What the Literati Say About Us – Eight Years of the Club

Love pours onto Club Literati from all corners as we turn 8! Some of our esteemed members took to writing to express their fondness for the club: reminiscing old times, conveying their hopes for the future and sharing how at home they felt with the fraternity. We are truly grateful for your warm presence and kind words, dear members!

Club Literati wishes you all a very happy 8th anniversary!

Dr. Seema Raizada

For eight years now, we’ve reached out to the people of Bhopal with some indelible fests, incredible events and remarkable feats. Club Literati has always strived to bring artists and art-lovers on a common platform to engage them in a mutually enriching experience. Through these years, we’ve been introduced to literature, culture and art, and have expanded our knowledge of the world and its residents by enthusiastically discussing issues of contemporary concern. It is a matter of great pride that what was once only a dream is being realised, as we witness people from all over the world join us and support literature beyond academic boundaries. Our members from diverse backgrounds and varied interests re-establish the fact that passion and creativity know no bounds.

We are exhilarated to be beginning a new year with all of you—our members—who have made this possible. Your consistent participation, support and love has made Club Literati an epitome of fraternity in the city of Bhopal.
We are glad to have you on board with us and look forward to your valuable contribution.

Best wishes,

Dr. Seema Raizada

Founder and President,
Club Literati.

Amrita Motwani

Here we are celebrating our little family’s 8th anniversary,
Our words shall try to portray our overwhelmed states, as is customary.

This club is a source of wisdom and positivity,
Be it a book launch or an occasion of festivity.

Each event better than the last, has surely set some high bars,
The thought provoking conversations have us pondering for hours.

As a leader and a mentor, Seema is absolutely ideal,
The meetings might have become virtual, but the Josh is real.

Members from different backgrounds have given the club such versatility,
There is mutual passion, there are raw emotions, there is hilarity.

Members get to develop a love for finer art and literature,
This is not just any other club, it holds a much higher stature.

Through events like Filmy Fridays, the club has brought enormous fun,
Without Club Literati, this period of lockdown would have been a boring one.

To allow us to hone our skills while taking inspiration from the best,
We shall remain eternally grateful and shall continue to participate with zest.

-Amrita Motwani

Principal,
Navnidh Hassomal Lakhani Public School, Bhopal.

Dr. Rekha Shrivastava

मैं अकेला ही चला था,
जानिब-ए-मंज़िल मगर,
लोग साथ आते गये और कारवां बनता गया।

From the day of its conceptualization, it has been a pleasure seeing the amazing growth of Club Literati..The dreams we saw have been realised ,and more so… as Club Literati has become synonymous with promotion of good literature, launching of books, meeting with authors, fests and so on; always a pleasure to be there. Personally, as a Professor of Zoology, I never even thought in my dreams that the authors I had enjoyed most would come back with so much depth during discussions, enactment, recreation of scenes like Agatha Christie was one of my favourite. Drinking the masala tea mentioned in her book was one of the unique experiences which gave a feel of that era. There are so many such instances which gave us so much pleasure. Heartfelt thanks to Seema who has done so much with dedication and has given a great platform to all literature lovers.Wishing Club Literati the very best!

-Dr. Rekha Shrivastava

Professor of Zoology,
Govt. Motilal Vigyan Mahavidyalay, Bhopal.

Rashmi Bhargava

That spark of inspiration, a path that was hidden to me, now opened. I had been working with and for Industies for almost 3 decades. To me, the moment Madam Seema Raizada invited me for the first get together to recite Shakespeare’s sonnets felt as if I’ve found a hidden key, opening awareness back to my college literature days and she brought me back to my first love prose and poetry! The Shakespeare sonnets, the Shakespeare plays, the music and dance program there’s excitement for each program.
It was fun conducting the women’s day-this year too along with the team. Reviewing the films each week… I am sure you can see the excitement in my voice!
An “aha” moment came when I was asked to recite a poem on mother and the kind of togetherness I felt was really ‘aha’ . All of us felt the same.

We love films because they makes us feel something. They speak to our desires and help us to escape and dream. The film panorama has been really filmy and enjoyable.
I hope we keep having the aha moments and Club Literati leaps to greater heights each year.
Happy birthday to one and all. All the best!

-Rashmi Bhargava

CEO,
Denovo Group.

Sujata Lakhani

A letter to Seema

To me Club Literati and Seema will always remain synonyms. I very distinctly remember the day when you and Amita were invited to our school to judge a litetary event. Over a cup of tea in my office you voiced your desire to bring literary genius of the city on a common platform.

