As I scroll down my exquisite-looking tumblr homepage on an early morning before Christmas, I suddenly start reading about personal stories on love and loss, innocence and somehow a powerful meaning in simple words to one's own thought. Suddenly, my quick 10 minute 'tumblr update' of the day becomes nearly an hour. I suddenly realize that its Rupi Kaur is the reason that made my morning fly. Kaur, a poet based in Toronto has, with out a single exception, made sure she writes and speaks up for her own community in India.
"Its them I give this to," explains Rupi.
For over the past three years now, Kaur has been able to perfect the juxtaposition between life and poetry, art and innocence. And thanks to the experiences she has had over the past 21 years now, she is able to share that with the rest of us readers who are eager to learn why milk is gentle and honey smooth.
Kaur started getting her ideas and thoughts going when she began to explore the trauma of the sikh genocide which happened in india in 1984. Tens of thousands of sikhs were murdered. Women raped, left as widows, and so many men and women have just been “missing” since, with no idea of where they are and what happened to them.
"My parents were present when this took place," said Kaur, "so when I was writing this one piece about the genocide i used the terms “milk and honey” to refer to the colony of widows who lives in Delhi. The phrase milk and honey to me, was soft and warm, and it revolved around the idea of healing, and so since i wrote that piece, I knew that milk and honey had just stuck and that I would probably one day use it for something bigger. And now we have the book!
Rupi believes that there is so much more to milk and honey than anyone could have ever imagined. Thanks to her dad's practice on homeopathy, doctors have used honey and a touch of milk as a medicine for the community.
"This term is to describe the way I feel about us as a community of people, we are as smooth and as sweet as milk and honey," says Rupi.
With a jolliness that belies the gravity of her mission, the brave poet shares that thanks to her dad, as he has given her the relationship she has with honey. From him she’s learned that honey doesn't die, and that it is the one food created by nature that does not expire. "I just think is so beautiful that just nature can create that," she says.
And nature does create it indeed. Including her own nature of speaking in front of hundreds of students, professors and even well-known poets at universities around the US and Canada. But as every individual though, carrying a sense of overwhelmingness both on and offstage.
“In my early days I was at a performance, and the room was packed with well known writers and I was suddenly on stage and as lucky would have it, I began reciting and suddenly I forgot my lines," she says, and wittingly shares how although there was a complete awkward moment of silence in between her and her audience, she managed to get back on her feet and recite.
"I came to be so terrified that I just stared at the audience, and eventually had to run offstage to get my papers," she says "but everyone was just so supportive, because they started snapping and cheering… just like a scene in a movie."
And as the energy in her performances have tended to respond to her in a positive light, it has also managed to be the same story around friends and family, "specially through my sister," she adds.
The way her sister has helped is in terms of editing Rupi's voice and writing, "she knows exactly what my voice is, more than I do," Kaur continues, "sisters just know you."
Ever since her book Milk and Honey has come out though, the support has tended to be a sense of questionary, which can result to be a bit uncomfortable at times.
"I have refrained from answering questions," she says, "some friends are curious, others are just blown away by the experiences I have written in this book."
But the art to it is that not all of these experiences are hers, in fact, some of them are adventures and life lessons coming from some of her own friends. This is why Milk and Honey can also have a mystery to its pages.
And just like she can make puzzles in our minds, she does it through her own too, by the nurturing process she goes through.
"I feel like reading is one of the things though, that makes this nurture happen," she continues, "I should probably figure out though what else has helped me re energize my mind to continue to nurture it."
We can see though, that unconsciously she nurtures it by the art of collaborating with musicians and by putting herself in situations of the characters through films she enjoys watching.
"I am very empathetic," she says, "I can totally put myself in the person's shoes, and I find that just so inspiring for my writing." This is why music too, has also had the ability to pull her in, and pull out her soul. And as she pulls her soul into paper, she pulls mine into tumblr. Never did I think I'd be able to meet someone as interesting as Rupi through this powerful thread of social media.
I guess now, after having had talked to Kaur, I'll have to spend more of my time in the mornings scrolling down the news feed on tumblr, just to make sure I am lucky enough to find someone as talented and genuine as she is.