Published: 26th March 2018
Meet Sameer Khan, the man who uses poems for healing at old age homes and orphanages
Poet and storyteller, Sameer Khan will soon tour India to defeat sorrow and bring joy to those who need it
As a child, Sameer Khan was rather quiet. It could've been because he had to move from school to school because of his dad's job. But the bullying, the depression and phrases like ‘Go back to Pakistan!’ that he heard during the 1999 Kargil War, pushed this introvert towards becoming a recluse. But at the same time, his love affair with words had just begun. He used to write postcards to his three imaginary friends, confiding in them his feelings and secrets. "What were their names?" we ask him and we're met with a sheepish grin and a long "Ummmm." After egging him on, he finally confesses, "Have you heard the song Eena, Meena, Deeka...?" And we burst out laughing.
Khan has read and re-read the works of Charles Bukowski and Mirza Ghalib to analyse their form of writing. His mantra for life is ‘observe, analyse, conclude and finally, do it’
While Khan, who was born and brought up in Jalandhar, was in college, he began counselling people — advising them on love, loss and more. "But then I realised that I didn't know the difference between physiological disturbance and mental imbalance and hence, was making matters worse for some people," says the 23-year-old, who is currently in Mumbai.
But the mistakes he made yesterday have made him a better man today, he believes. And all the lessons he has learnt have made him want to reach out to those in need. That is exactly what he does now; he uses creativity, "which is my strongest weapon," and performs poetry at old age homes and orphanages. These performances, which are a mixture of voice modulation and expression, uplift spirits, so much so that even the doctors have called when they felt that their patients at the old age homes needed a dose of happiness. And while his audience would take home happiness, he would take home their love.
Because I used to move around a lot when I was a child, I tend to get easily attached to cities rather than people
Sameer Khan, Poet
And while Khan also performs at cafés and college fests and will soon be speaking at TEDxKharghar, Mumbai, his performances at the old age homes are low-key and free, devoid of selfies and any fanfare because he wants the focus to remain on the words that draw listeners out of their misery. Now, Khan wants to make this a movement and empower other individuals to do the same and help others defeat depression, loneliness and sorrow, calling himself 'A Warrior of Art’.
When Khan realised that his counselling was doing more harm than good, he quit doing it for a year, but got back to it when people came to him for help
"I believe in magic, so I weave magic with my words to make them happy and I want others to do the same," says Khan, who recently distilled his magic into a book, Eerie Edges and dedicated it to those suffering from clinical depression and anxiety. The book heals through prose, poetry, quotes and tiny tales.
Khan is also planning an India tour, where he plans to perform in Gujarat, Delhi and Kashmir, and hopefully, extend to Hyderabad and the South. We just can't wait to welcome Khan!