Friday, 5 March 2021

Questionnaire with J. Alchem

This month's featured Author is ' J. Alchem '

  Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I am a simple person with a kind heart and high morale. I am an MBA in International Business and Finance from the an esteemed University of India. I provide academic support to international students and professionals. I am also an advisory panelist to the Association of Indian Students where I share space with many big personalities and figures.




 Questionnaire with J. Alchem

1.       What are your interests apart from writing bestsellers?

I am into cooking lip-smacking cuisines, watching movies, listening to songs, and chit-chatting with my friends about the vast universe of books. I feel there is a lot in this world to explore.

2.       How did you first get involved with writing?

It professionally started with writing an article for a magazine. It was loved by readers as well as the editorial body and I kept getting newer opportunities every week. I wrote my first book when I was doing MBA and it took me three years to complete and publish the same. It won several accolades and became a huge inspiration for me and my career.

3.       Are you an imaginative person? It is what I felt reading your books.

Yes, I am an imaginative person. I don’t write about my life or the people around me. I imagine things and then I write about them. Everything from a character to subplots is part of my sheer imagination. This is how I bring novelty to my books.

4.       What do you find most challenging about your writing?

I feel the most challenging part is getting started with a new story. Once I am done with 2-3 chapters, there is nothing that can stop me from completing a book.

5.       What do you do when you are not writing?

I am either sleeping peacefully or thinking about what character should be killed next in my new book. I always have murdered someone in each book. I am not kind when it comes to my books and my editor also has told me that I don’t have to be.

6.       How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?

I read a lot and when I come across something unique or different, I imagine a story around that. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, I have a new novel to publish.

7.       Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?

I don’t think anyone needs a tip nowadays. People are intelligent enough to make the right choices. However, if you want to make it big, you must focus on small-small things.

8.       What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

A book worth embracing. What else a writer can give? Yes, an interview worth reading.

9.       A lot of people are interested in writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing?

I am not against writing for money, but I feel it is what people must not do. Writing is a work of soul and it must not be seen as how much you can earn out of it.  

But if they seriously want to earn, copywriting, scriptwriting, editing, and ghost-writing are some of the things they can do.

10.   What motivates you most in life?

New books, movies, web series, and people. There are many sources. I feel the whole world is a source of motivation.

11.   The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and other considerations.

This is unfortunate. Art is divine and people should not mix it with religions or whatsoever.

12.   Tell us about your new release, “It doesn’t end here”?

This book is the first in the trilogy of End Series. It is the story of Samuel and Sara. Samuel wants to break up with Sara because he has outgrown. However, Sara has something else to share with him. It is a romantic read. However, its sequel will be a crime thriller.

13.   What are your views on increasing plagiarism?

I believe there should be strict laws to protect copyright. Also, authors should get their books copyrighted before sharing or sending them to publishers so they can sue the culprit or at least shame them publicly. 






 

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questionnaire with Vandana Saxena

 So this month's featured Author is ' Vandana Saxena'




Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!

 

I am a woman in my early forties. However, instead of going through a mid-life crisis, I rediscovered myself after turning forty and growing into a better version of self with every passing day. By discipline, I am an HR professional, Soft Skills Trainer, and a Content Writer.  I have worked in niches of HR and Training for over two decades in varied industries.  During my professional career, I have worked in Retail, Telecom, Education, and Credit Management Industry. 

By passion, I am a creative writer. I wear my thinking hat often and let the creative juices flow in the form stories, poetry, and a blog.  I started the writing journey with a blog, one fine day when I had a lot to say but didn’t find an honest ear. I penned everything that was making me feel anxious. The article was accepted by a leading guest blogging site and within a year, the blog reached ten million views.  Since then, there’s no looking back.

I have been writing something every day, and various digital portals are publishing my work.  Writing is now an addiction and there’s no cure.

