Wednesday 5 December 2018

A questionnaire with Madhumita Bhattacharjee Nayyar

So, this month featuring Author 

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!
I come from an army background my Dad being from the armed forces. I was born in Lucknow, spend my childhood in Jammu and Lucknow (mainly) and completed my college from Delhi. I hold a Masters Degree in English Literature, although till class twelfth I was a science student and Biology still remains my favourite subject. I also hold a Diploma in Child Psychology and in Electronic Media and Broadcasting. I had wanted to be a Medical practitioner but destiny willed it otherwise and made me pursue the subject academically, that till then was my hobby. As in reading and writing. I was a voracious reader, I still am 😊 

About my hobbies- I love to paint, I like cooking and hosting friends and family, love travelling, reading, crooning, and gardening. I guess the list can be endless as I love the various things that life presents to me and I willingly take them all up. I am an avid animal lover too and have been fostering pups and dogs since quite some time. I also dabble in some theatre too.
I started my career with Doordarshan, moving on to AIR and then FM. I worked as a host/presenter/ producer and also at the news desk. I had been editing for the MEA, a few Universities and some publications as a freelancer too. Then I made a transition to the perfumes and cosmetic sector, writing product stories, designing, working on fragrances and formulations, handling media etc. I had to just leave everything as my Mother in law was an Alzheimer's patient and she needed me.
By the way, I am a healer and a life skills counsellor too. I work with the underprivileged strata of the society, especially women and children. I have off late started work on spreading Alzheimer awareness and stressing on the role of caregivers and their support system.  
I have been published in various journals, publications, national and international anthologies, e-zines etc. and I have a solo “THE NIGHT JASMINE AND OTHER LOVE POEMS” to my credit.
My motto has always been “To Live and Love Life".

A questionnaire with Madhumita Bhattacharjee Nayyar 

1.     How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?
 I do not remember exactly when I started writing but I see certificates won for creative writing when I was in primary. Both my parents inculcated the habit of reading in us, that's me and my brother. I loved storytelling and they encouraged me further, especially my mother. She played a major role in honing up my talent by encouraging me. I cannot deny my Hindi and English teachers from school their due credit, for they too had a major effect in sharpening my language and writing skills.
I had been writing and editing as I told you before, but once when my friend Sonali Bose specially asked for a few poems of mine for her online publication, that's when the thought of publishing my book triggered I think.
Imaginative!  I guess every writer is, but it is mostly from whatever is happening around me, the people, nature, birds, animals, emotions, sentiments that I draw out my words and verses from.

2.     What do you find most challenging about your writing?
I love writing...and try to pen down my thoughts whenever possible. The challenge lies in being able to connect to my reader. But I have been fortunate enough to have got all love from my readers, probably because I write what my heart says and I am really thankful to all of them.
With so many things to do every day another challenge is of compiling my work. I do not stick to one subject and that makes it a wee bit difficult too.

3.     What do you do when you are not writing?
Ha ha ...a lot many things. Either playing with my four-legged friends, cooking for the family, touching base with relatives and friends, attending poetry reading sessions or a Lit Conference, delivering a talk on life skills or Alzheimer's, counselling either a child or a mother/ wife/ teenager and telling them the various ways to fall in  love with life;  at times just sitting quietly with a cup of coffee and admiring nature either at a hill station or near the sea somewhere, or hosting an event may be! I think twenty-four hours is too short a time to be able to do it all 😊😊

4.     Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?
To have created a place in the hearts of more people. Frankly speaking, I believe life is a learning process and one never ceases to be a learner/student. There is so much to learn from my fellow writers, so much to imbibe from my seniors and the legends in the field. Such a lot still remains to be done. So I cannot actually predict anything. But yes five years down the line I pray I have some more books/ titles to my credit and they find their place in thousands of bookshelves and a million hearts.

5.     How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?
As I mentioned before that I get motivation and inspiration to write from things around me ...and there is no dearth of happenings, events or characters. One just has to be alert and receptive. I guess the army background has helped me shape into an alert, conscious and receptive person that I am today.

6.     Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?
I am still in the process of making it big...everyone the level always goes up. There is no set goes from big to the bigger 😊
All I can say is be natural. Do not ever try to copy someone. Choose your subject from the heart and express what your heart tells you. A good knowledge of the language is a must. Grammatical errors are a no-no. Talk to writers who have already been published, choose and compile your work intelligently. Next comes choosing a good publisher. There are many in the field, but one has to see how you can reach out to more people. Making money shouldn't be the first thing on your mind. It should be to make a mark instead.

7.     What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?
Leaving an impression and bringing about a change in the reader for the good. Like I mainly talk about love in my poems and my stories mostly talk about society and life in various shades. If my words can occupy some space in the reader's heart, make the reader think, retrospect, then my work is done to some extent. But if a writer's words can bring about positive changes in an individual for the betterment of the society, that writer is blessed indeed!

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?
For making money I guess the choice of subject should be apt along with a very good knowledge of it. Secondly a very good publishing platform. A whole lot of PR and marketing activities to both go hand in hand. Writing dedicatedly is also important if one wants to make money, without deviating into anything else. Keeping oneself focussed into just writing.
I guess one’s luck too plays a very important part. So being lucky is good too.

9.     What motivates you most in life?
Everything about life is beautiful and fresh. There is so much to learn from everything, each new day. Everything about life is motivating. I really am in love with life. In fact, everybody must fall and stay in love with life

10.            The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.
It is the most unfortunate thing to happen. It is mostly due to the religious leaders and the political ones, who reap benefits by creating such divides. The media too fans such issues at times.  But I think this will not last till long. Art, literature, creativity in any form has always been a medium to bring about change. All this intolerance, irrational behaviour will vanish and good sense shall prevail. As they say – “Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry".
I believe a good writer/ good poet will always have a good readers base not because of any political or religious inclinations but because of his/her work.

11.            What is the story behind the name of your book?
There is hardly any story. I mostly write love poems. My maternal grandmother taught me about love, in fact,she instilled it in me(the emotion, the notion, the feel...whatever). A conversation about the night jasmine( a flower), a symbol of love, between a friend  and me motivated me to write three poems based on love, centred around the transient life of the flower, that loves and finishes off, still so much in love, although she knows that she isn't getting the one she loves. That is how was born “The Night Jasmine and Other Love Poems".

12.            What are your views on increasing plagiarism?
Scary...! Yes, it is.
I think plagiarism has thrived since long in the creative field, be it music, poetry, prose and is rampant nowadays ...
It has been there sometimes in a blatant form at times in the garb of “been inspired" and is here to stay, until and unless stricter rules and laws are made and enforced. We have to make use of the advanced technology too to keep plagiarism in check. Yes in check, for it cannot be done away with any soon.