To tread on the concurring line of flamboyancy and finesse is an art. Raphael Emileenaa’s unannounced arrival was nothing short of an epiphany to me – the profiler. I am in love, I thought. She chose poetry to speak her mind, to further soften the blow that life has dealt. Maybe someday it’ll all make sense to her, until then poetry is her shield.
She says that her father is the culprit – a culprit with the heart of gold, perhaps? While most delusional fathers, disappointed by the fruits of their loins walk in the dark, Raphael’s father held her hand and walked with her, choosing his words of advice with purpose and intent – to make Raphael strong, to help her fight the fantasies that men of lust impose. A poignant reminder that most women still must fight men.
An all-girls university in Bangalore had too many girls according to Raphael. Ill-health kept her out of a business school. Off she drifted to Pune to study literature from a university larger than life attesting future laureates and artistes each year. While she learnt her lessons from the goddesses and gods of words, her discord with mankind remained unshaken. Many spurned lovers raid their depths to help bellow their feelings through words, Raphael is no less. The sensuous affair, sensuous enough at the time – teenage years to be precise, limited to warm kisses, caresses and holding of hands, lasted merely thirteen days. Six years later, she put her demons to bed.
The affair in bargain brought out her first heartfelt poetry which she refuses to revisit fearing that the demons may find their fodder to resurrect. Raphael continued to write – poetry about the erotica. Her sexual experiences, good, bad or even mediocre, lay the frame for her words to fit in. Maybe if the women and men she’d made love to knew they’d end up in her poems, the worst would have done better, and she’d have been appalled by the best.
Raphael’s voice isn’t limited to poetry. She sings. She’d been training with a music school in Bangalore since she turned seven, and now in her late twenties she’s found a place in a band where she can continue to sing, brazen and never bound. The first and the last band she’ll sing for she says.
Raphael owns and runs a salon named One Chair Story. A stylist during the day, poetess and musician by night, she says she wouldn’t trade now for anything. Should there come a time when the tide washes her off to a distant shore, she will find herself most valiantly armed with words, her voice and a pair of scissors.
This is Raphael Emileenaa – a poetess with unblemished grace. She is our second spoken word artiste in our #SheSpeaks series and she presents us with: ‘Women’.
- Suraj J. Menon