I have also won a few accolades for my writing skills.  I am presently working as a freelance trainer for content writing and marketing.  I am also working on a few writing and editing projects with some corporates.

Apart from this I conduct content workshops for women only communities.  These workshops are specially curated for women who choose to follow their passion and take it the next level by turning it into a business.   It gives me immense pleasure in empowering women who reinvent themselves after breaking the barriers.

 To know more click https://vandanaspen.com/about-vandana-saxena/

 

Questionnaire with Vandana Saxena 

1.  How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person? 

As a child, I was inclined towards writing.  However, in the early nineties, it was not about choices but about grades.  Though my report cards were never flashy, yet I was equipped with excellent language skills.  I wrote a few stories and poems as a child, but it was buried under the pressure of becoming a professional.

 I have always believed in stories. I have imagined and found a story in almost everything, including my own life.  Since I am an aspiring writer, I love to live in my fictional world and look forward to the intense conversation with the characters that I have created.  Indeed, I am an imaginative person.

2.   What do you find most challenging about your writing?

 Well, I have never thought about challenges, but I guess the most challenging part is editing.  Writing is like mediation to me and it flows the moment I bend over my laptop or pick up my pen.  I find editing my own content, or anyone’s creative content challenging for me.  

 They say, “Be a ruthless editor”, but for me, deleting words and descriptions from my write-ups feels like taking away the parts of my body.  It’s indeed challenging but I am learning to cope up with it.

3.   What do you do when you are not writing?

Reading, if not busy with the household and child.

4.  Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

I love to live in present.  I have no long-term plans so I can’t say where I will be after five years.  All I want to be, is alive and healthy, even after five years down the road.  In the next six months, I will be a better author with a better author, writing the best stories.

5.  How do you keep coming up with material / content for your story?

Like I said, there’s a story in everything and I am able to find one everywhere.

6.  Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?

Like I said, there’s a story in everything and I can find one everywhere; even during this interview.

7.  What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

Take them to a new world, that they have never seen before.

8.  A lot of people are interested in writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Earning money from writing is easy but the difficult part is to write.  One must understand the difference between content and creative.  You may earn from content writing, but creative writing is for the writer alone.  

 While content writing is the readers’ perspective creative writing is the writers’ perspective. Before writing content think about your target audience and the purpose of the content.  You will never go wrong this way.  Write quality content and never miss a deadline.  Initially, it may not skyrocket your writing career, but it will pick up with time.  Be consistent with quality and time.  You will earn. If you are writing a story write it for your happiness.  Don’t think about the reader.  Simple rule for creative writing.

9.  What motivates you most in life?

My failures.  Whenever I lose a writing challenge, I am motivated to write better, write more.

10.The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.

 Readers’ perspective is beyond my control.  Trust me, there’s nothing that a writer can do about it.  My job here is to write, so I write.  If an opinion affects a writer, he/she will never be able to express his/her own beliefs, and that’s the only job a writer should do

11.  What are your views on increasing plagiarism?

A famous writer said, “If you have read one thousand books, you can write one.”  It’s all about inspiration.  It’s ok to get inspired but it’s not OK to copy.   A writer can’t go a long way with this.  Writing something that has never been created before, helps you evolve as a writer.   Copying helps you evolve as a thief.   Choice is yours! 





Saturday, 9 January 2021

Quesionairrie with Manali Desai

 So this month featuring Author is  ' Manali Desai'

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies! 


Somehow, that question still makes me feel like I'm appearing for a job interview. But I'll relent anyway. So, I'm Manali Desai, a freelance writer and editor cum blogger. 

 My hobbies include hunting for ideas for my writing, and some normal ones like reading and binge-watching a series or catching up on my movie watch list. 

Quesionairrie with Manali Desai

 1.      How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?

As a hobby, I got involved with writing since my teenage. Professionally I began content writing in 2012. And since then I have been exploring other areas of writing such as copywriting, book publishing, ghostwriting, and much more.

