Updated: Sep 26, 2021
TRIVENI Gurukulam Mentorship Program
March to May 2021
A three-month intensive programme
Sushama Kapur, Priti Aisola and Lakshmi Iyer poster by Shloka Shankar
The novel idea of a Gurukulam was the brainchild of Kala Ramesh, well known to all in the world of haikai literature. She adapted this form of teaching through an ancient and traditional school of thought – the Gurukula.
A gurukula or gurukulam is a type of education system in ancient India with shishya or disciples living near or with the guru, in the same house. The guru-shishya tradition is a sacred one in Indian thought. The name comes from the Sanskrit ‘guru’, meaning ‘teacher’, and ‘kul’, meaning ‘domain’. It translates as ‘domain or family of the guru’. An ashram, for example, is known as a gurukul.
Kala Ramesh took this traditional idea forward and created an 'online domain' – Gurukulam Mentorship Program. It was a fresh approach with a virtual face-to-face intensive interaction between the mentors and the learners. Out of the fifty poets who registered, forty survived the 3-month mentorship course, and for their active participation each received a beautiful certificate designed by Teji Sethi and her daughter Ustat Sethi.
Learning a subject from a Master is always a thrilling experience. The essence of this Japanese form of poetry – the haiku – lies in its brevity, minimalistic content, its count of syllables, strong images and juxtaposition, to name a few qualities.
With seven mentors: Ajaya Mahala, Gautam Nadkarni, Iqra Raza, K. Ramesh, Kala Ramesh, Kanchan Chatterjee and Vandana Parashar on board, the journey of understanding and writing haiku for the participants began with the various possibilities of how 'to show and not tell' their experience within much less than seventeen syllables. As the mentors shared their own learning, it initiated various skills in the participants about the balance and essence of haiku. Most learners in the programme already had basic knowledge of the form and could capitalize on this learning and a few, who were beginners, began their haiku journey on a happy note.
The mentors also helped the learners to observe and perceive the world of phenomena with more sensitivity and attention to minute details; they guided them to bridge the gap between their thoughts and queries about haiku and the available resources.
All in all it was a dream package to unlearn and relearn!