Houston Maharashtra Mandal’s Poetry Paradise


By Varsha Halabe


A rainy afternoon; wet streets and dripping branches, a slight nip in the air and stray renditions of Indian Classical vocal music! What more can one want besides beautiful poetry to accompany it! Around sixty lucky souls witnessed the recitation of the famous Marathi poet and writer Purushottam Shivram Rege’s poetry entitled, “Srujanrang” (Creative Colors) at the First Colony Conference Center in Sugarland on February 10; another of Houston Maharashtra Mandal’s (HMM) endeavors.

The idea and direction was that of Shubhangi Damle, an actress, T.V. personality and a literary/cultural activist visiting from Pune, India. The poems and short, short stories were eloquently presented by her and Houston’s very own Akshay Deshpande, Samir Karandikar, and Anil Rajguru.


Poet and writer, Late Pu.Shi. Rege (1910-1978) despite being an economics graduate from the University of Mumbai and London, his poetry and short stories are a poignant mix of romanticism, symbolism, and bear the strong lust of life. Srujanrang started with a short poem portraying the poet’s thought of writing poetry in order to gauge the limitlessness of, both, his and the reader’s mind.

Rege’s poetry often effeminates nature, as was evident in his poem, entitled, Bolne.  Given the time period in which he wrote, his poem, Tu havis hyat na paap (There is no sin in wanting you) is quite revolutionary and an embodiment of listless love. Often, his poetry appears to be the epitome of romanticism and yet effaces all traces of lust or any other negative traits of love.


Rege’s short stories like Supriya or Rajammachi Gosht – Lacchi are symbolic of the traits of the human mind; how it is opportunistic in the former story and how, if conditioned, can be a constant stream of happiness, in the latter. The poet has an uncanny knack of changing adjectives to verbs in order to bring forth the meaning as is evident in his poem Pushkala (Abundancy) where he describes a woman using the word abundant as various parts of Speech.

There is almost sacredness in his poems which at face value seem lustful as is his Lampat Ole Vastra Hoooni (Becoming a Lustful Piece of Clothing). His romantic poems evidently come from the heart and could easily be any girl’s dream of her sweet heart writing them for her. In the short story Ramakakichi Gosht (Story of Ramakaki), Rege once again portrays colors of the human mind; how it can be, both, a ghetto of pride and haughtiness and a house of love and gratitude.

Along with full-length poetry, Rege also wrote short four line poems that brimmed with meaning; for example one that means, “there are only two things we must avoid – you me and me you!” And at the next instant he writes about the three forms of Radha – the fluid, unreachable, like a star in the sky Radha, then the relentlessly in love Radha, and finally the mature, poised Radha who has become one with Krishna, in his poem Tridha Radha (Three Forms of Radha). The last poem presented, Ghadyal (Clock) portrays the poet’s thoughts as life’s dusk approaches and yet the unmistakable romance with life continues.

Bits and parts of the poetry recital had a background score of Indian Classical music – starting with Raag Bhairav and going onto Raag Nand that further accentuated the mood of the poems. The presenters’ traditional attire of colorful kurtas ranging from beige, olive green to bright yellow and red and Mrs. Damle’s chequered silk saree in shades of purple and pink were the icing on the cake.

The presenters very aptly changed the tonal quality of their voices according to the content, which was a treat for the listeners as the meaning came through even stronger. HMM presented token gifts to all the presenters.

This poetic afternoon was a part of HMM’s endeavor, “Joining the Communities” which hopes to offer programs on a range of subjects like health, finance, visual arts, etc. HMM will make an effort to have these programs in various parts of Greater Houston, which will encourage a bigger matrix of attendees.