Yes, my imagination is my solace from the mundane and routine life. Also, my source for fiction which ultimately becomes my bread and butter. 

 2. What do you find most challenging about your writing?

Turning the many ideas that turn up in my imaginative mind into something concrete and worthy of reading. 

3. What do you do when you are not writing?

Either read or travel; sometimes both together. 

 4. Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

I believe in taking life as it comes, living one day at a time, but also following a schedule every day. So, this 6 months and 5 years future question, isn't really something I focus on. But yes, one thing is clear, I want to grow as a writer and explore new areas of writing. 

 5.      How do you keep coming up with material / content for your story?

Through everyday incidents and my observation

6. Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?

1. Don't write to get published. 

      2. Know and understand the kind of publishing options available out there and the difference                      between each. 

       3. WRITE EVERY DAY 

7. What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

 An honest piece of writing. Seriously, a piece written from the heart, will most definitely resonate and not to mention, give you satisfaction like nothing else when it comes to your work. 

 8.  A lot of people are interested in writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interested in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations in regard to what can be made?

 Book sales alone won’t be enough (unless you are Chetan Bhagat) so you’ll need to keep exploring more options and be open about writing n varied topics and on varied platforms. There are many platforms like Medium, Vocal, PopSugar, et, al that pay writers well for any kind of piece that contributed to their platform. You can also take-up freelance writing work like content writing, copywriting, etc.

 But with everything said and done, one thing to keep in mind is to be consistent with your writing and have the patience to start earning potentially well.

9.     What motivates you most in life?

The goal to keep getting better. 

10.  The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.

My motto is, 'Focus on the creation rather than the creator'. This helps me choose without bias and I guess that should help any reader make a choice. 

 11.  What is the story behind the name of your book?

The Art of Being Grateful and Other Stories was titled after the book cover was finalised. The simple reason being, the cover resonated best with that story which is one of the 8 short stories in the book. 

12.  What are your views on increasing plagiarism?

There needs to be a line between inspiration and blatant copying. Of course, I follow others in my field are doing too, but how do I make myself different from them or how I add the 'my factor' to what I do, is what differentiates inspiration from plagiarism. 

It's a shame that despite being so talented on our own, some of us don't put in that effort and resort to copying other's work.  



Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Questionairre with Dr. Tejaswini Patil

 So this month's featured author is 'DTejaswini Patil' 

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!


 

 I am Dr. Tejaswini Patil, Ph.D. working as an Assistant Professor in Kasegaon Education Society’s Smt. Kusumatai Rajarambapu Patil Kanya Mahavidyalaya, Islampur, Dist. Sangli, Maharashtra and Founder Director, Innsæi International Journal of Creative Literature for Peace and Humanity; an academician, poet and social worker; write about Nature, social issues, feminist sensibilities and my experiences. Four collections of poetry are to my credit. Editor, Tunisian Asian Anthology, Mystical Voices. Thrice selected for prestigious Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival, Texas, USA. Included in 25 Women of Virtue. The Awards bestowed on me- State Level Mahila Samajratna Lifetime Achievement Award and ‘Master of Creative Impulse’ by World Poetry Conference, Bathinda, Punjab. 

Hobbies:

Poetry- writing, reciting and performing on them; listening to Classical Music; painting and handicrafts are some of my hobbies. I feel social work as my responsibility; to repay the debt of our mother land.


Questionairre with Dr. Tejaswini Patil

 

1.       How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?

I am thankful to my parents who made me involved in reading since childhood and the lack of technology also proved to be helpful in engaging me with the world of imagination... I wrote my first poem at the age of 13-14. It was a result of beautiful description of a panther in a novel... The poem in Marathi, Chitta was written for the first time. As I used to be involved in my own world, my friends and others teased me. Books played their inevitable role in creating a separate world of imagination. 

