Meet Madhura Banerjee from Kolkata who is not only a poet, but also a Computer Science Student from St.Xavier’s College, Kolkata.
At this very young age she is already a published author of the book of poetry ‘A Tenant Of The World’ which got published in March 2017. On the same year she had also delivered a poetry reading on ‘All India Radio’. She has also been invited to a number of institutes such as NITR, IISER etc as a speaker and workshop instructor due to her great knowledge in poetry. Other than that she has also been a judge in various poetry and writing competitions all around. She has been awarded as the Best Slammer, at Papercup’s Poetry Slam 0.7 (2016) and voted best poetry performer at Airplane Poetry Movement and Papercup present Poetry Slam 0.8 (2017). Apart from all the achievements she is also a mentor at at The Climber – MyCaptain Program (certified by the United Nations, as one of the top 50 youth-led organizations in the world) – since March 2018, a children fiction ( Telekids) and science and technology contributor at The Telegraph since 2018.
Let’s know some more about her –
Question – At such a young age you are such an inspiration for many people but where do you get your inspiration from to write?
Everywhere! I find inspiration in the places I travel to, the people there, going about their lives. I find inspiration in my own home. Nothing spectacular or dramatic – just the way my family members interact with one another, my friends, the things that make them happy, the silences. Then, I learn to hone my craft from the books that inspire me, writers who express things in such a way that changes my perceptions.
Question – Your first book “The tenant of the world” was published in March 2017 and is still a big hit – how did you come up with the ideas and thoughts behind it?
I had been thinking about compiling a collection of my poems for a long time. But, on my first trip to Kashmir in 2016, something gathered all the runaway aspirations and solidified them into a plan. On that trip, I was writing on the plane, on the bus journeys from one city to another; I refused to go to sleep because everything around me moved me to write. And so, on the journey back, I decided – this is it. I am going to write my first book of travel poetry. I had always had the title in mind, because essentially, that’s how I identify myself – a global citizen, a tenant of the world. The book was finally launched in March 2017, when I was 21.
Question – You are a creative writing mentor at Mycaptain.com – how did it happen and how do you feel mentoring so many students every month?
MyCaptain happened early in 2018. People were taking notice of my work, especially now that I had a published book (which is why I keep telling my mentees to always, always take that first step). One of the founders of the organization got in touch with me, spoke to me at length about my involvement in the field of writing. And a couple of months later, I was asked to take my first batch of Creative Writing mentees. So far, it’s been one of the most fulfilling things in my life. Every month, I get to discuss the nuances of writing, and find myself in the midst of hundreds of raw talent. I have found a lot of wonderful people on the way, and it’s my honour to have been a part of their literary journey.
Question – Being a student, speaker, motivator, writer, mentor – your bag is full of achievements – How do you juggle between everything?
I wouldn’t have it any other way! We all have our own sense of balance, and this is mine. I particularly like the motion of my life. The option to swing from work to writing to academics. Being the travel fanatic that I am, having multiple aspirations feels like travelling too – a plane, then a train, then a rickshaw, or sometimes, just traversing life barefoot.
Question. Being a computer science student, you’ll also start working very soon so how will you manage writing and working together? Will we still get to read your work in The Telegraph?
I don’t let my career in Computer Science hinder that of my writing, and vice versa. In fact, I have learned to build my life in such a way that they can coexist. And yes, I will keep writing my science and technology columns in The Telegraph. I’m working on the next couple of ideas right now.
Question. Recently you were a part of TEDx – how did it happen, how was the experience, what was your talk about and what all did you get to learn from there?
When I got the call from TEDx IIEST Shibpur, I was watching a play. I rushed out of the auditorium, unable to fathom if I was actually hearing it correctly. A month later, I was standing at the venue, after a heavy rain shower, having a peculiar sense of anxiety seize me. I have been hosting and performing at events for years now, but this was the first time I felt it – stage fright. But, thankfully, I went through my talk without any glitches. I spoke about how creativity doesn’t discriminate between science and poetry. I used a truck load of travel metaphors. And I had a lot of fun. Getting to speak at a TEDx event, then being recognized by the global platform of TED, has probably been one of the most enthralling episodes of my life, and I am forever grateful for it.