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Event Details

Mahmoud Darwish – In the Presence of Absence
Design and Direction by Dr. Omkar Bhatkar

NCPA Library in collaboration with Metamorphosis Theatre and Films

“Be a child again. Teach me poetry. Teach me the rhythm of the sea. Return to words their initial innocence. Give birth to me from a grain of wheat, not from a wound. Give birth to me and take me back to a world before meaning, so I can embrace you on the grass. Do you hear me? A world before meaning. The tall trees walked with us as trees, not as meaning. Be a child again, so I can see my face in your mirror. Are you I? Am I you? Teach me poetry, so I can elegize you now, now, now. Just as you elegize me!” – Mahmoud Darwish

In the Presence of Absence (Fī Ḥaḍrat al-Ghiyāb) was published in the original Arabic in 2006. As with every work Darwish published in the last four decades, its appearance in the Arab world was a notable event. Darwish, one of the most popular and prominent Arab poets, died two years after writing this book. Thinking this might be his final work, he summoned all his poetic genius to create a luminous text that defies categorisation.

Dr. Omkar Bhatkar’s present exploration of Mahmoud Darwish’s final text is a sublime experience that takes the audience into a unique hybrid world of verse and prose, shadowed by mortality, an oneiric journey of exile, return and the delicate sensations of ‘life’.


Free entry on a first-come-first-served basis.

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The NCPA is committed to preserving and promoting India's rich and vibrant artistic heritage in the fields of music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography, as well as presenting new and innovative work by Indian and international artists from a diverse range of genres including drama, contemporary dance, orchestral concerts, opera, jazz and chamber music.