Marium Khan | Toronto, Canada
Chances are you’ve had the pleasure of reading Rupi Kaur’s inimitable poetry on either Instagram or from her bestselling books, milk and honey and the sun and her flowers.
These amazing books explore the themes of love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity, migration and revolution.
After announcing that she will be doing a tour across Canada called A December Swing Across Canada on her Instagram, I was ready and alert for the event notifications so that my mom and I could buy tickets.
The moment they went on sale we were able to get good seats and were very excited. The day of the performance my mom and I got all dressed up and drove to downtown Toronto to the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Once arrived, we could see hundreds of people lining up to get their tickets scanned and booths selling Rupi’s books as well as her new canvas’ with her poetry on them. As soon as we got our seats we went and took pictures in front of the Rupi Kaur performance sign and then continuing to take pictures in the theatre with the aesthetic setup they had on stage.
As the lights began to dim, all the excited chatter of the audience slowed to a hush and Rupi walked onto stage. She was wearing an elegant silver gown that glittered and moved with the spotlight, and her hair was put into a bun. She then introduced herself and recited her poetry throughout the night and by the end of it, my hands were sore from clapping so hard.
One special thing about Rupi was that throughout her performance she would interact with the audience in such a way that it would feel more like a fun conversation with her rather than a formal performance with strictly poetry being performed. The poetry was recited with raw emotion and would have the audience hanging off her every word.
One of my favourite poems was called “Mountains”:
i want to apologize to all the women
i have called pretty.
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave.
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is the most you have to be proud of
when your spirit has crushed mountains
from now on I will say things like, you are resilient
or, you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re pretty.
but because you are so much more than that
I am so happy that I was finally able to see her perform, because I have wanted to go since I was in Grade 7.
Personally I believe it’s very important for one to have good role models and in this western society its difficult for me as a Pakistani female to see myself within the media portrayed positively or at all. Discovering Rupi Kaur’s poetry was eye-opening for me because she is also South Asian and is doing what she loves while continuing to be proud of her identity. Watching her perform showed me that representation, and how successful one can be while not losing themselves within this society.
I’m so thankful to have been able to attend this performance and with my mother no less, I definitely plan to buy her new books and attend future performances again.