Hello Gita, thank you for being a part of IWI’s Incredible Women Writers of India 2016, and sharing your journey as a writer.
How would you define yourself?
I would say, I am finding my way through the world by following my heart.
What was your childhood like? Any incidents form your
growing up years that shaped you as a person?
Well, being the youngest among five siblings, I have lived an eventful childhood. I was the most pampered and yet the most bullied member of the family. I very fondly remember the long summer nights that we all used to spend sleeping on open terraces, due to power outage. But during that time, it seemed more adventurous than bothersome. Singing songs, hunting down mosquitoes, counting stars and even sighting falling ones in the then clear Noida sky, are some of my most cherished memories. Moreover, as all my brothers and sisters have very strong personalities, I guess I have picked up a few traits from each of them.And I think, being exposed to diverse tastes and interests definitely shaped me as a person.For instance, I developed an ear for ghazals and shayaries at a very young age, just because my brother used to hear them in full volume!
When did your journey as a writer/poet began?
I would say it began quite early.I remember holing up in my bedroom for hours and scribbling poems on as innate things as house lizards.The fact that I did not have friends of my age in the locality we lived in, pulled me towards expressing myself through the written words.I wrote my first short novel, revolving around adventures of four friends who meet a talking monkey in a jungle, when I was in fifth standard, and presented it to my favourite English teacher, who read it during summer holidays and duly returned it.But after that the little notebook, which I had covered with the glossiest calendar paper, just disappeared. I would give away anything to find it.
Do you have a muse? If yes, who or what acts as a catalyst to your writing?
Anything that moves me to question the way things work, becomes my muse.I often write about women and their struggles because I can neither understand nor accept the rituals which have no logical explanation, other than the fact that they have been practiced since ages. As a child, I used to trouble my mother a lot by frequently asking her reasons behind things she believed in and now I write about them.
Do you plan out your work or just go with the flow?
I make a broad layout for whatever I am writing and then just go with
the flow to fill in the structure.
For you, what’s the easiest thing about writing and the hardest thing? Do you have any weird/funny writing rituals?
The easiest would be to scribble down every passing thought when I am
in the active phase of writing, and the difficult part is reading the
work in its raw form and editing it.
Do you get writer’s block? How do you battle it?
Quite often and to tackle it I take a break.I do something totally unrelated and once my mind settles down I come back to the unfinished work with a calmer and probably a more creative mind.I generally, leave everything the way it is, instead of staring at the blank sheet and go for a walk or catch my favourite movies.
How have you evolved as a writer since you have started? If you could give one advice to yourself, what would it be? What are you working on now?
I would say, I have become more aware of my own writing and have come to develop a writing style of my own which is constantly under self scrutiny.Earlier I would just write without bothering about the reading aspect of it.But now after I finish writing I switch my roles and see it through a reader’s eye. One advice for myself would be to involve some humor in my writing as I tend to lean towards serious plots and characters.
Currently, I am working on a novel which is set in my beloved Uttrakhand.
What’s your opinion about the future of writing/reading/the publishing industry in India?
As more and more people are taking up full time writing and waking up to the importance of creating good literature, I feel this trend is here to stay.People need good stories and reading is coming back in fashion.We are surrounded by stories in various forms.Today marketers are trying to connect with their target audience by using the power of storytelling.So story writing is definitely going to get bigger because it is no longer limited to books.As for publishing, with self publishing becoming as favoured as traditional one, we will definitely have more writers and a creatively buzzing writing sphere.
Pages from my old school diary with a poem, That Night, edited by my English teacher in red ink!
Favorite food… Pasta
Favorite Book… I like to read Autobiographies of artists
Favorite author… Premchand
What are you afraid of… never overcoming the writer’s block or running
out of stories to write
What makes you angry… gender based Injustice
Childhood crush… a senior in school
Things that you can’t leave without… my son, Avayukt and the internet connection.
Any message or advice you want to share with our readers?
Never stop reading, and if you can write then don’t doubt yourself.Just write because every story has a destiny.
EXCERPT FROM MY SHORT STORY, THE WEDDING NIGHT, which was published online.It talks about the devastating affects of marital rape and the remedy:
“Then, there were those nights, when Aditya would be lying next to his
mother in deep sleep. But he would be woken up by the soft murmurs of
his mother, protesting in a low tone. He would hear the heavy panting
of his father against the face of his silent mother and the sound of
the disgusting desire would turn Aditya into a stone. He would lie
there on the bed, pretending to be asleep, without moving a limb”
Please Note: This interview has been conducted online via emails by Rhiti Bose for IWI.