Interviews

Five Questions to Poet Dinesh Gupta ‘Din’

Dinesh Gupta ‘Din’ is a software engineer by profession and a poet by Passion. His poetry, articles, book reviews, and interviews have been featured in several online and print magazines and leading national newspapers including Dainik Jagran, Dainik Dakshin Mumbai, After Break, Delhi Aur Delhi, Purnviram, Delhi Replika, Mathrubhumi, Janpath Samachar, Janmbhumi, Forever News, APN News. His poetry has been published in three poetry collections: 1) Kadam Dhundti Raahen, 2) Shabdon Ki Chahalkadmi, and 3) Bikhri Aus Ki bunden. He is also performing Poet and participated in several Poetry events. Dinesh started writing by interest early, but now a days Poetry is passion for him. When People ask Combination of Engineer and Hindi Poet is rare, how it’s happen with you, he just says: “Engineering is my profession by Poetry is my passion. Poetry floods in by Body in form of blood. You can read few of his creations here: https://www.facebook.com/dineshguptaofficial http://dineshguptadin.in Literature Studio (LS): When did you first start writing poetry? What was your first inspiration? Dinesh Gupta (DG): What can I say but this… भीतर की गहराई और बाहर की तन्हाई ने शायर बना दिया On a serious note, I started writing when I was in 8th standard. I took inspiration from life back then, but, with time, it got lost somewhere. Later, when I was studying engineering I heard about Dr Kumar Vishvas and since then I have been following him. I am highly inspired by him and he is the one whose Poetry and Poetic Journey helps me bring the Poet inside me to the surface again. This was actually rebirth of my poetry. Since then I have been writing continuously and I got tremendous response on social media from my readers. शब्द नए चुनकर गीत वही हर बार लिखूं मैं उन दो आँखों में अपना सारा संसार लिखूं मैं विरह की वेदना लिखूं या मिलन की झंकार लिखूं मैं कैसे चंद लफ़्ज़ों में सारा प्यार लिखूं  मैं ! These days engineering is my profession but poetry is my passion. LS: What are the themes you delve in? DG: I write in free format without any limitation of Ras or Flavor of Poetry. To be able to write, I hardly ever need to think too much or depend on a pen and paper. Whenever anything around or inside me affects me deeply it results in an instantaneous flow of poetry. Mostly I write on romance, patriotism, and on social issues. If there’s anything that touches my heart and If I am able to find the right words to express it, it will flow out in form of poetry. I write all forms of poetry, such as Shayari, Kavita, Geet, and Ghazal. जब भी तेरी याद का एक लम्हा मेरी आँखों में उतर आता है मेरे दिल का सारा दर्द शब्दों में उतर आता है  !  LS: How easy or difficult is life as a poet? What makes you stick to poetry? DG: Life as a poet is very satisfying provided it is just your hobby and trust me it is a great feeling to know that you have the ability to express yourself in words that can move others. However, as soon as it becomes your profession it becomes tough until you get big success at commercial level. And that is very rare. Although now it is getting very tough for me to balance all the Ps (Personal life, Profession, and Poetry), I am still very attached to poetry because I do not see myself separate from Poetry. LS: Do you have a favorite time of the day when you prefer to write? DG: No, this is not how it works for me.  According to me अपने अंतर की चेतना और अनुभूति की...

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5 Questions to Kiran Manral

It is always lovely talking to Kiran Manral, Author of All Aboard, The Reluctant Detective, and Once Upon a Crush. And when she recently disclosed that THREE NEW BOOKS written by her are coming out this year, within a span of a few months, we had to know the secret behind her amazing efficacy. And with someone as warm and welcoming as Kiran, we thought it would be better to ask her directly, and also take this opportunity to extract some bonus pieces of wisdom. So here goes: ********** Vibha: Three of your books are coming out this year. Wait! Are you kidding me? How on earth did you make it happen? Kiran: Trust me this just happened, all three books were written at different points in my life, in three different genres and submitted at different times to three different publishers.   If anything, this is complete proof of how disorganised I am and how I can’t make things happen because any sensible person would have planned it out, I just tend to go with the flow and let life happen as it does. Vibha:  Serious question. So far, you’ve written mainstream fiction, chicklits. How do you classify your upcoming books? Can you share a bit about them, if possible? Kiran: Book 3, All Aboard which is being released end of August from Penguin Random House is pure romance, chicklit, commercial fiction—a light, fun read. It is the story of a girl, who has been ditched practically at the altar by her fiancé and goes on a Mediterranean cruise with her aunt to cheer herself up and finds herself terribly attracted to someone on the cruise who seems to tick all the boxes that she does not need. You know, we’ve all been in that situation sometimes where we’re attracted to someone who seems so wrong for us but just can’t resist ourselves, that’s what this book is all about. Book 4, Karmickids being published by Hay House, is a book based on my parenting blog, which was also called Karmickids, basically is an anecdotal, first-person account of bringing up my son from age 0 to age 10. It is funny, poignant, and something I think every parent will identify with. My Book 5, The Face At The Window, being published by Amaryllis, is something completely different from what I’ve had published earlier, it is a more serious book, the story of an old Anglo-Indian retired school teacher living alone in the foothills of the Himalayas, waiting for her life to end. They’re all rather different from each other, and each was absolutely delightful to write. Vibha: Some authors write in spurts, some every day. What works for you? Kiran: I believe in the discipline of writing something every single day. Even if it isn’t fiction, even if it isn’t creative writing, even replying to a questionnaire like I’m doing now, or putting up a blog post, or writing out my column. Writing is like a muscle you need to keep exercising, until it becomes almost like an involuntary muscle, where you can put your fingers to the keyboard and feel the words flow out without having to stop and ponder and retrace your steps and lose your thread of thought. If you write and if you read every single day, you have done all you must do to help yourself as a writer. I think of it as a daily riyaaz—one doesn’t expect a sportsperson to perform well if there hasn’t been rigorous practice, nor a musician, nor any person from any other skilled profession. Why should writing be any different? You need to practice the craft,...