2. What do you find most challenging about your writing?

For me, it's always challenging to capture the perfect nerve of the creative pulse. Sometimes, it flashes before the inner eye and is lost. It's required to give time to her, the poem, instantly. And if you are stuck elsewhere, you can't chase it. I feel very guilty, if it's lost.

3.What do you do when you are not writing?

 

 I listen to Classical music, water plants or read old diaries. I get much energy through the past. I am involved in social work, so, I prefer to plan various activities for the future with my students, colleagues.

 

4. Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

I think myself as a Founder Director of two-three more journals in next 6 months. I'm working on them. And after 5 years, I think of myself busy with service to society, literature, poetry, organizing various festivals, and at the midst of thousands of literary pilgrims. I wish I get thousands of the followers, friends to work on the service to Peace and Humanity.

5. How do you keep coming up with material / content for your story? 

Since childhood, I've been a keen observer of surrounding. Many characters in my poems or stories are those, I have met in life. On bus stop, or railway station, airport or vegetable Market, my antennas are alert. I come across the mysterious aspects of human life... I write about them. I like to indulge in the psychological development of the characters.

6.Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books? 

Of course...

I would like to tell them that 

1. Remain positive in all situations. It may be a story you're living for your future writing. 

2. Be honest to your feelings while expressing in your oeuvre. It can change one's life. 

3. Be correct in the use of language and spellings... 

I hope they can survive at least, with these.

7. What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

With my experience as a reader, I would say, Literature gives the reader an imaginary experience of many situations in life which may not be practically possible. Literature gives us the power of decision. You know about the concepts of Right and Wrong. I would like to exemplify this with the Hindi novel, Chitralekha, by Hajariprasad Dviwedi. It can also provide us with the Aesthetic Pleasure which is not possible in real life. 

8. A lot of people are interested in writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Writing is an auspicious profession that makes you earn very slow. In my opinion, the books which lead you to the Truth, are purchased by readers. May it be Alchemist by Paulo Coelho or The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma or Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin or The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway which have influenced me are the books that talk of the Truths in life. If you want to make money through writing, you need to be loyal to yourself, life and the readers. Your language should be either powerful or full of emotions that touch the chords of one's heart. In the post-modern era, technology has opened up new vistas in writing such as Content writer, Ghostwriter, etc. through which you can earn. Still, you are expected to prove the power of your pen and imagination. 

9. What motivates you most in life?

The Beauty and the Pain are the two aspects of life that inspire me to write. Most of the times, beauty has the gleaming edge of tears and some tears are beautiful with sublimity.

10. The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.

It's up to the writer to present an impartial view of life. I think Humanity to be the world's religion... all the religions are there to guide us in our walks of life... The ultimate goal of all of them is to spread Love, Compassion and Humanity. The classical literature speaks of universal religions. 

11. What is the story behind the name of your book?

The first 'Talons and Nets' is about how the talons of a woman are entangled in nets of social customs which restrict her from soaring.

'Verses of Silence' is an effort to capture the Silence which becomes productive many times.

'A Glass of Time' relates to the fact of life that everything comes to us at a particular time and we are bound to enjoy it though momentary. 

The Hindi collection is 'Kainaat' which means Cosmos. It's about my expressions regarding my own sky, horizon and cosmos. It takes a long time to decide the 'Title' of the collection. 

 

12. What are your views on increasing plagiarism?

Since Genesis, there are false practices in this world. Plagiarism can give one a momentary joy of victory but can't win lifelong satisfaction. The joy of Creativity is far more important than stealing it. I prefer to be a bee whose creativity is unique.

