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Meet Madurai boy T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste on Instagram

A small-built wide-eyed man sporting a sleeveless t-shirt with kitschy prints has been attracting curious onlookers at the Walker’s Club in K K Nagar, over the past three days. It’s nothing to do with his appearance but the activity he engages in, every evening — 25-year-old T Rooban is a poi artiste. “Poi is a performance art that’s lesser known in this part of the country, but quite popular in places like Goa. I learnt poi at Goa from a hula hooper last March,” says Rooban, a techie working in Bengaluru. The Madurai boy is in town for vacations and found the Walker’s Club suitable for doing poi.

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste
 
| Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

Poi may look simple but involves a lot of energy, skill and practice. It’s more like juggling where the performer swings two or more tethered objects in a geometrical or circular motion and the art is said to have originated from the Maori culture in New Zealand. “It’s also a dance form and can be done with simply two balls or weights tied to a pair of strings or threads. I also do it with colourful clothes like stoles or sometimes LED lights so that it glows in the dark and creates psychedelic patterns when swung in a repeated rhythmic movements,” explains Rooban, who also does it with fire. “I like doing poi with some good peppy music. I am still a novice and there’s lots to learn in the art.”

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste
 
| Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

“The speed with which the objects are rotated increases as one gains experience. It’s a great exercise apart from being an art form and I have gained some handsome muscles in the arm because of poi,” he says. “I derive happiness and peace from poi. I have been able to shed my inhibitions and my concentration levels have improved. It’s said that poi helps in enhancing left and right brain activities,” adds Rooban.

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste
 
| Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

“Initially, my arms would ache even if I practised for 10 minutes. Sometimes, I even got muscle cramps. But now, I swing the objects continuously for 45 minutes. Over time, you tend to develop muscle memory and that’s how you master the art,” he adds. Rooban is a budding poi artiste on Instagram with over 600 followers. “I am in touch with top poi artistes on Instagram and am learning how to make a poi myself. I have started performing at my office events and on streetsides, parks and wherever I feel like. It’s an art that’s street-smart,” he says.

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste

Art in movement: T Rooban, a budding Poi artiste
 
| Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

Follow Rooban on instagram.com/roobanmahadev

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