 The proposal was as genuine as the person who envisioned it. It was pleasure to be part of your first ever ‘Shakespearana’ since my children studied Shakespeare as part of their curriculum. The venue was DB Mall.  It’s still very vivid in my memories as the firsts in life are always very special and close to heart. 

And since then ‘The Shakespeare Festival’ has become the signature event of Club Literati with twists and variations every year. This year’s virtual fest was one of its kind and will be remembered for years to come.

I feel proud and privileged to be with Literati since its inception. Today it’s turning eight and it has given me all the reason to bask in glory of its success.

 Seema, you nurtured your baby with love, care, cooperation and collaboration and it’s reflecting in its stature.  It grew from an infant to a toddler and now stands independently making its presence felt not just in the city of Bhopal but also in India and abroad.

You raised it to stand tall even in the adversity and that’s the reason even COVID 19 couldn’t dampen its spirits and despite restrictions on meeting physically Literati found its way to stretch its wings to take a flight overseas.

The club has always been very innovative in designing the events, carefully executing them and involving people of different fields and different age groups to retain vibrancy,  enthusiasm and interest of audience and members alike.

A very Happy Birthday to dear Literati.  I wish more success to your baby in years ahead.

With love and prayers in heart.

-Sujata Lakhani

Educator
Former Principal and Teacher.

Smt. Jyoti Dixit & Commander Ravindra Dixit

Congratulations, Club Literati on completion of Eight wonderful years. We are literally together in this journey of self discovery, attending talks by eminent speakers, meeting authors and in exchange of art and culture. Literati provides platform to talent, promotes literature and brings about a healthy group discussion which we enjoy immensely. We like the opportunity to meet interesting people over a cup of tea. However, we are missing our get-togethers for a long time. Thank you Dr Seema for organising such motivating sessions. With warm and personal regards and JAI HIND!

-Smt. Jyoti Dixit & Commander Ravindra Dixit

Indian Navy ‘Veteran’.

Prof. Vinita Bhatnagar

I attended the inaugural meeting of Club Literat but had no idea how it was going to transform my life. I wasn’t really too active a member till I helped to organise a session. It was then that I realised the multiplier effect it has. You put a little water, throw in a seed and an oak tree emerges! It’s magic soil.I have since enjoyed it’s cinema, music, art and book club sessions. I have made good friends. Had the windows of my mind blown wide open. We often turn to each other in times of trouble to ask how would Seema ma’am handle it. Her ability to take everyone along is the stuff of legends.

-Prof. Vinita Bhatnagar

Visiting Professor,
University of York, University of Toronto.

Swati Panvalkar

As one muses about Club Literati, one feels enveloped in the sense of belonging that resonates from (and with!) every member, permeating and creating the culture and ethos of the Club. It is not an avowed sentiment; it is neither practised nor bandied about as active propaganda. It is invisible. It is palpable. It is sacrosanct.

One experiences it, when one gives in to the urge to reach out and share a song sung in the confines of one’s home, one shares achievements in one’s work sphere, one shares one’s thoughts, perceptions, videos, ideas, writings, articles; including those of one’s near and dear.

One feels welcomed. Peopled by individuals quite possibly occupying the highest echelons of society or hierarchy, what makes the club unique is the lack of one-upmanship that one encounters in almost every other sphere. At Literati, one wants to give one’s best and not just because everyone is doing the same. One comprehends that there is no other way: that is the approach one observes, witnesses; almost as a way of life. What a learning indeed, minus any preaching, for youngsters who may feel that the easiest way is often the best! Think of the Dame Agatha Christie fest for its attention to detail and innovation; think of the Jane Austen fest – and Kaneez ma’am’s ‘haute couture’: a gown created out of a ‘housecoat’; think of the Women’s Day celebration at Vivekananda Library where one heard some awe-inspiring stories of young women who overcame many odds to become independent! Each one of us has one’s favourites!

One feels accepted. Whether it is Mr. Tino De Sa congratulating a young thirteen year-old (herself unaware of the significance of such a gesture!) on her role in a skit scripted and directed by Roger Jenkins or Kaneez ma’am reassuring a first-timer “No one here is judging you; do not be so harsh on yourself!” or Club members and guests turning up to applaud a performance of the Bard’s plays by school students – even online, during this pandemic! Making time for such events regardless of their schedules, applauding and encouraging, neither whimsical nor paranoid about the final outcome.