 


Monday, 2 November 2020

Ghoomar Ke andar kabhi naa Ghumo- Ghoomar Traditional Thali Restaurant @Connaught Place, New Delhi

 


I don't have sweet experience with the restaurant at all. Food was average the only dish I liked was Churma. Rest of the dishes was not up to the park. We, two friends, we sat for a great meal at Ghoomar and it was our first time at this restaurant. The decision of selecting this restaurant turned out to be a pathetic one.  I can certainly tell this because I had some amazing experience in Jaipur and have eaten a lot of Rajasthani Traditional food. The green chutney, achar, and ker sangri kept on the table looked stale and was absolutely tasteless.  One after another they loaded our thalis with various dishes. The kadi and dal were dripping on our food. The Dal-Bati, Rajasthani Curry, Paneer Sabzi, Bajra khichdi, aloo ko sabzi everything lacks taste, Chutneys were again average. Hospitality is an art, not all know by the staff of Ghumoor, we asked for chapati and rice but no one bothered for almost 20 minutes, and when my friend complained of this one of the staff started arguing. At the time of the billing even we highlighted this to the person on the counter, but he hardly bothered. I will not recommend to anyone to go to this place and spoil your evening. It is a total waste of money and time. Please stay away and try something some other better place.

Food:2/5

Ambience:2/5

Service::1/5

Value for money:1/5




Thursday, 8 October 2020

Questionnaire with Vivek Kumar

So this month's featured author ' Vivek Kumar'

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!





I live in Mumbai and work as a Brand Consultant. Writing and film-making are my two pursuits. Most of my time is consumed by it or rather thinking about it.




 Questionnaire with Vivek Kumar


1.             How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?

The writing was always a spontaneous activity though it was limited to poetry and occasional story creation for college magazine or play. During my post-graduation, the idea of writing a book started taking seed in me though it was more of a fanciful thing I suppose to differentiate oneself. I just wanted to write one book. I did not think at that time that it will go beyond that. The idea I was more persistent about was to quit over two years of job and join a theatre group.

2.             What do you find most challenging about your writing?

To remain patient with it. I have no control over my writing process. It happens in bits and pieces, in no specific order and the end product is different from the ideas I had at the beginning. This causes lot of churning and can be very exhausting.

3.             What do you do when you are not writing?

Writing doesn’t take more than 5-10% of my time and that too happens in spurts. When I am not occupied with writing or other creative projects, I simply squander my time surfing net, chatting with friends etc. or being lazy.

4.             Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?


Don’t have that much visibility of the future but I hope for a better place than today.

5.             How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?

It is a continuous process part of which is conscious and rest is subconscious. You engage with stories, emotions, concepts, ideas. You also see what is happening around you, what other people are creating. Sometimes there are experiences that make you dream. Sometimes ideas occur to you or someone else’ creation resonates with you and you feel you have something similar to tell. But most importantly whenever you have any such impulse, you work on it, chase it till it turns cold. Most of them do but some of them somehow work out and those are the ones that you finish and take to the market.

6.             Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?

        None.

7.             What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

It is the readers that give to the writers, not the other way around. Readers complete the missing links in the writer’s world.

8.             A lot of people are interested in writing for money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

To make money one needs to focus on storytelling, which is not same as writing.

9.             What motivates you most in life?

A shot at completing an idea that has taken hold of me.

10.      What is the story behind the name of your book?

It is connected to the content of the book.

11.      What are your views on increasing plagiarism?

It can be very hurtful to the creator and induces toxicity in what should be an otherwise pristine working world.



 

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Questionnaire with Bharat Shekhar

 

So this month's featured author ' Bharat Shekhar'


Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!

Once upon a time, long ago, I dreamed my way through a lovely childhood in the remote districts of Rajasthan. Then I waded my way through school, college and the two universities of Delhi and JNU. Among all the dreaming and wading, I managed to get an M.Phil in History, which landed me a lecturer’s job at Zakir Hussain College, Delhi.

 After three years there, I shifted to NIIT, and became an Instructional Designer (fancy word for the content writer).  Very quickly both the corporate world and I realised that we were not cut out for each other. But old habits such as lingering and procrastination die hard, and I hung around the precincts for a good seven to eight years. However, as all bad things too must come to an end, I did, at last quit NIIT, and have been happily freelancing, navel-gazing, doodling and writing for the past couple of decades.