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In Conversation with William Dalrymple || Research, Writing, and Other Experiences

It was a Friday afternoon and I had an appointment with William Dalrymple at his farm in Mehrauli at 3pm. When I arrived he was having lunch with some visitors and I was led to an office that opened out to a beautiful terrace. Upon being asked whether I would like to conduct the interview inside or outside, I chose outside. As I sat there waiting, I tried to figure out the species of various birds that were chirping in the trees in the backyard and tried to relax my nerves in the cool breeze. Yes, I admit I was nervous. But then I was meeting an author I respect a lot, someone who is obviously brilliant, and who, in spite of being British, probably knows more about my city, my country than I do. But as soon as Mr Dalrymple came sailing out to the terrace, greeting me cheerfully from a distance, I relaxed. He seemed like someone I could talk to for hours. He eased himself into the cane chair opposite me and leaned back, ready to answer whatever questions I had for him. And soon we were discussing everything from his writing process, his books, his life in India, his experience of running the Jaipur Literature Festival, and what he plans to do next. I learnt that he has very recently lost his pet cockatoo. But apart from that, his two dogs, who were both at a point during the interview sitting with their heads in my lap, and his several hens and roosters practically own the place. Transcription of this interview was another story altogether. At times during the recording, the panting of the dogs, the chirping of the birds, and the cawing of the crows was louder than both of our voices, and I found myself having to play these bits 10 times, 15 times in order to understand what was being said. But this was a part of the whole deal of meeting Mr William Dalrymple and getting a tiny little peak into his eclectic world. After a brief round of introductions, we eased into the conversation and soon were engrossed in the interview. Vibha Malhotra (VM): To start with a fun question, of all the books you have written so far, which one did you have the most fun writing? William Dalrymple (WD): God, none of them were fun to write. Writing is work. It is hard work. It is like an exam. They were, however, all fun to research. Reserach is really the most enjoyable part. You are out travelling, seeing things, but writing is work, certainly. VM: Talking of research, writing of your books involves looking through old manuscripts, diaries, and documents. Especially where the Government Agencies are involved, how difficult is it to gain access to these documents? WD: Where the Government of India is concerned, there are several ropes that you have to jump over, but the process is really quite standard. To get to work in the National Archives, there are various stipulations. You have to have a degree. If you are a foreigner, you have to have a letter from the Embassy. If you are a desi, you have to have a letter from an academic institution or a publisher. And you have to provide an introduction, and the reasons you are doing it, and the plan. Then there’s an interview and if you get past that, you can use the archives. The government is really quite straightforward. It is like getting an accreditation for a newspaper or starting a business or getting a license for various government...

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Exploring a Writer’s World || In conversation with Jeet Thayil

Exploring a Writer’s World || In conversation with Jeet Thayil

Right from its conception, Literature Studio has laid great emphasis on interactions amongst writers. There’s so much we can learn from each other, and when that “other” is poet, writer, and musician Jeet Thayil, whose debut novel Narcopolis was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the Man Asian Prize and won the 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, then a brief conversation can uncover a treasure trove of rich insights. More so because even though Narcopolis, which has since been translated into five languages, is his first novel, Jeet has been writing poetry since adolescence. He has published four collections of poetry and is greatly admired for his attention to form. He is also a songwriter, a singer, and a guitarist and manages to keep himself very busy doing what he likes to do. And one day, on a pleasant afternoon of March 2014, I found myself standing outside his home in South Delhi. I had managed to reach on time and was let in by a warm and welcoming Jeet. He offered me a cup of coffee and we were soon chatting about all things relevant to writers. While capturing our discussion in this post, I have tried to hold on to each and every word he said and be as accurate as possible. And now, without digressing too much, here is what we talked about: Vibha: The world knows Jeet Thayil as a performance poet, a writer, and a musician. How would you introduce yourself to the readers of Literature Studio’s blog? Jeet: I think of myself as a working man. I work every day. Some days I work on music, some days I work on poetry, and some days I work on prose. That’s really all there is to it. In my mind I don’t differentiate between the various genres. I just think of it as what I do. Work! Vibha: And how do you decide that today you are going to work on music or on poetry or on prose. Is it mood-driven or deadline-driven? Jeet: It’s very much deadline-driven. The only thing that’s mood-driven is a poem, or a song. If something occurs to me – a melody – and if I am doing something else, I record it right away. Later I’ll work on lyrics and shape. But everything else is deadline driven. Vibha: That is true for a lot of us. I almost always end up doing things at the very last minute. Jeet: I am a firm believer in the last minute. Vibha: Your productivity is the highest at that time. Jeet: And you don’t over-think it, and you are often very creative, because you have to be. Vibha: You are pushed… Jeet: You are pushed. Your back is against the wall. Vibha: True! But in usual scenarios, what inspires you to write? Jeet: I think what usually inspires me to write is anxiety. I just get worried that I am not doing anything, and when that builds up, I get down to work. I wish I could say that I am inspired by a sunset. But if I see a beautiful sunset, I just look at it. I like to enjoy it and not worry about translating it into deathless prose. Vibha: Yes, and I feel that we are too busy capturing things. You see everyone trying to click pictures of everything they come across, but you hardly see anyone just sitting and enjoying the view. Jeet: You are so busy trying to record it, that you miss it. You miss the experience. Vibha: So true! But...

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