It is a space where one feels the freedom, the comfort, the solace to be oneself. No ‘role’ thrust upon; no yardstick to be measured by/against. To just be.

As creativity is, so is
Club Literati
Where creativity is, there is
Club Literati
S’long as creativity is, may there be
Club Literati!
Live life as a celebration: a bequest from
Club Literati!

-Swati Panvalkar

English Mentor,
Billabong High International School, Bhopal.

Siddhant Rajoriya

4 years, 3 plays, a competition and a workshop later, if you ask me whether being connected to Club Literati was worth it, I’d probably be rhetorical enough to ask you- Is that even a question anymore?

Club Literati introduced me to the world of theatre and brought me closer to Literature. Through it, I was acquainted with masters of their art, people like Mr. Bhaskar Indrakanti and Mr. Roger Jenkins. Being a part of the club helped me realize that there is much more to life than equations and lines of code, and I will forever be grateful to the director Ms. Seema Raizada for that.

Thanks to this amazing group of people, I was able to collect a bunch of certificates for my résuméand an ocean of memories for my life.
Warm wishes and regards.

-Siddhant Rajoriya

Student

Former State Representative,
National Sports Meet CISCE, Kolkata.

Kashvi Chaturvedi

Club Literati has been instrumental in building up my  confidence and teaching me how to pursue extra curricular activities. Be it the Agatha Christie event where along with many themed events, we also got to do the play of “Murder on the Orient Express” in a literal setting of a train using the restraunt “Palace on wheels” or the most recent event of the virtual play of “Burning Cheek”, it has been both fun and educational. The creativity that Club Literati imparts to all of its events along with giving a learning experience is a unique characteristic which is difficult to achieve. The plays in which I participated thanks to the initiatives of  the club helped me learn the strength of team work and coordination. Be it from the fellow actors or the mentors, the tips I received or the observations I made empowered me to give a better performance. I was able to get different perspectives about the same things which were all so varied and interesting. Most important of all, I felt comfortable being in my own skin while acting or performing which was a boost to my confidence. I am thankful to the club for the same.

-Kashvi Chaturvedi

Student

Top Scorer throughout Madhya Pradesh in ISC Board.

Vibhuti Rao

Club Literati gives you the platform to be you as you are. It has taught me how powerful expression is. May it be the Shakespearana fest or the Murder on the Orient Express or the brilliant sessions with Roger Sir, there is always new learning and discovery of techniques and versions. Through it all, I feel that it has helped me learn more about myself. It is truly amazing how Seema ma’am has an eye for potential and never gives up on you.
I have played Greta Ohlsson in the enactment on Shan-e-Bhopal, recited monologues and sonnets in Bharat Bhawan, Indianised a play titled ‘Burning cheek’, and performed it via Zoom. Nothing seems impossible with Seema ma’am involved. The club promotes the sharing of ideas in their rawest form and truly appreciates creativity.
It makes it all so real and our own. That personal connection is like no other and lets you blossom at your pace and according to your individual talents.
The club brings the World of Literature to us and lets us embrace it ‘as we like it!’
Ever grateful to it for it brought out the poet and actor in me who now gives the most murderous of looks

-Vibhuti Rao

Student

Recipient-IAYP

Kamalini Deb

My association with the club had started about two years prior to the discussion about the rain and the birds. When I met Seema Raizada ma’am at a gathering, we started talking and I saw in her indepth knowledge about Literature and a spirit and courage to imagine. I met her a couple of times after that, and each time got to know more about the club.
She asked me to come and attend a discussion at the library. It was at this discussion that I asked for the Club Literati form which ma’am so kindly sent.
Then started the book discussions as part of the Club. We tried to make it once a fortnight, select a book, reading time given and then those scintillating open discussions! Indepth and fascinating! I met so many interesting people from various backgrounds. Vineeta, Deepti, Bhaskar, Diyu, Archana, Kaneez, Sulabha, Rajeev, Neelkamal ma’am, Neharika ma’am… and so many others… All of us United with our passion to read and explore.

Shakespeare! Agatha Christie! Harry Potter! Ruskin Bond festivals… The numerous book launches where we got first hand knowledge about the book from the author!

All barriers transcended… When literature mingled with music, dance, movies ,theatre. Imagine the versatility!

As for me, it has been a fascinating journey, brcause I learnt, grew, made like minded friends and accepted and respected differences.

And the journey continues…

Happy Birthday, Club Literati!

-Kamalini Deb

Teacher, Storyteller.

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