Waise toh aaj Hindi mein likhne ka mann kar raha hai, lekin Devanagiri keyboard dhang se use karna aata nahin aur aise likhne mein maza nahin. Toh abhi ke liye angrezi mein hi switch maar leta hun. Maaf karna Vishwas Sir. Magar aapko humara waada raha ki jald hi hum bhi Hindi mein likha karenge!
I have not grown up in India. Only lived there for 3 years. I had never really heard about Dr. Kumar Vishwas until he took the stage for IAC and then joined hands with Arvind. Ever since then, he has always left an impression with his poems, jokes, speeches and the beauty with which he express himself in Hindi.
So when I found out that Kumar Vishwas was coming to Houston, I had no doubts that I had to attend this one. Within minutes I shot off a message to my friends to ask whether they wanted to come. I was going for sure but to have a few friends tag along would have been better. Thankfully a few were interested and those who missed out will never realize what they missed out on. This was not about whether you like Kumar Vishwas, support AAP or enjoy poetry. It was simply about whether you can take some time out of your “busy” lives, to proudly say ki hum hain desi! Anyways, to each his own.
The week went by. Internship. Online class. A visa application. The usual. But throughout the week there was a tinge of excitement for the upcoming weekend. So much so that 3 days before the evening I had decided that I was going to wear a Kurta Pajama to this event. Something that I have not done for the last many many years. Somehow, it just felt right to wear an Indian attire on this day.
Let’s move on to the actual day itself – August 2nd, 2014. We reached India House, Houston around 30 minutes before the start time and 1 hour before the event started. Aakhir hum hain desi, event time par start ho jaaye toh maza kahan aata hai?
@vish111 – “Waiting for @DrKumarVishwas Excited 😎 #JantarMantar3Aug #AAP”
And then he arrived. He snuck into the room while a few other announcements were being made and took a seat in the front row. Someone else spoke for a while before Kumar Vishwas was finally called on stage. He had to wait for another Houston based poet to do his bit. He looked tired but still managed to throw in a ‘jumla’ here and there. He finally took the mic around 8:30pm and took us all on an entertaining and wonderful journey for the next 3hrs! Non-stop!
What do I even say about the whole experience? In today’s day and age the best way to explain it would be that no one stepped out of the room to take a phone call. No one was texting. The few phones that were out were to record videos. I recorded a few too for fellow AAPians and Kumar Vishwas fans. Will share them soon.
All he did for those three hours was make us smile, grin, laugh and applaud. He cracked jokes, he recited his poems, and most importantly he took us back to India with his Hindi. He captured what all NRIs have in their heart when he said: kya chahte hai NRIs? Bas itna ki humare desh ki sadkein bhi acchi ho jaaye, wahan corruption door ho jaaye aur ek baap apni beti ko raat ke samay ghar se bahar bhejne se dare na. Once India gets rid of corruption and becomes a safe country, every NRI would happily return back.
The best part about Kumar Vishwas is that he is so natural. Of course he repeats some of his poetry and jokes but a lot of it is new and created on the spot. This event was not meant to go on till 11:30pm. In fact from 10pm onwards he kept on saying that this will be the last one but he was in the mood today. He just kept going and going. One after the other. A few of the poems were new and he had not recited them before. One of them he had just written a few hours ago on his phone while coming to Houston. He even pointed out that out of all the events he has had on this tour so far, this has been the longest one. It might sound weird when I say this but how cute does he look when he is about to end and says “us se pehle ek teen minute ka geet aur sun li jiye. mann kar raha hai.” He sounded like a kid who is so excited and this was despite the fact that he had only slept for 2-3 hours the previous night. Humari kismat acchi thi. Woh aaj mood mein the 😉
The range and comfort with which he goes from an easy to understand poem like Koi Deewana Kehta Hai to a more difficult ghazal is what makes him unique. Maybe there are many poets who write better than him but what’s the point if your audience cannot understand the message? He makes them understand and each line touches your heart. In fact he also joked (it’s in the Hum Chup Reh Nahin Sakte video) that “Log zyaada doob gaye. Matlab log kavita sunne ke bajaye uski picturization mein chale gaye. Aisa na karein, aap yahin rahe.” The event was full of such interactions with the crowd. Such was the atmosphere that you did not want to miss a single line.
A message for AAPians: some of you may have been slightly worried in last few weeks. “Has KV given up on AAP and politics and left Arvind to fight alone?” I was slightly worried too but after watching him today I realized how wrong I was. This man is not an opportunist who has jumped into politics to become an MP and make use of the benefits. He is a true patriot and a true patriot will not leave a battle in between. Especially if that battle is for his Bharat Ma. He mentioned the friendship that he shares with Arvind multiple times, he cracked a few jokes on Congress and BJP and he made it clear that he will keep on fighting. I know how all of us AAPians would love to see him standing with Arvind and campaigning but let us try to understand that it is important for him to return back to his roots. He has not left AAP. He is just returning to his first love which is poetry and the Hindi language. Give him some time. I know my words are not enough to convince a few AAPians but I have no doubts in my mind that he will be the LAST person to leave Arvind.
So how do I end this now? I just want to expand on what I told him when I shook his hand after the event. I said “Thank You Sir”. Thank You Sir for making this evening one of the most memorable ones that I have ever had. Thank You Sir for keeping Hindi alive amongst today’s youth. Thank You Sir for spreading patriotism amongst all Indians. Thank You Sir for fighting on the streets for us. Thank You Sir for your help in shaking up the political establishment in our country. Thank You Sir for everything! If I was just a fan before, I have become an admirer today.
I have written for one of my favorites today and whenever I do that, I feel that I have not done enough justice to him. I just want to tell you all to go watch him perform some day. I know I will if given a chance again. Actually, I will find the chance. I WILL go again! Hopefully with my family. Hopefully in India. Aakhir hum hain desi aur hum intezaar kar rahe hai us din ka jabh humara desh humme awaaz lagaye.
As my friend said “aise event se pata chalta hai ki aap sach mein kahan rehna chahte ho.” We will be back in India soon and Kumar Vishwas would have a role in that!
Update – My feelings the next day:
Phir se uss mahaul mein doob jaane ka jee chahta hai,
Agle mauke ke intezaar mein ‘Alakh’ mein kho jaane ka jee chahta hai
Alakh is his new CD
[UPDATE]: I removed the videos due to a request by Team Kumar Vishwas. They are officially uploading some of his videos.