posted by bishan samaddar
So the day of the launch that has been waiting for quite a while is finally here. From Sunday, February 18, Khola Baksho will be available for people to read. It will be a magazine featuring poems and stories by marginalized youth. It will be brought out by a group of youth who themselves hail from the margins of urban society. It will be the first of its kind.
The run-up hasn’t been perfectly smooth. Even as I write, imagining that 72 hours from now everything will be done and be over with, there are issues. There are issues with the quality of printing, issues with ensuring a good turn-out at the event, with the apathy of the local TV media, with the pixelization of the photo on the banner, with the number of chairs to laid out before the stage, with what to do with extra food packets, with…. Endless. Last Sunday, before the rooftop poetry reading, we had arranged for a “Stylistic Poetry Reading” workshop for all the poets whose poems have been published in Khola Baksho. One of Kalam’s friends, Mounik, had himself suggested that something like this really benefit those who would read their poems out on the day of the launch, and had agreed to facilitate the workshop. Unfortunately, and in spite of repeated reminders to the possible participants, very few turned up for the workshop. It opened our eyes as to how difficult it actually is to get young people to come to attend such workshops or events. We cannot take their presence for granted. Hence, getting the young poets to the launch is our primary challenge right now. We have worked out strategies for it, giving responsibilities for certain groups of poets to certain members of the Kalam Youth Staff.
Nargis, for instance, is responsible for bringing all the poets from Development Action Society to the site of the launch, and that too two hours in advance. We are confident it will work. Arundhati, Daywalka’s feisty PR Coordinator, had volunteered to lead up the Press. She’s outdone all expectations. She’s got the unlikeliest of people to come and do stories about our efforts at Kalam, especially Khola Baksho. And we are expected tons of media people on the day of the launch. The TV channels have been a little reluctant to cover the launch, but then, a few of them, including Rajdeep Sardesai’s national channel CNN-IBN has expressed interest in doing a general story on Kalam. Arundhati has even managed to convince one of Calcutta’s leading confectioners Kookie Jar to donate fifty packets of food for the young people present at the launch. Mrityunjoy, one of our most devoted Youth Staff, has been working tirelessly on getting the word out. He has been leading up the poster campaign, and, thanks to him, even the Calcutta Metro stations have posters now announcing the launch of Khola Baksho. We had hoped more of the Youth Staff would be able to contribute to these campaigns, but then February heralds the ‘Exam Season’ in. So, many of our youth are actually pre-occupied with studies and not easily available. In spite of this, however, they have pledged all possible time to Kalam and in helping with the launch.
So, as we know, it is here now. The day of the launch. We are all doing our bit, and somewhere deep inside, we are all confident we will sail through pretty fine.