Hobbies? I guess they are the three r’s - reading, writing and ranting in writing (less and less of the last though), two m’s -music and meditation, and at – travel (both external as well as within oneself). 

 Questionnaire with Bharat Shekhar

 

1.       How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?

I grew up in the remote districts of Rajasthan, when they were really remote. There were vast sprawling vistas, lonely, lovely desert landscapes, and large chunks of time spent in my own and in my siblings’ company. This combination really helped to develop my imagination

Then, my grandfather had a lovely habit. Most evenings, he would sit us siblings down and tell us stories that of many things under the sun- Sindabad the sailor, Sarswati the goddess of learning, Robin Hood, Ram, Mahabarat, Mohhammad, madness and Mohabbat.  As his gentle voice spoke magic words, our heads would go spinning in a journey alongside. 

As a result, as a child, I never wanted to be what children usually hanker to grow up and be as soon as they can – an adult. So I guess I have somewhere always remained a kid, a kid with some imagination, which is both a blessing and a curse.

I didn’t want to become a fireman, policeman, doctor, engineer, lawyer, astronaut, or any other exotic profession, not even a belly dancer, or soothsayer.  I always imagined that as a writer I could be all of these and more. With my words, I could recreate them all according to my designs. Of course, I did not see the downside of such idyllic imagination then. Writing is not only imagination, but it’s also experienced, and the empathy to be in someone else’s shoes. And it’s hard work, harder than many other professions. That’s another story and I won’t get into it here.

Anyhow, the gist is that I always wanted to be a storyteller, but I got down to the real grind much much later, a process that I began with a seriousness only when I started to make up and tell stories to my children as I carried them on my shoulders. And, thus, in a deep sense a loop was closed, the one which began with my grandfather telling me stories when I was their age.

2.       What do you find most challenging about your writing?

The discipline, the blood, sweat and tears, the daily grind, the routine, all of which belong to the underbelly of writing, very real but little discussed. However, without them, it is crystal clear that no writer can progress very far. Hence I do try and follow a daily routine, but sometimes I have to take myself there dragging my feet. The big idea, the initial click, the ‘aha’ moment, the flow while it lasts, is relatively easy to come by, at least for me. It is the slow, steady translation, the gradual whittling and shaping into a comprehensible shape, which is the real challenge.

3.       What do you do when you are not writing?

I doodle a lot, read navel-gaze, meditate, listen to music, and daydream a lot.

4.       Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

There’s a very an interesting meme doing the round these days. Its text says, “I bet not a single person in 2015 got the answer to this question right.  ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?’ “. In other words, it’s difficult to predict the future under normal circumstances, and these days circumstances are anything but normal. Of course, I wish for better circumstances six months from now and even better ones five years hence. That’s pretty much what humans do.

5.       How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?

Travelling and seeing things with an open mind is essential to the process. By travelling I don’t mean travelling to any specific place, going on a lonely mountain trek, hiking to exotic locales, or becoming a passenger on an ocean liner taking a world cruise (though this type of travel is certainly important too). Travel could also simply mean loitering around a park without intent, or going to the market to buy groceries etc. Just be aware of circumstances and open to possibilities. When you see someone do something peculiar, try and be in their shoes, but also to be as outrageous in your imagination as possible Initially, the brief of the writer, the journalist and the detective are similar. Look around. Observe anything out of the ordinary. Look for clues. However, as soon as the clues are found, the three paths diverge. The journalist looks for the wider story, the detective tries to solve the mystery, the writer, on the other hand, does not seek the ‘truth’ in the sense of the mundane truth. No, she lets the imagination run in the most bizarre ad amusing of directions that a story can take.

