which it takes her another 10 minutes to type up a poem. 

She adds that she always tries to give people happy and uplifting poems. “If they spoke about something negative, I feel the need to reconcile it and make sure they leave happier than they came,” she says. 

When asked about how he manages to write so many poems on the spot, Rahul says that the day he figures out exactly how, he’ll stop busking. 


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