Hello there! I’m so glad to see you here on Buddymantra.com!! My name is Sreya and I am the host of the podcast Buddymantra Highlights. You can find us on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Jiosaavn and every other platform that you listen to your podcasts from. Each week on Buddymantra Highlights we talk to a small-time content creator of your liking and ask them all the questions that you have been dying to know about.
As an aficionado of poetry myself, my sights at first drifted to a poet I knew quite well, Khyati Arora. An admirer of poetry and mystery novels alike, Khyati finds solace in everyday aesthetics and the beauty of life in the most mundane habits. An artist in the hours that she finds herself free and an aspiring geneticist in the hours that she’s not; Khyati walks the tightrope between science and art and does so beautifully.
A poet I could only call wonderfully abstract, Khyati seemed to have a style that made even the mundane special. A feeling that I normally associate with her poetry would be that of standing at the balcony in the night, with cold winds and fairy lights accompanying your solitary thoughts. Calm, peaceful, and yet riveting.
I could go on and on about the beauty of her poetry, but I think the only way I could do justice to her would be through her own words.
What Do I Ask Khyati?
When I first began making the script of the podcast, the questions that I ventured to ask were pretty general. While my intentions were born from unpreparedness to what exactly I would ask while interviewing someone, which I had never done before, I was glad I did. Each guest, and in this case Ms Khyati, had such wonderful answers that the questions seemed to tailor themselves around her words.
My first question, as all first questions to go, was about her journey. When did Khyati have her epiphany?
When was it that she decided that writing was what she wanted to do?
“You know how they say that all life-changing events happen by mistake or so it appears, now that I think of it, but poetry and essays and articles are me, it is only recently in the past two years have I figured how to harness a career out of this. As a child, it started with me trying to rhyme words and then make sentences out of it eventually creating a story of sorts, and voila, it was a poem in no time.
My first encounter with poetry was with this Times of India poetry competition and well, as the path unfolded, I won the competition and had my entry in the newspaper, this was way back in 2013.
And I still recall the sheer joy because it was so pure, like a simple poem that they liked and so appreciated.”
Such an experience, to a writer, was so very familiar that at her response, I was catapulted into my own memories of the first time I fixated onto becoming a writer. To bring that kind of a reaction from mere banter made the interview all the more special, I believe.
What Is Your Process?
My second question delved a bit more into her strength in the medium – Poetry. Often while writing, different writers have different approaches to their work. For instance, a writer could have an entire story formed in the back of their mind, which they then put into words.
And I, I really wanted to know Khyati’s approach.
“I am a person who functions by inspiration; this is why I have to spend time finding enough motivation in all corners before I can get into the mood and vibe for something as relevant and necessary as studying, or something as recreational as writing poetry.
That said, it is always that I came across a photograph, or some art, or a person or an event (imaginary or not) that instigates a thought, and then I start building on it.I feel words come easy to me, but the thought or what I want to deliver through the particular poetry takes more effort to find, it’s like that patch in my life when I’m like life is buffering, I have no inspiration and suddenly I’ll be watching something or speaking to someone.
Inspiration strikes me at 2-3 pm in the afternoon. And I enter another dimension with my mind running at light speed. Now, this may sound either relatable or embarrassing but either way, I am a victim of it.”
Inspiring is the only words I can use to describe the interview. Her answers were so relatable, but there is a certain perfection that Khyati possesses that seems absent in other writings. She has the ability to write at the sound of a raindrop splashing or somebody murmuring. And that kind of ease into writing is but a myth.
Not Just An Interview.
Or at least I thought it is. Writers do it, have done it, but to do it with such ease is what is surprising. Before I conclude Part One of our episode with Khyati Arora, I wish to share the poem she graciously recited to us at the start. A little puzzling it may seem, but I truly enjoyed myself.
/don’t eat feelings/
I am the nucleus in this cell of a world
a harmony of sorts
or something I failed at
I am the crunchy leaves
on the sidewalks that kids love to crush
the ones that change their color a little faster
I am the sharpness of the knife
elegantly dicing mushrooms
(well, mentioning carrots because I’m emotionally attached to them for reasons unsaid)
I am the drunk seeking attention
the one who loses their way
the one who thinks of lovers and galaxies and politics
planning future uprisings
so one night I decided to end what it feels like to be in a cell,
to be the scrunchy-scronchy leaves,
to be shining at edges like a knife,
to be intoxicated into another dimension,
like slapped into out of body experiences
so I ate them
and instantly felt something dancing in my throat
then I spat everything out
it was a nightless identity crisis
but I sat by the window like it meant something
now I sit crouched
with a new perception.