Given below is an excerpt for a note I prepared for schoolchildren about sources of inspiration:

 It(inspiration/idea) begins with an observation of an action, image, number or word, which gets caught in the mind and then processed. You can faithfully record, or exaggerate, underplay, extend. For example, you see a person walking. You notice how he scrapes his foot on the ground after every third step.  You wonder why and then a process begins in the mind. Is he scraping off something that has got stuck to the shoe? Why after every third step? Why is he looking around suspiciously every time he scrapes the shoe? You look at the ground where he has just scraped his shoe and you can see something golden brown. Has he done something wrong? Thus floats the idea for a mystery story that could involve space ships and aliens, or a robbery, or if you are inclined towards realism of crushing debt/poverty, which his forcing into to something demeaning.

That is the beauty of imagination and imaginative thought. It does not lead in any logical manner from point A to point B, but to a whole load of tangents that could lead anywhere. Your own imagination is the only limit. That having been said, once the tangent is chosen and a story is woven, there must be an internal logic with a plotline, well thought out characters, dialogue, which must all be plausible.

For example, ‘The Eighth Dwarf’ (a story in my book ‘Talking Tales’ ) began by idly thinking about the number eight, about how it is tight and closed, how it curls in on itself, how unlike the other numbers it has no opening. Around that time, I had been watched ‘Snow White’ to my computer, and suddenly something clicked. What if there was a mysterious eighth dwarf, who nobody knew about, who did not know about herself, but was otherwise very wise. How would this impact the original story? And thus began the Talking Tale of the Eighth Dwarf. Another example I can give comes from one of the earliest stories I wrote. I was on a project in Hyderabad. It was a winter afternoon. The sun was out and it was very warm. A mother was walking with her son (aged three or four), who had a monkey cap on. The poor boy was feeling very hot and, at intervals kept trying to take the cap off, but the mother kept putting it back on. That was all that happened, but it put the germ of an idea in my head that ultimately became a story about how a wildebeest mother fools a crocodile to save her daughter and a zebra friend from his jaws. She tells the crocodile that she will make a cap out of the wildebeest hide, and a cape, but in order to do so, she has to measure the crocodile first. To give the measurements, the crocodile rolls over on his back. Have you seen insects and reptiles that get rolled over on their back? They find it very difficult to get back up. So once the crocodile is stuck and struggling on his back, the wildebeest Yimuni, her daughter Kimuni,  and their friend Zuber the Zebra make good their escape.

So your ideas for stories, novels, poems can come from everywhere- a friendship or a fight in the classroom, a ride in a three-wheeler, talk with the person who works in the house, an interesting game during recess, your mother or father talking about their day in office, going shopping in the mall, or the neighbourhood market... anything at all.  

(NOTE: While this is part of a note written for middle-grade school children, many of these ideas can be applied to any level of fiction,

Till now I was talking of external sources, which a writer finds in the world outside-by travelling and observing. Equally though, there is another source, which is less spoken about- the author’s interaction with him/herself, or his/her journey within, not without. Travelling within in a kind of dream state throws up all kinds of memories and melodies, and the sheer magic of people, places and things, you barely dreamed existed within. In the travel within, I don’t follow the route of looking for clues and then imagining different possible routes from them. No. Here I have to trust instead whatever is guiding me and to let go, letting it take me where it will. Any pressure from my side, any attempt at verbalising, and it will be gone without a trace. It is only later, much later that one can reflect on these inner experiences and to garner their essence.

6.       Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?

Not really, except for them to follow their heart and instincts. Do Not have to make it big in the publishing world as your primary, or even secondary goal. Instead, look at it as a by-product of your passion. Unless of course making it big is your only aim, rather than writing.

7.       What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?

     The ability to feel and, more rarely to think. However, I think the question itself could be framed a little differently, “What is the best thing that a writer can give themselves?” The tentative answer to that I would say is that while the writer is trying to unravel and understand the world (in whatever limited manner), it is also a slow unravelling and understanding of the self, in tandem. In the process, hopefully, he can pass on a little of the mix to the readers, whatever rubs off.