100-day Haiku Challenge

Vandana Gupta

24 August 2015

Let me start with how I came to join Godrej. Given my love for the arts, I decided to attend an event organised by the Godrej India Culture Lab, an emerging experimental space, which was fast becoming the talk of the town. 

It was a Friday Funda, and like many more to follow, I was delighted by the stimulating conversations these events triggered among participants and attendees.

The USP of Culture Lab is just that – it serves as an open platform where thought leaders and professionals from various disciplines come together and have informal discussions, on contemporary subjects. I wanted to be a part of the team behind-the-scenes, that made all of it possible, and so seamlessly, at that.

I was elated to learn that the Lab was looking for someone keen on pursuing a one-year fellowship… Even more so, when they called me in for an interview!

However, after a long discussion, Culture Lab head Parmesh Shahani thought my qualifications fit better with another team at the corporate office, who were looking for someone with exactly my kind of work experience. He introduced me to the Communication Design team  team lead Vandana (yes, my namesake) Scolt, and Gayatri and Nidhi. The next thing you know, I was the fourth member to join the family! Today, I manage digital, internal and external communication projects for Godrej Consumer Products Limited.

As I moved into this cool new role, the Culture Lab team was instrumental in rekindling my old passion for creative writing. I got back to writing short stories and poems. I’d left that on the backburner for some months. The turning point came when I was announced as one of the winners at a Group-wide poetry competition, judged by none other than resident poet laureate, Nadir Godrej. It was a privilege receiving his book as a prize, and I realised there was only one way to become a better writer – to keep writing! And so, on to the next…

The ‘100 days of haiku’ project 

May 3, 2015. That’s when I got bitten by the ‘100-day challenge’ bug. It was time I put myself to the test and revisited creative writing – something I hadn’t pursued in months!

What was my challenge going to be? To write a haiku poem every day, for 100 consecutive days.

Haiku, as we know, is a traditional Japanese form of poetry, which consists of a 17-syllable verse, broken into three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 on (syllables), respectively.

Why haiku? Firstly, for my 100 days to qualify as a ‘challenge’, I had to attempt a form of poetry I hadn’t experimented with before. Second, I had to be realistic about how much I was going to write every day, if I wanted to make it to day 100. And so, it had to be short form poetry. :)

Did I manage to complete it? As the title of this post suggests, YES! Most credit for that goes to two of my best friends who agreed to do Chinese calligraphy and brush painting for the 100 days. This wouldn’t have been possible without you, Lili and Charles!

I must admit, I’ve bent a few rules in some places, so please be kind with your feedback. Enjoy!

Day 3 – May 5, 2015 

Schools of fish pass us
amid rainbowesque corals.
We gaze on, awestruck.

Day 4 – May 6, 2015 

Tiny drops of dew
slide down the petals and leaves
to caress the grass. 

Day 6 – May 8, 2015 

cherry blossoms get pink faced
when spring struts his stuff.

Day 21 – May 23, 2015

Fireflies, by the
hundreds, appear from nowhere
and light up the night.

Day 29 – May 31, 2015

The river murmurs
as the silver coin moon dotes
on its reflection. 

Day 45 – June 16, 2015

The hummingbird flits
from one flower to the next; nectar
aplenty on offer! 

Day 66 – July 7, 2015 

Such peace and quiet
in the glacier, one hears the
icicles crackle.

 Day 77 – July 18, 2015

The dandelions
take a siesta on the
balmy summer day. 

Day 80 – July 21, 2015

“Rise and shine, little
ones,” the mist spritzes all the
bleary-eyed rosebuds.

 Day 97 – August 7, 2015

The restless trees call
out for rain, the clouds oblige,
“You have been patient.”

*Special thanks to Alisha Gore (www.alishagore.com) for the fabulous photos and to Parmesh and Vandana S who encouraged me to write this blog*