In the leafy neighbourhood of Green Park, down a driveway covered in grapevines, is the house where three generations of women live. The youngest, Aditi, is a thirty-two-year-old award-winning poet (The Fingers Remember; Dear Mr Yadav, I Too Am An Indian Woman) who welcomes us into her spacious living room, ruled over by her white dog (a rescue) and her cat, Burfi.
Verse & Foremost
Here is where, for the last five years, Aditi has taught a writing workshop on Sunday afternoons with a side of coffee and brownies. The Delhi people who attend vary from middle-aged women whose kids are (finally!) off to college to high-school students and young professionals trying to peel themselves away from their desks in pursuit of a more “creative life.” Aditi says this is also where she “gets a lot of new writing started.”
After Aditi moved to Delhi from her childhood home in Manali, it took some time for her to get used to the city. But armed with a close friendship with another poet, Akhil Katyal, she slowly began to warm up. “My relationship to Delhi has grown intimate in the course of long walks through different neighbourhoods, arterial roads, and by-lanes with Akhil, who is passionate about this city in a way that reminds me of Ghalib.”
“The mountains make me gentler”, she explains, as do her daily rituals of morning chanting, teaching, baking and pottery, which she finds much more demanding than poetry.
She splits time between Delhi and a mountain getaway in Shimla, where she is embarrassingly fond of the toy train. “The mountains make me gentler”, she explains, as do her daily rituals of morning chanting, teaching, baking and pottery, which she finds much more demanding than poetry. “Your pot will collapse or blow up in the kiln if you aren’t paying attention,” she points out. Aditi, who has lived in the US, Argentina, Mexico and India, enjoys knowing that in various cities around the world, her friends are waking up and “sipping their morning coffee out of a mug I made for them.”
In fact, Aditi just finished her second poetry manuscript, and is working “on a pottery series inspired by the poems — each poem becomes a sketch, and then three-dimensional in clay.” She hopes to juxtapose her book launch with a small ceramic exhibition. In January, she leaves for a six-month writing residency at the Akademi Schloss Solitude Residency in Germany where she plans to work “on something long-form, perhaps fiction.”
In the meanwhile, if you’re hankering to release your inner poet, ask nicely and she might let you into her poetry workshop. Bards and brownies – there are worse ways to spend a Sunday.
Getting there: In September, Aditi is hosting a four-day writing-pottery-yoga-hiking retreat at the Shilaroo Project in Shimla; register here. For her weekly workshop in Delhi, you can sign here.
This story was contributed by Urvashi Bahuguna, a writer based in New Delhi.
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